Resisting Certainty aka Fast, Raw, and Unedited
I've actually been working on a different post that I had intended on publishing before I was inexplicably moved to write this one today. Today's impromptu share- fast, raw, uncensored.
Truthfully, I'm in some Fear because I know that there's a reason I am not giving myself even a day's time to come back and re-read before it goes live. It can be so easy to slip into the bottomless pit of "what will people think and how will I be judged?" There's the intoxicating appeal of just doing or saying what I think will people-please. My thirst for Certainty with a capital "C" is ever present. I am always, always reminding myself, "Baby, that drink might look damn good, but you know that if you go there you will regret it in the morning." Sticking to what we feel is the certain path to others' acceptance is not the path of personal growth.
I am a stay-at-home-mom. And for a very long time, those hyphenated words made me inwardly cringe. I still experience moments when they do. Not because I'm not proud of my children and what it means to be a mom, not because I am not aware of how challenging the "job" is, and not because I am not eternally grateful for my life. It is because I find myself experiencing a constant tension between what I perceive to be the opinions of society, as well as between two seemingly conflicting worlds that I want to be a part of. And though at times it can feel as if this tension is only mine to experience, if I have learned anything lately, it is that the energy of our emotions are just as much a part of the One-ness as the energy of our Souls. In other words, you cannot experience a feeling that someone else hasn't already experienced.
I have experienced the gamut of reactions from people when asked, "And, what do you do?" Ranging from what seems like pity to reverence for what must be my position of martyrdom, I've felt it all. Sometimes my answer shuts down entire conversations, as if not having a paid job means that I must not have anything interesting to say. Other times, I've been told that home is where I should be, which seems to imply that if I'd chosen otherwise, I'd be selfish.
I could tell you stories about the time a Border Guard at the airport snorted at me and sighed when I told her I was a stay-at-home-mom. She'd thought I was joking. Or about the time that I was compared to a '50s housewife. (Edited to add: Much respect to the housewives of the 1950s. But much of what I have gathered from that lifestyle does not resonate with how I live. The comparison really only, to me, implied that I was in an unempowered position that no feminist would choose to be in, now that plenty of women work outside the home).
Now. Here is where I hit the breaks and point out something to take note of: these reactions I've experienced? They are just that: my perceived experiences. Which means that I am no more justified in assuming what was thought about me than I would be in attempting to tell you how you're feeling right now. Even those who blatantly told me what they thought about my life choices came to their conclusions from a story within their own life or their own perceptions, ones that had nothing to do with me personally.
So, to put it in the words of Wayne Dyer, "What others think of me is none of my business."
What I do have the power to explore: what is within my own heart? What is this tension I feel outside of what others' might think?
The simultaneous deep desire to have accomplishments outside of motherhood and the feelings of guilt that sometimes come with admitting that. The tension between wanting to be home with my babies every day until they begin school, and acknowledging that to be my best self, I might not be able to do that. Counting my blessings that I have been fortunate enough to take this time to be home with them, and then wondering if I will look back one day and regret that I gave some of that up should I choose another way.
Motherhood Guilt. Am I right?!
As I feel my way through yet another set of lessons gifted to me by Motherhood, I remind myself that compassion with myself is key. As is allowing myself to fully feel everything that comes up through my heart. If I go inward to feel through this process, then it is easier for me to release my fear around others' stories. I can begin to discern where some of my fears stem from patterns in my life, stories that I've been clinging to. I can take responsibility for and own my feelings, rather than blame someone else for "making" me feel a certain way. From here, I can begin to speak out from a place of authenticity.
I send gratitude to those who were willing to hear me out. This has been an exercise and opportunity for me to release some old fears, and for that I am grateful. That old cup of Certainty that was tempting me earlier- you know, stick to what's safe, edit and re-edit until there's little chance of looking "bad"- it's not looking as delicious as sharing where I'm really at right now. There's no certainty that what I've shared will resonate, but I have to take the risk and face that fear because ultimately, living in the open space of vulnerability is where my Soul longs to be.
Light to all. Extra fist bumps to you Mamas, Mr. Mamas, and Dads out there- we're all doing the best we can with where we're at.