Liberation isn’t a One Act Play

Last week, I took some time to schedule posts out into the future (this week). I’m trying to make this a real blog. Ha! You know, where things are posted daily (Monday thru Friday). It has me scared this morning. If I start trying to. post often and schedule things, then this becomes “real”.

In other words, I admit to myself that I want to do this. I want a certain amount of, for lack of a better word, success. I don’t know if other people experience this, but when I admit to wanting something – then I get really afraid.

Disappointment is the thing I fear most. Within disappointment, I usually discover that the error lies within my realm of responsibility. Whether I should have had lessened expectations or worked harder, I  find myself face-to-face with my flaws. In this, I know that I am not alone – facing my flaws does not rank high on my favorite list of activities.

Serial Quitter

I used to be vicious to myself. “Serial Quitter” was one of the nicer things I said to myself about nomadic quality. I’m a passionate and curious person. Ideas and activities seize me as though I am their possession. Literally, the compulsion to experience a new thing can often leave me running around like a chicken without a head.

Within months, I’ve tired of whatever situation or idea with which I’ve been enthralled. Continuing is like death to my spirit. My mom frequently tells me that just continuing on is necessary, despite how much I may dislike it. The end result will be worth it. The people I am “doing” the thing for? They are worth it. There is great wisdom in this.

**Today, I believe in God or that He/She at least made me. Just thought I’d put that out there.**

God didn’t give me the spirit and soul I have – for me to walk in death. There are people in the world who have more or less tolerance for displeasure in work. My husband is one of them. I’m often amazed at how he can tolerate the frustrations of being a case manager – a career field in which employees parish daily. (Seriously, someone needs to research the turnover in case management. It would change things. I am sure of it!)

I am not one of those people. I have tried (and failed) to do many, many things. If I were able to work a desk job or any other job, then I would be doing it. Trust me, the money alone is reason enough.

I’d rather be poor and sitting here writing these: words than anything else in the world. Most of the great writers were scraping by in their day-to-today too. I believe that is the way I made, the way I am built. Do I need to work on self-mastery, diligence and endurance? Absolutely!

Watch me do that with this blog and the other things I write in secret. I am capable of holding to something, sticking with it. It just happens to not make me money – yet. I am scared that I will disappointment myself in this journey and that the pain of it will be more than I can handle. 

It is the thing I fear the most.

Somehow, I always come back to these words of Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The amazing thing about this poem is the idea of being liberated from fear. I used to think that  being liberated from fear meant having no fear at all. In actuality, it means not being mastered by fear.

Liberation isn’t a One Act Play

When I think of liberation, my mind often goes to the abolition of slavery in the United States. A war was waged for years and then finally freedom was decreed. Yet, it was years and years before the country steadied, over a century before civil rights were granted such as voting, the dissolution of segregation, etc. Even today, we see the remnants of slavery in things such as poverty, police violence and more. Liberated from slavery, the people would still contend with its aftermath.

Liberated from fear? I must contend with its aftermath. It does not own me. I do, however, still feel it, remember it. Right now, I’m in the process of creating a new economy, a new way of life, not ruled by fear. Even then, I will always be discovering the ways it has affected me and is affecting me. I guess, I want to say to myself and to anyone else out there –

Liberation, your freedom, is not instantaneous. It is a process. Daily, I will be walking out what that looks like. Today, it’s acknowledging that there is fear in my wanting, in my desires, in my dreams. Tomorrow, I will walk out my liberation by sitting down to write yet again.

See you then!

Candidly,

Ash

 

Me First, Then You

In college, I saw a band which had a white dude frontman featuring an Afro. He was hilarious and it was worth every penny spent to see them perform. One of his songs included a crowd sing-a-long on the album – so of course, this had to be done live. Except he assumed no one had even heard the song and made them repeat after him. Each time, he would say, “Me first, then you” about 8 times, just in case things were unclear. They weren’t. We all sounded “brilliant. Just fabulous. Really quite professional,” he said. “But just too quiet so let’s do that again. Me first, then you. Got that? Me first, then you.” And so on and so on. It was a great show.

Why is this important?

Well, for eleven years I have been trying to get my kids to put their clothes in the hamper. Yesterday, I walked into my bathroom and saw all of my clothes on the floor, because I did not have a hamper. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I had bought hampers for the girls last week, which were once again sitting empty while their clothes littered various rooms in the house.  Fuming, I began piling my clothes into the tub, no joke, so that I could clean the floor.

“This is ridiculous.” I grumbled. “I don’t even have a hamper and they do! But they don’t even use it. So unfair! Next time I’m buying myself a hamper first!”

Me first, damn it!

Que epiphany music.

Me first, then you.

They can’t learn the song if I don’t sing it first. Metaphorically speaking that is.

I ran up to Big Lots and purchased myself a $4 hamper of my choice. My bathroom has been pristine since.

And the girls’ bathroom?

Still a dump.

But I’m a lot less upset about that since my bathroom is clean.

Me first, then you.

On a Larger Scale

This had me thinking a great deal about my eleven years of parenting and feeling exceptionally guilty.

For years, I had my bedroom and bathroom under quarantine from my children. I reasoned this was simply because they were MINE. Yet, as I looked closer, I realized they were sectioned off almost entirely because I was ashamed, concerned for their safety (Hello, manicure scissors! I’m looking at you!) and because I didn’t want them to come in there when dad and I were doing the business.

The trouble with all of that is that they only saw things from a distance AND I stopped maintaining those spaces. Literally, I have spent 10 years of my life in a bedroom that resembles a storage facility more than an oasis.

And this is only the physical representation.

What other areas of my life had I stuffed away from my children, because they were embarrassing, unsafe or not age-appropriate?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in not sharing your sexual escapades from college and tales of your father’s abuse with three-year-olds.

I’m also a fan of sharing with your children in simplified terms. When I went to the hospital for suicidal ideation, I told my children that mommy had a sickness that causes her to be sad a lot. My stay in the hospital helped me to feel those feelings and learn how to handle them better.

The truth is this was a step of freedom for my family, because we took my mess and made it approachable, understandable and even safe.

And this is just one area.

I guess I’m hoping that everyone reading this will go buy themselves a hamper so they can clean up their dirty laundry.

Me first, then you.