This word has been floating around in my brain lately.  I have such a hindsight 20/20 view of my life.  I’ve identified myself as a copy cat many, many times.  I can mimic voices, handwriting, and occasionally writing styles.  My mimicry is one of my oddest strengths and weaknesses.

I read in an ACOA book about “Guessing at normal”.  This is the shortest summary of me! I tend to accept everything, assert nothing.  Alternatively, I will aggressively tear you apart with my clever tongue. I have punched and kicked holes in walls.  Duality, thy name is me.

I realized this is actually reflection or even uncontrolled empathy.  Not unlike John Coffee in The Green Mile, I can pick up all the vibes and spit them back out.  People/personalities have become masks for me.  I’m a shape-shifter, anymore.  This could be a cool way to live, except when you place all of your self worth and value into other’s perceived feelings, it is cancerous and disastrous.  Toxic relationships, enmeshment, and codependency thrive in these environments.  Plus, who am I? A pile of masks? On the positive, though, this attracts truly incredible people into my world as well!

A few months ago, I started thinking of everyone, including myself, as a teacher.  I had forgotten this until typing.  If I approach everyone as teacher, it removes guilt, blame, and shame.  I tell my kids all the time grades are meaningless, because your effort and understanding is more important.  I had straight A’s through school, but most of my memory is rudimentary basics – Jill of all Academic trades.  The exception, of course, is English and Literature – my only genuine passion.

Anger and pride are two stumbling blocks for me, and both, to me, are extensions of fear.  Everything I describe is essentially fear.  Not wanting to be hurt, not wanting to hurt, etc. have cut my fingers and tongue off as of late, and shoved me back into my tortoise shell.  I realized this morning, I have no idea what I’m even afraid of anymore.  I can feel old memories turning gray and slipping away, and I’m honestly grateful for it.  This morning, my gratitude was expressed for everything that has ever helped or hurt me.  I’ve expressed this before, and I may have to do it many more times.

I know that life is not all or nothing.  I know that growing and healing do not happen overnight.  Glennon Doyle Melton had described grief as a spiral staircase, and that every time you go around, you will become stronger.  She had described life as a path, and sometimes you must crawl, sometimes you can sprint, and sometimes you stay in place.  I love these visuals.  The point I keep missing is where do I devote my power, energy, voice, and creativity? I have accepted duality is my struggle, moderation is my weakness, memory is my gift and curse.  Glennon had described sometimes that you must just sit in your hell and not move until you are ready.  That this is the fight of the warrior.

I don’t usually feel like much of a warrior, unless you are discussing the battle of laundry, clutter, or juggling credit cards.  Today, though, I’ve realized that I do want to fight.  I want to fight for my children.  I want to clean up my own mistakes, I want to learn from them, and I want to teach them how to approach life.  Accepting and genuinely loving myself, others, is a challenge for me! I have definitely shut myself down lately, and it has felt awful.  Choked, lost, and miserable.  Instead of choking myself today, I’d really like to embrace myself, and genuinely open my heart.  Instead of guessing at normal, I want to transcend my fear and create the reality I deserve.  I have a million questions, to do’s, and problems, I am procrastinating on everything, and I am trying to just focus on smiling.  I’m happier when I’m dancing and goofy, so may as well approach it all with a similar attitude.  I never like taking myself seriously – I make too many messes when I’m scared of my own shadow.

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