Monthly Archives: September 2013

Achieving Emotional Grace (AEG#1) – Find Your Naked Truth

Achieving Emotional Grace (AEG#1) – Find Your Naked Truth

blacksheep5

“Not being yourself is like walking around in shoes that are
two sizes too small. At best you will be endlessly uncomfortable,
at worst you will end up bloody, scarred and crippled.”

~ Irene Barnett, after several lemon drops, half of a joint and an Excedrin PM 

 

I’m not going to lie, I have been tortured by this first post in this series about Achieving Emotional Grace. I just felt like this first one should hit on a more foundational level and set the tone.

Oh, and also the debilitating realization that I’ve committed to something I have no idea I have the insight nor the cohones to deliver on.

I tend to get most of my ah-ha moments either in the shower or on the toilet. This one came to me on the toilet. And, knowing that many of you will read this while sitting in the same place, there is a certain synchronicity to this.

It occurred to me that much of the sage advice to come would be more useful within a bigger context.

So, I landed on Personal Authenticity.

Or, your naked truth…or intrinsic self….or genuineosity….because “Authenticity” is such a patchouli-smelling word that brings forth images of mood rings and Stevie Nicks.

Muddy Gray = Lower intestinal distress

Muddy Gray = Lower intestinal distress

The crux of it, regardless of label, goes like this: Lack of falsehood or misrepresentation.

When we are children, it would never enter our minds or hearts to be anything or anyone other than who we just…are.

Pretty sure this guy is fairly comfortable with his naked truth. Though I can’t imagine other parts of him are feeling all that great….

Pretty sure this guy is fairly comfortable with his naked truth. Though I can’t imagine other parts of him are feeling all that great….

But, as we get older, that truth can become clouded by outside influences for any number of reasons. Acceptance, insecurity, societal norms or just plain survival – any or all are solid reasons to create a persona or skin to wear in life.

What I think we don’t realize is that we are damaging ourselves in our pursuit of protection.

The longer we wear these personas, the deeper our authenticity is buried until it takes a team of archeologists to uncover the gem at the center. So, knowing who you are means clearing the debris.

I lost any connection to my personal foundation when I had kids. I know, I seem to blame them for a whole lot of stuff that seems pretty unfair given their small 11-year-old shoulders.

(I am, however, pretty certain they, alone, are responsible for the entire economic meltdown of 2008. And, I’m still looking into it, but, I think that whole ozone thing may be their doing as well.)

Mayhem on three wheels.

Mayhem on three wheels.

Mine was a slow disconnect that occurred without my even realizing it. Out of necessity and survival, I shifted most or all of my energy to these little people who depended on me so completely, losing sight of myself in the process.

It wasn’t until about 8 years into it that I realized I no longer had a clue as to who I was. For nearly a decade I steadily became untethered from myself until I barely had a memory of myself.

Bummer, huh?  God, go get a drink. This broad is DEPRESSING!!!

Hey, the good news is, eventually, my survival instinct kicked in and I pretty much declared, “This next decade? This one is MINE, bitches!”

Which is all well and good but, how in the hell do you find your way back? I know I still struggle a lot with paying attention to those internal cues that tell me something just doesn’t ring quite true for me. It’s so easy to lose that in all our daily noise.

Ariana Huffington wrote a fantastic piece called Are You Living Your Eulogy Or Your Resume about living a life that is true to you. It’s a very compelling idea.

And, it’s your assignment.

(I know, you didn’t think there’d be homework. And no, this will not be on the mid-term. Don’t you give me that Judd Nelson look! Now stop asking questions and get back to your seat or it will be detention for you!!)

Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns.

Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns.

So, come on, kids, let’s write our own eulogies!!

Write it as it would be delivered today, not when you are 90 or 100. No need to hide behind that fabricated skin any longer. Just pure, unsullied, bona fide YOU.

You don’t care what anyone says or thinks.

Cuz’ you’re dead.

Get it?

Do people REALLY know you? Do you REALLY know yourself?

Now that we have that first crazy-ass insurmountable goal in place, it will help to put all the other tidbits of wisdom to come in context. And, you can then pick and choose which insights ring true for you and which ones don’t.

Phew, I feel a little better now. Gotta go figure out the next installment.

Guess it’s time to take either a shower or a shit.

“Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

~ Dr. Seuss

Achieving Emotional Grace (Or, Don’t Be a Tool)

Achieving Emotional Grace (Or, Don’t Be a Tool)

My birthday is in September. Now, simmer down and stop buying me extravagant presents.

The reason I mention this is because, as opposed to January 1st, I consider my birthday my new year. I tend to stop and think about what went down this year and what I’d like to see happen in the next.

Sometimes I land on simple stuff like staying on top of the laundry, which is swiftly followed by swearing to stop wasting time on stuff like laundry. So, you see, I really never get too far.

This year I’ve decided that I need a lot (and I mean A LOT) of focus on just being a better person. Clearly not the challenge of my laundry debacle, but a worthy cause none the less.

I came to the realization that I have approximately two more years of my kids actually hearing a word I say before hormones clog them up into a sound-proof cocoon and they emerge like a butterfly at 25 as functioning humans. I hope.

I had better stuff as much usable information into their pre-pubescent brains before that time or god only knows what I will have unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Like many of you (I hope), I say a lot of useless crap to my kids. I like to think that I’m carrying on a very proud tradition, having been the recipient of just such crap from my own parents.

“Life isn’t fair”

“Because I said so”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”

“What? This? This is Mommy’s medicine.”

I do not think that means what you think it means.

I do not think that means what you think it means.

But, every now and then, when the stars are aligned, the winds change direction and Kate Middleton farts at a precise moment, I say something pretty freaking brilliant that has some decent substance.

Approximately 100% of the time I am regurgitating some gold nugget that was passed on to me by some advanced human. I’m talking about those people we’ve all come across who seem to have life in sharp focus. They have, what I call, emotional grace.

So, I had this idea that, as a reminder to myself, I would start to write a series about all these little lessons and analogies that have resonated with me throughout my life. Sort of like an emotional personal improvement plan.

In addition, because I am lazy, I don’t want to continue to repeat myself with my kids. I suspect that this, in and of itself, makes me an emotional lummox.

I present, the Achieving Emotional Grace primer. Or, as I like to call it Don’t Be a Tool.

Let me just start with this disclaimer: I have absolutely no expertise in what I’m writing about. I have no degrees, certifications, doctorates in anything.

In fact, I chose to study film at an agricultural school in Oregon so clearly my educational decisions in general can be called into question.

I am tripping and guffawing my way through the shitpile just like everyone else. I screw up. A  lot. I have insecurities and personality blemishes too many to count. I have warned you sufficiently.

If Child Protective Services comes to your door or you are detained or incarcerated because you did anything I said, you have no one but yourself to blame.

So, what is emotional grace? We’ve all seen countless examples of physical grace – the ballet dancer, the gymnast, the ice skater. Everything they do appears effortless, almost as if they are not confined by the weight of gravity like the rest of us.

A stark comparison would be me. I walk into walls. Just talking will cause me to bite my tongue. I am convinced that I am being drugged and beaten while I sleep because I am constantly finding bruises and scrapes and can not tell you where they came from.

I have never been, nor will I be, graceful. I’m tight and don’t bend easily. I’m like dolls before they invented the bendable limbs.

What? I am relaxed.

What? I am relaxed.

The emotional equivalent of the ballet dancer are those people who seem to know how to navigate the intricacies of human relationships and situations. They know how to say the right thing at the right time. They appear unflappable but still have appropriate emotional responses. They expect a great deal from themselves and those around them while still being forgiving and realistic with both. They are often kind, giving, funny and honest. They do all of this naturally, without effort or artifice.

And, you want to hate them for all this but you simply can’t.

As I trip my way through life, I have been given so many lessons, large and minuscule, by people who have passed through my turnstile. Many were completely unaware they were schooling me. Others did it very purposefully.

I’ve listened and tried to apply those lessons to my life with rare success and more often in failure. Recognizing noble behavior and practicing it in your life are two vastly different things.

So, stand by while I pull some sage wisdom out of my back side to share. I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Except those of you who are out shopping for a birthday present for me. Good choice!

 

Image credits:
Photo #1 – http://i.imgur.com/FKhBR.jpg
Photo #2 – personal image
Photo #3 – http://www.jakks.com