Scared As Hell But Doing It Anyway

“No significant change comes without pain” 

72493_170770046270195_4854684_nToday I am working hard to change my inner “Script”. That does not come easy. I have learned that this phrase is true…..”No significant change comes without pain”. As I am working through the pain of trying to change my old behaviors and beliefs, the memory of where this phrase came from hit me right between the eyes like a 2 X 4! (Usually the only way I see a life lesson)

The first time I heard the phrase “No significant change comes without pain” I wanted to punch the person who said it! It was said by a military style counselor at Canyon State Academy (a military type school) in Arizona where I was dropping off my 15 year old son after several failed attempts to save him from what was shaping up to be a long life of drug abuse and jail time. When I heard that phrase, I remember thinking to myself, “OH MY GOD! Hasn’t this kid hurt enough already?! How in the hell can more pain help him?”. I believed he was a product of our failed parenting, a kid caught in the middle of a horrible divorce and emotionally neglected by the two people who should have put him first. Instead, we were wrapped up in our own hateful fighting. Ignoring all the dangerous signs and both blaming the other. I carry a lot of regret from those days. At the time I had run out of options and the juvenile judge ran out of patience for his antics. I had to do something before the State made that decision for us.

When it was time for me to leave him at the academy, my son broke down crying, begging me to take him home, promising me he would change. I had heard these words before.  I truly believed that if I didn’t do something drastic, he was going to die…. and so I hugged him tightly and then turned around and walked out of the facility. I could hear him calling to me through his tears as I left the building. It broke me. For me, the months that followed were riddled with anxiety attacks, depression and a feeling of complete powerlessness and failure. Little did I know that this was going to be the catalyst for not only his transformation but mine as well. This was certainly a “pain” that would bring about “significant change” for me. I began to realize that this was beyond anything I could control. It didn’t matter how tough I was or how much I thought I knew. This was beyond me. I tortured myself with questions like, “Was I just prolonging the inevitable with my son or was this choice I made for him going to alter his course? If it did alter his course, was it going to be for the better or worse?” That all depended on him. Not me. It was out of my control. This was probably the first “brick” in my “compound of control” to come crashing down. So many more followed in the coming years.

Fast forward to today (many years later). My son has told me on many occasions that his stay at Canyon State Academy saved him. He was pushed so much further then he thought he could handle but, in turn, he realized that he was so much stronger and smarter then he thought. What was strange was that my lesson through this ordeal was exactly the same. Well, at least the part about being pushed much further then I thought I could handle. The whole “stronger/smarter” part didn’t come until later.

I try to remember this event in my life every time I have an anxiety attack about pursuing my life’s ambitions and every time I feel like the pain and scariness of the unknown isn’t worth the effort. I’m am don’t with the old “script”. I’m ready for significant change.

Shadow Dwellers Unite!!! 

It was a hot summer day in Northern Indiana and my husband and I were at a local ice cream place with the grandkids. Having our dessert outside, I heard a voice yelling from a passing car, “F#*! YOU PEOPLE AND YOUR NICE FAMILY DINNERS!” At first we were concerned about the kids hearing that language, but we soon realized that they were much too involved in their ice cream treats and were not paying attention to anything else. I then looked at my husband and laughed out loud! I’m not sure why that struck me funny but I couldn’t help but laugh. Maybe it was the irony of the fact that it wasn’t a “nice family dinner”. It was an ice cream joint for crying out loud! And as I recall, it was a last ditch effort to stop the kids from the constant bickering we had endured for most of the day. Anyway, as my laughter died down, I began to replay the event in my head and as I listened to that mental recording, I heard the anger and sadness in that young mans voice. I somehow missed that before. Suddenly, it didn’t seem funny anymore. I realized how lucky I was. I was with the love of my life having ice cream with my three beautiful grandchildren after spending an entire day playing and spending money on school clothes and pizza and fun! As we drove toward home with full bellies and smiling faces, all safely buckled down in our near new SUV, I could not stop that mental recording of that angry voice. It played over and over in my head until the voice sounded like my own.

It had not been that long ago that it was me that was so angry.  I can vividly remember  thinking, “Well, it must be nice!” with a visible snarl on my face every time I would see a family enjoying each other. My family was a bit different. I was different. At least that’s what I thought. I felt like the whole world had a “norm” and I was forever on the outside of that. I kept my mouth shut and fumed every time someone got praise for something I knew I could do better. Then, I would curse and hate myself for not having the courage to step up when I had the opportunity to. I lived with a huge chip on my shoulder and when I couldn’t blame a circumstance, I blamed myself for being so stupid, lazy, chicken, awkward, wimpy, ugly, fat……and any other negative adjective you want to throw in there. Every now and then I would muster the courage to speak my mind or take a run at raising my hand in class but I was always so self conscious, the bravery wouldn’t last long. Especially if someone disagreed with me or even just looked at me too long! They may have been admiring me but in my mind, they were saying to themselves, “Who does she think she is? That’s so dumb!”…. And so, I would keep my armor on and sword drawn. I maintained a “badass” persona. It made me feel strong and resilient (though I wasn’t). It’s like I was pissed off for most of my life so yeah….. in another place and time, that could have been me yelling, “F%@! YOU PEOPLE AND YOUR NICE FAMILY DINNERS!”

Back then and still today I have been on a relentless search for answers. I want to know how the hell people overcome their feelings of inadequacy and become successful at their careers, relationships, parenting etc…. because I feel like a complete failure at all of it! I read books, watch tv shows, listen to podcasts and have studied many different religions but it always seems like the information is coming from someone who has “already made it” in life. It feel like that leaves a huge gap between them and me. They tell their story from the safety of their new found “higher ground”. I’m not trying to be negative about this way of sharing because it does help.  I just needed a blow by blow from the trenches. I wanted to feel like I’m moving up the walls of the void WITH someone. I wanted to hear how they overcame anxiety the very day it happened, or maybe they can’t overcome it and what they doing about it in real time.  Maybe that person is me. You see….there is a big part of me that mostly feels comfortable in the shadows, just out of view…. just under the radar. But on the other hand, I’ve got big ideas about life and how we can help each other. I think there are a lot of people like me….shadow dwellers with an eye for the light.

I’m not going to wait for a sunny day to share my journey. I’m going to share now, from the shadows, from the trenches, from the void.  I can’t give you advice or guidance for your journey but I can offer camaraderie. You’re not alone you beautiful shadow dweller you! Lets do this!

 

 

 

When Daddies Aren’t Heroes – (Interview) 

Talk about scared as hell but doing it anyway….! This interview was terrifyingly invigorating! Does that make sense? I had a full on panic attack after listening to the final product! However, I know that it is necessary to dive deep and cut through the crap if I ever want to reach people. And after all, that’s why I’m here. Sometimes life isn’t sunshine and roses and if you are like I was, (living in the shadows afraid to come out in full view), you’re not alone.

https://northernspiritradio.org/episode/when-daddies-arent-heroes

 

Here we go again! 

It’s winter time in Northern Indiana and on this particular day we are all indoors trying to escape the -16 degree weather! Right now, in my mind, I can hear an older generation scold me and tell me about how they walked to school in -20 degree weather! My respects to you! You are truly a tougher generation! I prefer the comfort of my home office (in front of the fireplace with my pug on my lap). This is my favorite place to be while I ponder world domination. Not really…. I don’t want to dominate the world, just my life. But THAT has proven to be quite a chore!

Today I am struggling with my self esteem. AGAIN!!! It was only a few months back that I was within 14 lbs of my weight loss goal of 100 lbs… feeling confident while performing my music in front of my peers… Now I am 30+ lbs from it and want to hide! 😔 I feel so ashamed of myself. I’m embarrassed to be seen. It feels like I not only let myself down but I also let down all the friends and family that were rooting for my success… all of those who where so “proud” of me. I’ve been here so many times that you’d think by now I would have learned something. Well, maybe I have. I think, for me, there is more to sustained weight loss then deprivation and losing the pounds. I believe I have to change my mind set. I know, I know….. Duh right?! What can I say, I guess I’m a slow learner.

It wasn’t until after my Father died in 2016 that I began to realize my true potential, that maybe I AM capable of achieving my goals. Before then, in my mind, I never did anything right. I was never good enough, strong enough, pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough…and the list goes on. I couldn’t save my Dad from his destructive ways. I couldn’t save my Mom from my Dad. I couldn’t save my sister and myself from late night sneaky uncles…. Oh yes…. I went  there. It’s a part of me that I cannot and will not deny. It’s no wonder I hid under extra pounds right?! Well, that and the fact that I love food. It is truly my drug of choice. LOL! I don’t mean to make light of a serious subject. I am only laughing at myself. Ok, back to “true potential”.

Today I face down the demon again and I forgive myself for backsliding into my old ways of self destructive thoughts and behaviors.  I can only do this by imagining myself as my granddaughter coming to me for guidance after making a mistake. Would I kick her butt (well maybe a little). Would I tell her how stupid she is (NEVER!)? Would I tell her that she can never seem to do anything right (HELL NO!)? I would hug her and love her through it. I would help her to forgive herself and to try again. I would encourage her by reminding her of how strong she is and that we are all learning. I use the image of my granddaughter instead of my own children because I am a much better grandparent then I ever was a parent. When I was raising my kids I was guilty of repeating negative self-talk to them. I wish I had been more loving and patient. THAT is a whole different story and we won’t go there today. Today I’m going to go ahead and write that song and book that gig. Come Friday I’ll stand up on that stage in my size bigger clothes and be proud that I’m scared as hell but doing it anyway!

 

The Journey Begins 

Thanks for joining me!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Wendy. I’m originally from California but these days I’m living in a small town in Northern Indiana. Go ahead ask…..(everyone always does) “Why the hell did you move from California to Indiana?” Well, that’s a story but more importantly, why do I stay? One word…. Grandchildren. Those who have them understand (insert digital high five with all grandparents here). Indiana is nice. I like 3 of the 4 seasons enjoyed by folks here. As I write this, the news is forecasting  a high of -13 in a couple days. Winter is not my fave. But…… there are worst things so lets not dally here.

First of all I need to tell you……. I REALLY SUCK AT PEOPLING… which makes things kind of difficult and awkward when you’re trying to be a successful singer/songwriter! I have HORRIBLE stage fright! It just doesn’t make sense really. I’m an Aries and aren’t Aries supposed to be like these warrior types that go around kicking butt and taking names? I feel like that sometimes but I always end up second guessing myself and feeling insecure. I’m guessing that comes from some deep emotional wounds I collected in my childhood. My Dad was a loving man who just happened to be afflicted by alcoholism. When he drank, he was far from loving. He was manipulative and violent. My Mom was a kick ass survivor so….. somewhere in between the terror and sadness and wanting to feel sorry for myself and the deep set determination to not only survive but show the world that NOTHING was going to keep ME down…… I guess I grew up. Baggage in tow. Oh, I’m not blaming anyone for who and where I am today. I’m 51 years old now so all that is on me. But at this point in my life, I’m beginning to put the pieces together. Better late then never right?!

As this blog grows, I will share more and more of my history (as it applies to today’s struggles and successes). I invite you to comment, question, and share as well. I will be posting weekly…maybe more if I’m inspired to do so. I will not tolerate any hatefulness! There’s enough of that in everyday life, everywhere you look. NOT HERE! We are here to support each other by sharing and having meaningful conversation.  Here’s to the journey my friends… 🥂

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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