The Resiliency of Self

Who you really are never goes away…….and I am so grateful for this.

As a child, I loved to draw. I loved to write. My parents didn’t quite know what to do with this, as they had grown up in such a time of struggle and focusing on surviving, making a living, and getting whatever job that you could to make that happen. I am grateful for all that they gave me and for their struggles to give me a better life than they ever had. The drawing and art and writing talents, however, went into hibernation. I learned they were fun thing to do in my spare time, but that I needed to focus on how I was going to make a living, how I was going to survive.

My father was an immigrant who worked so very hard to give my mother and I all that we needed. We never wanted for anything. I felt safe in knowing that my needs were taken care of, that I didn’t have to worry about the basics.

My mother was also an immigrant who worked hard to make a good and loving home….she was a great cook, she would sew clothes for my Barbie doll, she would hold my forehead when I was sick, nauseous….and be there.

I was an only child, so I have no experience with siblings, and also had the full attention of my parents (which could feel like too much at times….!)

I grew up, studied hard, picked a career ….I was a social worker for my entire career. And I am grateful for that experience and career, and hope that I did some good and made some difference for a few people along the way.

And then I retired. Who am I now, I wondered? I have been focusing on my writing and my art once again, wondering if there was anything still there…… I enjoy this blog and hope to write a book at some point. And I have been painting.. To my ongoing surprise, several of my paintings have been accepted into online magazines and exhibits. I am thrilled, humbled, grateful….beyond description.

The young girl who loved to draw and write never went away. In fact, she has shown up when I most needed her. I had a health scare when I was close to turning 50- and she showed up in my intense desire to start drawing again. I was home, off from work until we could figure out what was going on medically, and I drew constantly. It helped me get through the three months of unknown diagnoses until all turned out well, thankfully. A very scary time, with the comfort of my little artist within to be with me. I wrote many journals during that time as well….giving the flood of feelings a place to simply be.

I am going through some grieving at the moment, and I have been writing and painting more again….. It is a form of therapy for me and comfort once again from parts of me that have never left me, but have waited patiently for me to once again pay attention to them, to see them, to validate them in a way that others could not.

I live alone, have been married and in other relationships in my life, and am grateful for each and every one of them They got me to where I am today. I find that I feel lonely at times, even though I am a woman who very much enjoys her solitude. I don’t know if I will ever have another partner or not….am open to it, but also fiercely protective of my solitude and aware of my pattern of easily giving myself away to another at the cost of my own spirit and soul. I can sometimes react out of protective fear about this pattern and push others away……an ongoing project and issue for me that I continue to work with.

What strikes me lately is that the major relationship that I need to focus on is that very special relationship with myself. With all parts of me….even the not so pretty parts that can react out of fear and unintentionally hurt others. I truly need to learn to accept all parts of me, acknowledge all parts of me, see and hear all parts of me, allow expression of all parts of me (hopefully keep working on doing this in ways that do not hurt others). And love all parts of me….all the very human parts of me. And allow the pieces that have not been heard, have not been given space to express themselves, have not been seen……allow them to come out and be.

And so I write. And so I paint. And so I come to know in a deeper way the therapist within that connects me to God…..Higher Power….the Universe….the me that was meant to express herself…..and realize that there is yet time enough to let these part of me out….I am still alive, so there is time……I am still here.

We don’t have to give up …..rather, this is a time where perhaps we can give ourselves complete permission to fully live, to fully inhabit our lives, to fully become all that we can be….I am here. You are here. We are not dead yet, so let’s come alive fully…..it’s time.

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