something about being kind to myself for no reason at all
You remain amazing in your humanness and your ability to jot not embrace it but find it celebratory. Forward and back. That is recovery. Accepting whatever is, is. That is recovery too. I think you are recovering the only way it can happen.
Oh I love you Holly! I am glad you are still willing to share the imperfections with us. Thank God for you! We appreciate your openness and ability to bare your truths. Thank you.
It’s so good to be tender. I wish it was the gold star we all strive for, to be tender to yourself. Wear it like a cloak, Holly.
Thank you endlessly, Holly, for your vulnerability and honesty. I broke down sobbing last week realizing that I would indeed pass on some of the worst ACEs scores to my own children after thinking I had it together for the last 16 years only to realize I was repeating patterns that cut deep in me. Meeting ourselves where we are without this false and cruel expectation for where we should be is the only way I think we escape shame. All the self help and virtuous “care” we give and receive is often wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m out here beginning again and again with you, eyes a little wider open maybe each orbit. Love and peace and deep respect. (Also, OMG thank you for the podcast you did around menstrual cycle and recovery! )
Reading this after I lost my temper this morning in a way that I haven't in a long time. Lost it even though I have paid thousands of dollars in therapy, learned to meditate, read all the books and had years of practice and success at controlling my temper. And then it all goes out the window and I am where you are at the beginning of the essay. I'm trying to get to where you are by the end of your essay... meaning I am trying to be kind to myself- but damn it is challenging. All of it. Sending you a hug.
Thank you for sharing your experience Holly! Your bravery and vulnerability to share your life situations is so helpful to so many and to me. I am single and no children and I only have myself to rely on when these things happen to me. And trust me, being sober now for almost 2 1/2 yrs, at 52, life is still hard! It sucks sometimes and I am exhausted from always having to make decisions! Can someone please take care of me?? Even just for a minute?? I always feel like my life has been tremendously challenging and I always feel this sense of being cursed or “unlucky”.
Anyway...I can relate to it all! Thank you and I always look forward to reading your Substack! Love you! 💜
Oh god the tool becoming the weapon. Why are we so good at violent behaviors to ourselves? Feels even sneakier when they appear as “healthy” weapons to others. Sneaky sneaky.
I'm wondering if it's like this: Have your shit together. Be well-read. Have robust relationships. Move your body. Work your job. Have impeccable hygiene.
Now, in any reasonable week/year (who are we kidding), pick two-ish.
The folks that can do all of those things all the time and well, I don't really want to have coffee with. You are off the hook. xo
When I was first in therapy, realising I was a bit of a fuck up, it became clear that I'd developed this habit of abandoning myself when I most needed to show up to give support and love to myself. If I couldn't see that I was valuable enough to be loved, even when I was messing stuff up, why should anyone else?
The revelation that proved most powerful was that most of the trouble emerged from a child part of me that didn't feel like he was "enough", and that everyone knows if you get angry and frustrated with and then abandon a fearful, shameful child the fear and self-loathing in him just gets worse.
Metaphorically, I needed something to help me remember this forever.
In my head I held a memory of a photo my mother used to have on the sideboard of my sister and I sitting on a log in a wood. I must have been three or four, wearing shorts and a stripey t-shirt, my legs dangling, too short to reach the ground.
These days, when things go wrong or I make mistakes like forgetting my tax return, driving without insurance (I did it for a year, Holly, due to nothing more than my forgetting) or I avoid the dentist because I don't want to ask a question I can't bear hearing the answer to, I think of that little boy on the log and how all he really ever needs is love, protection and kindness.
I imagine putting him behind me while I, the adult, stand between him and whatever is causing the problem so that he doesn't have to deal with it. I find it's easier to cope with adult things when I'm taking proper care of the child.
It's good to hear that you're being kind to yourself for no reason at all because that is all the reason you will ever need.
We are twins. I was missing 4 teeth in early sobriety. Dear lord. Thanks for writing this & for showing up for us all. You basically are my hero. (Forever) Kate
Thank you for your openness and clarity. I feel chased by this kind of shame often. I often wonder if the healthy purpose of shame is to nudge us toward course correction and better choices. In my case, the presence of this shame often makes me perform even worse instead of better, until I finally say, "Okay, enough of this ridiculousness' and pull myself out of it, wondering why I didn't pull myself out sooner. A vicious cycle.
Really enjoyed this writing. It reminded me of a quote I read in another blog I follow and I thought I would share it: "Setting goals is great, but when we isolate the specific event from the rest of our lives -- the training, failing, and growing -- we fail to understand the goal in a larger context. This is why we are often left feeling empty after accomplishing a big objective. The singular event of the goal is less significant than all the moments before and after." https://www.mindandmountain.co/blog/art-of-goal-setting-in-outdoor-recreation
Holy smokes. I could have written this (not as well). It’s my life these days. Freak out fear when I “mess up” in a way that is a reminder of what life was like living with a brain tumor pressing on all the areas that control emotion, fear, inhibition, impulsiveness. Thank you neurosurgery, I’m better - in all ways; but the fear and shame accompanying ordinary life screwups brings me right back to when my life was an uncontrolled mess. Thank you.
Yes, yes, yes, Holly. This is life. This is all of us. Thank you for always reminding us. And this line about “I’ve never felt so worthy” - holy shit. I mean, holy fucking shit. The very thing all that up-and to-the-right seems to promise us is found elsewhere(!). Jesus!
Yes, to staying tender without qualifications 🧡
This is it. THIS is the thing. Being tender with ourselves when we fuck up. Because we will ALWAYS fuck up. No matter our outward successes and our personal growth, we will still fuck up because we are humans and humans fuck up. But what a wonderful, beautiful, hopeful thing to be able to be tender with ourselves when we do! That is the product of so much hard work (that I am still trying to do every day). Thank you for this. ❤️