Feeling raw and exposed

Vulnerability is the intersection between, “whew, I’m glad I got that out” and “what the hell did I just do?”.  It’s the crossroads of saying what needed to be said and the fear of having said too much.  I’m here right now — feeling raw and exposed after sharing the “ugliest” parts of my story with not only a virtual stranger but also a work colleague.  It’s a pretty scary place.

It’s the never dying haunting of “what would people think if they knew, if they knew all the details,” that shows up as much in the 5 minute 1 on 1’s in a dialogue circle as in long, unexpected conversations that you just can’t walk away from.  You are invited right to the edge of authenticity and façade and are left to choose.

The question for me, often, in those moments is “can this person “handle” my story?”.  But, what’s for them to handle?  The real question is where, in my story, are you and I the same?  I must look for that in others to build both my capacity to hear stories and to share mine.

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I Complicate It Daily

I haven’t just let it rip here in a long time. I’m feeling like I need something cathartic right now, so I’m going to try to just let this flow without too much self-editing (or trying to make it pretty). If I bore you – come back later. It gets better. I promise.

Part of my life is going so incredibly well. I have left a stressful job in a toxic, insane, unethical workplace and returned to the field I am passionate about – women’s rights – in an employee friendly workplace where I am valued for what I bring to the table and not for how much someone can get out of me. I feel clear about my lane and completely empowered to manage my own project and totally supported should I need any guidance or assistance along the way.

I took a significant pay cut, but my peace of mind is worth every penny. I look at the difference in pay as my financial contribution to the social justice cause I am most passionate about – ending violence against women. I’m proud of the fact that, although I took a pay cut, I was able to speak up for myself and my worth and negotiate a reduced work week so that 1) my pay rate reflects my skill and capabilities and 2) I have time in my life to study, take care of myself or find supplemental work without having to work more than 40 hours per week. My work schedule is completely flexible and if I find a contract that requires fixed hours, my boss is happy to adjust my schedule to accommodate whatever I need to do to make the money I want to make. I honestly can’t ask for anything more. I am completely blessed in this situation. The contentment I feel is the kind of peace which assures you that you’ve made the right decision. Not one single regret with this one. Not one.

I have become much more settled and balanced in my Primary Foods – those things that really nourish us in this life: healthy relationships, regular physical exercise, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice. I just talked about the career part. Physically these days I am enjoying long walks through the trails through the woods in the park near my house and yoga outside in the park. Even started jogging a bit again. Nothing on earth is more peaceful and serene than being outside breathing deeply in the fall. I could live outside this entire season. I love fall. I am in my element in the fall. As a result, I’ve dropped 9 pounds since I left my old job. Yoga is becoming more and more of a necessity in my life and I’ve discovered that the possibilities of where my meditation practice takes me are endless. I am nowhere near as consistent in either practice as I’d like to be – but they provide a grounded, sacred space for me to work out my spirituality. Healthy relationships?? Hmmm. Let’s come back to that.

I have been confronted with the need to answer a question that has haunted me since the playground taunts in elementary school: Who do you think you are? Any time I have heard that question in my life has been an instance of someone attempting to minimize an attribute. Lexi’s smart. “Who does she think she is?” Lexi’s cute. “Who does she think she is?” Lexi has a great shape. “Who does she think she is?” Lexi has skills in the office that other co-workers don’t. “Who does she think she is?” I’ve noticed how I have attempted to shrink and hide in many a creative way to avoid having that question come up. I honestly believe that , on some level, packing on this weight over the years has been an effort to hide from, as Marianne Williamson puts it, my light. So, I am ready, I think, to finally answer that question. Who DO I think I am? Who do you think YOU are? I am planning to answer that question in a post really soon.

By and large, things are great in my life. I feel like I am on my path. I am happy. But…

Healthy relationships? Let’s see. I have healthy relationships with wonderful friends. I have friends, great friends. But, even in their greatness, they are so normal and human. That means that I deal with jealousy and insecurity, difference of opinion, questions of trust, hurt feelings, forgiveness and all the other things that go along with human interaction with and among my wonderful friends. I have great family. My immediate family has been through many changes, twists, turns and growing pains. I take responsibility for being the catalyst (or cause – depending on your perspective) of much of that. The result is that we love the hell out of each other, pretty much have a no holds barred approach to confronting issues when they arise and we generally have a great time together. I am loving living with my parents again and I love my brother and SIL and nephew so much I could eat them. My extended family has its quirks and challenges but, in the end, we’re family and there’s no major drama going on at the moment (at least that anyone’s telling me about – which is perfectly fine by me.) Friends and family. Lovely. I am blessed. I am thankful.

But I want a partner. Period. I am finally there. I’ve been through many phases post-divorce, the most recent being dating non-exclusively (or wildin’ out a bit – depending on your perspective) and I am done with it. I’ve actually been over it for a while, but I’ve been too afraid to completely let go of anyone and completely leave myself – dare I say it – alone. I think while I was in the phase of not wanting to see anyone exclusively I consistently picked men who, for one reason or another, were unavailable – practically or emotionally, or both. I have recently found myself drawn to yet another situation of this nature and I am really, really over it. But I struggle. My timing was off. I shouldn’t have let me heart want something more before I completely ended the relationships I started in which something more was not part of the deal. Now I find myself trying to fit square pegs into round holes rather than create a void and just learn to either experience and be with the emptiness, or wait for the Universe to fill the vacuum it abhors. I feel like I’m leaning in when it comes to my relationships with the guys in my life right now and that is not the posture I want. I feel like I’m giving my power away rather than standing in my power and allowing the universe to respond to my intention.

Those last 3 sentences probably sound like metaphysical mumbo-jumbo to most, but they are principles that have become a significant part of how I view the world and life in general.

So here I am, afraid to let go, afraid to hold on. I know the only answer if for me sit with and explore that fear, but I avoid it. I complicate it. Daily.

Old Friends

I have posts that I’ve thought of writing — even some I’ve started writing.  But actually I’ve been completely consumed by Facebook the last 2 days.  I’ve reconnected with a bunch of friends from elementary and jr. high school.  It’s been so cool.  I’ve been on Facebook for a long time, but none of the folks I was looking for were there.  Now, the 30 and over crowd is finally catching up.  So nice to talk to so many old friends.

Jr. High School is the only grade level I haven’t taught.  Kids are horrible in those years.  My friends and I were no different.  It’s really inspiring to reflect from a place of maturity upon our stupid factions and plain meanness.  We laugh at it now; many because they are parents seeing their children pass through the same stages in which we last knew each other.

One thing is true.  Human connection transcends time.  How can it be that — with so many people, so many life experiences, so many changes, so many years– it seems like we haven’t skipped a beat.  I love this about relationship.  I absolutely love it.