Hi, my name is Jana and I’m addicted to filters. WHEW! I feel better now.
I often say that filters are the poor girl’s facelift, and it’s true. I love me some filters. It can be good for the self esteem…or is it, really?
Every selfie or picture, I find myself honing in on the smile lines and sun damage, vitiligo, and age spots, and that’s all I see.
All I see is evidence that Father Time is stomping across my face wearing soccer cleats.
Aging is hard, y’all. And the EDS exacerbates it because my collagen is faulty amd mutated, and my skin is stretchy but doesn’t always pop back.
But I’m feeling spry and sassy today. I’m dressed, wearing makeup, and am out of the house. So after filtering the @&$%# out of the first pic, I decided to post one unfiltered next to it, because I earned every laugh line and wrinkle and inch of crepey neck and eyelid.
And while it’s fun to use technology to make ourselves look younger, it shouldn’t make us despair our unfiltered, real image as “women of a certain age.”
We’ve seen some shit and been through a half century of life experience. The tough times didn’t kill us – it made us stronger. And who cares if our faces reflect that?
I do, if I’m honest. But I’m working on self-acceptance.
One of my friends recently said something offhandedly that punched me right in the gut.
“I’m only as happy as my least happy child,” she waxed. Never before has anyone said something more relatable to me.
We live in strange times. Times that can either amp our codependency behaviors, or challenge us to fortify them.
Nobody tells you this, but lean in real close… the age of eighteen is not the “magic” age when your kids get their shit together. I don’t know who the hell came up with that number, but its arbitrary as all get-out. We are here for our kids no matter what their ages.
Children boomerang back. Mine is 28. Two out of three of our adult kids have had to move back home for a spell.
I’m very glad they have somewhere to bounce back to. I did not have a safe place to boomerang home as an adult. Nobody took care of me. I want better for my kids than I had, but I also want them to be fully independent.
Life is messy, ya’ll.
In preparing a room for her, I am also preparing my heart. Because the child who is moving back temporarily can push my buttons.. In all fairness, we both probably push one another’s buttons.
She is scrappy and feisty and “extra,”and I am scrappy and feisty and “extra”. And I don’t know how to “mom” grown children under my roof. I hate conflict, and the more adults you add to your home, the higher the conflict quotient.
Here are some ways in which I will protect my boundaries and actually enjoy the experience of having a grown child back at home:
I will not run interference between other family members.
This is HUGE for me. Keeping the entirety of peace in the house – even in a relatively peaceful family dynamic – is not my job. I will do my part, but I will not clean up after others, literally or figuratively. I hope my husband and daughter get along (as they mostly do), but I will not take ownership of their relationship.
I will set realistic expectations of myself, and of her.
As a disabled person, I sometimes need help. A lot of help. It is okay to ask for it and expect it. (Hear that, self? It is OKAY TO ASK FOR IT AND EXPECT IT.)
I will show grace and respect (and expect respect.)
It’s not the same world it was when most of us were in our 20’s. It’s much more expensive to live on one’s own. As she comes in for a landing, I will remember it’s not her destination flight that brought her home; just circumstances that will improve and allow her to spread her wings. I will try my best to be graceful and patient, while knowing this is temporary.
I will operate from a place of healthy boundaries. I’ve become accustomed to having my own space. And accustomed to meditating and self-care. These things did not come easy, and they did not come until my children flew the nest. I am protective of them.
I can be happy, even if nobody in my house is happy. I tend to calibrate my mood to whomever is feeling any type of way. This includes my husband.
I will not try to “fix”. I am present and available, but must remember it isn’t my job to “fix” anyone. Furthermore, it is an impossibility.
I will keep the faith. I will lean into God and have faith that whatever comes my way, He is only ever good. And I will have faith in my daughter, as I always have. We will get through the bumps in life as a family.
I will find the joy in this – and every – experience.
My daughter and I are exceedingly close. My daughters and I have been through a LOT together. We have legions of inside jokes, the same absurd and silly sense of humor. We talk about deep subjects, even when we don’t agree. We will make memories during this time that wouldn’t be made any other way. I will enjoy the ride!
I don’t know if these points will help you through a trying, temporary time, but writing them out is already helping me. My therapist has been helping me overcome co-dependency issues, and what better time to hone those skills?
I fell like this is not the only area of life I can avoid the potholes of co-dependency. Life is chock full of opportunities to stretch and grow.
I don’t know what age people actually get their shit together is, because I don’t have mine together yet!
And I pray God blesses you and gives you permission to not save the entire world. Because it isn’t yours to save. Life is hard and relationships are hard, and co-dependent behaviors whisper that they will help you get through it, but in reality only make it more difficult.
We are worth the effort of setting healthy boundaries and caring about ourselves and our peace as much as we care for others. I won’t forget that if you don’t!
The big spiritual “thing” I’m doing is really something. And reader…I’m so glad you are sticking alongside me for the ride! I am currently reading Rob Bell’s “Everything is Spiritual,” which is a whole other blog post for another time.
I am also fortunate to be a part of a group of free-thinkers and like-minded Christ-following mystics, and we have been learning about Quantum life, the neuroplasticity of the human brain, the connectedness of each of us with every other, and other lite fare concepts. One of the ideas is that you choose your thoughts. Or at least, which ones to accept.
I have been a victim of my own thoughts all my life. I run on 100% emotions, and ergo…feelings sometime feel like facts. They are very convincing and super sneaky that way.
The idea is that I’m changing my focus from the myriad of negative, self-critical, panic-inducing thoughts I experience on the regular that result in self-flagellating and angst; and instead completely shift my thoughts on – oh, I don’t konw – things that DON’T suck.
On PURPOSE, even.
Part of this is becoming deliberate about practicing meditation and affirmations. Another part is changing my prayer life to be a type of constant conversation with God, and asking him specifically to increase my actual AWARENESS of the quantum world. My awareness of his innate goodness. The awareness of all the little ways God winks at us everywhere at every moment. Because he IS, you know. He is giving us signs and wonders, and “coincidences” and a cascade of pure, ridiculously grace-full LOVE. It’s all around us.
Which brings me to shark’s teeth.
My Beloved and I are enjoying a little weekend getaway at the beach. One of the things we love to do is go beach-combing, always with my ultimate goal being a glistening piece of sea glass or the tooth of a shark.
Any shark. I’m not picky.
The latter has proven to be extremely elusive. In 22 years of coastal living, I have only found one single shark tooth. So on our walk this morning, at this new beach, I felt sure I’d find some.
We roamed that beach for half an hour in 40 degree temperature. I had shark teeth on the brain. The beach here is littered with beautiful shells and various examples of flotsam and jetsam from the sea. Really cool stuff. I have found sea glass many times. But today, nary a shark chomper was to be found.
At this point, I am cold and sandy, with a crick in my neck from scanning the ground. In what can only be described as the Most First World Problem to ever “problem,” I was getting frustrated and perturbed.
But just before we call it, I looked down and saw what appeared to be a little heart…a shell heart. I picked it up and examined it, and it occurred to me that I almost missed it, so single-minded was I. I was only focusing on one thing, when around me is the whole big ocean, and a glorious, hazy sky, and the love of my entire life combing through shells alongside me.
I knew that the little heart was a portent.
I know because I asked for the awareness to see and know and be tuned in more to the Divine.
It sounds silly, but I absolutely knew it was a God-thing. And had I just walked in big circles on an endless beach, eyes downcast and mind focused only on one thing, I’d not have seen it.
Yes, I believe that we live among angels and that we are all connected to one another, and that the Creator of the cosmos would plant a little shell emoji on a wintery beach just to remind me where to keep my focus.
And I thought that was a pretty good analogy for where we put our focus, and how many things we miss by being single-minded. I’m the world’s worst about it.
But in asking our Source to increase my awareness of everything good and true, because I forget to look for it, what with all the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth I inflict on myself.
Today, I hold a God wink in my pocket.
I hope you see a rainbow today.
I hope someone says kind words to you today, and I hope you give others kind words.
I hope you find a flower in frozen ground.
I hope a wave of the peace that passes understanding knocks you down into the Father’s lap.
I hope you see yourself for the magnificent bearer of love that you are.
And that things happen to you that confirm you are made of stardust.