I Just Want You to Know Who I Am

Iris is one of my all time favorite songs, hence the nod to the lyrics in the title.

As I’ve alluded to before, I am nothing if not an enigmatic duality of existence. I yearn so deeply for real connections and for people to know who I am, yet, how can they? When at times I feel that I don’t even know myself, or, in the words of the Goo Goo Dolls, I don’t want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand.

Y’all, I am so blessed. Really and truly and I feel so incredibly grateful for everything in my life. When I say my prayers I thank God for the love that fills the four walls of our beautiful home. My husband and I share a love that leaves me speechless most days (I know, right?). We have two incredibly spoiled, big hearted dogs that love to shower us with affection. If only we all met one another with the enthusiasm these pups exude, even when we’re gone just moments. We have good jobs and are prosperous due to the blessings those jobs bring – not just financially, but in relationships, learning, growth, and fulfillment.

I have a lot to be thankful for and I am. Every moment. I pray all day every day and most often it is a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips and in my heart.

Here’s the kicker.

I am happy. I am also not comfortable in my own skin right now, and ya know what? That’s okay. It just isn’t okay to unpack and live here. Each of us can be unendingly grateful, happy and joyful while still feeling a desire to focus on an area of our lives. I would argue that this is the nudging of God (the universe, or whatever you believe in) so He can take you to the next level of blessing.

My struggles started with my weight a couple of years ago, but, honestly, being successful in my career I didn’t feel the weight of the burden – pun intended. Then I lost my job. I’ve been floating in this haze of existence feeling a bit lost since then. Grateful, loving, joyful, even, but lost. Somewhere in between the words of “we’re ending your employment” my sense of self was terminated as well.

I like what I am doing now, it pays the bills and I feel fulfilled by the relationships I have created and the work that I’m doing. I have yet to reconcile how I felt so assured that I was living my purpose only to have it ripped away. However, I do believe the Good Lord was redirecting me for a reason. What it is, I don’t yet know, but I rest in his peace and love knowing there is.

Due to my current role, and part of the reason I took the job, is that I applied for the Nursing program at Ivy Tech. Didn’t get in this time. I’m totally okay with that, once again I feel that God is either redirecting me or asking me to wait. Still, as someone who hasn’t ever really been unsuccessful in an endeavor, it’s hard. Why is everything in this season so embattled? I’ve already entitled myself a survivor and warrior, is there really a reason to prove that any more?

Yet, in my dual nature, I look back and see how when Stephen and I got together we were making together what he makes now. We have a home. We have stability. For goodness’ sake he’s home and no longer has to travel for work. The blessings are countless in that alone.

At my interview for my current job and in interviews prior I had a really difficult time presenting myself. My resume is long. Partially because I’m too honest for my own good and put my whole work history on it, secondly because I have been terminated from my last two jobs. This is another reason I leaned towards nursing school – never again would it matter what my past work history was, only the RN behind my name.

A path presented, redirection, please make a U-turn at your earliest convenience, recalculating… traffic ahead… recalculating…

Sometimes I feel like I have a 1998 version of Garmin guiding my career and it hasn’t had an update since it was bought.

I have been learning a lot in this season, though. Patience. Gratitude. Peace. SO many people are going through so much more. I am simply choosing joy instead of dejection.

Coupling my career catastrophes and my weight – I’m just not really feeling myself. Fortunately, it is all 100% in my control, especially how I feel. Well, enough that I can actually do something about the bits that aren’t feelings. There’s the megalithic, easy task of losing weight and getting healthy… then the simple, Herculean feat of figuring out what the hell I want to do with my life.

That’s just two things. I can totally do that. Until then, I will be grateful, peaceful, joyful and expectant in this season.

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The Beauty of the Dark

Adjusting to third shift has been much easier than I anticipated, shall I say, staying up and working through the night has been. Sleeping during the day and managing days off and leisure time still needs some work.

I used to be afraid of the dark. From imagining wolves and vampires at my grandmother’s to skeletons driving cars in town, my fear was quite diverse and deeply ingrained.

Looking back I think it was fear of the unknown made corporeal to play in the illusive reality experienced in daily life. Now, it bothers me little, if at all. Occasionally a macabre thought will cross my mind while in the dark but the thoughts do not linger nor materialize into something more profound or sinister. In fact, I’ve grown to like the dark in many ways.

There is something seductive about the way darkness envelops everything she touches. Something enticing about her soft velvet touch on a warm summer night. The warm embrace of darkness is like a lover leaving soft kisses upon the entirety of one’s being.

Yes, I quite enjoy the dark. Her touch, her feel. She is pregnant with possibility, a vast expanse of the unknown. What once frightened me now entices me. Inviting me, beckoning me with her soft lover’s kiss. Whispering words of adventure, curiosity, exploration, recklessness and wisdom.

She, like me, is both a portrait of duality and the half of a whole. Divided in herself by her very nature. Half of the whole that is dark and light. Moments spent with darkness are perforated by peace, calm, comfort, tinges of terror, moments and memories. She is everything and nothing. Fullness and emptiness. Defined by her own being yet only by her marriage to the light.

I do quite enjoy the dark. While most of the world sleeps she and I ponder the preposterous, imagine the impossible, gestate the grandiose and stew upon the sinister. Fear forgotten, she and I have become friends. Sisters of the night. Both portraits of duality and defined by that which makes us whole.

The beauty of the dark, the beauty of me.

The Universe Within

Perhaps it is a bit vain, but I have oftentimes wondered how others would describe me. Perhaps vain, perhaps it is that I am well acquainted enough with myself and I am aware of the enigmatic dichotomies that make up my being.

Despite my journey to know thyself over the past few years, I hold no illusions that I truly do. The depths of our inner selves are limitless and ever expanding. I don’t think we can ever really, truly, fully know ourselves. Our bodies, minds and souls are like an infinitely expanding universe within the confines of our corporeal selves. In that light, perhaps we cannot ever describe ourselves effectively.

Yet, it is a curiosity of mine, and curiosity is quite enchanting to me. I have had the grim pleasure of delivering four eulogies in my life, maybe that is where the wonderwall stems from. What would someone say about me at the end of my life? There are definitely some people that I would not want to say a single thing – others, it would be interesting to hear their words.

In lieu of having a Socratic seminar around the topic of legacy, perception, and vanity, or a pre-death funeral like that book we all read in high school (Tuesdays with Morrie? Maybe?), I’ll, instead, try to articulate below some things I hope others would notice about me and share in describing me to another.

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I am unsure if a more prolific example of yin and yang has ever existed within a person as it does within myself. I am positively a study in opposites. Interestingly enough, this also extends to my perceptions of right and wrong, decision making, and even job performance. For me it’s black and it’s white operating very little, if at all, in the shades of gray that people so often speak of. Perhaps when the Good Lord made me He made me to only see the stark contrasts of life – black and white, red and tan, purple and pink. Sharp, distinguished contrasts between the vibrant distinctions of color that permeate our existence.

At times, those colored distinctions are very helpful in ascertaining what I need to do in order to succeed, but they can also be liabilities in uncovering the subtle nuances of interpersonal relationships, or in the expressing of big-colored emotions – as tends to be my way. Whatever emotion I am feeling and exhibiting is all in, no feeling “kinda” for me, it’s all happy, all sad, all joyful, all sleepy, all mad, all goofy.

Yet, interestingly enough, the yin and yang that is myself is also very steady, c0nsistent, and grounded. I am an Earth sign, after all, and I identify heavily with what that represents. So much so that my way of moving through life can be likened to the Earth herself. As a wife, friend, family member and coworker I am very stable, steady, reliable, and loyal – a foundational, guiding force in my interpersonal relationships. Much like Earth is for the ecosystem she feeds. However, like Earth, built up pressures, stresses, and restraint can lead to explosive displays of power and destruction – earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis. Big-color emotions.

One would think that I would be ashamed of that, but I’m not. For one, it takes a lot, and I mean  a lot for me to get there. But I am also unashamed that I am powerful. It is only recently that I have been tuning in to that and pulling it over towards the quieter side in order to better utilize it there.

Yin and yang. Powerful and quiet. Strong and silent. Stable and explosive. Bleeding heart that wants to save the world and introverted shyness that wants to burrow into my own four walls and let the world be whatever it will be. Interestingly, I have so many, really good ideas that would be beneficial in helping improve the quality of life surrounding different stressors, but I’m so damn scared to voice them. I know that I’m intelligent (sometimes), but I also feel that a relatively uneducated, almost 33-year old has no right to say a damn thing in regard to changes that need, or can, be made in whatever sector it pertains to. What right do I have?

I will never forget when my darling husband told me “you don’t have to save the world”. No, but it would be nice and a larger part of me wants to than I should admit. People deserve so much more. But, am I really the vehicle to mention these possible changes? Who am I to say anything? Who would listen? 

Yin and yang. Consistent and unsettled. Intelligent and insecure. Heroes heart and introvert. Perhaps all of the dichotomy surrounding action and inaction was seeded during my childhood, where both sides of my family were very vocal about the impact that you can have (good or bad) on the family and the family’s reputation based upon your behaviors. A burning desire to be important, fueled by a familial inheritance of need for reputation and recognition, quelled by the cool waters of underachievement.

The galaxies within are swirling masses of contradictories. Black holes and nebulas, stars both living and dying. You know, parts of who we are see birth and death all of the time. It’s so fascinating. I love that I can be so cerebral and logical about things – even silly and fun things like who I am, or why in the heavens Hermione didn’t use the time turner to go back to when Peter Pettigrew was supposedly killed and clear Sirius’ name.

I know I am a maddening, fascinating, enigmatic, duality. At least, that’s how I feel about it. I don’t know how anyone else feels about it.

I love to read, but sometimes get bored with it and it takes months to finish a book. If I enjoy it I’ll finish it in hours. I love to cook, but my kitchen is always a mess because I hate cleaning up (and my husband recently asked that I quit using the dishwasher because it doesn’t get anything clean enough). I love, LOVE riding horses but am unsure if I ever will again. I love taking pictures and finding beauty in the smallest of things, perhaps because of all of the ugliness I have seen in this world. I love cuddling with my dogs but they drive me nuts when they don’t listen. I like to write and have so many ideas for books, but I don’t know if I will ever write one. I don’t know if they are good enough or how to get them out on paper. I would do anything to help someone I care about, but once trust has been broken I rarely give second chances. Which is why I only have a few friends, at best. I have a really hard time with disorganization, especially in my home, but once it gets there I struggle with how to fix it. I want to lose weight but I’m lazy and prefer lounging and relaxing. I love to try new things but always get scared that I won’t do well at it. Clearly, I am a perfectionist and ruthlessly hard on myself while forgiving and supportive of others.

You see, each duality, each yin and yang is a twin galaxy. Orbiting around one another with reckless, chaotic perfection. It is the music of my life. Chaos. Perfection. Yin and yang.

The Meaning Behind #MrsAdventure

You may have noticed my frequent use of the #MrsAdventure as of late. I have to admit, the cute play on words is something I am quite proud of.

We seem to spend a lot of time imagining perfection. The perfect spouse, the perfect family, home, vacation, job, you name it. As we all know, the reality is often not exactly what we imagined.

In my mind, these imperfections are beautiful and sometimes downright hilarious. Some imperfections are painful, literally and metaphorically, but they give us wisdom, experience and empathy.

While we are all on this adventure of life, I found titling my journey a misadventure to be far more fitting for me. So many adventurers have a plan and goals and ambitions, not that I don’t. I certainly do, I am just not as tied down to a method of reaching them and, in some cases, I am also flexible about the end result. Thus, embracing the elegance of unfortunate events or mishaps seems more my style. It’s all about perspective anyway, right?

Take my job loss, for example. I never would have left that company of my own volition and certainly never would have gone back to school. The misadventures of my life took me off of a misguided path and corrected it.

While I could have gone with Miss Adventure I chose Mrs Adventure, as I hope is obvious, I am a Mrs. Being my husband’s Mrs. is so meaningful to me. It is literally the foundation of everything in my life. There isnt a piece of my heart, soul, and life that my marriage doesn’t embrace. With that, #MrsAdventure was born.

Now, assuming you have stay tuned this long I would love to share a #MrsAdventure from my younger years.

It was spring or summer. Warm enough that my best friend and I decided to go ride our bikes. Though I dont recall specifically, we likely went behind the school in our neighborhood to play on the swing sets. That was a frequent pastime of ours.

This particular day, I was jamming out to Christina Aguilera on my Walkman. For those too young to know, this amazing device played CDs and was portable. Mine was silver with an orange, see through lid. It was great. Unless you scratched the CD or moved too much.

My friend had gotten about half a block ahead of me and was also listening to her Walkman. I don’t remember what I was wearing but I’m guessing only the clothes an awkward teen girl growing up in the 90s can imagine, completed with frizzy hair pulled up in a scrunchie and colored bands on my braces.

Genie in a Bottle was playing, the wind was in my hair, I was speeding along the road, flying like Wonder Woman. I didn’t know what the heck being rubbed the right way meant, but I knew I had to turn my jam up to get the full effect of this moment.

Mm. Man. Looking back it plays in slow motion and I can see so many ways in which I could have avoided what is possibly, rather, what is the single most embarrassing moment of my life.

See, kids, Walkmans were great. Mine had a little dial to turn up the volume. The play/pause, stop and skip buttons were on the base of the Walkman by the opening of the lid. Walkmans also weren’t like cell phones. It was bigger than your hand so was best operated with two while moving.

I can’t believe I’m sharing this. But #MrsAdventure, right?

Biking, jamming. Turning up the CD player. I balanced it on my handlebars under my right thumb and turned the volume up with my left hand. To do this, I looked down.

Guys, it was a split second.

The next thing I knew Christina was singing her heart up and I was literally flying. Through the air. Onto the windshield of a parked car. In front of two nice looking college boys and their girlfriends.

Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

They are running down to help me. I hope I didnt damage the car…

Are you okay?? You, like, rolled all the way to the top of the windshield and all the way back down!

I’m okay. Thank you. Sorry I hit your car. All the while trying to hold the Walkman that betrayed me and put my chain back on my bike.

About this time, my friend realized I wasn’t there and had turned around to come check on me. Thank goodness as I didnt know how much more humiliation I could muster.

Thanks again, sorry about hitting your car.

It’s okay, have a nice trip!

Insert laughter from collegiate bystanders here and a face redder than a Weasley’s hair and you have got a pretty good picture of how things tied up.

This #MrsAdventure was a good lesson in learning how to laugh at myself. It also changed the way I interacted with others when they felt embarrassed. Both of which I was reminded of every time I rode my bike or walked by that car. It had a perfect tread mark on the bumper from my bike tire.