Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I think it's funny that I have not blogged since 2013. So much has happened in my life since then -- my transgender son going to college, my teenage daughter becoming her own person, my Dad being diagnosed with Parkinson's, and my own history with alcohol abuse and what might be hidden underneath. I also ran my first half-marathon, started plans to build a new house with my husband and led a nonprofit for two years while working full-time. So you see, I needed some help.

Like many women today, I recently started seeing a counselor. Not for any of the challenges listed above but mostly because I need to figure out who I was as a little kid and who I am today. For people with confidence, power to you. But I finally realized that talking about myself for one hour a week and not caring about anyone else is great therapy. It helps me become a better person, mother, daughter, wife and colleague.

My counselor -- we'll call her Mother T. --  is awesome! She has long, flowy blonde hair, wears cowboy boots and offers me tea each week in her light airy loft decorated with beautiful artwork. I adore Mother T. and she helps me be me. Here are just a few things I've picked so far:

  1. Take time for quiet: I'm on the run a lot. When I get in the car now I force myself to close my eyes and take a deep breath. How am I feeling? Do I really need to go to the next place I'm headed? If not where would I rather go? 
  2. Do things that bring you joy: These are numerous but when my counselor asked me to list them I realized I don't do too much of them anymore. I get so hung up on "I don't have a talent" instead of "what brings me joy." So art, Chicago, long walks and plays are on my list again. 
  3. Slow down: That goes back to #1, but it also means literally slowing down. I can't tell you how many times I catch myself running through a parking lot. Or starting a new task before finishing a new one. Slowing down helps me focus and notice things more. 
  4. Speak your mind: By nature I'm a pleaser. I don't say "no" enough and it gets me in over my head and takes me away from my family. So often in our society we are taught that talking about yourself is selfish. But not speaking up for what you want and believe is just stupid. 
  5. Express yourself: For some it may be dance or art, for me it's writing. I've tried writing regularly (doesn't always work) in a spiral notebook before I go to sleep. Which sometimes takes a while. It's good to page back through it as a reminder of how to be true to me. 
So there you go. I'm not sure where it's all going to lead but it's fun finding out. In some ways I'm still that little girl who liked to play make believe in her room and put on shows in her basement with the neighborhood kids. A girl who loved horses and was kind to people who got bullied. And a girl who always wanted to write a book and maybe win an Oscar. 

I'm looking forward to meeting her again. 

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