When I was a little girl my sister and I shared a bedroom. We had twin size beds with red metal frames with bars all along the headboard and footboard. Both of our beds were on wheels. Every night we would go in to our room and we would be very, very quiet but we would not go to sleep. Without making any noise we would push our little beds together and begin to put all of our stuffed animals and dolls around the edges.
I remember either having a discussion or just the mental thought process of working out where the toys would go. I wanted to sleep with the toys but not suffocate them and I wanted each and every one of my toys to know how much I loved it. I determined that my only option was to sleep in the middle of the bed without covers so I could make sure the stuffed beings could have what they needed. I had to sacrifice for their needs. Something strikes me really hard when I write this story today. At the age of 5 I was already utterly and dangerously co-dependent.
I went along continuing to behave in this pattern until just 2 years ago. At that time I made a huge and fairly drastic life decision. The first 3 days I just cried. After that it was 2 years of remembering and digging through, falling down and getting up. I spent long bike rides pulling apart my own thinking and hours on the phone with my mentor Jennie. When I got hung up I called my husband and asked him to remind me how bad things were before I made the decision to change my own life. My good friend Julie got to hear my rants or my sobs more than once. Other people knew nothing, could not possibly understand that the me on the outside was barely holding things together while the me on the inside completely fall apart.
That was scary, probably the most scary thing, watching me fall apart and just having to have faith that somehow, someway I was heading in the right direction.
Step by step, that little girl learned that love contains respect, that healthy people have boundaries (not to be confused with walls my friends) that taking care of your own needs has to come first and only leaves you more able to take care of those that depend on you. That little girl learned that when whole people come together magic and beauty and joy light up our lives, even in the midst of chaos and destruction.
Most importantly, I learned that kindness is not something we do. It can be something we do, but first it is something we feel. Kindness comes from an open and willing heart. It comes without strings and it can come from anywhere. And I am thankful to many people who knowingly and unknowingly offered even the smallest kindness in the past 9 years when I have most certainly not felt very kind.
This ride started long ago, I thank those who have taken it with me. Those who have known me from the earliest of days that always knew who was inside the facade. I thank those who joined on late, who have only known me during some of the most tumoultous years of my life, the nine years since I gave birth and first started to open Pandora's Box. And, I even thank those who sort of left me on the road. Of course, this ride is not over, it has just taken on a different tone and any and all of you are welcome to stick around to see where our adventures take us to next.
Forest School at Crestwood Park
1 day ago