The Gift of Forty

There is some magic about entering this new decade, I believe.  Or maybe it’s just the one I can identify as the most powerful for me thus far.  But I feel I’ve finally grasped a carnal truth in this transition and the relief I feel reverberating throughout my entire body is …exhilarating.

This truth, for me, is that finally, after a lifetime of being a people pleaser and wanting everyone to like me, I just don’t give a fuck what people think about me.

I know….  Ouch!  Guessing that got a few of you scrunching up your noses.  (I can think of family members doing the Orthodox cross right now).  And presumed reaction aside, this isn’t entirely true, so I promise to tease out the details of that sentiment later.

While it’s not my intention to put people off, I’m just beyond tired of trying to appease, please, comfort those around me and alter who I am in the process.  This is the gift of 40, for me.

I Like Myself!

And the real gift, actually, is that I’ve come to a place where I actually truly, thoroughly whole-heartedly like myself!  Not just think I have some good qualities but seriously really appreciate who I am—what I bring, who I’ve grown myself into being.  And that feels really good.  I don’t think it’s necessarily what I was “taught.”  No, I was taught… well, to be nice.  Nice is nice.  Thing is, I’m not always nice.  And I’m not entirely sure if nice people truly like themselves, or if they’re more concerned with getting others to like them.

A horrible-beautiful thing occurred in my life a few months ago—some of you (because I tend to process openly) are aware of some the story—many of you have likely imagined much more than I’ve shared. But suffice it to say, my world was rocked—multiple times in a matter of weeks.  And I’m talking, rocked to the core—shaking the fiber of my being.  And what became glaringly obvious to me was a certain internal “okay-ness” about not only how I’ve been managing myself throughout the journey but the person looking back at me from the mirror saying, “You’ve got this.  You’re good.”  I had a sense of peace—of knowing that the work I’ve done over the past 13+ years has set me up for this, right now.  And I’m in…  whatever this brings, my heart is open.

Now that’s not to say I don’t have my break down moments—or that I think I have “this” (or anything else for that matter) all figured out.  It just means that I’m getting clear on the fact that no one else’s ideas, thoughts, opinions, or ways of being in the world are better, more appropriate, more effective or tolerable than mine.  That “mine” work for me—it’s an ideal design really, that my own ideas are the ones that resonate in my heart as authentic, true and real.  Not the sage or the therapist or the friend or anyone else I might ask to help guide me.  This is a time for my own truth to emerge.

Love Me or Leave

One of the other gifts of this “rock my world” few months (those are the best opportunities aren’t they?) has been a series of “aha!” moments giving glimpses to me of why I “do relationship” as I do (and this from someone who’s been analyzing mine and others’ relationship styles for over a decade.)  And I’m talking all types of relationships; from love and intimacy to friendship, to professional, to parent/child, and so on.  And one of the gems I’ve realized is that I am absolutely not for everyone.  For many people, in fact, I’m horribly difficult to like.  And for others…  well, I’m the butter for their bread!

…And that’s what it’s about, right?  Because honestly, I don’t want to be someone about whom others say, “Oh yea, she’s nice.”  I want people to either passionately love me or just really not like me at all, or maybe not even care.

So this is where I’ll get back to that untruth from where I started:  Clearly, I don’t need the fish guy at Whole Foods or the woman who cleans my teeth passionately loving me, and I do want them to think I’m nice.  So don’t get caught in details.  I’m talking my clan—my group, the people with whom I share my time, my space and my heart.  ‘Nuff said.

Not For Everyone

I used to want everyone to like me.  But honestly, I’m too goddamn opinionated, too intense and too friggin’ analytical for a lot of folks—put another way, I can beat a dead horse till he whinneys and I tend to offend folks who are wired a bit more on the conservative side.  Especially when discussing topics such as pregnancy, childbirth, child-development, nutrition, health, relationships, conflict, sexuality …LIFE!  So when around conservative types, I’d gotten into a habit of dumbing myself down, fitting myself right into their little box of okay-ness, when I didn’t come close to having the right angles to fit.

A couple of months ago, when faced with the loss of part of my support network because, well, life just happens that way sometimes, a dear friend shared a quote with me that reads, “Howl ’til you find your pack.” – Clarissa Pinkola-Estes.

I even posted it on a few social networking sites, with the following:  I am not for everyone. I’m clear on that. And I finally don’t want to be “for everyone.” I am for me. I’m for my kids, my family and those I love dearly. I’m for honesty and challenge and taking a deeper look…. I’m for intimacy–“next level” intimacy–for moving my body, for looking fear in the face and saying, “whaddya got next?”

I Am…

What I have uncovered in my heart is that I really love to process life deeply—to a point that is uncomfortable for many.  And I’m okay with that—that looking at life that way, exploring the subtle intricacies of relationship and self are not for the majority.  I’ve also learned that I don’t have time to take care of the emotions of those who are uncomfortable because of how I exist in the world.  And while I’ve cognitively known this for quite some time, it finally sunk in.  To fully embody that knowing is like taking a deep breath of fresh air after being in a small, stuffy closet for far too long.

I think the beauty of relationships—all of them—is the opportunity to take them a little deeper, not to expect them to exist in a place where everything just feels good.  And I’m okay with a bit of battle here and there.  I am Greek!

I’m also into mistakes—big ones.  I have some doozies under my belt and most often, as long as a person can authentically get clear on how they’ve been out of integrity and find their way back in and beyond, I’ll most often stick it out.  I know that’s where my greatest learning has come and I’d like to provide the space for others to do their own work, with the safety and support of a committed, loving friend.

I’m not into judgment—I get a really bad taste in my mouth when I feel someone has laid their own story out on my lifeline, made up their mind about who I am, how I’ve failed and where I’ll end up, or what I should be doing to fix it all.  Yet I’m completely inspired by someone who will deeply listen to my rants, love me through my chaos and remain stable and present in their own skin with curiosity inviting me to delve in even more deeply.

I’d love to hear how YOU  show up in YOUR life, and what inspires you to show up more fully!

For the Love of Your Life!