Years ago, (in my 20s) I wrote a a book of poetry I called, “Footprints in Melted Snow”.
It was an out-pouring of my sorrow, confusion, angst, grief, fear, hope…. of not knowing who I was, what I wanted, why I wanted, how I wanted, or even if I deserved to have whatever it was that I wanted, in my life.
I had married young. It didn’t last. I knew even before I stepped into the church that marrying this man, even though he was a good man, was not the right thing for me to do.
And I did it anyway.
There was a lot of pressure to do it. To commit and though deep inside I knew I wasn’t in that space of making such a lifelong commitment, I succumbed to the pressure.
Months later, I was sick with unhappiness and worst of all, I hated myself.
What is wrong with me, my critter kept asking. Why can’t I be happy?
It wasn’t about him. It was all about me.
One evening, just after I’d started a new job and was working late on my first really big project, my parents and brother and his wife arrived for a visit. My parents lived in Europe at the time so having them come to visit was not like they could just drop in anytime.
But I was hurt.
They had arrived two weeks earlier and gone to visit my one sister’s in-laws who lived an hour away and not come to visit me. They had gone to visit my brother and his wife, and not come to visit me.
And then they announced their arrival and I was working.
I told them where the hidden key was and that I would be home as soon as I could get away. I told them I had steaks in the fridge and all the fixings and to make themselves at home.
When I arrived home, they were sitting around the dining room table eating take-out and drinking.
My father and brother loved their scotch. So did my then husband. We always had a bottle of the ‘good stuff’ in the house. It was almost empty.
My mother and sister-in-law were sharing a bottle of wine and I arrived in the midst of a conversation about… me.
What I was doing in my life that they didn’t like. How I was thinking I was so uppitty and better than everyone else.
I was taken aback. Stunned. Surprised.
Why did everyone else have so much to say about my life? What had I done to any of them to make them think I was such a horrid person?
And I said nothing.
I sat for awhile and listened because they told me what they were telling me was for my own good. Eventually, I told them I was going to bed. I had heard enough.
But even in bed, I couldn’t drown out their voices so I got up and told them that they were welcome to stay but they were not welcome to keep talking about me in that way. I didn’t deserve that and if they wanted to keep doing it, they would have to leave.
And thus began my journey into discovering “Who am I?”
I couldn’t understand why my own family didn’t like me. I didn’t understand what I had done to hurt them all so badly.
I left my marriage shortly after that. There were a host of reasons for my leaving but mostly, it was because I knew that when I stepped into it, I didn’t know who I was and I most definitely didn’t love myself. In knowing that, I knew I had to find me before I could drag someone else into the mess I saw as my life.
I learned a lot through that process. I learned about self-love. About inner strength, inner truth and beauty.
And I learned about compassion.
I long ago let go of having to forgive anyone for what happened back then. Not one of us set out to intentionally hurt they other. We were simply acting out from where we were at. And we were all carrying a lot of pain. In letting go of telling myself I had to get to a place of forgiveness, I was freed to move into the truth of what I found.
It is as Eleanor Roosevelt said so long ago, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I have started to work on a new book. It is called, “If I Had Known Then.” It was inspired by my eldest daughter who read my list of “10 Things I would tell my 10 year old self‘ and said, “Mom. It’s so beautiful. You need to make it into a book.”
I like the idea.
I have started working on an art journal using each of the ‘things’ as a theme for each page.
And, I went back to the poetry book I wrote so many years ago and am going to use some of the poems as touchstones to connect me today to the me I was back then and the truth I’ve found in living my life now in the beauty and wonder of all that I am when I speak my truth fearlessly in love with all of me and the world around me.
This is my life. It is a journey through Love. Hope. Joy and Compassion.
I’ll be sharing poems from the book as I move through it and wanted to share this one with you today.
Listen to the Moon
I painted a picture
but couldn’t find
Cast upon the sand
Sunrise exploding horizons
Listen to the moon
and you shall hear
Listen to yourself.