In every given moment we have the precious and often underutilized ability to write and reframe our personal narrative. Three days ago, I was reeling with what felt like another letdown from my child’s father, again, leaving me to be the responsible one, while he continues to write his story of victimhood and inability to take care of his own business. And I was full of anger, and rage, and sadness. And then I realized, that really, these feelings are so strong because I am angry with myself for choosing this man to be the father of my child. That I saw all the signposts, the red flags, from the very start, and I knew full well what I was walking into, and I chose to do so anyway. I am ANGRY with myself for choosing a man who is unable to participate in showing up as a fully present, emotionally available human being. I am ANGRY that I chose to marry, and have a child with a man, who, unable to love and care for his own self, or do his inner work, is completely unable, and unwilling to truly love and show up for another- for me. I am ANGRY with myself for tying myself to a man, for a lifetime, who does not love me. Who cannot show up for me, or our child. Who leaves me to be the responsible adult, the one who does all the things, without support, while he is free to play.
And you know what? That’s one story. The other part of this story is that I have a soul contract with this child, and I knew it was time for her to come through to me, and for whatever reason, this man, held the key to opening the gate to allow her to come be my partner. My lifetime partnership is with this child. Not with him. And the reality is that I will facilitate in any way I can, whatever relationship he is capable of having with her, because I love her, and I need her to be happy and whole, and right now, that includes having a relationship with her dad. It really is inconsequential how I feel about it, or how it inconveniences me, or what kind of fallout I deal with from her time with him. I have the tools to hold space for all of that, to reground with her: walks in the woods, time in the garden, snuggles, books, being present for her and all of her emotions, and helping her to have the tools to feel safe in feeling all of her feels, and then releasing them.
And, as I was reminded by a single mom friend this week, I have Ho’oponopono, this mantra: I am sorry, I love you, please forgive me, thank you, which is infinitely helpful in shifting and releasing anger and damaging narratives. ((Thank you!!))
Today had all the makings of a shit day. I started out with a marked lack of sleep, nauseas all day, on the verge of, or in tears for the past two days, I had to clean the classroom at the school in the middle of the day, taking time out of my work day, and when I got my child back, she was sick. We returned to work to find a kitchen full of people, and our guest chef making soup for an event for us this weekend, and I was to make cornmeal muffins for 200, with an unproven, and incomplete recipe. heh. It could have been shit, right? Totally. I could have been angry, and short tempered, and frazzled, and upset at my child being emotionally needy, and sick, and pissed off that I am having all or this extra, unplanned, out of my comfort zone work added to my load, and hours onto my schedule. Oh, and my poor overworked boss's face when I told her that my daughter was sick, she, already trying to figure out how to fit too much into too little a time frame. There was no way I could let her down, leave her holding the bag, having to do all the things by herself. I wasn’t going down like that. Not today.
I chose to be fully present and playful and loving to my child, who drew me amazing pictures while I worked. I helped the guest chef cheerfully, and made awesome cornmeal muffins. I laughed, and played and learned and tasted from all the other beautiful chefs in the kitchen, and created a light hearted atmosphere of respect, and sharing, and support, and liberally distributed floury cheek kisses and hugs to those that were flagging under their work loads, which were received with gratitude.
I fucking brought my best game. And I cleaned up everyone else’s mess, and I did it efficiently and well. I swept and mopped the entire kitchen, because, as I told those who told me to leave it, I am not a hypocrite, and if the rules are, we are to leave the kitchen clean, and it is my job to enforce those rules, then I must set, and adhere to the standard. And *That* is why we have mutual respect in the kitchen. I was the last (wo)man standing in there tonight. And my kid, even though she felt awful, managed it with grace, and good cheer, and pitched in unhesitatingly with every request for assistance, and said “behind” if she had to enter the kitchen and walk behind the line of chefs, which earned her unending thanks and gratitude, from all of us. She was a champion, a model, and I expressed my gratitude and relief, and joy to her that she was my partner in making this work today, even though it was clear she felt like crap.
All of this was made possible by my choice in how I wrote my narrative today. How I chose to show up, to carry myself, and to be present for all of those relying on me. At the end of the day, I am the one who writes my story. I am the one who chooses how I show up. I am not responsible for anyone else’s story, or how they choose to grow, or show up, or not, and it is not a reflection of me or my worth. I can only control my own narrative, and I choose to have it be one of quality, of beauty, of love, and connection, and showing up with my best game face on, to my full ability to rock it out, whatever is going on behind the scenes, cause that is how I roll.