Tag: inspiration

Listening to Inner and Outer Voices- Take 2

Today I’m sharing a post that I originally published just over four years ago. I had forgotten I wrote it but as I read it again, it really hit home with me. If I had the time and eyes, I could have written this last week. I’ve made a few small changes but it’s pretty close to the original text. 

Originally published May 13, 2015

Every Wednesday, Ronovan invites us to Be Wonderful on Wednesday. This is my contribution. It’s not quite what I had planned but that’s the way these things go.

The evening before my birthday,  a family member wrote a very moving post dedicated to me on Facebook. I was tired, emotional and blown away after reading her words.

She described me as- giving, non-judgmental, open minded, kind hearted and caring. She used words like inspirational and blessing. Me. Inspirational. A blessing. She talked about how I’ve been there for everything from breakdowns and tantrums to hospital trips. She used a bunch of other adjectives that I won’t even mention- because I just don’t see myself that way. My initial reaction was an overwhelming feeling of love for the beautiful person who wrote it. I re- read the words and they hit me in the face. This moving tribute was not how I would have described myself.

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”  -Brene Brown

If I can be completely open with you, lately I would describe myself as angry, unrealistic, interfering, stubborn, overly sensitive. I’ve questioned every move I’ve made.

The truth of the matter is that the only words I hear are the ones in my head. Although I try to be all the things described in that post, that’s not how I see myself.

In fact, because my inner voice is so loud it drowns out the outer voice of my family member.

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”

-Denis Waitley

Needing something more and unclear on what it was, I showed her post to a friend.  He read it and nodded. I shrugged, tried to smile, failed. Is that really me? was my unasked question.

He stared at me and said, “It’s true. And you should be hearing this way more often than you probably do.” His voice was gruff and he changed the subject.

I’ve looked at that post so many times since she first posted it. I’m trying to drown out the litany of negative thoughts- the ones that accompany every doubt I have when I read the words.

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford

It made me think. How often do we walk around thinking positive, inspirational and affirmative thoughts to ourselves about ourselves? Well, I’ve just confessed that I don’t. In fact, if my inner voice were a person I would not want to hang out with her. She’s a real downer. And yet, I listen to her and I doubt it when someone tells me nice things about myself.

I think it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between the inner and outer voices. While it’s important to be realistic, there’s no real benefit from allowing your inner voice to beat you up and drag you down. Nor should you allow someone’s outer voice to do the same.

And when someone tells you that you are kind or caring or the backbone of the family or even inspirational, you should take it as the gift that it is. You should realize that people don’t waste their time trying to make you feel good like that if they don’t care an awful lot. And you should embrace those outer voices close to you and let them drown out that negative reel that might play in your head occasionally.

I originally wanted to write a post about her lovely words because they made me feel pretty wonderful and loved. But possibly even more importantly, her words made me very aware of the not so pretty  things I allow to run through my head and the realization that it needs to stop. I’m not sure if I will ever feel comfortable accepting compliments from people but it’s time for me to realize that maybe…just maybe they are right!

What about you? Are you able to accept compliments and embrace them? Or do you sometimes battle with that negative voice that pops up in my head at times? 

Peace and Love,

-Kat

 

 

Follow Up to “Say Nothing or Something”

Yesterday’s post- Say Nothing or Something– was not the post I thought I was going to write when I began it over a week ago. In fact, I scrapped half of it and changed the name a few times. I had actually thought about the post for weeks before even trying to formulate a coherent post and in the end, I still felt that it was rambly and not quite what I wanted to say.

The past few weeks have been filled with some unpleasant blindsides, truths and a bully along with his spineless followers thrown in for good measure. I had recently said that I felt like I was being pushed out of my own life. In too many places, I was getting the message that I no longer fit in or was no longer wanted and/or needed. To say that I’ve been floundering would be something of an understatement. I can’t remember feeling this insecure and unsure since my teenage years.

And the Say Nothing post was taunting me. I might not know where I belonged anymore or where I was headed but I knew I needed to write it. And to write specifically about how I wasn’t sure if I had something to offer. (I’m not going to go into details about “the hits that just kept on coming” but suffice it to say, I was rattled in all areas of my life, and quite frankly still am.) I knew that my need to write was not a result of “the hits” because it had been flitting through my mind for awhile. So I attempted to write it. 

And here is what happened- 

You responded. Through blogging I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting incredible people. First of all, there is the blogging community. Wow! Although I have been writing my entire life, this blog was the first time I let anyone actually read what I wrote. I cannot think of a better place for a beginner to get her toes wet.

Whether you liked, commented or read my post and did nothing more, THANK YOU! This community is amazing. People are so supportive and are always willing to cheer you on and help you to succeed. My little oddities as a writer don’t seem quite so odd in this place. 🙂 I have the courage to continue to write and I’ve been toying with venturing into writing fiction here, too.  Bloggers are the best!

When I took the Blogging U courses, I met some really great people, who have become friends. I have connected with them outside of this community and their friendship means the world to me.

The other group that I’ve been blown away by is the LGBTQ community. I wasn’t sure who was going to read my blog, although I thought that they might be parents of transgender kids. (Makes sense, doesn’t it?) Some of my most enriching experiences were with the transgender people I’ve met here. I have never been looking for support or a pat on the back as a parent. As I’ve said quite a few times, I don’t know how to be any other type of mom than the one I am. I cherish the heartfelt exchanges with my fellow parents of trans kids. This group, the LGBTQ community both within the blogging world and out, are consistently the most gentle, kindest, welcoming people I have ever had the fortune to interact and connect with.

But parenting a transgender child is not easy. Especially when you spend 18 years not knowing you’re doing it! And it was as I shared our journey and heard from people who were on their own journey, but as full grown adults, that I felt that we were going in the right direction. I didn’t want Kris to feel that they had to wait for someone to die before they could be their true self. Although I will never truly know what it feels to be transgender, through research, reading and talking with Kris, I wanted to be sure I was getting an accurate feel for where they were at and what was going on inside. It was through Kris and my transgender friends here that I was able to gain a better understanding.

And my heart broke as I thought of Kris’s childhood and the confusion they must have felt for so much of it. I’ve been assured that it wasn’t all torture, gloom and doom, and there are videos, photographs and memories that support that. Still, I wanted to be sure that moving forward, my child would have to opportunity to live the same life that everyone else was given and that they would be accepted as their brothers were- for who they were- not what people wanted them to be.

As Kris has become more comfortable expressing their gender in a feminine way, there are people who thought/think that Kris changed their mind and had gone back to being a girl. I don’t feel compelled to go into a lengthy explanation. Kris is Kris. If someone asks, I will answer. The depth of the answer depends on the person. I consider this to be a huge step for me- no longer feeling the need to explain or justify Kris’s life to anyone. But it came with a price and that was that when I continued to speak as the parent of a transgender child, it didn’t really look that way anymore. If you have a nonbinary or gender variant/creative/nonconforming child, you know that appearances are a wild card on any day of the week. And those folks don’t even ask because they get it. They live it too.

It’s that world that follows the gender binary that gets caught up in semantics and all the little details. Some of those people live in the LGBT community and are parents of transgender kids. I respect their conviction that their child is transitioning to male or female, regardless of the child’s age. But I did stumble here because I didn’t want to make them feel like I was judging or questioning their choices for their kids. I was them once. And it didn’t occur to me that maybe Kris was not a boy. Luckily, we live in a world where transgender people are more visible and at times it appears that genderqueer people are highly visible. It was after reading comments on the Say Nothing post that I realized that I needed to continue to share our experience, no matter what we looked like on the outside.

More people are comfortable living with two genders- male and female. The concept of gender being inherent is foreign to them, even though they would probably admit to feeling their gender down to the fiber of their being.

Consistent, insistent, persistent. These are words that you will hear tossed around when a person questions their child’s gender. Do they show signs of these three things? Maybe that’s where I tripped up. Because Kris was all three and according to those markers along with professional assessments, Kris was a boy. But Kris wasn’t. Kris spent their life saying “I’m a boy” but that was not what Kris meant. And let me tell you, this kid has above average intelligence and always had a sophisticated vocabulary. What Kris was actually saying was “I’m not a girl.” Kris was a child. How could they know that the two don’t mean the same thing? They only knew two genders. But they knew their sense of who they are did not match the label they were given.

So my place in the LGBT world is a little bit different than I thought it was going to be. While I can still speak to what it feels like to have a female to male kid transition complete with name/gender marker changes, binder and testosterone, I can continue to stress how important it is to take your time and listen to your child but also listen to your gut instinct when it comes to this child. I can share my ftm kid experiences but I can also talk about where that led.

Do you remember the game “Don’t Break the Ice”? It had the square frame with plastic ice cubes in it and you took turns tapping on an ice cube, trying to free it without collapsing all of the other cubes? Well, my life feels that way lately- like I’m not quite sure if all my ice cubes are going to crash to the ground while I tap gently on this one. (I do have a point here.) My cubes are pretty shaky right now but thanks to the people who took part in commenting on my last post, I have safely freed one of my cubes and maybe the remaining ones are not as much in jeopardy as I thought.

I need to thank everyone who commented on my last post- Shawn, Kris, Claudette, Curious Mother, and Ruth. (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!!) You inspired me to write this post. Your comments helped ground me and give me direction. My heart was warmed so much. It’s hard to find words to express my gratitude.

There is a strong possibility that this post is just as rambly as the last one but inside I feel like something was set straight. My thoughts on this topic are focused and no longer shooting off in all different directions. And even if Kris should show up with that buzz cut looking like a boy, I’m ready.

 

Keep On

mlk perserverance 10.14.15

The past few weeks I have drifted and I have been pushed farther away from my blogging world that I am comfortable. I felt the distance growing as days turned into weeks and it was all I could do to eek out a post or two. I was behind in reading all of my favorite blogs. Photographs taken for upcoming photo challenges sat unused in their folders on my desktop. Post ideas fell by the wayside. I was not happy with the direction things were heading but I felt helpless.

I can give you all the excuses- I was preparing my house for my oldest son along with his family to move in indefinitely. I was needed to watch the baby. I had to attend my other two kids’ college family weekends. I had meetings. My best friend moved within days of my oldest son moving in. The list goes on and on.

Are these valid reasons for letting my blog drift away? Some would say maybe. Others would shout yes, lending me a supportive presence. And there could even be the ones who would just look at me with “that” look. The truth of the matter is that although I can understand where the maybe people and the shouting yes folks are coming from, I know that I’m in the camp with the LOOK people. It was their thoughts that echoed in my mind every time I thought of my blog.

Just in case you aren’t on that team, I can fill you in on what their messages were.

“If it’s important to you, you will make time for it.”

“You can’t sacrifice yourself completely to help others. You need to put yourself and your needs first occasionally.” 

“You are sending out the message that your ‘stuff’ is not as important as everyone else’s. if you don’t value it, then why should they?”

Let me be clear. My blog, among other pushed aside things, was not forgotten. In fact, it weighed heavily on my mind. Blog posts were writing themselves in my head—repeatedly. The mini-tantrum I threw when I was unable to fit a notebook that I couldn’t even find to purchase so it didn’t matter anyway into my purse because I forgot the bag I usually bring when I’m away and didn’t have a scrap of paper to scribble on was as much for my own sanity as anything else. After a drought, words were coming back to me and I didn’t want to lose them!

As I was trying to get back on my feet after the Kris scare and find a routine, I looked to my Blogging U classmates- Colleen (Silver Threading), Ronovan (Ronovan Writes) and Hugh (Hugh’s Views & News) for motivation, inspiration…..help. And there they were, just as they have been since we all met in our blogging classes.

Until recently I was a regular participant in Writer’s Quote Wednesday, hosted by Colleen, and Be Wonderful on Wednesday, hosted by Ronovan. These challenges are both really awesome- separate, if quotes are more your thing than being wonderful or vice versa, and combined, they pack a bigger punch. Quotes have always inspired me and Colleen has taken this challenge to an even deeper level, which although I sometimes fail to meet, absolutely LOVE! And Ron’s BeWoW- encouraging bloggers to fill the blogosphere with positive thoughts combined with the quote bring even more meaning to both challenges.

And then there’s Hugh. Did you know that I won his Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge last December? Let’s talk about inspiration! He challenged bloggers to write about what is on top of their Christmas tree and in return he donated to Alzheimer’s research. The challenge was a huge success and I was honored to be chosen to write a guest post on Hugh’s blog. No, Hugh, I have not forgotten. I just hope the offer has not expired! And after an absence of sorts, I visited Hugh’s blog to find that he has kicked off Hugh’s Photo Challenge, one that I look forward to taking part in.

That Ronovan’s prompt for this week is “Perseverance” is quite timely for me. I see it as a sign. I could have let my blog lay there, shoved aside and somewhat forgotten, gathering dust (as it did when I first created it) or I could push through and just do it. I knew I wasn’t ready to let go of Dandelion Fuzz, not by a long shot. I might have been crawling there for awhile….and to some extent, I might still be but at least I’m moving forward. Of this I’m sure- when I sat down this morning to write this post I was tired and I was pushing myself to JUST DO IT. As I’ve sat typing, complete with interruptions which could have derailed me for the rest of the day- one call from school to pick up a first grader with possible pink eye and one cry out from a baby who woke up from his nap alone and needing assistance- but I didn’t and that’s largely due to Hugh, Ronovan and Colleen and their unknowing shove from behind. THANK YOU!

All of their challenges are open to everyone, so please take a look at their blogs (links are sprinkled throughout this post) and jump in! You’ll meet a lot of cool people and hopefully be inspired to join in.

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Muse

Muse

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.”

My yard
My backyard has been my muse for years now. Sitting out here relaxes me enough to clear my head for writing and it provides me with endless photos.
ari
Ari is my most unwilling muse. She never fails to provide inspiration.
Royal typewriter
I never know when a muse might pop up when I’m antiquing!