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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Healing and Love and Choosing to be a Woman of Grace and Dignity.

What an amazing Thanksgiving I had!

Despite that fact that my beloved Niners lost a game to the dreaded Seahawks, it must go down in history as one of the greatest Thanksgivings in memory.

My brother and his kids were here.  He fried up two turkeys and Mom and I put out a feast that resulted in smiles, laughter and gratitude for elastic waistbands.

I saw the look on my Mom's face as she sat at her table and shared a meal with her only son and her grandchildren and it was all I could do not to stand up and yell, "YIPPPEEEEEE!".

Of course, I doubt they would have noticed other than to just laugh at one more thing...because there was a lot of laughing on Thanksgiving and that is what makes a holiday a holiday.

I have also discovered that someone who does not know me at all has been taking the time to point out my character defects and what I should and should not be doing with my writings to others.

My response?  Don't like it? Don't read it.  Simple.  And if you think picking it apart for someone else is somehow being a good person?  Well, you do not share my values and for that I can only say, "Thank you, God".

And finally, I have discovered that the years of therapy I have gone through to help me no longer take actions that are similar to those unsuccessful behaviors modeled to me as a child is paying off.  How do I know?

Let me tell you about last night:

I spoke for my 12 Step program last night about 3 hours from home.  Driving there was no problem but by the time I left it was raining, hard, and windy.  I got on the freeway and took the wrong exit, heading towards the coast instead of inland, and ended up on a curvy, winding, rain soaked and windswept road.  There was a line of cars behind me, a six foot concrete barrier beside me, sheets of water coming up and over the barrier and I could barely see.  I looked at the white line delineating the shoulder for guidance and despite the line of cars and the dope behind me insisting I go faster I crept along at 35 mph, scared to death this was going to be my last car ride.

Inside, I felt the tension mounting and I wanted to explode - just like my Dad used to do.
I wanted to cuss and swear and threaten and throw a huge tantrum.

Why?  Because I was afraid.

I heard the yelling and screaming in my head and I very purposefully and intentionally said to those voices, "No.  I will not give in and I will not freak out.  I will not throw a tantrum and hold my passenger hostage".  Because I did not give vent, my heart began to pound so hard in my chest it hurt.  It was if my body was throwing a tantrum because I had chosen not to give in to the bad behavior that threatened to take control of the situation.  I did what I have been taught, however, taking deep breaths and slowing down my heart, feeling myself relax and yet staying alert.

Eventually, of course, we made it out of the toughest part of the drive onto a wide freeway and the bridge that would take us back to the East Bay and, eventually, Modesto.  As my heart quieted, the release of tension resulted in a release of sweat.  If I am ever missing, give my black and gold sweater to the bloodhound.  It should be able to find me in about a minute.

What did I learn?

I learned that the learned behavior of freak out and tantrum taught to me by my father does not have to be my excuse anymore.  I do not have to act the fool just because I am hurt or scared.

The passenger in my car said, "Boy am I glad you were driving...you are so calm and cool.  I felt so safe".

I thought, 'whose car have you been in?'.

But see, what happened is this:  because I have taken the time to learn how to be a better Leslie, when presented with a situation that caused intense fear I could very purposefully choose to not behave like an ass.  Because I chose to behave with dignity and grace?  The person with me felt no fear.

I was able to give to someone else that security I so craved - at that moment, I made someone else feel safe!

So, who cares that someone reads my blog, picks it apart for someone else in an effort to discredit me in their eyes?  Who cares that I got lost coming home (and somehow cut 30 minutes off my expected driving time...how the heck did that happen?).  Who cares that I am not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough in someones eyes?

I drove home in a bad storm.

And for that?

I am really grateful!

I leave Tuesday night for Ravarano, Italy.......I hope you have a wonderful Advent......know that Christ loves you no matter what....and thank you for reading my blog.

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