Un-Spoken Rules

My heart is broken and I engaged in a bribe just so that I could feel free to post today the devastation I went through as my 12-year-old boy told me to shut up. Well, those were not the exact words he spoke to me but he might as well have said them, when through the changing room door I heard his half boy half-man voice come out loud and clear “could you please stop talking?” “Ouch!” What did I say that was so wrong? How could he treat me with such disrespect? Here I was, taking time out of my busy day to make sure he had clothes to cover his ever-growing limbs and just wanted to check to make sure there was not any other needs he might have, that of course is where it all went wrong.

Apparently, I broke one of those unspoken rules, you know, we all have them. There are things we would say in private that we might not in public. Ways we might act behind closed doors but never on a stage. They are different for each one of us but we all have them. “Honestly, son, I did not know it was a rule”.

I find it ironic because this is an area that I find very intriguing, the dreaded unspoken polices that so many people have, rules we all follow that can’t be found in a play book or instruction manual. The dilemma that I have with these silent set of self-induced laws is this. Because they are not spoken of how in the world am I suppose to know how to follow them. I find that it is only when I break the unspoken rules do I have a chance at finding out what they really are. I am not a rebel without a cause, I am not against systems and regulations that help us feel safe within our circles. I do not like making people feel uncomfortable or noticed. I just want to know the rules.

So, here I was with my 12 year old man child, he was on one side of the dressing room trying on pants while I innocently stood on the outside waiting to see if they fit. I know most of you who know me must be chuckling, thinking “innocently”?, fair enough. There are times when I have been known to mess with my children and thank God for amends and forgiveness but this was truly an innocent mistake. I am treading on new waters, raising a boy and finding out that there are just something’s boys do not talk about in public or private unlike girls.

As he was trying on new pants, going back and forth about them fitting, I simply asked if he needed new underwear. I proceeded to ask about the ones he had on today, the ones that were hanging outside his pants hiked up to his chest, OK, maybe not that far but I am sure you get the picture. Moreover, truthfully, I would not be surprised if he was thinking at the time, “you hypocrite,” See, I am the last person to be coaching anyone on underwear etiquette and that is another blog in itself. As I finished my inquiring about the apparent need and paused to get his response all I could hear was dead silence, followed by a grunt and then he did it. He told me to shut up, close your mouth woman, you have nothing meaningful to say!. Shut up! OK, that was my negative distorted hearing that I like to use when I feel sorry for myself and want to drag others with me, hope you did not buy it, especially if you know my boy.

Even though I could not see his eyes, I would have bet big bucks on the fact that as he firmly and boldly spoke out “would you please stop talking”, his eyes were rolling at the same time. I was taken back, hurt and pained at the fact that he was really telling me to shut up in the most respectful way. Standing on the other side of the dressing room was my boy fighting to become a man and really putting me in my place, introducing me for the first time to one of his un-spoken rules. As he came out, looked up at me with those big blue eyes that said, “Please don’t say another word” the revelation hit me.

I quietly and gently just leaned in and said “guys don’t talk about their underwear to each other especially in public, right?” With a smile across his face and his shoulders flared back he said in all confidence to me “that is right”! I was amazed and I continued to break the unspoken rule as we walked through the department store. However, I was speaking in a quieter voice but I needed to know. Raising two girls, having lots of sisters and girlfriends we don’t have that rule, it’s just the opposite. We can talk for hours about our underwear in public, in line with them in our hands and not even think twice.

As we were making our way to the check out line, I leaned in to get close to his ear and just said, “ You would never talk about your underwear with another guy?” His head flipping back, eyes making contact with mine he said, “The only time it is OK is if it is about a wedgey” he quickly turned his head away and the conversation was done. I am so visual, that is all he needed to say to shut me up. The point was taken, the pants were purchased, and my wheels started turning.

When we got into the car I brought up to him about un-spoken rules and how we all have them and shared with him the lesson I had just learned from our own experience in the dressing room. Here is where the bribe came in. My boy knows me so well and he ordered me not to blog about this. Can you believe it? I am the grown up for goodness sake but I got it and told him I would just journal about it and he still didn’t want that. So I proceeded of course to give him a little government lesson in free speech and I believe eyes were rolling during the lesson as well.

When I got home, there were a few things he really wanted to do and one thing I really wanted to do, so, you could say we comprised, I like that better then a bribe and he got his way and I got mine. I know in his young mind that this seems to be all about the underwear and if that is what you got out of this as well then you are missing the point.

So, a challenge to all of you who come across this blog. What are some of your unspoken rules, policies that you follow that seem to dictate your actions, your feelings and possibly set you up for a false belief system. I honesty did not set out to embarrass my son and you bet next time we are shopping together I will honor his unspoken rule but I only knew that is existed because I broke it.

Fully known and fully loved.

To be fully loved we have to be willing to be fully known. I embraced this life lesson for the very first time six years ago today. Bittersweet emotions fill my heart as I take a walk down memory lane. At first glance it seems as though lose was the theme to my life and brokenness was the title of each passing chapter. As an individual I had to come to the end of myself it was there where I found a new start to life.

Face to face with my demons and my deepest darkest secrets, that is what got me a round trip ticket out of state. Was being fully known worth being fully broken? Was being fully loved worth feeling fully and completely done with myself? If I had been asked six years ago in the moment of my brokenness, I am not sure how I might have answered such a question. However, today, I would have to say without a doubt, yes!

Sitting in a pile of denial, weaving my way out of my darkness and reaching out to my creator is exactly what helped me step out of the dungeon that I had created for myself and into the light. Fearful of being fully known and fully rejected had kept my secrets locked up for over thirty years.

My husband had spent a decade himself in denial, covering up for me the messes I had left behind and the trail of dysfunction that resulted in most relationships I had touched. My young children had only known me under the influence and the abnormal was their normal.

As I spoke the truth that night six years ago, exposing my greatest weakness at the time, I could feel the weight of the secret coming off me. I was skin and bones weighing just under 90 lbs and hooked on 120 pills a day. I had tried to quit more times then I could remember but the addiction had a death grip on my life and it would not let go.

The power that finally broke the grip was exposing the truth of my addiction. I had nothing else to lose that night. I came to an understanding with myself and with my maker. I sat completely broken my heart shattered in a million pieces and my life in total chaos. I realized that I did not want to die, but I did not know how to live. I was tired of all the secrets, all the lies and deception just to feed my habits, the addictions and the hurts that were piled high from years of not dealing with them. If there was a substance that could be abused, from a pill, to a bottle from food to my body, I had done it. My mentality was if a little was good then more must be better.

I had hungered to be fully loved and completely wanted my whole life. But it wasn’t until I was willing to be fully known and completely real about who I was and what I had done, it was at that moment that I realized that I had believed a lie most of my life. “If they only new.” Four powerful words that kept me from fully exposing who I was, kept me from flying in the freedom we feel when we allow ourselves to be fully loved.

Today I am committed to being fully known and completely real about who I am, where I have been and where I am going. I have learned to embrace my past with open arms, to use my brokenness to reach out to others and never be sorry for who I am. Thank you all who have stood by my side, cheered me on, been there to catch me when I fall and loved me just the way I am.

5 Names

“Five names on you at all times.” Advice given to me six years ago as I sat in a room full of recovering drug addicts, broken and beat up by life, wondering how I was ever going to make my way back home.

I will never forget how hard it was for me to hold back all the tears when I was advised to keep a list of five people in my wallet that I could call on at any moment of the day if I found myself in trouble. The truth was I could not even count on two let alone five. I had pushed everyone who loved me away. I had put up walls that I would not let others over and shut doors that I would not let anyone open.

Today, six years later, celebrating a benchmark of my recovery process, I was brought to the same place of tears but for a very different reason. The tears today were of joy, peace and thankfulness.

We had a BBQ in the park to bring together our friends and family, to celebrate the relationships that have grown through this process and to bring together those who are most important in our lives.

We wanted to say thank you to those who have chosen to stay in the relationships with us even when they were hard and thank you to those who have just joined us on this continued journey we call life.

We could not ask for a better circle of friends and family. The blessings that come out of our struggles have been that of deeper relationships and experiences that are more meaningful.

I have learned not to take anyone for granted and to make the most of every moment count. I have learned to say what I mean and mean what I say and to love those closest to me as if the were the only ones with me.

How have I learned to do this? Well, there is a saying, “more is caught then taught.” I have watched those closest to me set the highest example of being open and authentic, choosing to be brave rather then safe, thank you, you know who you are.

Thank you all who came out today to support us, you are the reason why we can fly!

Sister Sister

Some people have birth sisters, some people have sisters in Christ but I am one of the lucky ones who has a sister in Christ who just happens to be my sister by birth. It is a double blessing, a secret in disguise and one of the most amazing relationships I have ever experienced in my life.

I just dropped my sister off at the airport, with a little sadness in my heart and a longing for more time. It felt like we had just completed a marathon of a visit. She arrived late Friday night and we did not stop until I kicked her to the curb to catch her plane. OK, I did not kick her but it was a quick goodbye or else I would have cried.

This was by far one of the best visits I had ever had with my sister. What made it so special was that we had some really good quality one on one times, late at night talking without the interruptions that come with being a mother of three, a wife, a teacher, trainer, bible study leader and that is just to name a few of the roles my sister fills. She was just Eileen my sister for three beautiful days and I am so grateful for my brother in law who stayed behind to man the household, what a great guy.

To share a past a present and a future, wilt baggage to boot can be one of the most difficult relationships to grow. I believe because of our two common denominators, family and faith, we have been able to push through the difficulty that comes when you share a family tree.

I have watched my sister grow in her faith in such away that she walks with this confidence that only comes from those who really know who holds the whole world together. She has away of making people laugh because of her outlook on life and on herself. She has taught me not to take my life or myself to serious.

So today, I celebrate the fact that I have been blessed with a sister sister. I celebrate the fact that even though she knows all about me she still loves me even more. I challenge any of you who share this same scenario to reach out, write a letter, make a phone call, text a message and just say thank you to that special one you call sister.

From My Husband

Hi Gorgeous,

I heard today, that today was tell someone how much you love them day. So here goes;

I am so looking forward to our vacation

I can’t wait to take some long walks on the beach with you

I would take a long walk on the pier, but I tend to get hurt on the pier ;-)

You are my best friend

I believe that God’s ministry for me is to be your partner and supporter and I am so looking forward to being there for you

I am so proud of you for who you are allowing God to turn you into

You are truly becoming a Proverbs 31 women

I believe this quote truly sums up our love:

True love is what you've been through with somebody.

Love always and forever…..