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Next Life, NO Kids: August 2017

August 29, 2017

Sometimes Standing Is Hard Work

Sometimes standing is hard; especially when you're unsure of where you're standing.

Limbo has never been a particularly wonderful space for me, because I live for control. Uncertainty isn't safe for me, and wonder can often be dangerous. So, I do my best to keep on top of as much of my emotionality as possible. 

A week before I found my birthmother, I spoke on The Real Deal Podcast about how much I needed to be done with the search. I could feel it tearing at the walls of my soul, and I knew I couldn't hold on much longer. 

If forever I doubt God, He always seems to alert me of His presence in the most interesting and untimely ways. It's usually once I give up the reigns that He steps in, and I wonder each time how I forgot. 

Sometimes Standing Is Hard Work - Next Life, NO Kids #adoption #reunion #trauma #unknown

Why do I continue to drive myself all over Insanity Station when I know somewhere in my gut that I am free to let go?  Like a patient father, waiting for a child to tire from a tantrum, there He is -- always. Much like my earthly father, He has not left me even in times I deserved desertion. 

My place is here. I feel that today. 

No matter who knows I'm here or acknowledges my space, it is mine. I can feel the weight of my being. I can expand the feeling of that weight, and have had it drenched over me like a blanket since it arrived.  

Sometimes I hide behind words, and pretend I'm more ________ than I actually am.

I can't hide from this, and I don't want to, but the weight of what it might mean to fully show up for this is heavy.

"If only I were ________ , I would be a better..." is played out and, I realize, just a sad front for the actual truth of who and what I might find. More words to hide behind, and pretending there might be hope for contentment outside the only place I know where to find it.

The work I've done, and all the preparation for this moment seems insufficient, but I am still here.

I'm still standing.

I'm standing through the countless waves crashing over me. I am as balanced as I can be on the solid foundation I have built for myself. I'm standing for a little girl who deserves to be stood for -- the one who needs to know she's worth it.

Sometimes standing is hard work, but I have learned it's possible not to lose my balance, focused on the strength and power in my stance.

I have become the woman I have always needed, and today, I'm here for me.

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August 24, 2017

Be Who You Are So Your Children Won't Have To Be

This has had me all messed up. I saw it on a friend's page yesterday, and it had me up most of the night. It might be the wording, but I fear if this is true, my kids have no chance. 

What I am is a screwed up mental case who probably shouldn't have had kids to begin with.

It's possible I had no business bringing tiny humans into this world. Somewhere in my mind I think I knew this, but let the pressures of all the things "should" dictate these choices.

My oldest was thirteen when the boys were born, and I might have known better. Her life thus far had been my evidence. But I thought so much had changed, and I knew I had help now. I convinced myself that might be enough.

What I am is a fatally flawed human being doing her best.

I'm constantly making it up as I go along. I work through struggles daily, to the best of my ability. What I am is not what I want my kids to be.

I do my best to behave in the ways I want my kids to and to be an example, but there are many days I fail miserably and fall flat on my well-intentioned face.

I don't always respond in the ways I'd like to, and sometimes I react in ways I definitely don't want to. I don't always have the right words to express how I'm feeling, because they're not always age appropriate feelings. I do the best I can with what I have, but sometimes the bag is empty. Shake an empty bag for a minute, and see what falls out. Nothing.

What I am is a person who has experienced trauma.

I try to teach my children to be better than I am. I try to teach them to make better choices than I did and do. I try not to torture them in the ways I was when I was their ages. I do my best with the triggers that motherhood and my children provoke, and I try to take the actions necessary to combat those things before they arrive; to be as proactive as possible. This is not always easy, and I'm not always the kind of mother I want to be.

What I am is a work in progress.

Next Life NO Kids - Be Who You Are So Your Children Won't Have To #momguilt #letsstop

* The good news is, what I am is not necessarily who I am. *

Who I am has survived in spite of what I am.

I spent much of my life believing I would never be who I wanted to be because of my circumstances. I thought my today had to come directly from my yesterday. I didn't know I could change my circumstances. I didn't know I could change who what 
I am set me up to be.

Who I am is imperfect. She often changes with the wind. I do my best to keep up, and have learned to adapt in incredible ways.

I believe in the power of healing and transformation. I understand and admit when I'm wrong -- A LOT. I've made a million mistakes and misstepped, and have remained willing to learn from, and through, all of it.

Who I am is powerful.

I am is a compassionate human being with infinite possibilities. I create my own destiny. This is not always pretty, but I have learned to take credit for the good, bad, and horrible situations I have created in order to move through them and come out stronger on the other side.

Realizing that no one else on this planet has the ability to make me anything, allows me to keep the power in who I am.

Who I am is a kind and loving person, with an amazing capacity for forgiveness.

At the end of the story, the ugly duckling finds out he was never a duckling at all. My life has been a series of these moments -- trying to fit some mold or idea. The ideas have not often been my own, and I have conformed;  warped myself to look more like a duckling than a beautiful swan.

If I can teach my children anything, it will be to worry less about labels and how they are viewed by others -- even me. I want them to understand they can be whatever they want, regardless of their circumstances.

What they choose to be doesn't have to dictate who they are. Where they came from won't either. Maybe they won't blame me for as long as I blamed my parents. Perhaps they'll have more of a fighting chance at genuine happiness.

There is no mold to fit, and we are all free to be whomever and whatever we want. Pretending this depends on something outside of ourselves is where it gets dangerous.

If my children take on all of my horrible habits and become miserable adults, do I have to take 100% of the responsibility for that? I would argue not. Even that thought stresses me out and turns me into someone I don't want to be.

Who I am is proof that what we are does not have the power to dictate who our children will be.
Let's teach our kids that they are not bound by our limitations and mistakes. Maybe then we can breathe a little easier, let go of the pre-guilt and shamefest, and be better parents overall.

Let's be imperfect, out loud. Talk to them about the fact that they get to make their own choices, with the info you provide, and become who they want to be.
Your children don't have to be you. That role is covered. Let's change the narrative.

Be who you are, so your children won't have to be. ~ Julie Maida


August 23, 2017

There Is No Wrong Way To Feel

"There is no wrong way to feel."

I keep repeating this -- over and over again -- in my mind.

Last week, through a serious of bizarre and miraculous events, I found my birthmother. I found the woman who gave birth to me in 1978, and I found out the details surrounding my adoption.

I got my chapter one.

Everyone wants to know how I'm feeling. People have watched my video, and they're excited and happy for me. They're well-intentioned. They're genuinely thrilled.

So many people have been following my story, and I had almost forgotten how many friends I have confided in over the years; how many people would be cheering when I found her.

I told the incredible story on my Facebook page, because I couldn't fathom repeating it even one more time. I wanted everyone interested to know, and it was such a fantastical story, I knew it had to be told.

I did not imagine how many people would care enough to reach out, and I never could have known how it would all make me feel -- how many emotions I could feel all at once in one day. It has been a ton of ups and downs since then, and I'm trying to remember there's no script for feelings.

Next Life NO Kids - There's No Wrong Way To Feel #adoption #reunion

I've always been a feely kind of person; even when it has made other people uncomfortable. It has been both a gift and a curse in many ways. My ability to feel so loudly has pulled at the strings of others and helped them process all sorts of things. My willingness to feel all the things and take others along the ride has made a small difference in the world. It has also left me wide open for public everything, and pretty regular reminders that what the world thinks of me does not reflect who I am.

These weeks have weighed on me. Talking to people about it has been overwhelming in ways I couldn't have imagined. A chat with my dad last week left me feeling like maybe this discovery should mean I never have to feel sad ever again. I had to take a step back from that one; but not before pointing out that while knowing who I am has provided me with senses I didn't have before, it doesn't negate every painful moment of my entire life. Then I laughed a great laugh in gratitude for my ability to not only put those things into words, but say it them out loud.

Finding means I was once searching, and brings up all the feels of almost giving up. Discovery means the search is over, and also the beginning of a new chapter. It means the the possibility of starting something new and beautiful and scary as all hell. It means a great number of wonderful things, but it also means some pretty scary stuff too.

Allowing myself the right and space to feel all of these things has been a blessing. There have been many times in my life when feeling anything was completely out of the question. This week, I have had to allow myself the right and space to act out and ground myself in ways I do when I feel out of control -- to forgive myself those things and be gentle with me. Recovery has given me these things, and I'm more grateful for sobriety right now than I think I've been since I got sober in 2000.

Surrounding myself with people in my life who also allow me rights and space has also been a pretty beautiful thing. Taking advantage of the choices I have today regarding who I want in my circle has been key. Having those people remind me that "There's no wrong way to feel right now" has been an invaluable gift. Because sometimes hearing what you already know coming ever-so-compassionately out of someone you trust 100%, is amazaballs. The awareness that those someones are sitting quietly next to me if I need them, helps a bunch too.

Whatever you might be facing this week, it is my hope that you have someone sitting next to you. That you know you're not alone. If they can't keep quiet 🤣, I hope you're as fortunate as I, to have a few friends who always seem to know just what to say. 💗


August 14, 2017

Join Me At The Faire

We went to King Richard's Faire for the first time three years ago, and it made me wish I'd learned of it sooner. The kids absolutely loved it.

We had such a blast, we've made it a point to go every year since, and I am getting SO excited for this year's trip!

The boys always enjoy watching the jousting tournaments and horses. 

Every year they get their faces (or arms) painted, and I get to visit with my beautiful friend Jennifer for some amazing conversation and henna!

I love that it's not a carnival or theme park. When we arrive, it's almost as if we've completely escaped reality, or gone back in time to visit the spirit of the Renaissance era. 

We have fun, unplug, and (most importantly) PLAY!!

Q: Who's ever too old for face paint? A: No one. 

They have shows, professional actors walking around, cheerful music, and the best people watching ever! There are eight stages of live entertainment every day/all day, and it's all included! 

The best news? I'm giving away TWO Family 4-Packs! 

Join me at the faire this year!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you been to King Richard's Faire? What's your favorite part?
If you haven't been, what are you looking forward to the most?
Who are you going to take with you?


August 11, 2017

Forever Changed by the Rolls of the Tide

My husband took the day off yesterday, and we took our seven year old to the beach.

I woke up eerily calm that morning, with a sense of nothing and everything all at once. I felt different; as if I had been floating along an endless river, and had suddenly been plucked to shore and planted in the ground.

I felt whole.

We got to the beach and walked for a long time to avoid other people and crowds and loud all the things. When we marked our territory, I used the wind to place my towel in a less rocky spot facing my family.

The boys went almost immediately to the water after sunscreen, but I stayed back. I just wanted to lay there with my eyes closed, and feel the sun beaming my skin. I rolled over onto my belly, and tried to fall asleep. It had been quite a night before, and I was still reeling a bit and processing all that had happened.

At one point I turned my head to the left to rest it on my folded arms, and there it was -- a shiny dime -- staring up at me. It was half an inch from the towel, and I knew it was a sign. It was meant for me to see.

I learned about the significance of finding dimes from a friend years ago.

Finding Dimes: Possible Interpretations
  • A message from beyond.
  • Someone or something is trying to get your attention.
  • Guidance or validation that you're on the right path.
  • A reminder that you are loved and valued.
  • A sign that positive changes are afoot; a reward or token of approval from beyond.
  • Ancestors, spirits, guides, or deceased loved ones want you to know they’re looking out for you.
  • The number 10 symbolizes a circle, so a dime might indicate coming full circle, fulfillment, unity, or the completion of a task.
  • A reminder to pay attention, keep watching, and keep your eyes open.

Because that Sunday night I had prayed so hard and specifically that I might find my mother, and by Tuesday night I had every answer to every question I've ever asked in her regard. I knew her name, and I knew mine. A door had opened, and I had been gifted most miraculously with the story of my beginning -- my chapter one. 

I knew who I was.

I learned that I was always wanted and, although perhaps it shouldn't have, it filled the spaces of my heart previously unearthed.  

I had come full circle, right back to the place it had all begun -- with me. I picked up the dime, brushed off the sand, and stared until the blur from tears made it impossible to keep focus. 

I was there. I could feel it. 

I thanked the universe for having my back, as I closed my eyes and drifted off.


On the long walk back to the car, I found a beautiful piece of sea glass. I admired the magnificent dullness of its presentation and color, and I imagined where it might have come from. Was it a bottle, window, or something else? I found myself giggling at the realization that it didn't much matter. No matter what it had been before, it was a beautiful piece of sea glass -- prepped and forever changed by the rolls of the tide. 

What if we're all just beautifully shattered fragments rolling in and out with the tide? Perhaps it doesn't matter who or what we used to be or what broke us. Maybe even the intentions behind the trauma are irrelevant. Because even if a bottle shatters into a million pieces, it's still a bottle. Each of those pieces continue to make up the complete story of its existence. 

Maybe it's okay to just adjust our expectations. After all, no one expects a piece of sea glass to be translucent or sharp, and nobody would suggest it might be any less magnificent or perfect because it's not. It's still glass and everything it used to be; just different. 

Maybe it's possible to break into a million pieces and become even more than you could have been. 

With every wave that crashes over us, every brush against the earth, comes another opportunity to embrace who we might become because of it. And even when it feels like we've lost control and are simply spiraling or crashing on the shore, it's all part of the process.

Maybe there's no need to fight the waves, because they are what shapes us. They are what gifts us the chance to become something new and different; something even more beautiful and magnificent -- something unlike anything else in the universe -- prepped and forever changed by the rolls of the tide.


August 04, 2017

Self-Helping Myself To a Rubber Room

Self awareness is awesome. It has become one of my saving graces over the years, and has also released me from some of my more incredibly vicious cycles. 

Surrounding myself with people who are equally as interested in the inner workings of their minds has also been a godsend, and has kept me motivated to continue to dig deep to find the causes behind my desire to self-destruct. 

It has been empowering, and in some cases, a bit of a high to sit back in "Ah ha!" moments, and realize I didn't have to do that thing that was destroying me anymore, because I now fully understand the WHY of it. 

Self-awareness has saved me in a lot of ways, but I'm realizing lately, it has also stunted me. Constantly looking inward and analyzing the hows and whys of all the things. Searching to find the missing pieces -- to put Humpty back together -- has effected my ability to BE. It has made it more difficult to enjoy some of the healing process, and bask in the beauty of being broken. 

There is beauty in the broken pieces, and I have forgotten that it's 100% okay to just BE sometimes.

Somewhere along the line, I started pretending it was my life's mission to fix myself and others, and the desire to feel better became my job. 

The strange part is, the act of finding myself has become almost as exhausting as feeling lost. I have come to the conclusion that might mean I've actually found some balance, and have given myself permission to drop the shovel for a bit. 

I have committed to reading this summer, but only books that promise to take me OUT of myself, instead of pushing further in. I have committed to chatting with friends about whatever the hell comes to mind - like how much it sucks to BE an anxious ball of sweater at the party - instead of using all of my energy to talk myself out of my right to BE anxious. 

I've given myself permission to feel however I need to and let myself off the hook to immediately jump to any rescue. Most of us know where the side of the pool is; in case we need the lean. I've decided it's okay to swim to the middle and just float there a while, and not be so emotionally attached to every feeling that passes through. I don't have to psychoanalyze everything. I don't have to be on point or ready for anything. 

My every action needs not have rhyme or reason, and they don't all have to mean anything. 

Shit can just BE whatever it is, and maybe it won't kill me. 

Sounds way better than self-helping myself to rubber room, right? How utterly ridiculous.

August 02, 2017

Maybe We Have To Get A Little Messed Up

I cannot always be funny or "on." I know this.

I have come to terms with this fact over the years; even though it goes against everything I wish I could project. Pretending is what I have always done best, and writing my heart has broken down much of the wall standing between me and freedom. Today I understand it's not who I am that I've been hiding, it's all the things about me I don't want you to see. 

But here's the thing: I'm not even afraid of those things anymore, and the wall has been unnecessary for quite some time.

What keeps that wall up, these days, is my comfort in its presence. It was built to protect me from all the things, and it has, in many ways, saved me. When I'm feeling disconnected, it serves as a piece of old furniture that might remind me what home smells like or provide the safety of "ghouls" during a game of tag. 

Except there aren't any skeletons left in my closet to play with, and the only feelings that stupid wall provokes are loneliness and mourning — a longing for what it might actually have been like to ever just feel safe because it was my right.

It's like a heavy sweater I know I probably won't need, but bring to the party, "just in case." Awkwardly, I carry it from conversation to conversation, trying not to focus on it while it weighs on me. I want to set it down, to ask someone to take it from me, but I’m also terrified to let it out of my sight. Because even though I can't remember the last time I needed it, even though it doesn't even fit me anymore, I can't imagine being without it.

It lands me in this space; the space I'm in today. On the couch with a stomach ache because I ate that fucking cupcake to feel better; even though I knew all it would do is make me violently ill. Where I'm activated somewhere in the trauma of yesterday, and so anxious I wish I could set myself on fire to feel anything else. I would give my left arm to settle somewhere between hyper and hypo, and just sit there for a moment before oscillating back. 

Some days, all I can do is show up; and trust in the universe to do the rest. Next Life, NO Kids - Maybe We Have To Get A Little Messed Up

Alcohol helped me fake elation and lie to myself, cigarettes gave me a corporeal excuse for feeling lousy, and I have no more vices left. Sometimes I wish I could just unknow the fact that nothing will ever fully take the sting away. I just have to hum along until the song changes. Time and experience has taught me that it will.

I know that everything is okay -- that I'm not in any of those horrible places right now. I've self-talked myself off the ledge and reminded myself 1000 times that I'm safe and surrounded by love. But my system doesn't always trust me, and I'm wired for sound just in case. 

Just in case something terrible happens, I'll definitely be prepared. Just in case I'm not 100% safe — in case he's not who I think he is. In case there is danger lurking where I can't see; like so many many times I let down that guard and didn't see — until it was much too late. 

So even though I know I'm okay, somehow I'm not; just in case. 

Because trauma has changed me, and my reality is not always reflective of what's real.

Writing these truths has has shined a brilliant light on the sick circles I run, and helped me realize the amount of work still to be done.

Today though, I'm exhausted by awareness. I wish I could let go for just a second to just actually BE anything beyond the fucked up broken doll I see every time I look in the mirror. No matter how many times I change her hair, her clothes, or her scene. No matter how many times I've taken stock of the damages or action to fix what's broken, there always seems to be something more. 

Maybe we have to get a little messed up. Maybe messed up is where I'm meant to be in order to fulfill my purpose. That is what keeps me moving forward, pushes me, and (ironically) what often keeps me from giving up. 

Some days, all I can do is show up; and trust in the universe to do the rest.

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