The past several weeks have been rough. Without going into detail on what’s happening in my little family, I’d rather focus on what this time period has evoked:
Are we safe?
My daughters and I have openly discussed safety, identifying safe and unsafe scenarios and spaces, not compromising our safety, so that someone will like or accept us, and finally, how we practice self-soothing when we are afraid. Like any parent, my daughters’ safety and empowering them to know how to get/stay safe, are of the utmost importance.
While in the midst of walking through private issues over the past several weeks, epic mass shootings, scores of hate crimes and the disastrous fires in California, also plagued our country.
After the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, like so many of us, I was shocked. No matter how many times I hear about or experience anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, the shock value never, ever lessens.
My daughter and I discussed the Pittsburgh tragedy after a few days had passed. I couldn’t believe how matter of fact she was about it.
I fervently exclaimed,
I absolutely refuse to let this be the new normal!
She responded to me very calmly,
Mom, we’ve been having lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was little, they were really scary, but now, this IS our normal.
My mouth was agape. I felt like I couldn’t breathe…
I had the “aha” moment I have never wanted to have.
I went on to validate what she’d said to me. I told her that her response made me sad and then, she said,
It is sad, but it just is. Mom, we have to live with what is.
A part of me wanted to argue against what she was saying, but I didn’t. The truth is, I was in awe of my daughter’s composure and graceful example of how to live life on life’s terms.
Just this past week, I came home from work and as I prepped dinner, I shared with my daughters that ORT’sKfar Silver Youth Village had to be evacuated because there weren’t enough (or close enough) shelters, for the kids to be safe.
At dinner, my daughters were wide-eyed and glued to everything about Kfar Silver. They wanted to learn more about the “really cool” place the Kfar Silver Youth Village is.
My daughters asked so many questions:
How can these kids ever feel safe with rockets being launched nearby? How can they not have enough shelters? Do adults help them feel safe? Who helps the adults feel safe? How can the world be this scary?
And then, the same daughter who told me about needing to “live with what is” said,
Each day, and sometimes, minute by minute, it takes a commitment to practice accepting things I simply can’t change. Of course, this is not revolutionary. Most people know at least parts of The Serenity Prayer.
Every so often, people question why in the hell I open myself up on this blog and on social media streams. Some individuals are critical of what they perceive as my being fully transparent. I respect their opinions and usually, if they’re interested, I share more about how helping others is exactly why I do it. I hope it helps them accept what I do, but it may not change their opinions and that’s okay. It still doesn’t change who I am.
There are countries I’ve never heard of who read this blog and thank me for it. If I help someone…ANYONE, this is worthwhile.
My hope is that you and others feel less shame and get okay with your own mishegas. I pray you accumulate moments of peace, love and happiness in your life. I have moments and am grateful for every single one of them. Some of my moments get widely published and they are sometimes hilarious. Especially the ones with my daughters. THIS is joy, pure and simple.
If you’re shaming yourself or someone else for something you may not understand, I hope YOU are open to learning that you are capable of loving someone and accepting them as they are, right now, in their imperfect form. You may not understand why they are the way they are, but do you really have to?
I have faith and hope in people. I believe that people can be better. I have spent years experiencing and examining communication and the impact of shame. My on-the-job training and its associated studies, have proven that loving communication opens the path to the release of shame, with access to the location of joy.
It’s not a perfect science. It’s a practice.
I wear mismatched socks sometimes, because you know, laundry madness. C’mon. We all suffer from the laundry madness of single sock disappearance. In the scheme of a challenged history and even a difficult “here and now,” I embrace my new fashion sense.
I really hate doing laundry, especially when I have a headache. On some level, I’ve had a headache for about six months. This is not an exaggeration. Doing laundry and other cleaning chores makes my head worse.
So, to my right, there’s a big pile of laundry that has to be done. There are single socks everywhere, towels, everyday clothes and delicate lingerie that needs to be in a lingerie bag and washed on the gentle cycle.
Just for today, I have one load of laundry in me. Today, everything will be done on the gentle cycle.
The content I post on this blog and on social media is also communicated on a gentle cycle. It gently rocks as it moves. It’s not the ultra power pressure washing of the nitty gritty stories of trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer or addiction. It’s gingerly and carefully relayed here and other places, for you and for me.
So, here I am. My head hurts and I’m off to do my one load of laundry on the gentle cycle. The more detailed version of my stuff’s history and how I practice/d hard to get comfy in my skin, will be included in the book I’ve started writing.
I’m embarrassed and almost ashamed to even state that I’m writing a book. I’ve written lots of books actually, and still, I can hardly call myself a writer.
Like I said – I have a commitment to practice. I practice and practice, but am far from perfect. It’s the commitment to practice that provides the moments of joy.
Today, I have the forethought to choose the gentle cycle for my clothes and for me.
I wish you tender loving gentleness today, even if you’re power washing. May we all have the wisdom to know the difference.