Yesterday I was with the boys I nanny for George (6) and Clayton (4). We were at a dollar store loading up on crafts and some treats for the movies.
The check out line was extra long but it was early in our day so nobody was cranky or complaining yet.
When we got up to the cashier I noticed that something appeared to be off with the lady. Now this might make some people who do not understand upset…but please know that is not my intention.
The woman was clearly under the influence of some type of substance. I will not get into details of which one…because that is irrelevant.
My stomach started to twist and turn and it was so difficult to look at her. My body actually had a physical reaction..I felt pain in my bones. I wanted to hug her and tell her it’s ok…everything is ok. But of course I could not.
The boys were staring and confused but on their best behavior at the same time.
This woman was me. I remembered back when I was messed up and I thought nobody knew. I thought I was just fine but something deep inside always knew that I wasn’t.
When my son was in preschool there was a very kind woman who was raising foster children. We made plans to meet them at a playground right after school. The kids were all excited but of course I had to go home first to drink and take some more of whatever I was using that day.
Tyler and I arrived at the playground about an hour later and I remember the look on the foster mothers face. She knew.
She didn’t say a word but then handed me a card with her phone number on it and said if you ever need help please call me.
I was thinking maybe I go back to the dollar store and do the same for the cashier lady.
I admittedly have issues with this concept and I am trying to be more understanding of myself and others when it comes to the giving and receiving of attention.
For me personally, I like to immerse myself in whatever it is I am doing. I like to be fully present when I am able.
If I am in conversation with you I am most likely not doing anything else. I am not checking my phone, texting someone else, or looking over my shoulder or..or or.
I understand I have deep rooted childhood issues where I have felt that “my feelings don’t matter.” So if I am spending the time to chat with someone and if they appear disinterested …are not really paying attention or being distracted by 10 other things…then I simply would rather not even be talking to that person.
It actually stings and I don’t want to waste my breath.
I could be completely wrong about this and there might be a whole other way to view it…but I haven’t a clue how…as of yet.
I know when I am speaking with someone ( the boys I nanny for especially) I want you to know that I am listening, I hear you and what you say matters.
When I was in active addiction I could not listen to anything except my disease telling me to get more.
Then coming into recovery I started to clear up a little bit and I remember having such a pit in my stomach. I was constantly nervous and afraid…and doing my best to pretend not to be.
I went to meetings daily and I would feel a little bit of the angst being lifted. I was slowly becoming human again…learning to take care of the basic needs in my life that I had neglected for years. ( eating, sleeping, showering, paying bills)
Then around 2 or 3 years clean my head was clearing but my gut would be in constant battle with my thoughts.
I did not understand it then. But I understand it now.
My mind was still in the disease of addiction. And although it was not telling me to use it was telling me how unworthy I was.
I was still feeling “obligated” to people please…to do what I thought others wanted me to do. I was still feeling guilt, shame and remorse for who I was.
My gut – my soul- my spirit- was not in agreement with any of that and was pulling me in a direction of grace. It was not yelling like the mind but it’s energy was far greater.
Finding the things that eased my soul…that were kind to my being…helped guide me right into gods hands. Where for me there is no angst, there are no obligations, there is no unkind mind…there is just …. me.
Over 12 years ago my life hit a bottom. I was an active alcoholic and a drug addict. During a moment of grace which involved my sons love…I was able to get and stay clean.
Putting down the substances is just the beginning of the recovery process.
Discovering that I had a disease of the mind and that most problems were of my own making was not what I had expected to find. I always thought I just had a drinking and pill problem.I did not know my thinking was twisted.
Early recovery for me was very painful. My mind was still diseased up with putting expectations on people and regularly getting disappointed and hurt when nobody measured up to what my brain was concocting them to be.
Using drugs/alcohol was now not an option but the pain was still there. I had to learn that “expectations are just resentments in disguise.”
I had to learn that I was not always right. I had to learn that I was trying to control things that were not under my jurisdiction…such as people, places and things.
I had to learn what IS up to me to control is myself, my mood, my actions and my thoughts.
When I started to understand there was a new way to be in this world, one that hurt far less than what I had been experiencing…then I found what I had always been seeking…true RELIEF.
Something happened to me when my cat Pickles got sick and passed away. I feel like another layer of my “tough” person…has literally been melting away.
They are small things but they are powerful.
I feel more bonded and connected with the people that are in my life. I feel more sensitive to the others that I care for….and that care for me.
The boys I nanny for George (6) Clay (4) and myself are like the 3 amigos. We laugh, we disagree, we love…we experience this life together. Everything we do is an event – going to Walmart, the library or grocery store have become pure adventures.
Daily I am seeing through their eyes and trying my best to answer their questions and understand their fears.
To soothe them and give them a sense of safety and kindness is my job. To be honest with them when I know most adults might not be.
George was one of the most mistrusting children I had ever met. He now allows me to put my arm around him and comfort him when he is upset. He used to just run away.
I realize George is me. I would never trust anyone enough to allow them to help. If I was hurt I would run as far and as fast as I could.
Pickles dying has opened up so much life for me. I am so grateful to see what I am seeing and to feel what I am feeling.
A very close friend of mine gave me a special note book a few Christmas’s ago.
At the end of each page there is a verse from the bible in which it cleverly incorporates my name.
An example would be : “Above all else, Danielle, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
I grab this notebook to jot things down that are important. I do not open it in any particular order, I just open and write.
Well I noticed the other day, that when I first started this blog over a year ago I wrote down my password and new email address on the page that had this bible verse on the bottom: (picture above is the actual page)
“For I know the plans I have for you Danielle, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
I didn’t even notice the verse at the time….and even if I had I would not have known how fitting it actually was to become.