Today is a good day… I am able to sit quietly and write… my Granddog is sprawled out on the couch, my house is clean and my husband is in the shower. For those who have not met my Granddog, he is an Olde English Bulldog. His name is Bogey.
Bogey is not a snuggler. He tolerates me well… I am always in his face. I smooch him… I walk by him and scratch him and generally just irritate him. I grab his cheeks, I touch his tongue… he has a huge underbite, so his tongue is usually hanging out, most of the time, it’s dry- so I touch it.
He has a way of letting you know when you’re on his last nerve… we call it “the stink eye”.
My daughter and family arrived a few days ago for the Holiday. I have been in heaven. She and her husband drove from Nebraska with my Granddog and two Grandsons!! Kudos to them for trekking across the Country with a dog, a 3.5 yr old and a six month old baby. The only downside to having them here, is that I have to share them. Last night they stayed at my parents place so they could spread out a little bit and have their own space. Bogey stayed with us.
So while the kids were gone, we got the house back in shape. GT weeded the garden and Bogey and I scrubbed and cleaned the inside. (His contribution was minimal…)
Sometimes when I am cleaning and “in the zone”, I start to play a version of my blog over in my head… todays “head space blog” consisted of many topics ranging from organic cleaning products, healing from childhood scars, security and what that gives us… to fear based guilt, pushing through the muck.
The topic I have landed on for today’s blog is… Social Anxiety.
I attended a wedding last weekend for some friends of mine in recovery. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony held in Traverse City, while the Blue Angels flew over! (The Pastor even made a joke, he said, “I can’t even imagine how expensive it was to hire the Blue Angels for your special day!” Talk about thinking on your feet.
We were all anticipating the worse case scenario. There were many comments before the ceremony, as the loud, very loud, jets screamed overhead. We all talked about and wondered, how it would affect the wedding.
As it turned out… it was perfect.
Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual event or scenario.
As we were waiting for the wedding party to arrive inside, after pictures, a few of us munched and chatted. More than once, I overheard someone mention how nervous they were about attending. Several guests commented about how they had to talk themselves into coming. I was one of those people.
I heard women worry about their dress, their shoes, their size, how compared to a younger or smaller version of themselves… they just didn’t feel okay. I was also one of those people.
There were many conversations all running around the same theme. We were all worried that someone was talking about us or pointing out our imperfections.
Even a few of the guys mentioned how uncomfortable they felt, anticipating the day.
Here we were… all gathered to celebrate a glorious day… to watch two people commit to a lifetime together… and all, we were worried about, was superficial, ego based- shit. I looked around the room and saw beyond the masks. There was a lot of shame and fear behind those superficial, ego based masks. Lots of shame and guilt.
I was recently asked to join a Book Club. We met for the first time last month, and chose Daring Greatly as our second book. Oh M Gee. I know my last blog contained some Brené Brown quotes and info… but holy moly… you must read this book too. She is amazing.
As I was snuggled in under a fuzzy blankie, with the air conditioner blaring at me… (Oh the irony of Northern Michigan) this morning reading, It felt like I was reading my own story. This woman speaks to my soul.
There is a part in the second chapter that took me back to an earlier version of me. That old version of me still surfaces on occasion… just like she did last weekend at the wedding. My armour was up. I was not going to be afraid. I was going to go to that wedding, solo… I wasn’t going to worry about. one. single. thing.
The old version of me, had other plans.
She started directing the show as soon as I picked out my dress. I chose the loose-fitting flowing one, to show off my legs and to hide the extra ten pounds that menopause has graciously gifted me with. I lined my lips with a smile and a beautiful shade to hide the stinking cold sore that was just starting to sting… why me??
When I taught Yoga, I would start each class with a thought-provoking intention. Most of the time, it was something that I needed or something that I was working through. I was amazed at how many times a student would mention after the class that it was exactly what they needed to hear. They would tell me that it was perfect timing and how much they needed those words. I would write a 2-5 minute intention. As I read the intention at the beginning of the class… It was a time to settle into the room and the thought of a practice. It was a time to let go of anything you were willing to release. It was a time to just be present and to imagine yourself being okay.
I miss writing those intentions. I really do. I miss the grounding effect, it had on me.
Brené Brown talks about protecting ourselves with armour, shielding ourselves to prevent pain.
In reality, we are shielding ourselves from joy.
We are preventing freedom and allowing our fears to dictate the outcome.
We believe that If we can control the things around us… we can control the outcome. We cannot prevent heartache and, be present. We cannot shield ourselves from hurt, and be living our best life.
It’s exhausting trying to control the outcome and the people around us. It’s madness to stay so busy that we don’t feel. But… that’s what we do. We have grown accustomed to shining our best moments on our social media. You get to see the story book life of Denise Nathe… you can see me with make-up and no double chins. You only get to see the version of me, that I want you to see.
As I was mopping the bathroom floor this morning, I was thinking about my daughter. (Maybe because she sheds like I do… holy hell that’s a lot of hair in three days!) Anyway… I was a single mom, and I had an army of people around me to help. I read books and listened to tapes. I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. I needed an army and I needed my faith.
Even though I battled with addiction and didn’t always make the wisest choices… I raised her with a sense of security. I did my best to show her what was important. I was always her advocate. I fought to show her a new way of life. I showed her love and helped her to know love. I allowed her to feel safe.
My daughter was a busy body. She fidgeted and wiggled her way through her childhood. She sang and she hummed and she never ever sat still. Ever.
When she was about 8 or 9 years old, someone told me to prepare myself for the middle school years. She warned me that every little girl became a wench, when they went to middle school. This was totally news to me… I had no idea.
So, I began to prepare for it. I began to make changes to overcome it. This other mom warned me that they would start talking about each other, cutting each other down, and would become impossible to live with.
I was listening to Zig Ziglar’s “Raising positive kids in a negative world” cassette tapes at the time. I used his philosophy about teaching positivity and a few other tips, and began a new rule.
My rule was- “If it’s Negative, I don’t want to hear it.”
If you came to our house, you couldn’t talk smack about other people. If you were at our home, you couldn’t gossip and cut people down. If it was a negative story based in drama and sarcasm, I didn’t want to hear it.
When she was about 11 or 12 yrs old … she put a sign on her bedroom door.
Hailey’s Room. Beware, I’m Happy
I also taught her that she didn’t have to worry or stress about things. I taught her that if she did the next right thing, if she did her part… God would take care of the rest. I would always tell her that if she was doing what she was supposed to be doing, He, would open the right doors.
I still remember when she graduated from college and moved to Texas, she called me to tell me about a job offer. She went into a jewelery store to get her engagement ring cleaned, and they offered her a job. She explained to them that with Hockey season in full swing, she wouldn’t be available certain hours. She also told them that she had plans to return to Michigan for Christmas, for a couple of weeks. They still wanted to hire her.
She called me and said “Mom, you know how you always tell me that if I am doing the right thing, that God will take care of the rest? Well… that works here in Texas too.”
Yes, Hailey- it does. It works in Texas too.
I was far from a perfect parent… I messed up in many ways. But this is one thing I am proud of. I raised her with enough security to dream of bigger things. I raised her to know that she could not fail if she did her best. (And it all began with simply removing the toxic talk and the negative focus.)
So here is the dare… here is what I am daring you to do.
Join me… as I begin my mantra again. “If it’s negative, I don’t want to hear it.”
Let’s raise these little humans to know they are safe. Let’s provide security and allow them to dream. Let’s show them, by holding each other accountable.
I dare you, to hold me accountable, and join me… as we remove the toxicity and begin the shift back to empathy. Let’s stop talking behind each other’s backs. Let’s stop wounding others with our words. Let’s hold each other to a higher standard and to embrace our shortcomings. It’s time.
If you have a chance to show someone kindness, please take the chance. You really don’t know how much it could mean. Each of us is fighting some sort of battle. Just for today… I will show myself some grace. I will also “dare greatly”… because I have worked too damn hard to go back now.
Until Next time Peeps, Peace and Love~
grandsons. (It’s a 12 hour trip… kudos to them for treking across the country with a dog, a 3 and a half year old, and a six month old baby.)