Charter schools, ten year old cars, overdue bills, a bustling life in the middle of the city, a network of personal and professional contacts that extends across nearly every state and a few continents, a daily yoga practice, a partner that both humbles and ignites me, writing as a profession and not just therapy, allowing my body to have curvy parts, and a commitment to the constant redefinition of self — these are all things I never believed would be mine.
Miracles. My life has been nothing short of a series of miracles since birth, and it’s only these last three years or so that I understood that.
Let me offer you some perspective — 15 years ago I graduated college at the ripe age of 20. I got a couple of teaching credentials the following year and took my first job teaching kindergarten at a Title I school in the East Bay at a school bordered by a cemetery and flanked by a homeless shelter.
I wore clogs, tights and jean jumpers to work, dyed my hair blonde, spent at least 10% of my paycheck every month on my own students, ran miles and miles after work in the dark to stay “skinny,” and in my off-time put 100% of my energy into controlling every small detail of my household, and my depressed husband’s life.
We bought a house in the suburbs and got a dog who I wouldn’t allow inside my model perfect home. I got a Master’s Degree, another teaching credential, a new job just down the road, landed my husband not one, but two jobs when he finished the school I insisted he attend, and had a baby that I took care of all by myself day and night seven days a week.
I accomplished all this epic failure to actually thrive before I was 25.
I was painfully miserable and completely unwilling to acknowledge it. I spent hours itemizing bills, juggling all of our financial obligations, monitoring my husbands every move and bottle, making all decisions by myself and then informing him of what our life was allowed to look like. I hosted the entire family for Christmas and decorated for each season. I hand made scrapbook pages of my beautiful child’s life and chose only those photos that “looked good” so she would have books full of happy memories with happy parents in a happy house and be fucking HAPPY when she grew up.
But I wasn’t, happy, that is. Not that I’d ever let anyone know that.
I left out the photos of a hungover and absent husband. I didn’t include the pictures of me not having lost my baby weight because I never got to sleep more than 40 minutes at a time. I didn’t share the stories of being miserable either home alone with an infant or encouraging a room full of five year olds by myself all day to learn their letters, numbers, and their manners.
I sometimes cried in the parking lot before work, and I left a makeup bag in the glove compartment to fix my mascara before I stepped out of the door so no one would see my tear streaked face.
Certain the answer to happiness was found by building whiter, bigger, and stronger picket fences, we bought a bigger house. I applied for better jobs for my husband, and we had another baby.
Some of you know what happened next. When my son was almost five days old, my mom almost died. She had a brain aneurysm, and after three weeks and two surgeries she had a stroke that left her without any fine motor skills and the ability to say only one word — Paul. My Dad (who’s name, if you haven’t guessed, is Paul), my brother, and I spent two weeks in a tiny white room caring for her. I hauled my newborn son all the way to Portland and spent hours in the hospital while my husband, who’d informed me he wouldn’t be coming with me because he would be “bored,” stayed home and worked while a friend took care of our two year old.
My mom recovered, and there’s a lot more story between there and here, but it doesn’t really matter so much what the supporting details are because the main idea after this part is this —
I woke the fuck up and decided to do something REAL about my situation.
Three years, an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, a newfound yoga practice and two powerfully influential male friends later, I asked to be laid off from my job as a school administrator, a job at which I was failing miserably, moved into the city, cashed out every cent of my retirement and immediately sunk it into business with one of said referenced men, and walked into the summer with no job, no plan, and the biggest, sloppiest, most ludicrous fucking grin on my face I’d ever held.
I had never felt more free, more true to myself, or happier than in that moment. I was glowing.
You know the story from there. I tried, I failed, I learned, I grew, I repeated. I found my own special brand of happy, and I’ve been ruthless in protecting it for me, and for my family, since.
Have I done it “right?” No, but is there really a wrong way? Could I have done it differently? Sure, and with different results.
Here is what I do know— clearing my space of everything that isn’t, doesn’t and hasn’t worked is allowing me to figure out what does.
I’m working into me, to get to me, to move from ME.
I’ve had daily experiences with real, true, genuine miracles, because I gave them permission and space to exist. I knocked down the walls of my own disadvantage and chose to see unlimited possibility.
Choice. I am CHOOSING what to invite in, and what to let out. What shows up in my life is a direct result of my choices in thought, in action, and in the alignment of those two things.
It’s not simple. It’s not easy, and it sure as fuck isn’t clean.
Today, at this point, my life is still messy, but it’s real, and it’s good, and it’s all full of glitter bombs and opportunity.
Want in on the magic? I’m inviting you, well, actually WE are inviting you, to play along with us as we work through a series of experiments designed to show you just how powerful you are and exactly how much your energy matters.
Join us here as we explore our possibility using nothing more than the space between our ears. Let’s go make big things together.
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3 thoughts on “SOMEONE THAT I USED TO KNOW”
Thank you Michelle!