It’s Fearless February here at Closer to Lola and I’m woefully behind on my mission to inspire you to seek to understand, accept, love and bravely be your true self.
In honor of that, I have a guest post from Righteous Momma, I’ve written about her HERE, she’s the original BGP guru and has taught me much during the length of our friendship.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, inspiration or personal fearlessly be yourself perspective let me know, I could use the help this month as I sort through struggles of my own.
It can as long or short and simple as you like, just as long as it’s YOU!
Thanks to Righteous Momma for bravely sharing
Side Effects when I stopped fearlessly being myself
Guest Post by Righteous Momma
1. Feeling smothered by life – especially by motherly & wifely duties (despite perpetual effort to feel the opposite).
2. Feeling 2 steps behind the exploding chaos (and being at the center of blame regardless of my participation – or so I believed).
3. Whittling my life down to the bare necessities (so there was less to fail – doesn’t work by the way – amplifies failures when trying to live by what you believe is expected).
4. Feeling like I was a victim of my life & circumstances – thus helpless & stuck.
5. Allowing the crap & chaos created by others misdeeds and selfish choices DEFEAT me & convince me this was my lot in life.
6. Feeling resentful and full of “if only” statements that had to do with OTHERS’ actions & choices instead of my own.
7. Struggling to remember who I am and who the hell I used to be.
8. Feeling completely incapable of succeeding in my life – despite my best efforts.
9. Lack of faith in anything, mostly myself, which makes it difficult to trust and easy to hide in the cave.
10. Feeling like my successes were either a fluke or accident.
Why was I feeling this way? How did it happen? I was never good at doing what someone said to do, I embraced that more times than I can count. How did I suddenly blink & discover I was living by what I thought I “should” be, what “everyone else” was doing, and what I thought I was “supposed” to be doing? Like most things, it was one drop in the bucket over time, and let me tell you, it sucked the life right out of me.
I spent a good amount of time telling myself it was only in certain circumstances I checked out of living “fearlessly myself” and 1001 excuses for why I couldn’t do this, thus I believed I was being selfless and noble. And yes, I was, but at a total martyr level – not cute at all. These are the recent truths I have processed since I have attempted to write this for our beloved Lola…
When Lola requested a guest blog on “fearlessly being yourself”, still in a moderate amount of denial (because I had begun to regain myself) -I thought I could knock it out of the park. I have given so many friends the pep talk, yet got really crappy at taking my own advice. Yeah, I know – sucks to realize your being somewhat of a fraud (regardless of a pure heart of good intentions).
Thing is, I know exactly how I managed “fearlessly being myself” the times before, it was a choice based on “hell with this, I’m going to make this crap FUN!”. The first time I was knocked down, and the times after that, I knocked stuff down (in a good “I am woman hear me roar, or kiss my ass” way). But the more I wrote said “pep talk”, reality set in, and I had to choke down a big girl pill of truth that I was still struggling to relearn “fearlessly being myself” again.
Fearlessly being yourself is a choice. From my experiences, a choice best made when you choose to embrace it, as opposed to it being all there is left to do because you are grabbing onto rock bottom for dear life. Choosing on your terms makes it slightly easier – you have your power & are matching in courage that reinforces your self-esteem. Rock bottom means you have to dust off, suck it up and force yourself out of your comfort zone – ironic considering that comfort zone helped you straight down to rock bottom.
Initially, I embraced fearless living because I embraced I wasn’t a conventional kind of gal – bygones – happy for those who were – I applauded them – because it seemed so damn hard to be that way. Therefore, “like everyone else” wasn’t me, wasn’t sweating it – my own drummer rocked an awesome beat. If someone had a problem with it, I either laid it out for them (kindly or not – depended), or let them go on their way. Why try to keep people in my life who I have to work to NOT offend. I already have a family, enough effort made towards that. As long as how I was living wasn’t hurting others or putting needless bad shit in the world, it was all good. Therefore, I sort of took it up with my higher power & figured a lightening bolt or something would notify me when I was being a real ass. After all, I TRIED to be like everyone else & failed. I was simply done apologizing for who I was. I realized I had NOTHING to apologize for in the 1st place – I was made how I am made, didn’t choose it, best accept and like it.
But then came marriage & motherhood – and a shit storm of life’s sick sense of humor. I was under the false assumption that some gene would kick in and I could just navigate this like I thought my other friends were navigating it – even though many didn’t seem to have the random challenges (completely unavoidable like tropical storms and congenital birth defects). I have ADHD and lack a housekeeping gene, along with contorted organization and schedule genes.
Being an accidental stay at home mom came with a set of challenges, and the support and help I needed to navigate mostly came in the form of telling me what I should have done, why I everyone else did it, so I should suck it up and do it that way too. My saving grace has been the friends I am blessed with, who often yelled louder over those voices “That’s BS, we love you as is!”
After a couple years of kicking and screaming, refusing to go down without a fight, resisting assimilation, I got worn down & CHOSE to try to be NOT me, with a cocky notion that if I could manage to change myself for the better before, well then, damn it, I could just change into “nearly normal”. What my over confidence failed to anticipate was how I gave away my power little by little until all I could do was resent the people and things I gave it to on a silver platter. Solitude and lack of any social outlet seemed to fast track that – and my circumstances sort of dictated that I put me on the back burner….But I also CHOSE to give away my power and listen to the negative voices until they became my own.
After realizing this, I tried to take it back & attempted to keep the others out of harm’s way and preached the virtues of moms groups, date night and girls night out -I am well versed in “if you can’t be a good example, they you’ll serve as a horrible warning”. Yet, I kept trying and failing so long, believing the next thing I tried would force me to be like most moms… I racked up the list of side effects mentioned above, but luckily, I still had glimmer of me in there. Which meant certain times and certain circumstances I came out of the “should be, supposed to be” trance & was fearlessly myself. Certain people bring that out in me, our friend Lola happens to be one of them – just by being full frontal her – so if you know her – appreciate her. She’s the goods.
Until my life came crashing down around me a couple years ago, I couldn’t grasp how much I was faking the “fearlessly be yourself” bit. Hell, I even convinced myself. The hardest part of jumping back in there and choosing to fearlessly be myself wasn’t letting myself off the hook for being a big fat sell out – that seems to be a biggie for the others I have assisted back into fearless. It was being forced to take responsibility for my choices and being forced to be honest with myself. What can I say? My road to hell was paved with good intentions – which can made it even harder to my truth. Did I cause or create the bad trauma that imploded my world? Nope, I fought against it to the death. Therefore THAT was the nugget I needed to grasp in order to stop wallowing in victim mode.
So, as I initially began to write this, well over a month ago, cleverly discussing how trying to squeeze in anyone else’s mold always gave me muffin top – I started eating my words. I was still letting what others may think (or have out right opinionated) about me dictate my decisions. I still got all hung up on those and my desire to make anyone but me happy, or at least appeased. I simply couldn’t just keep writing a pep talk that I wasn’t willing to take myself. That’s when I found my big girl panties & started taking the leap to stand my ground again, and I couldn’t do it all on my own this time either. I had already been participating in a Christian based 12 step group “Celebrate Recovery”. For me, connecting to my spiritual side was exactly what I needed. And I have never regretted doing this one single moment. Know why?
People aren’t going to applaud you for taking back your power & standing your ground – well, those you stand up to aren’t likely to whip out the balloons and confetti. What I am now doing different is taking a lot of this up with God. I am not suggesting anyone go all religious if that’s not your thing, but finding my higher power and putting my faith where it belongs seems to be going a long way to strengthening me. After all, God made me the way I am, why not ask directions from the manufacturer? Truth be told, that is how I did it years ago. “Hmm, is God OK with me being me? Yes? The hell with their opinions”. My fatal flaw was thinking the bad crap happening in my life had anything to do with God’s disapproval. Please. I am still scratching my head as to how I convinced myself it ever was. Putting faith back into my life has been the driving force to why I am able to say every day, I am fearlessly more myself. It took me a good long time of feeling sorry for myself, being stuck in bitter not better to get that through my stubborn head. It is hard to jump back into life, which is why baby steps in this instance are fortifying my ability to REMAIN fearless.
For this one we are going a little deeper into Fifty Shades of why the big deal and I’m tackling the epic notion of love that rescues, saves, transforms.
Hi Lovies, in case you haven’t met me yet my name is Laura and I was a classic fixer until not so very long ago. If you don’t know what I mean let me explain. I have attracted a lot of emotionally broken dudes in my time, the last being my borderline sociopath ex-Paul. Short version is I met Paul at a time in my life when I didn’t have my shit together. It was an online relationship that brought havoc and turmoil in my life, heart, soul and mind. It was the biggest heartbreak of my life and it changed me for the better. Paul may have been the last boy I tried to fix, but he certainly wasn’t the first, or second, or third. I used to have a habit of falling in lust, like or love with men who were emotionally crippled commitment phobes who I allowed to string me along, sometimes for years at a time. Like all of us, I have my own set of childhood issues and wanting to feel loved and needed, cherished, paid attention to were all hot buttons for me. I would entangle myself with these guys and then if they weren’t giving me what I needed because of whatever issues they had I’d try to give more and more to them in an attempt to fix it, I’d try to be more and more what they wanted so they wouldn’t leave. Nothing extreme, just your typical, that guy treats you like shit why are you still with him, BS. Why? Well a myriad of reasons many of which I have written about, but for today I’m focusing on two things.
1. I did not love myself or think I deserved to be loved, they may have also felt the same way about themselves.
2. I wanted my love and care and how awesome I was to magically fix the guy. I wanted him to magically change through repeated exposure to my love, attention and personality.
Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight are books that along with Beauty and the Beast or any rom-com movie where the guy is magically transformed into You Complete Me, do nothing but perpetuate this myth of love that saves. And it’s absolute bullshit…but it makes for good reading and watching because somehow many of us are programmed to swoon over that stuff. We feel the characters angst, we see the love blooming, the set backs, the pain of the turmoil, the emotional break through and the happily ever after. I want a love like THAT, we think. I want my poor broken, sad, fucked up little man boy to love me, to change from a Beast to a prince, my prince. It’s fine on the movie or Nook screen, but real love can’t and shouldn’t work this way.
Anastasia’s love transforms Christian, one brutal emotional roller coaster ride at a time. I don’t think the guy stops trying on his forward momentum of transformation from the moment she trips into his office until the epilogue when they are expecting their 2nd baby. When I started reading this book the first guy I though of was Paul, my personal fifty shades. Not knowing what all the hype was about I got curious and started reading, mostly to see what the sex scenes were like. Then I was confronted with Christian, severe mommy issues, emotional issues, self loathing and no love of himself. Deja Vu, I buckled in for the potential emotional roller coaster and took the ride. He always trying, so did Paul, but unlike Paul, Christian is fictionally created to easily succeed at it. As I read I kept waiting for him to turn completely sociopath, or some other kind of evil monsterliness. This never happens, he is written with plenty of reason to roll your eyes at his controlling behavior and adolescent reactions to anything and everything, but he falls immediately for Ana and spends the next 3 books slowly changing, working to move forward out of the darkness and into the light with Ana. For her part Ana decides early on that this man is worth 110% of all her effort and seeks to bring him into said light with her, where they can be happy and he can be whole. Why anyone with any brains would want someone THAT messed up for her first real boyfriend I couldn’t begin to tell you, it’s fiction after all.
Shorty read before me and was worried about my emotional reaction to the last book, it get’s worse so if you need to show up on my doorstep when you’re done that door is open, she told me. I was just done with book one at that time. At the end she leaves him, wants no part of the sub/dom deal. If he wants to be with her it’s going to have to be in a normal and vanilla relationship. The 2nd book starts with him winning her back. I wondered very briefly what would of happened if I’d managed to make good on any of my attempts to remove myself from Paul’s life in order to try to push him to be what I wanted; what he said he wanted to be, for himself, for me, and for us. My fifty shades was either trying or pretending to try to get himself together, it never happened. I kept reading into book 3, and I had no choice but to tackle the theme staring me in the face, I wanted to save Paul, to fix him. I wanted my love to heal all of his emotional wounds. I wanted to be THAT girl for him. It never happened. I admit I got a little teary eyed, when Ana is in the hospital and the author is clearing up ALL of Christian’s emotional issues in one chapter while Ana drifts in and out of consciousnesses. before that it was all three steps forward two steps back and THAT is an emotional game I was very familiar with, because I lived it. Who knew a mediocre set of books would allow me to see and reconcile that while I was living that nightmare I wasn’t trying to fill a Babu hole with Paul, I was trying to fill Paul’s hole for him. It’s not the first time a book or movie has enlightened me out of nowhere. I once went right home and broke up with a guy after watching “He Said , She Said” or whatever that movie with Molly Ringwald and Kevin Bacon was called.
I’m not saying there aren’t real life examples of guys and girls that decided to get themselves together when they found “the one”, or “the one” left them. My ex-Mick got his stuff together when I left him, because I was the third girl he loved to do so for the exact same reason; his inability to share any kind of intimacy and allow a girl to get and stay close. It was too late for me to stick around but he is happily married now. Everyone has things inside of them that could use work, and another person could certainly serve as a catalyst to spark the desire to change, or be a pillar of love and support while someone is working to change. Love is supposed to be team work, but here is the thing…
It is not your job to fix someone else, you can’t, shouldn’t even. It is your job to love yourself, own your life, seek change and growth, to fearlessly be yourself. Only then can you properly give to another person. When you are completely reliant on someone else for ALL your emotional upkeep I think they call that co-dependent ( Christian is very co-dependent). No one can fix you, you can’t fix or save anyone else. You have to love you complete with beautiful flaws enough to believe that you DO deserve the best life possible. If you don’t, then you go around making the same mistakes in relationships over and over wondering why there aren’t any good men/women out there. Or in the case of the broken one, they get left or bail on every relationship they have because they feel like they didn’t deserve you anyway. The broken boy sees himself as unlovable, unworthy, he has no emotional skills worth coveting in a relationship. He isn’t fixable, HE CANNOT LOVE YOU BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LOVE HIMSELF. My attention, empathy, understanding, sexiness, feisty personality, attempts to make Paul see himself in the light I initially saw him in were never ever going to work. I’m pretty sure this is almost a universal truth.
Successful relationships require whole people who love and respect themselves enough to give appropriately, to set and hold to limits and boundaries. How can anyone else love or respect you if you don’t love and respect yourself. Stop messing with potential partners that don’t have that down. You are beautiful and lovable and you deserve better.