Tag Archives: Letting go

Cinderella Girl

Feet dangling in the adult-sized chair, head bent downward slightly, eyes fixed on a spot in the flooring where an invisible stain nailed her, the demure female child felt small, insignificant, powerless, unacceptable, unworthy, unloved, but worse of all, unwanted and in the way. Her intuition was now tuned into sending feelers out into her environment to see if she could guess the next move and where it might come from. Gut ears reaching out to detect the other shoe dropping. Perhaps she could keep that shoe from dropping. Yes, she could hold onto that hope. The questions above all questions she might ask were the thoughts that never where spoken like What can I do to avoid that tongue lashing or leather belt that bites my flesh? Can I get through the day without breaking some unknown and sacred rule that would invite an unwanted response from the parent? Why did they bring me into this world if they are so displeased with me, especially the mother? Yes, these were the bothersome questions that consciously and unconsciously played in the back of her mind no matter how the day was going. These questions colored her world and made life more difficult than it should be all through her life. Right now, she did not know how much energy that took or how it would influence every thought, every decision, every choice she made for years to come.

Looking upon that child now in my mind’s eye, my heart goes out to her and I want to gather her in my arms, to tell her that she is a diamond in the rough, and that one day she will see herself as I see her now, a pure sparkling jewel that has a tough journey ahead and that it will all make sense one day. I

want her to know, as I look upon her unhappy little face, that it will all be worth it in the end. But, I know I couldn’t change things in that time long ago as it unfolded then and in the growing years to come. I only know that I can finally look upon the face of triumph and be so proud of what she has and is still accomplishing in this future time.

We think that we live in a space in time that spreads out in linear fashion with every step we take along our journey. Of course that is how it seems to us, because when we turn back time in our minds we can almost see the footsteps along a path from our first cry to where we might be now in human years. Yet doesn’t it seem like yesterday when we started our first day of school or had our first kiss or became a parent? There have been moments of my life that seem to have dragged by agonizingly slowly; other times moments went by in a blink. Time, it appears, is what our mind perceives it to be but one thing we can agree upon is that it is ever-moving energy captured in events of shadow and light. Our minds take a photo of these events, these moments, and place in the file called “My Life” along with all the emotion and meaning that we experienced then and placed upon them. This, I call baggage.

The god or goddess of Fate seems to descend upon every little girl and boy from birth doling out perks and punishments without thought or care. It reminds me of the ancient gods of myth who seemed to pick on mortals flaunting their powers and choosing to bless or curse at whim while leaving mortals believing they are powerless in Fate’s quake. For a very few die hard souls, however, with the desire to overcome and break the chains that would bind them, there is a freedom waiting for them that others may never experience before they die.

Rumi the poet wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” In terms of Cinderella she not only gets to go to the ball henceforth known as that pure field but she eventually transforms from that abused little girl to that soul who becomes the princess she always was. The fairy godmother did not save her but supported that girl while she reached for and created the freedom and love that she desired. Prince Charming wasn’t a savior either but rather represents to this Cinderella, me, the love that was in her, outside of her, all around and through her. This was and is her dance partner.

I am evolving constantly as layer upon layer of lies I have told myself drop into ashes from which a new Phoenix is born. Rumi’s field is within reach now. I hear the music at the ball and I want to dance.

I had searched in others for the mother I wanted. I was hoping for direction, support, understanding, guidance, and love. I thought that these had been lacking and withheld from me. The fickle finger of fate had denied me and I knew not why. Now I know that the direction, support, understanding, guidance and love are within me. In a manner of speaking I am my own mother not that I don’t find and enjoy knowing that it is there in others as well. I enjoy sharing the wiser woman I have become and I know that the path that I had taken was not fate but rather mapped out by a higher power than myself to give me the opportunity to bring my bruised little Cinderella self through to self-actualization which is not the same as a damaged ego.

Abraham Maslow a psychologist in 1943 came up with his theory of the Hierarchy of Need . It’s been a hard climb to even get closer to the top of the pyramid where self-actualization abides. Maslow’s pyramid starts at the bottom with a person’s need for physiological necessities like food, clothing and shelter as the first order of need. Once that is met then one may be able to concerns him or herself with safety. From there, the next need is for belonging and from there moving onto the next, is esteem which can begin to catapult a person upwards towards self actualization. But it is not actually an upward movement where you leave one step to go to the next. It is more of spiral of movement where at times you may experience any of these needs to a more then lesser degree as you become more your real self. You are still wanting and needing connection with others but there is a giving and taking inspired by Love Itself. It still takes a village of many people and events in order to climb that pyramid.

Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, had a theory much like Maslow’s. He expanded upon self-actualization. He believed that self-actualization was more apt to be achieved if a child experienced unconditional positive regard from parents and significant others. This means that the parents and significant others loved and accepted the child for who and what they were at any given time. This child felt taken care of, supported, and loved no matter what and therefore could feel free to explore life and make mistakes without feeling like love was being withheld or based upon conditions. Rogers believed that a child deprived of positive self regard, particularly in childhood, would be less likely to reach self actualization. I believe it is possible for anyone to move beyond their deprivation of unconditional love if they realize, first of all, that there is anything to move beyond. Secondly they must be willing to do the work. It is hard work and requires an unimaginable desire to shed the shackles of self doubt and unbelievable need to be approved of in order to reach the individual ideal goal. It is the road less taken and there is no map.

So now, I take that little brave and determined little girl that I was into my embrace and no matter what she has thought or done ever that made her feel wrong, at fault , guilty, unworthy or unlovable and let her know that was all a lie. I want to tell her how brave she has been. I want her to know that I honor her efforts to break the chains of abuse. I want her to learn, if she hasn’t already, that she need not seek others approval in order to achieve positive self regard. I give her positive self regard. I love her no matter what and no matter what anyone else may think. I want her to be certain that she was always being the child she had to be in order to survive. Now she is free to be the soul, the person, she was destined to be and that she has and is doing a service to her fellow human beings by doing her part. I think my inner child now know that the adult she and I have become have been teaming up to heal abuse received and given no matter the form in which it came. The chain has been broken. Now is the time for healing..

I love you Brenda. You are a precious human being and I am delighted that you can see and feel the suffering of others even when they do not. Come away from the ashes, go to the ball and dance like everyone is watching but you don’t care.

Cinderella Girl by Brenda Andradzki Elliott, MSW November 16, 2014

TREASURE HUNTING THROUGH THE YEARS

Today as I sat in the play room in my daughrer Karen’s basement I began going through boxes of belongings that had been transferred from the  home I had in Georgia to her garage also in Georgia for storage until I could go through them.   As my hands worked through the contents of each box I found that I was, now and then, dipping my hands into pools of memories – photos, journals, memoribelia, greeting cards, home decore items, dishes and paper records of sales, taxes, and transactioons.  Among the treasures was a knited cap my fist husband used to wear.  I could hold it and put it on my head without tearing up or feeling deep grief but memories flashed through my mind like a fast-forward movie and I foound myself smiiing and thanking him for being who he was and for loving me.

During the self-impossed treasure hunt I found a few things to give away, some to trash, some to go to FLoirda with me.  I probably have enough paper work to shred that would be enough to stuff a huge couch.  Still this would not equal all the memoies that settle down in each container like ghosts from the past.  Reading a few greeting cards from my second hunsband, I was touched by the beautiful  and loving words the card imparted.       There was one with a note from him thanking me and telling me he love me for taking a chance on him when I had known from the start that he had a cancer diagnosis that could possibly take his life within seven years.  It was a gamble for sure.    My future with him was probably not going to last for much more than seven years if that. I believed I was in love again and missed a partner in my life   So, I took the chance and built new memories with him.  As I closed the card, I viewed the memory with no regrets.  It was meant happen the way it did from our metting to our marriage and his death

When you disturb the ground of memories, old roots appear but with those roots come more healing and another step of two in the new life unfolding.  Wiser eyes peer back through the years and see things with clearer understanding causing more love and thanksgiving to bubble to the surface.  The chore of going through boxes of stared items is indeed a treasure hung of huge proportions.

 

 

LET IT FLOW, LET IT FLOW, LET IT FLOW

I have had the whole house open today. I am enjoying lots of sun and breezes and I am enjoying the outside while sitting in the inside. A little bird has been sitting out in the back yard singing his cute little head off most all day. The bird’s song reminds me of total, ecstatic and blissful joy and happiness. He just sings and sings and sings like there is nothing else in the world. Do you wish you could get so rapt in something so blissful like that, to be able to sustain it like that, to just open up and let it pour out like stardust sprinkled in the air? You can even when you are not aware that this is what you are doing. You miss it because you may judge it wrong or not perfect enough. You may think it is so mundane that you miss knowing the mystical and fantastic thing that it is. Or, you just take it for granted. The cure? Awareness. Do more watching of your thoughts, desires, feelings, actions (your very aliveness) without judgement and you will become more aware. Here’s to watching the golden stardust glittering and pouring from you, around you and through you.

THE PATH OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM

I have come to the point in life where differences (race, color, cred, sexual orientation, religion or no religion, beliefs and what is “proper” or not) are superficial to me. What is uppermost is what lies deeper than that. Can you just enjoy laughs, tears, joys, sorrows and celebrate the ways in which you and others are alike? Can you stop, at least now and then, from being offended by someone else and realize that it is not they who offend you but rather your beliefs and inability to see beyond your own boundaries that cause the offense? 

Perhaps the question is, do you want to look beyond, walk out on that limb, suspend your own beliefs or feelings for even a moment or two, to try to see things differently? If the answer is that you would rather keep things just as they are and you feel no need to see deeper than your present ability, then, please don’t pretend you do. Be true to yourself, be authentic. That does not mean that this should give you free license to be be cruel, harm someone physically, or want to make them conform to your own standards. You will, perhaps, miss out on a more expanded and enriched life but that is your choice and certainly you have that right.

If you do wish that you could be more open and accepting, I can tell you from my own experience that this has been one of the best gifts I could have given myself. I can walk through freak shows and find the freak in myself. I’ve been an insider during my lifetime and an outsider as well but when I choose to allow myself to just be with different people expressing different things, I can enjoy the party even if I am not an exclusive member. What does that mean? I can be free to jump in and frolic all I want, then go to a different party and frolic there even if the former was worlds apart from the latter. I can be dead serious, solemn , thoughtful, or off-the-wall funny, playful, light or sassy. Without my erecting or keeping so many boundaries, I am free to fly however I want, whenever I want, wherever I want instead of being constricted and becoming a prisoner of my own making. Does this mean anything goes? Of course not. You don’t throw common sense to the winds. You don’t put yourself into harm’s way. You don’t stay where you are not welcomed. You don’t have to play any games that make you feel uncomfortable or stay in situations where you are being taken advantage of. You don’t have to join in for the sake of appearances, of looking good. It has taken me a lifetime to begin to figure this out. I don’t know about you but I have often felt out of place. It wasn’t because I was so different (though I often feel that way) but rather because I was not allowing myself to be the authentic expression of Brenda that I always was deep down inside. I was brain-washed and trained to conform to my family, my society, my church, my groups. I tried to make myself into whatever I thought would make me fit in with the norm. I find that I can fit in with the norm or the exception thereof not so much because of the need to be accepted but more for the sake of just expanding myself and setting myself free.

No one could tell me this. I just had to figure out where the discomfort came from all these years, look back at my experiences, and find the real me. I invite you to do the same. You may not find that your path is like mine in any way. I believe that this Energy or Power or Spirit or God that creates all things wants to express in, through and as me, as you, as all things created. I find that having that belief brings me joy, helps me make sense of what I can’t explain, and gives me the the awesome job and responsibility to allow Spirit to shape me and shift me as He/She is declined to do. Following a path of authentic freedom is, to me, the most loving, common-sense, and creative path one can take, It is the gift that keeps on giving through storms or calm, through light and dark, through joy and sorrow and for this I am truly thankful.

LOVING WHAT IS AND GROWING OLDER

When I was young it seemed as though time walked at a slower pace. In fact I had been known on more than one occasion to get behind time with a broom and try to hurry it along, sweeping in desperation and angst. I couldn’t get to a certain age fast enough or I couldn’t get through a difficulty or challenge fast enough or the goal or special something I was looking forward to just could not get there fast enough.

Fast forward to middle age. Time began to seem like I was riding on a train watching the events go by outside my window slow enough to be seen but fast enough that at times I seem to miss some of the scenery. I began at times to search inside my head for memories that were not sticking because time was moving faster than before. Then I noticed that every time I turned around, my children were becoming women and preparing to go out and begin lives of their own on their own.

Fast forward and my children are having children who are growing at a faster rate than mine did,. And the mate I though would grow old with me is given a death sentence by an oncologist. What? No! This isn’t happening to me. Time finally got me to an age where we finally had a little more money and more time to enjoy our “Golden” years. This cannot be. At first I wanted to grab the hem of time and slow it down again so that I could have more time with my husband but as his pain worsened and every organ in his body was dying for lack of oxygen I wanted time to be merciful and pass a little more quickly for his sake and not mine.

Time stopped for a while after that. I was not the “me” with whom I was familiar. I was dead inside. Yet, there was a spark that would not let me give up. One day time started back up, slowly at first, until I had begun to see that I had redefined myself. I had become a familiar being to myself yet different than before. Once again time was going at a nice pace that I was nether hurrying along nor trying to slow down. I started building a new life and open to dating again which seemed to throw me happily back to my teenage years. I thought for a while I had pushed time back, was reborn into my teens (in my head) and started finally seeing a second chance for a whole new squeal to my first book of life. The second book would contain some of the same people and things and yet many, many more different characters added, new places to live, new life style, new way of looking at things. This was not to say it was all peaches and cream. I had to learn about managing money and a whole lot of things that I never had to mange before. Some things I did not know how to do or who to talk to or who to hire to do things I could not do. Time for me was exciting, scary, tearful, joyful, and challenging. Sometimes time flew, sometimes it stalled in the air, sometimes it crawled and sometimes it enjoyed tangling me up it its web.

Fast forward to now. Has time been good to me? Yes. Has time been painful sometimes? Yes. What is time doing now? Time is going faster and faster now. I look down at my hands and my arms and I see the container in which I have lived these many years is shriveling up. Mother nature knows I am way past child bearing so has called back the estrogen that kept my skin a little more moist, my hair thicker, the wrinkles at bay, and muscle tone with ability to hold things where they belong instead of sagging or dropping south so I shrivel with every day that passes. Though I have a lot to be thankful for including activities if I feel up to them; people who love me and whom I love; enough money right now to sustain me; a roof over my head; a wonderful little dog; traveling planned; and a nice place to live, I find that time is slipping away. People whom I have known all my life, famous people who lived in my life time so far, and all that composed my life all my life are dying or dead. I am feeling more like I am becoming the last leaf on the tree. My whole life now is geared towards its end. Time is still there but even if I live twenty more years, those twenty will gather momentum and pass with the speed of light. So I am in my final times of my life and the next big transition will be my final one. At times I start to grieve my own demise like I grieved the loss of my first and second husbands and my boyfriend who also died long before the transitions were made. It is a preparation that cannot be avoided.

Through every state of my life thus far, time has been on my side whether it went quickly or slowly I know that time is always now. It is only fast or slow in my head. Looking back I can see more clearly now and know that I can love every bit of life – the good, the bad, the ugly of it all. I know I will continue to do so as I come to terms with growing older and beginning to transition from a life looking forward to life loosing its meaning and hold upon me. I am starting to embrace the body changes more and resist them less, to love what is. I’m not alone in this transitional time of life. I may be more aware or willing to talk about it than some are and I know the key to love what is at all stages of life. The “what is” are things we cannot change. The things we can change, we should of course.

It has been said that growing old is not for sissies. Life is not for sissies either but it is a most fantastic and deliriously, ever-changing whirlwind of being whose form we must embrace at all times or suffer through a resistance that is futile. I have not choice but to love it what is and to grow old with it.

A MOTHER’S LOVE

There are many females who become mothers but they don’t exactly know how to love, to be a good parent. Some of them are not well or have emotionally issues that are not addressed. Some get into drugs or alcohol. Some had an abusive, neglectful, distant or absent mother themselves. Some mothers abandoned their child or children or give them up for adoption but sometimes we don’t know the whole story and maybe the giving up of the child was the most loving thing that they could do.

Recently I read a story about a little girl who was left near the highway in a paper bag on a very cold night more than 20 years ago when she was found by a state trooper. She was meant to live. You have to wonder what the mother was going but my guess was that she was very young and without support. Possibly she wanted her child to be found. But you question, “Put her in a paper bag like trash?” The baby was wrapped in a towel and put in the bag. Perhaps the mother though that would keep the baby warm enough until someone found her. We just don’t know the whole story. Desperate people, though, do desperate and sometimes stupid or cruel or dangerous things. That much we do know.

Every sibling born to one mother has a different take on the telling of how Mother was when they were growing up. People on the outside had their own version of what she was like as well. So what is the “real” story? Listen closely, it really doesn’t matter what the real story was because the mother’s children and all the outsiders looking in each had their own experience of that mother and then interpreted that experience in their own language so to speak.

I had a version of my own mother that wasn’t all peaches and cream but it wasn’t a horror story either. Yet, I have to admit, I had a bit of a tough time with my interpretation of growing up with Mama. Little by little, I have let go of “My Story” about all that and have been healing. Over all my mother was a good person with some anger issues and some depression. I have some wonderful memories but I have some that sting a bit though the sting part has been getting better step by step.

I had a dream this morning as I was beginning to wake up. In the dream I had a lot of tears that were caught in my throat. That is what we call having a lump in our throats. The tears wanted to come and what I was struggling with so much was about the things over which we have no control. I was about to cry because sometimes we have to let go of how things were, could have been or are that we can change. In my dream, I was in my bed in the house I lived in at one time as a child. It was dark. Slowly the door began to open and it was my mother. As she further opened the door, light came into the dark room and the tears flowed. I wanted my mama and she came to me. The dream was so healing. I woke fully away with tears in my eyes. A mother’s love. Ah.

LOVING YOUR BODY

I rattle on and on about positive thoughts, positive thinking, being grateful, and all that good stuff and smugly think that I don’t fail to do those things. Ha! That’s funny. I caught myself this morning realizing that I am age-conscious and not happy about my aging body. I look in the mirror and see that everything has gone South  (dipping-almost-below-the-equator-South). I see rivers and valleys etched upon my face and if I dare take a closer look at my skin I see pits and scales and rolls. Scales are okay for fish and rolls are a nice compliment to a dinner but not on my body please.

A closer look at the face and eye lids are beginning to droop. A glance in the mirror at my entire body shows that while my body has thinned more  making my bathroom scales seem less frightening,  my hair has been busy loosing numbers and thickness as well . How in the world can I feel so young inside and yet find that I am living in my grandmother’s body? Granted my body looks a whole lot younger and attractive than a grandmother used to look back in her day.  Still I cannot help but yearn for that firmer, softer-skinned, lovely girl I once was.

I would consider a face lift but then I have an aversion to pain and bruising, not to mention to the cutting and stitching of skin.  Besides,  that would not be my real face would it?   I can seek to understand  why I am so bothered by looking like the aging woman I am.   Perhaps it would be better for me  to just look at the love shining through me, the smile on my face, and the fact that I am still alive and doing pretty well for an “old” lady.

Winking at myself in the mirror I can say, “You are one hot Grandma!”  Hugging my body, I say thank you for continuing to get me from point “A” to point “B”.   I’m loving this body.