Rebel with a Cause.

This morning I awoke at 4 am to the whines of my 6 month old. We had been up multiple times through out the night already, and just as I was about to curse the heavens for another prayer unanswered (longer sleep stretch), a verse of a song started playing in my head.

“I know I can treat you better, then he can.” – Shawn Mendes “Treat You Better”

When a random song pops into my head, I know it carries a great message for me once it’s felt and understood. I don’t wake up every morning with a song stuck in my head, nor did I listen to it before bed. This is one of the ways your Angels communicate to you, and I have learned to listen. This song sent a wave of ‘ah ha’ swirling through me. It becomes clear, I have been confusing how the world treats me with what I deserve. When merely, it’s just the best the world can do. My value and what I deserve is not determined by how others treat me. How others treat me, is just their best at any given moment.

This is not what I deserve, it’s just the best he can do.

It’s my job to treat myself better then the world treats me. I’ve been letting the world tell me what I deserve and how I should feel about myself. In  e v e r y  way. Everyone calls this phenomena “taking it personally.” I have been doing so my entire life, and I have come to believe that I am not in the minority here either. The way the world responds to me, must be what I deserve. I’ve been living suspended in the ever changing whims of kindness and approval from others and the world around me. I have been told many times that I deserve to be loved, yeah by myself. There is also a part of me that knows I deserve to be loved by others, and by God.

I had been living was in total emotional flux. How I felt about myself and who I am was fluid and ever changing. It was also uncontrollable. I would allow myself to only feel good about who I am when I received a positive response. If someone liked me, if my spouse was kind to me, if I was complimented, if my children were well behaved. Everything inadvertently became about myself, and extension of me, telling me what I deserved today. When the world was coming up empty, I would plummet into depression. I would take extra shitty care of myself and my body. I would dwell over how crappy of a person I am. I took what the world gave me as my truth of who I am and what I deserve. Negative comments would destroy me. Criticism would rip me to shreds, not to mention any comment. Even my toddler could make me feel horrible. I would feel defeated every day.

I would curse God. How could you do this to me? Don’t you love me? Look at what you’re giving me? I would try to force myself to be grateful and look a the ‘bright side.’ It’s nearly impossible to enjoy a happy day when you feel like you don’t deserve to even step foot into the sunshine.

It clicked. It finally clicked that how the world treats me, is not what I deserve, it’s just the best they can do. The question is, what’s the best I can give myself? If the world isn’t showing me or telling me what I deserve, then what do I deserve?

With the lyrics swirling through my head, I’m going to treat myself better then they can.

I’m going to love the shit out of me fully, like a rebel with a cause. No longer needing anyone else’s approval or permission. I don’t need you to tell me that I’m pretty, or I’m a good writer, or I look good in my swimsuit. Because it doesn’t matter what you think, it only matters what I think. It only matters how much I love myself. It only matters what I decide I deserve today. And I know how to love. I know how to be kind, compassionate, understanding, patient. I know how to do that. I know how to be accepting and inclusive. I know how to give myself a sturdy foundation of love and acceptance.

You will give me your best. Just as I would give you. Let me tell you, if you have been getting my best from me for the last 32 years, I’m sorry. You do indeed deserve more. Because I am a totally messy human being. I say and do A LOT of shit that I am not proud of, depending on my mood and where I am at on the emotional scale. And for probably the last 20 years of my life that has been all over the map. Mostly low, some high days, but still mostly low. I have said and done a lot of hurtful things, because I have been hurting too. You got my best, which really wasn’t that great most days.

People show you what they feel on the inside, not what you deserve.

When my toddler or baby is being extra lovey, it doesn’t mean that I deserved more love today- it just means they feel lovey. When they are angry, it doesn’t mean I deserve less love – it just means they are angry. I needed desperately to learn this, for the sake of my family. Or is it that my family that taught me? I can finally detach and parent accordingly. My child’s behavior is no longer about me, its about them. Their behavior is about how they feel on the inside. It’s my job to support them and be there for them, in every state.

I found myself favoring the baby lately. He is crazy joyful and easy. My toddler is entering some more challenging emotional and physical stages in life. I felt horrible for feeling this way. I was having a really hard time being kind. I mostly felt bad for myself. I wanted to rescue myself, take a break, call a sitter, distract, binge, turn on the tv and walk away. Because honestly it was all too much. It was too much that I wasn’t getting what I needed from him. I needed him to show me what I deserved, but all he can ever show me is how he feels. I needed him to show me that he loved me (that I could love me too) by being good. All he can ever do is his best, because he is two (nearly three). And honestly, that isn’t a whole hell of a lot right now.

We are all ordinary messed up people, just doing our best. All of us here learning different lessons, having different days, and interacting to the best of our abilities. How someone treats you isn’t what you deserve, it’s just the best they can give today.

We say and do horrible things to each other nearly everyday. Even to those people that we love the most. Why? My only answer is because it seems to be the human condition. We are all just here learning. Life is our teacher. The world is happening for you, to grow.

And like most days of my life, I don’t have a neat and clean way to end this blog post. Not point to circle back around to. Life is just sometimes messy, like this post and my writing most days. But even though it’s messy and imperfect it still deserves to be shared.

God speed! Xoxo chelsea

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People don’t change.

The last decade of my life has been consumed by self help books. Somewhere along the way, I developed this idea that I needed to be fixed, improved upon, or changed. That there was a better version of me just one revelation away.  And perhaps with the right combination of thoughts, practices, and force, I could become her. I had an idea of who I would become after ‘doing some work’ on myself. That I would have a before and after story (plus photo) to share with everyone. Well, lets just say those 10 years were draining and at the end of it all, I’m still doing the same shit I was at the start.

Today for some reason, I started to think about who I was as a kid. And, wait for it….. I was exactly as I am right now. Well, maybe a little more joyful and a little less weathered (aka bitter). I have always tried to make humor out of life situations to help make things easier for others (and myself). I have always been blunt and to the point. I question everything. I have been extremely interested in how people think. I can’t lie. I have a strong moral compass. I take people at their word (this has been called “gullible” and “can’t take a joke”). I like to share stories to help others feel relatable. I think fart humor is funny. I hate horror movies. I can’t stand animal cruelty, human too. I want to help sad people feel happier. I am stubborn and obsessive. I am extremely focused and determined when I set my mind to something. I am all or nothing, and commit fully. I go full steam ahead on the things I am passionate about and enjoy.  I enjoy creating something born from an idea – mind to matter. I like to work with my hands. I love to solve problems. I love naps. I love snacks. I love to laugh.

What I realized is that these are my attributes. This is the fabric of who I am. It is unshakable and important. Because when it comes to the work that is true to my heart and what I am here to do – it’s necessary.  This is my toolbox to do my job. I can’t change it, because it’s too valuable.

I spent a decade trying to change those things because they were not appealing to some. Some people didn’t like some of my God given traits. I was also given a strong empathetic bone. I care very deeply about other people, and want everyone to be happy.  I took it on as my job to help others be at peace and find joy in life. But when I was the source of their unhappiness (or at least I was told that “blank” bothered them about me, etc.), I did everything I could to change that. To appease. To bring peace, at the cost of my making. Not everyone likes a blunt answer. Not everyone likes poop jokes. What happened was I lost sight of my design and tried changing for everyone around me.

It took me a loooonnnggg time to ‘come back to self.’  It took depression cycles, prayer, and questioning why I am here. It took searching for that small voice within me, that actually has been pretty damn loud and in my face. The most ironic thing about it is that while I was searching so hard for myself – or this ‘best’ version of me – I was here all along. All I needed to do be okay with my making.

Finally seeing who I am (and always have been), I started to look at who I am as a mother. I am a pretty damn good mom. What I realized is that I am not a good mom, I am just myself as a mom. I have always been nurturing and caring of others. I have always been invested and attentive in others mental and emotional well being. I am a ‘good’ mother because I am simply in a role that fits me.  Just as I was a good hairstylist and business owner, the roles fit my personality.

“Through out life, we simply take on new roles, and we ‘succeed’ at the ones we were made for.”

Tweet that shit. You’re welcome.

People don’t change. I have not changed. I am the same little passionate girl who won’t give up talking about something I want or something I want to do, until it’s done. Persistent AF. I am still the same girl who falls for “gullible is written on the celling,’ because dammit I take people at their word!

I have noticed that with each season of life I amadjusted. Becoming a mother, I have adjusted, to say the least. Kids are basically a giant windfall of change. My adjustment post children was not easy – I love to fight the current. So I floundered around for awhile until I eventually let life take me and teach me. Right now, this season has adjusted my priorities (less is more) and my pace (slow and steady wins the race marathon).  I have adapted to a slower ‘smolder’ pace when it comes to my plans and dreams for my life. This causes less ‘burn out’ too, which is helpful! (I have literally only 1-2 hours per day to commit to things outside of kids.) I also have simplified and prioritized; my home, my plans, and my projects. I reduced my focus down to 4 things that take up my energy. I think of my energy as a stove top with 4 burners. I have enough fire to keep 4 things simmering warm. My four are; my kids, my spouse, my writing, and my artwork.

I have also decided to have faith in God’s plan for my life. I’m kind of starting to see that my children really are unique and have their own quirks. Just as I did, from the beginning. I see some personality similarities to my self and my husband because that would make sense. That would make sense that God put these children with us.  We can relate and support someone who thinks similar to ourselves. And we have an understanding of what it’s like to be in their shoes, and perhaps know how to nurture them. I have faith that all of my attributes are what they need from a mother. I have faith that my kids also are made in a likeness that supports who I am (a nap lover!).

I have always felt very passionate about people being supported in who they are. I plan to do so with my children.  To help them focus on what they are good at. Teach them how important their attributes are to this world and what that are here to do. With hopes that they love and accept their making, despite what ‘some people’ may say. Because like every parent hopes for their kids, to save them from the hurts we have endured. My hurt was self hatred, and I pray they never have to endure that pain. And I pray that you don’t either.

xoxo Chelsea