I once knew a woman. In her thirties, she left a promising career to stay home with her children. She ferried her two young sons from playground to preschool, from lessons to the library. She cooked amazing, complicated meals on weeknights to the chagrin of her fellow mothers (who told her to stop raising the bar).
This woman had accomplished a lot in her career, but still doubted herself. She was anxious about the possibility of failure—at anything. She could not talk about finances without being slightly embarrassed—never asking for a raise at work because, well, how gauche.
She let her husband worry about the taxes, the financial planning, the household handyman duties. These were not in her wheelhouse.
She volunteered in the school library, taught art appreciation to her son’s class and baked for school fundraisers. Her minivan was filled with stray cheerios and lacrosse sticks. She did not really miss her corporate endeavors.
She went to bed tired most nights, but grateful for the time she had with her kids.
That woman is no longer. I know this because she was me.
That woman lived in my Before. Before my parents died. Before my divorce. Before I became who I am today.
I’m reading Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant—a great book, if you are looking for a new read. In it, Sheryl mentions an old adage:
“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me.”
Amen, sister. Amen.
My evolved self—the one who emerged as a survivor from a fairly horrific 18 months of divorce, death and financial strain—caught my former minivan-driving, Julia-Child-cooking, anxious self. And has been handling life for both of us ever since.
As a young girl, I used to love to play a certain game with my dad. When on vacation, I’d stand at the edge of the swimming pool and shout, “Catch me, Daddy!” Before I finished the sentence, I’d jump off the side into his arms. Despite my fear of the water, I willingly sprung into his loving embrace, knowing I’d be caught. I never doubted it. He never missed a catch.
When I married, I had the same expectation. I had visions of my husband and I catching each other throughout life, as needed. I never doubted it. Only, he did miss. He missed big time. And I fell with a splat.
The woman I became has caught me ever since.
She is a survivor. She rekindled her career, but works for herself. She knows what her talents are worth and does not hesitate to state what she needs to support her family. She knows what she knows and hires out for what she doesn’t. Taxes, handiwork, you name it. She orders out too much, wouldn’t drive a minivan to save her life and as for anxiety—well, it rears its head now and then but for the most part, it leaves her alone. When you’ve been through the war, a skirmish no longer scares you.
The woman who caught me can look someone in the eye in a way that tells them—without saying a word—that she has earned who she is. That others’ opinions are not even close to her compass. This woman knows she will be caught each and every time because she has become her own strong arms. Sometimes the most solid, dependable safety net has been inside us all along. Not all of us are required to find it. I was.
The woman I am now goes to bed tired each night, but grateful for the time she has with her kids. Kids who know that the one she has become will also catch them. Without fail. Every. Single. Time.
Amen, sister. Amen.
58 Comments Add yours
Great post! Thanks for sharing ☺
And thanks for visiting! Glad to have you:).
Love this post. As I feel strongly that I am cocooning myself to my next evolutionary stage… not there yet, but know I’m moving towards it. At times I feel faltering, but at times filled with vision and drive. But I do know one thing: that all the struggle to evolve is worth it, and the only way for me to live. I admire you in your strength and self-confidence!
Thank you! Cocooning yourself to the next stage is an interesting way to put it. I sometimes must keep myself a bit apart–what I call moodling time–to protect vision and creativity. Otherwise, it’s too easy to fritter all energy in mundane everyday pursuits. But, at other times, those everyday pursuits are just what the doctor ordered. Goes in fits and starts–so I listen to my gut. Sounds much like the fits and starts you describe. My strength and confidence sound great in hindsight–but they are hard-earned through the struggle you mention. It IS worth it:).
Slay Kay, slay! This was powerful.
Aw shucks:). I’ll take slay.
Yes, yes! Fantastic post.
Thank you! I appreciate the kind words
I loved the metaphor of jumping off the edge of a pool into the arms of someone loved and trusted, a wonderful game for those of us fortunate to have played it. And I like the way you wove it into the fabric of this post and its glorious conclusion. Your insights always cause me to reflect.
Thank you! Always makes my heart happy when Anything I write makes people reflect :-). I appreciate your kind words, as always.
GAH! I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH!! You are remarkable, and I can’t tell you how much I admire your strength and perspective. You never fail to inspire me, and I am so grateful to be able to read your words because you always remind of something I didn’t realize I needed. I am also not the person I was five years ago. Despite the turmoil and the constant heartache, I have endured over that time; I am so grateful for having gone through it because I am so proud to be the person I am today. I know I can handle anything and am going to make my dreams come true. So, I get this post and understand the significance of finding your true self, and am just so over the moon that you did. What a great way to start my day – reading this piece of awesomeness. Have a great weekend, Kay! xo
Oh, I love those words. Love that anything I write inspires you and helps during a day/a week/a month. I can tell from your blog that you’ve been through the wars and it’s changed you. I guess you signed up for the PhD in life also:). Welcome to the class. I am just wondering if there’s a graduation ceremony at the end of all this. There better be one hell of a party too:).
Women.. ✌Life Starts because of them and ends with them.. No existence without Women.. Loved your thoughts..😊
Amen to that! She power:).
Such a great read .. Go girl! And you are right .. we just need to believe in ourselves. Amen
Amen:). And thank you!
Wow! Great blog. I’m going to share!
Thank you! I sooooo appreciate shares. Very kind of you!
Nice post Kristine. You so easily put into words what many people struggle to express. And a killer last paragraph, love it.
I guess there are those that never fall, who are forever protected, always caught. I don’t think that you can become the best you can be unless you fall and scramble back as best you can.
Thank you, Roy. Kind words:). And you hit upon something that stymies me quite often. Those who are not challenged. Those who go through life with little in the way of real challenges–versus those of us who learn to ride the waves. I often wonder if that’s a choice before we come into this life . . .
This is beautiful and so well put. You and your sons must be very proud of the life you have been making,
Thank you. I am. I am not sure if they think about the big pic. But I hope they look back as adults and see how much they were loved:).
No doubt in my mind.
I loved this post, even if we have very different stories. I still have the minivan and anxiety…but making my way toward an “evolved self.” Your posts are inspirational. I’d like to believe that everyone has inner strength if they dig deep enough. Amen, Sister. Amen!
The minivan you should keep:). But adios to the anxiety! Too many of us too worried lately. Thank you for the kind words. And I agree-we all have inner strength. I just don’t believe that we are all required by life to dig very deep. I often wonder how the universe distinguishes between those of us who should have to and those who don’t have to.
By exactly what we put ‘out there’ we attract back Kay. Attraction is a rule like gravity, it is always there and just does its thing. If we have an issue it always pops up for us, if its something that doesn’t bother us, we are not focusing on it and ignore it because it has no effect.
None of us have an issue that just disappears, it always taps on our door and it isn’t until we face it and unlock that door that we are free to move forward through that door into a new way of being, new views, new people etc because of the change ‘we’ have now become that everything becomes different, because we have faced our fears and in understanding them they lose that power of attraction over us. Yes, they keep coming up afterwards but each time not as strong, but that is to show us how far we have now come, each time having less and less power over us because we have slowly understood and integrated it, releasing that attraction because we are becoming free of it.
Those things that affected us deeply we still acknowledge because of the pain that they had caused, but within that is an understanding and love of ourselves because of what we have endured by facing them. That self love is the medal we see and hear within ourselves and others, and knowing it has taken much courage to be where we now all are 😀
OMG were you talking about me? LOL and thank God I’m not the woman I used to be. Here’s to YOU amazing woman!!!
:). So many of us have caught our former selves, right?!
So uplifting and inspiring! I had to chuckle about the minivan though, because I drive one and love it. But then again, I’m the stay at home mom who at times has packed the van full of kids and kayaks, and used to keep beach chairs and an umbrella in the van all summer for impromptu trips to the park. I admire you so much, that you’ve been through hell and kept going, coming out the other side in grand style.
Well, you’ve touched on the one piece of the minivan I miss–the storage! I can no longer haul patio furniture, luggage, lacrosse sticks, etc. the way I used to:). Just part of the journey . . .
Kudos Kay. I admire and appreciate who you have become; the strong, yet vulnerable, loving woman who catches herself, family, and friends. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly. blessings, Brad
Thank you! The vulnerability is there, for sure. Not everyone sees it:).
Yes, and your confidence shines too!
What a fabulous post, Kristine (book noted, to be added to my must-read – even though I promised myself I would not buy another book and have bought I know not how many since)
Some days I feel I’m managed to catch myself and other times I catch myself regressing… Guess that’s part of the journey, eh?
Oh man, SO part of the journey. And I hear you on the books. I keep buying, even though I’ve sworn off the same!
Hello, my name is Dale and I am a book-a-holic…
So wonderful. You should be proud. Its amazing how adversity makes us stronger and better.
It does, right? Although I prefer more joyous teachers:).
Sometimes making the catch is so much more important than making the grade. A catch is a catch. Some become matter of fact. Some deserve wild celebration. Ah yes, such is the throw and catch of life. Amen to all that you’ve shared.
Yes! And making the grade becomes so much less important when you realize just showing up for yourself and your loved ones is truly enough.
You become your confidence, Kay, and your confidence becomes you.
Aw, thank you, Mr. B:). Very kind of you to say.
While I would prefer for you a far less arduous path, you have proved time and again that you are more than equal to any challenge. Bless you for all you do, for all you are, for all you’ve been through. You continue to inspire me. Way to be, my friend. xo
Thank you for inspiring me during the crazy times. And for bringing so much beauty into the every day. You are a blessing 🙏🏻.
A big journey Kristine. It takes great courage to face our fears…and even greater courage to love the scars that they build.
Take a bow young lady, the fears, walls and pain that you have faced have left a very nice light indeed ❤
Thanks, Mark. How to explain to others going through something similar that this confidence I have is solid, but it does not mean the complete absence of fear or doubt in my darkest moments.
No Kay, and it does the one thing that nothing else will…and as you’ve said, gives us the ability to love and believe in ourselves regardless of those fears. That strength is like no other, simply because it has solid foundations, built from those truths we had discovered but denied ourselves because of those fears. Now we stand in that love with an acceptance of what we now are ❤
Personally I found that those fears would keep coming up, but because of the changes it brought to me, they slowly diminished to such a degree that I no longer respond to them. I think for having them totally integrated into everything that we do in our lives, it would take a little time to 'let them completely go'. I would love it to be like flicking a switch, but then we wouln't appreciate the pain and hurt that we have endured to find that peace and happiness within, and most importantly to really love ourselves, no longer blocking that love because of the negativity of those fears that we lock in from when we are very young ❤
Ah, yes. So very wise. Thank you, as always🙏🏻.
Such a powerful post. More power to you💐
Thank you! She power:). It works, right?
It does! It is the utmost powerful…🙏🏻
Mmmm I hear you again sister. I think you may be a kindred spirit. Lucky you could catch yourself. No one including myself has caught me yet with the dreadful cancer I have gone through. I worry endlessly about how I will make money when I run out. No one wants a fifty something woman. I have tried retraining in Bowen Therapy after years of awful underpaid corporate life. Whine whine whine. The Bowen therapy world was not particularly soft or caring for a caring profession. I just want to do what I love. Crafting and books. Anyway….. Keep trying to have Faith.
Oh, and now you’ve hit upon the one thing that can cause me anxiety–or perhaps the two. Loss of health for myself or my loved ones–and loss of my ability to keep us all afloat. I hope this entry didn’t smack of bravado for you–I think a mother who does it on her own and has health issues deserves gigantic angel wings. Put yours on and follow the Universe’s guidance–it sucks that darkness usually precedes the light. Will keep you in my good thoughts and prayers–keep on keepin’ on. An army of us out here plugging for you and doing the same.
Good for you to have landed so right side up! I admire your clarity, and wish you all that’s good in life .
Thank you! “Right side up” most days. A few topsy turvy. But I think that comes with the territory:).
Beautiful. Simply beautiful words.
You are an amazing women, and you never cease to both amaze and inspire me.
Thank you:). Kind words from you and much appreciated. I’m so glad you find inspiration here. It’s one of the reasons I write . . . XXOO