Faith, Hope and 41

I look smug about this birthday, don’t I?

Last October 7th, when I turned 40, I spent the day tending to my youngest, who was recovering from a, not-so-minor, out-patient procedure he had done that morning. While I would not recommend celebrating your own birthday in that way, I have to admit, it absolutely kept me from focusing on myself, and the fact that I had entered my FORTIES.

I’ve never been afraid of forty. But admittedly, it still stuns me, at times, that I am in this decade of my life.

At that time, I considered writing something about turning 40, but I stopped myself, because, let’s admit it, I was no expert on 40. All I knew was based on hearsay, and emotion, not, necessarily, reality. I was a mere baby in terms of what I knew and felt about it.  I suppose I still am, but I feel a bit more qualified to speak on it now that I’m ‘older and wiser’… *cough*. Or something.

The last several years have all been magical for many reasons, but this year, the year from 40 to 41, has helped me solidify my belief that I am stronger than I ever realized. It’s been a long, hard, winding road getting to this point, but I love going along it. Sometimes, I want to run ahead and know what’s around the next bend, other times, I want to straggle behind and linger in the moment. But I’m always – always – thankful for every moment of it.

Because, I know where I’ve been.

The week I turned 30, my baby girl turned one and we closed on our first home. While there were many cracks already showing, my 30s appeared, from the outside, to be off to a picture-perfect start.

Nearly everything changed from 30 to 40. So much was given and so much was taken away. Sometimes, I feel as though I lived 20 lifetimes in that decade. It was a difficult one, on many levels. I wrote about it a lot on this blog, before the bottom fell out (again), but if you were to go back and look for them, you might not know it. I white-washed much of it. I wanted to find meaning in all of the difficulties, and the suffering. I wanted, desperately, for it to have been for a reason. I needed to find that reason and know it. But, it’s not always easy to see or understand. Sometimes, it just takes faith.

My 30s were built on faith. That was all I had. My 40s are being built on hope.

I am realizing what is meant by older and wiser. I wish it came with a few less wrinkles and sags, but I am trying to embrace those as well.

There are countless variables in life, and I know that anything can happen, at any moment. I see it every day. And that is where the lessons of my 30s, those built on faith, become invaluable. If I didn’t have those, I would be living in fear, because I’ve seen too much happen, and I know what can happen.

But I also know the beauty that can come from those very things; when the wounds become scars.

A wound is messy and always susceptible to being reopened or infected. A scar is where it has healed; a reminder of what was and what is. It does not have to be a shameful reminder.

And that is what gives me hope.

Here’s to my forties.

(linked up with JustWrite)

Blah blah blah

I’ve written a lot about not knowing what to write lately.

The irony is not lost on me.

I’m trying to force myself to write until the words just flow, the stories return, my punctuation and sentence structure improves.

Blech. (Thank you for putting up with me.)

I’ve been writing on other sites about other topics, but this blog is my tiny piece of property where I can chew on things, toss them around and try to make sense of the world, share my deep thoughts, or post random photos showing how my hands look like Madonna’s (they totally do.)

My stream of conscious thoughts are not always pretty, so I still censor. My point of view has changed on many things, and I’ve irritated too many ‘friends’ on Facebook already, so I bite my tongue.

blah blah blah…

I’m afraid of losing my voice.

It’s why I keep forcing myself to write at least one post a week, despite the fact they say pretty much the same thing, every time.

linked up to “Just Write” at Extraordinary Ordinary

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Your Story

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I’m disappointed.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about something that happened in my life. It would be silly to try and deny that I was nervous and fearful about sharing it. I knew it would shake people and ruffle feathers.

For two years I’d held on to my story, afraid to tell it.

Ultimately, on that post, there were two unsupportive commenters (and several people who ‘unfriended’ me). One had a confrontational tone, whose intention, I imagine, was meant to embarrass me. I easily shrugged that one off.

But it was the second one that, months later, I still find myself pondering and tossing around in my mind.

I was told that some things do not belong on blogs and that my post was one of those things.

My story had no place on a blog. Even my own blog.

…insert long pause…

I had many thoughts about that comment and still do, because ultimately, the post wasn’t just about telling that particular story, but about the fear that I felt in writing it.
In telling my own truth.
My story.

And why?

Because… I was afraid that it would make others angry at me.
Or not like me.

{hate me.}

Do you know what?

Out of the hundreds of emails, comments, texts, tweets and phone calls I received, all but those two were able to relate in some way and applaud me for having the courage to write what I did.

Despite my fear.

Some of those people may not have even agreed with what I wrote; I don’t know… But they supported my right to tell my story and didn’t try to make me feel badly about doing so.

Why?

Because it was my story to tell.

From my perspective.
About my own experience.
Through self-examination.

When all was said and done, the story wasn’t even about what that commenter implied and was pissed off about. But rather it was about sharing something so that others could maybe… hopefully… learn from something I’d experienced.

I will always shake my head at that comment. But I will continue to tell my stories.

Despite the feathers they may ruffle or the way people may be made uncomfortable.

Not everything looks pretty from every angle, but everyone has a right to tell their own story.

And you should tell your own.
Without fear.
Without anxiety.

Unless you are making up your stories and selling them as ‘truth’.

In that case… you’re on your own.

photo credit