Pushing past discomfort

Uggghhhh…. I cannot stress how much I cannot stand pushing past the discomfort. This is the concept that tends to stop me from so many things. Let me try to explain.
Comfort is important to me. It is safe. It is not judgmental. However, in my comfortable space, I feel stuck and I judge myself. I think about the events I cancelled on. The people I let down, the experiences I miss, the opportunities I have lost. That overwhelms me and makes me feel inadequate at the same time. In my mind, it is just easier to say “NO” and decline all that makes me uncomfortable. In my heart, it feels like the patterns in my life have proven that pushing past the discomfort is where all the experiences really live. And I want experiences.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend the day with some ladies that I had met in a group I was a part of. One of the women is my life/career coach, so I am already comfortable with her. The other ladies were women that I had been interacting with for several months as we supported one another on social media and spoke during live phone calls. These women have become a part of my life. So, when the opportunity came about to meet up with them, I immediately agreed and blocked my calendar. I talked about it to friends and family. I hyped myself up… right up until just a few days prior. Just days before, my anxiety kicked in and every possible excuse presented itself for why I shouldn’t go- I was tired, had planning for a birthday party, needed to clean, my car’s brakes were acting up, and the list goes on. However, lucky for me, my oldest daughter is tough, my husband is supportive, and I have some motivating friends that pushed me to suck it up, move past the discomfort, and show up anyway.
And boy am I glad I did. I met up with 4 other beautiful souls and had a great day. We talked about nonsense, about life, about our “passion projects”, about things that scare us, things that we are struggling with, the moments we are celebrating, and moments we are dreading. I wore a bathing suit- which I almost NEVER do, went to the beach- which I almost NEVER do, had shrimp tacos- which I had NEVER had before, and drank Rose- which I DON’T normally do. There was talk of sage and tacos, journaling, meditation, and so much more. There was bonding. There was discomfort and I felt like a warrior as I worked through it.
The following day, I spent a lot of time thinking about the what ifs. What if I really hadn’t gone? What if I hadn’t been honest about my feelings? If I chose to just not show up, I would have missed out on some firsts in my life. I would not have been able to have some extremely raw moments, that brought me to a belief that I have needed. I would not have realized that I have been hiding behind a person that I have come to feel that I need to be instead of just being myself. I would have been disappointed in myself. Instead, I was honest with how I was feeling, and I was greeted with grace. There was no pity for my emotions, but there was respect. Me opening up, created a dialogue about safe spaces and moving forward. I experienced raw emotions and allowed myself to be vulnerable around people I was meeting for the first time. I learned a great deal about myself in 7 hours that may have taken years to learn if I hadn’t gone. B pushing past some discomfort, I was reminded again of the importance of showing up for myself and being true to my word. And these are life lessons that I need.
I don’t think the discomfort will ever go away; I don’t even know of I truly want it to. I do think that it will decrease in intensity each time I work through another situation that is not comfortable to me. I feel that it helps me grow as a person and strengthens my spirit. Your area of discomfort may be different from mine, but it is just as valid. I have learned over time, that the events and circumstances that make me uncomfortable do not define who I am as a person. They are merely a part of who I am and who I am becoming. They are yet another obstacle for me to overcome on this never-ending journey of life. I am becoming a braver woman daily. I am learning to be vocal about my discomfort and being able to be gracious with myself as I work through them. I do not ask people to understand, but to hear me when I am expressing these feelings. I do not ask you to agree with me, but I will ask that you respect them. I am growing and it is a process and it is still new to me, even at 36 years old and if you could be gentle, I would appreciate it.
I will leave you with this. Just little things I am learning along the way. Life is not made to be full of ease and comfort. We can experience things that will be both wonderful and not so great. Both kinds of moments help us grow and to come into the lives we are meant to lead. For me, many of the greatest experiences have simply come from pushing past the discomfort…. for you, I don’t know if your story will be the same. But, just maybe- you could give it a try. And be ready and willing to accept the outcome. If it makes you weary, know that I am here and am willing to take your arm and guide you through it. That is what has worked for me, so I only want to pay it forward. You are a warrior- the uncomfortable is just a minor feat amidst the major greatness lying in wait for you! You got this!! Push past the discomfort my dears…
In all things find beauty,

I am not ashamed

20190518_183614_0000.pngThe topic of abortion and women’s reproductive systems has been a headline topic quite recently.  Lots of politics surround this topic lately and I tend to steer clear of politics.  I don’t know much about politics, laws, government and that sort of thing, so I don’t normally feel “qualified” enough to discuss.  Not to mention that I almost never have a cut and dry opinion about topics and the fear of not having enough knowledge keeps me quiet.

However this topic is not at all political to me.  The topic of abortion runs deep in my soul and writing about it has just been eating away at me.  It is personal and I am not ashamed.

This topic is a sensitive one.  It gets people riled up and is highly controversial.  It is not a topic that many women want to discuss and men get “iffy” about whether or not they should discuss it.  But, since I am comfortable talking about myself and things that I have experienced, I am going to touch briefly on my experience with abortion.

Let’s get right to the point here.  I have had an abortion and I AM NOT ASHAMED!  Does this mean that I am proud of my decision? Not necessarily- it just means that I am not ashamed and that I am confident enough with myself to not hide behind it or to lie about my experience.

Please make sure that while you are reading this, you are truly reading the words and not just reading INTO them.  I do not feel that every woman that has had an abortion should share their story or feel like they must divulge the information at all.  This is a personal matter and not one that someone must feel obligated to share.

And please remember as you read, that I can only share about my experience, not anyone else’s.  I have come to terms with decisions that I made.  I am at a point in my life where the more open and honest that I am, the freer I feel.  I also understand that many people reading this right now, that know me personally and haven’t read some of my other blog posts, may not have realized that I have had an abortion before.  Some of these people are my family— my cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers in law, sisters in law, extended family of my husband.  Some of these people may be friends of my children, parents of friends of my children, friends of mine, coworkers, acquaintances, etc.  There are people that may read this that may change their opinion of me, be angry, and judge.  And that is their right.   And I will respect it fully.

With a situation so sensitive, it only seems right that people have such strong opinions about it. It makes sense.  The belief that it is murder, the belief that it is wrong, the belief that it is a woman’s right, the belief that it is the governments choice. These are all very real beliefs and opinions that are bound to cause some drama.

I am not looking to cause drama, but am aware writing about it may do so.  As a 19 year old, I found myself in a position where I felt confused and scared.  Not confused about how I got pregnant, not confused about who the father was, but just confused.  Scared about what to do next and scared about what may come in the future.  Getting pregnant is the easy part.  And to many, the moment of conception means that your future is already determined- you will be a mother.

I didn’t feel that way.  I had a choice.  I did not make the choice lightly, and I struggled for a little bit.  Especially when I went to the doctor the first time thinking that the procedure would be done and they told me that I was too early and I would need to come back.  I then, had to make a choice again.  To come back and go through with the procedure a week later.  I remember that at this point in my life, I honestly never wanted to have kids. I was on birth control, although I had clearly missed some pills her and ther, and had only recently lost my virginity. I made the choice to return and then experience what comes after.  Many people reading this (if they have continued to read this far) are probably expecting me to now right about the guilt and shame that I felt after.  I can’t give that answer though.  I don’t remember exactly what I felt right after.  I know it was Valentine’s Day, a Thursday or Friday, and I was tired.  I bled and cramped like they said I would after and then went back to UCONN the Monday following. I didn’t talk about it with anyone and just continued to live my life.

It wasn’t until my mother called me at work one day after an ex of my “boyfriend” at the time had called her and told her what I had done that I thought about it again.  And in the moment of talking to my mother, I am pretty sure what I felt was shame.  Shame for making a decision that seemed to disappoint so many people, shame for being secretive, shame for doing something so controversial.  My mom wasn’t happy- and I think it is because it is not necessarily a decision that she would have liked me to make.  And yet, I know my mother believes in the right to choose.

This is something that I feel is important to note because many people feel that just because you believe in the right to choose, that this means that you would automatically have an abortion.  And I KNOW that this is not true for everyone.  I know that I believe in the right to choose and I have made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.  I know that I believe int he right to choose, but I have no idea what choice I would want my own daughters to make if they felt they were at a crossroads.  I do not know if choosing to have an abortion would be something I encourage, but I can tell you that I pray that I would have the ability to support them in whatever decision they made.  I cannot tell you what my advice would be to my son if he and a female found themselves in a situation that they were unsure about about other than that I hope he is just willing to support whatever decision that young woman chooses for herself.  I feel that conversations would need to be had, but the ultimately the decision would be on the person with a missed period,  peeing in cup, or on a stick.  I know that I chose to have an abortion, but I also chose to have 3 amazing children. I know people are pissed by my words.  I understand the anger that people feel surrounding this.  I truly do.  I am very close to people that I have shaken their finger at me and spoken their beliefs and scolded me for the choice I made.  I also know that some of these very same people came to a point in their lives where they felt that needed to make a choice and they chose the same path I did that Valentine’s Day.  And maybe they wish that the choice wasn’t an option because they feel shame and guilt and I understand that also.  And I also know some of these same people that would never even consider it an option regardless of having the right to choose or not.

Ultimately- this topic makes us go around and around.  It is wrong. It is right.  It is murder. It isn’t murder. You are selfish. You are not selfish.  You don’t care about human life.  You care enough to think it through. You are a slut. You know how this happens, be mature enough to live with the consequences. Don’t sleep around. My body, my choice. Pro-life. Pro-choice. F*** your abortion ban. People who abort are criminals.  It should be a choice if you are raped. It doesn’t matter how you became pregnant, a baby is a life. The battle words are endless.

I don’t think for one minute that these conversations should fade. I DO think that we need to respect one another. We don’t need to understand where someone else is coming from, but we need to understand that people are allowed to think differently than us.  I think the issue is far greater than females versus male, religion versus non religion, entitled white rich humans versus everyone else.

I do believe that we must understand that just because someone believes in a woman’s right to choose does not mean that they will automatically choose themselves to get an abortion with their next pregnancy.  I do believe that this topic is so extremely sensitive that the shame surrounding it causes many mental health issues among women.  I do believe that some people use abortions as a form of birth control, I mean, many people would feel that that is exactly what I did and maybe they are right. I do believe that this subject will be one that causes us to fight one another for a very long while if not forever. I do believe that abortion bans will NOT stop abortions, they will only make them more secretive and very dangerous.  I do believe that abortion bans will decrease the amount of abortions being done that are public knowledge.  I do know that just because abortions are legal in many places that not all ob/gyn providers will perform them and not all ob/gyn nurses and anesthesiologists will scrub in for them.

Again, I don’t write a single one of these words to downplay anyone’s opinion surrounding this issue.  I write them for the complete opposite reason actually.  I write them for those people that have such strong opinions regardless of what side they are on.  I write these words as a safe place for people on both sides. I write them for people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. I write them for those that are so full of judgement, because I know there are many.  I write them for the scared who feel they have no choice.  I write them to be read, to be thought about, to be responded to.

This issue is sensitive. This issue is personal. This issue was mine once and will continue to be mine while I raise young women and a young man and they go one to grow their families if they so choose.  This issue is scary.  This issue is deep.

But I write about  it because it needs to be addressed- over and over and over again.  It isn’t just going to go away.  Rules are changing, laws are being made, rights are being taken away. People are angry. People are scared. This is huge. And while I will never have to make the choice for myself again, I am so very grateful that when I found myself scared and confused, that I had the ability to make the choice. The choice I made didn’t necessarily take away the fear or the confusion, but it gave me options that I am confident would have been different had I not had the ability to choose. And yes- I chose to have an abortion and I am not ashamed.