Sunday, May 28, 2017

Truth or Dare

We have had such an unbelievable week...gas leaks, carbon monoxide leaks, mice infestations, and this morning, I woke up to a racket in my backyard and found a herd of stray cats back there!! In my 6' high, fenced off yard. The cats looked a little beat up...seems they thought my yard was a safe haven.  I think that's a bad omen to have mice in your garage and stray cats in the backyard...Oh well.
I have been consumed with STORY this year.  Each day, I step into a story, either my own, or the story of someone around me.  We are all a part of each other's story, even if only in a passing role.  I have gotten tangled in May's story.  Every day, I take up my place in the story of my kids and every day, there's a stranger or two who crosses my path and I become part of their story too.

Here's a funny example...my hair.  Over the past year, I've been letting my hair decide what color it's going to be.  I am mostly grey and pure white now and I have grown tired of coloring it, but in a effort to let it grow out naturally and spare me the ugly stage, I've been slowly taking years of box brunette out.  I made my last move two weeks ago after my friend suggested I let her just get rid of the last bit of artificial color.  She's a hairdresser so I finally decided to take the plunge.  That's the real story...the truth.  So now...I'm all white and as the little bits of darker grey fill in, it will be natural looking.

Funny thing is...my hair is the talk at church.  Every Sunday, I get a range of comments from people I barely know.

My favorites?
"Are you going through something?  What's with the hair color?" they ask.
"I see you are having a midlife crisis...trying to be like the cool kids huh...with the white hair?"
"Still not happy with your hair color I see..."

I don't get these people really, but this is exactly what I'm talking about...who cares?  I am starting to think that they actually have dinner conversations on Sunday nights about my make believe hair crisis.  They have come up with a story to explain my changing hair color and they are so far from the truth...but they continue to dare to impose their story and opinions as truth.  It's their truth...It's not my truth.

I'm not much better...how many times we tell ourselves stories just to make sense of something we don't understand?

A few weeks ago, Sam was hurt by something his dad said and did.  I could tell he was deeply hurt and sad.  I put my arm around him and said, "I"m sorry Sam, that you are feeling sad and hurt."
His reply was the start of a story..."It's not a big deal, I don't really care."

I am really trying to teach my kids to be honest, and truthful with their feelings.  I think it's the only way we are going to get through these hard times we are facing, so I said to him, "Is that really how you feel or is that a story you are telling yourself so you don't have to feel hurt?"

He looked at me like I had just uncovered his hidden treasures..."I guess I do care but how is admitting that going change anything?"
"It is not but it's better to speak your truth than live a lie."

We talked about how it's okay to be disappointed in people, even people you love.  It's okay to admit to whatever it is your feeling.  I think there are big lessons to be learned in the stories we tell; the ones we tell ourselves, the ones we tell others and the stories we fabricate to make sense of the people and situations around us.

It's been an epiphany for me to realize this truth.  I've dared to consider how my own stories keep me small, or distant.  I've dared to not let the stories that other people tell about me, be my truth.  Sometimes, you have to stop and look at the story line you are living.  Is it true?  Is it congruent?  How is it changing you...what is it changing you into?

I think as a mom who lives with multiple challenges of being a single bread winner, taking care of three children with a chronic, unbelievable, progressing, disease, and my own dwindling health, there is no end to the stories I tell myself.  Many of which are the very stories that keep me going because sometimes, facing the truth might kill me...but still, they keep me at arms length from really connecting with this world.  I tell myself, no one wants to hear about my problems again!  That may be true but I really don't know.  I rarely venture to dare to find out the truth but continue along telling myself stories that everything is fine.  I'm fine.  We are fine...It's fine. But all the while...people around me are making up stories to squeeze me into and that's starting to not feel okay anymore.

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1 comment:

  1. You amaze me. And the gall of some people amazes me, too... But not in the same way. You amaze me in a good way. Thank you for sharing all of this. I do like to hear what happens with and to you. Not just because I love you and know you are freaking awesome, but also because I am grateful for all I learn from you and your kids. I hope I can make some positive changes in me, modeled after you. Thank you.

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