The woman sat across from me, smiling – eyes wide and happy. I thought it was miraculous: she looked excited to see me – this she who is my therapist, one who enjoys the Myers-Briggs assessment tool. She was talking about how I show up in the world, personality wise. She was talking about how I am free spirited, don’t like to plan, don’t like the middle or endings of things so I work under pressure… and I remembered, so clearly…
The college-aged me loved getting assigned mammoth research papers. I am such a nerd I wrote my first research paper in the fifth grade. Thirty-five pages on the plight of the migrant worker. No accident I live in the county where Caesar Chavez got his start. Those thirty-five pages included 37 different references which I gleefully compiled on index cards which I joyfully attached to a carefully crafted outline.
I loved watching other students race to get their assignments in when mine were consistently done well before the due date, no crunch necessary.
So when did I stop behaving like this and when did I start stuff and then (more often than I will care to admit) fall apart before crossing the finish line?
I can easily look back and point to “stuff” that happened that made me not want to go the finish line because of painful associations.
The first notable case of this is the Birth/Death of my long awaited first child, Marlena.
Then there is the job I had that seemed like such a good fit which ended when my life was threatened twice in two months and then my associates and co-workers all deserted me.
There is the reality of two of my children’s education where schools failed them, repeatedly, in more ways than I need to document here (and would happily do so privately for those who may have similar circumstances).
For someone with serious abandonment issues, feeling left out or different from the mythical “most people” may create a downward sloping day, week or months or more.
Let’s face it, most people are excited about pregnancy and delivery and I, instead, almost always have death hovering as a very real known-to-me option.
Most people look to new employment as an exciting opportunity for growth and I look to it as if the unexpected associations with work may cause my death – no matter how irrational this may seem, my brain serves up this fear when I think about getting a “conventional” sort of job.
I know some Moms who break out the bloody Mary mix and Margaritas on the first day of school. Me? I am more likely to don combat boots and camo, waiting for the inevitable crisis call.
This very real scenario happened last week:
My son’s school called when I was away from my phone. I saw I had just missed it so the voice mail hadn’t yet arrived. I stood there and felt my heart race, a sudden unexpected flashback.
“Ohhhh, no… the school called, the school called… what happened what happened what happened? Did he get bullied? Did a teacher humiliate him? Did he have a breakdown or a meltdown or was he sexually molested (and blamed for not coming straight back to class) or was he urinated on by a peer? Do I need to rush over there and pick up the pieces?”
Here’s the thing. All of these things have actually happened on school campuses to my children.
The voice mail landed in my email box and here is a reasonable version of what I heard: “Hello, Parents. We are calling to inform you at 8:40 we were called by the Sheriff’s Department notifying us there was a man on the adjacent street to us carrying a rifle so we immediately went on lockdown.”
My response? “Oh thank God, it was just a man walking near the school with a rifle.”
I have told this story to other special-ed parents and the story brings nodding and understanding and yes, the occasional laugh or two or three.
My beginnings haven’t been met with excitement because the journey turned from gleeful excitement about the what’s next to dismay and horror about what might come next and then, so it seemed, the “rightness” of the mess that came next.
Now, the-me-I-am now – has a whole lovely decade (and more) of narrative to rewrite.
Old narrative: “The experiences and starting lines other people celebrate with hopeful expectation, I need to be wary about because I don’t think I can stand anymore pain in my life.”
New narrative (First draft, will continue to tweak). In any life process, there are possibilities for deep pleasure and satisfaction and there are possibilities for loss. This is true for everything. My choice today is to do the work and experience the profound joy I was meant to do here to benefit humanity and experience mindful creative abundance every day. My choice is to have my eyes wide open and to keep moving forward, onward and upward with loving, passionate detachment.
If you would like to work towards rewriting your narrative in order to have a more truthful foundation to build your life upon, I would love to work with you to do that. Contact me at the number below —
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people’s creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon!
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.