Do Over

I have friends.  And those friends are good for me.  And even though I try to keep people out these friends are gentle and strong enough to pass the security system scrunity test that I have fenced around my soul.

The friends that I have are armed with nice brightly colored scissors to cut back the parts that are suffocating me.  (....the scissors are brightly colored because they seem less intrusive that way-if they're made for kindergarten art class, i'm sure my soul can handle it).

So those friends with bright scissors who are also strong, have spent some time with me and have given me a safe place to speak.  They act interested and that's enough for me. I just spent some time with 2 of those friends in Chicago.

At the end of the trip- one of them said,
"I wish I could do this trip again and re-pack my bag knowing what I would actually need... to be more efficient."

That's profound.

I wish I could do the last decade over again knowing what I know now.  I'd pack differently.  I bring different things with me throughout this decade.  I'd leave some things at home and some things I would have left in the bag.

My counselor says that you enter into your 20s as one person- you grow, you prune (Christian way of saying painful changes), and you learn who you are.  Then when you get to your 30s the colors are brighter (like the scissors... i guess...) because you're more of you.  You're more confident.  You've discovered things.  You've learned what you love, how to love, and who you love. 

Even if those things are foggy- your 30s is the place where the 'who you are' begins to shine confidently, as broken as it may be.

My 'broken as it may be pieces' are quite broken though.  Like quite.  I'm ashamed.  I'm embaressed at my imperfections.  I'm sad that I'm just discovering these things.  I cant belive i've lived 30 years and made major decisions without this awareness.  I wish i could do a re-do- a do over to learn sooner, faster, stronger.

So here are the things I've learned and might be worth passing on... things I would pack if I could 'Do Over'...

1. Let your authenticity win.  You being you will always win.   There is nothing that can bring down someone who is herself.

2. Look at your family of origin crap.  It's there. I promise.  I fought looking in the rear view mirror for 12 years- and I fought the good fight (well, am fighting the good fight).  Hair falling out, bad skin, weird eating, unidentifiable side pain, leaky uncontrollable tears all point to 'girl who never dealt with emotional issues triggered by seemingly functional family'.

3. Love your family.  They are broken.  So are you.  Love them anyway.  Find things to enjoy about their imperfectness.  Mostly i want to run from hard things and I have to remember that life is gray- and just like the 1 (3) strand(s) of hair turning color on my head, things are more gray than black and white.  So learn to love the gray.  More on this another day.

4. Have at least 2 really close friends but not more than 5. You need a group of people who love you even when you have 1 (3) strand(s) of hair, when you say stupid things, when you hate yourself, when you love yourself and when you need to share life.  Whatever that means.  But when you need to share life, you'll know.  And you'll be thankful you have 2-5 friends who you can let in without damage.

5. Have a backbone.  If your insides are absent or if you dont have guts, or if you have too many broken bones to move quickly, or if your vision isnt clear, or you cant count on your feet to get you anywhere.... none of that matters as much as your back.  Have a backbone that allows you to stand up for yourself.  I'm not talking pride.  I'm talking not ego. i'm talking about the subtle confidence of someone who refuses to let the world trample on them, shame them, or talk down to them.  The world has forces that will crush you.  (see #3 with broken family...). Keep you backbone protected and never ever ever ever ignore it.  It's your pillar.  It's the thing that keeps you standing when the world wants to beat you down. 

6. Get a good purse. I still dont have one and i'm almost 31.  I've been looking for 'the right purse' on sale for the past 11 years.  Splurge on yourself- you're a grown ass woman so act like it.  (I'll be getting myself a new worthy not on sale purse in the next 2 weeks....probably).

7.  Get honest.  Be honest.  Have the hard conversations with love.  Speak for yourself and seek to understand.  Directness and honesty will get you places- it will bring clarity, it will give you confidence, it will bring you respect, and it will free you. 

8.  Intensity is okay but learn to play.  I'll need to get back to you on this one entirely.

9.  Decide not to be overwhelmed.  Just decide.  Life is overwhelming and it has the ability to hold your head underwater if you let it.  But just decide to be bigger and stronger than the things that life throws at you.  Oh and if you decide this, you should also decide to let God help you with this one.  I'm not exactly sure how that plays out for each person but if you get strong on your own, it wont work... see #2 (you might develop weird ailments from doing things on your own all of the time).


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