Friendship-more than just a word

20190531_213012_0000.pngFriend/Friendship. One small word that means different things to different people. And it goes so much deeper than just someone that you know and spend your time with.

I do not have many friends.  I know a decent amount of people but they are not all my friends.  I interact with many people but they are not all my friends.

Friendship has always been a touchy subject for me. Growing up, we moved often due tot he military and I never really seemed to have a hard time making friends.  And as we moved, I managed to maintain contact with many of them.   When we finally settled late in my 8th grade year in Connecticut, I struggled making with making friends.  My friendships truly started to cultivate in the middle of my freshman year of high school.  I stuck with mainly the same group of people throughout high school although I did associate with many different people in the different “cliques” throughout the years.  As I graduated and left for the military, had a baby, became engaged… only a few people stuck around. Many had left for college or went on with their post high school lives and we lost contact.  I believe that all of these events are normal as people and change.

As a child and teenagers, I remember my friends being important to me.  But even then, I was a homebody and preferred to be alone more than being with other people.  With people, I would feel out of place and insecure.  With people there was drama.  And then as I got older, some of the “friends” closest to me betrayed me in ways I could not imagine and my mindset towards friends and having friends changed.  I began to think that as an adult, it wasn’t important to have friends.  I have my husband, my sisters, my parents so if I really needed someone or something, I had my little group of people.  I began thinking that nothing good could come from friends, that people expect too much when they are friend, that friends are overrated.

My thought process as of late has grown. I value friendships.  I still do not believe that everyone you meet or talk to, needs to be your friend. I strongly believe that people I consider my friend, must have earned that position as I would hope they would feel the same towards me. I feel now that friends are people that become like a family and that quality is so much more important than quantity.  I hold my “friends” to a higher standard than I ever would have before and I do not use the term loosely.  Friends is not just a word to me. I am cool with a lot of people, I am FRIENDS with a handful.

Sometimes these friends are biological family members, sometimes they become family through trials and experiences as friends.  Friends are people that I feel able to talk to in confidence.  You do not have to be a “ride or die” to be my friend.  I have to admit, I am not always ride or die with my friends.  I do like to know what certain things entail, who is involved, why we were are doing things before I hop fully on board. I will almost always jump on board, but I am going to need some answers first depending on the situation.  And if that makes me unworthy of being your friend, then I will respect that fully.

I consider my friends the people who understand that for me, going out and about all the time is too much.  They don’t need to understand my social anxiety, but I demand that they respect it.  I do not want friends that agree with everything I say or think that every idea I have is a great one.  I want my friends to be people who challenge my thoughts at times and push me to do better.  My friends now are people that remind me that I sometimes need to lighten up and that it is okay to be uncomfortable.  The encourage me to step out and let loose and live more freely at times.

We all need to be very particular with who we spend our time with.  We  need to spend time with people that we trust, respect, and enjoy spending time with.  I want friends that will support me in new endeavors all while keeping me grounded and holding me accountable.  Sometimes this means cussing me out when I don’t follow through or questioning me when I may be making a questionable decision.  These are things that I would not have wanted or even accepted just a few years ago.  And since making these belief changes surrounding friendships, my life has slowly been evolving.  I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people almost all the time. I am constantly being pushed to pursue and learn more.  I have become more creative, more open to new things.  The changes have been astronomical.

Some people need a small group of friends like this, some just one friend, others large groups.  Some people name these groups or people- things like my tribe, my people, my crew, my squad, etc.  I am more of a “my people” gal.  All of these words mean something different to each person we ask.

As I sit here and describe what friends or being friends means to me, I should also point out that hold myself to the same standards for others. And because of that, I fall short as a friend daily.  However, if you are working towards something big- I will cheer you on! I will support you and shout you out. I may not make it to every get together, but if you need me to watch a child, pick up some groceries, rescue you if you are stranded- I got you.  I do not always have the right words of encouragement, but I am really good listener and will sit in silence with you if that is what feels right.  I will accept you as you are and not try to change you.  I may not talk to you everyday, but you will get a random “Hi” or “just checking in”text from me just to remind you that I feel you are important and you have crossed my mind.  I may forget that we made plans 3 weeks ago to go out for drinks, but I will remember your wedding anniversary, your birthday, your children’s birthday, the big test you have coming up, the doctor’s appointment you are nervous about, the new project you are starting. That is just the kind of friend that I am and the kinds of friends that I strive to gain.

It doesn’t matter what you call your friend group- or even if it is just 1 person.  All that matters is that the people that you allow to use that title when referring to you are people that you would vouch for. People that have earned your respect and that you are honored to be around.

Friendship is so much more than a title to me- it is truly a bond.

In all things find beauty,

~MRC

Finding my power in parenting

I went out for breakfast with a dear friend at the end of 2018 and as we were catching up with each other’s lives, she spoke to me about my “power”.  You see, she was breaking down for me my “power” as a mom.  I am in a constant struggle with finding my place as a mom which I know sound so weird since I have been a mom for over 15 years.  But for me- being a mom has never felt natural. It has never felt like a true calling.  I know that for many people that just doesn’t seem right, that I could feel this way. But it is in fact… the truth for me.  Let me explain why this one conversation and this word has had me thinking all sorts of things… and since it is me, you know it will be a LOOOONNNNGGGG explanation.

Because of this, my parenting style is quite different. I am all over the place with my kids and any given time. My love for them is real, my confidence in parenting- not so much. I do not parent each of my children the same way. What works for one, may not work for the other two. As they change in age, their needs and my requirements shift. Unfortunately these shifts do not always match their needs and can sometimes be excessive, but again, this is my truth.

D and I have a lot of help with our kids. With my steady work schedule and Damian’s not so steady schedule, we need the help. This is where things begin to get tricky.  I am so darn grateful for all the help that I receive.  My older sister, who is like the world’s greatest aunt, will almost always be willing to help out with driving and babysitting if necessary. She works full-time and some of the only times she is unable to help out is due to prior work commitments. My parents will almost always be able to help out on the weekends if need be. I tend to not ask them for weekday help because of their full time work schedules and I know they help out with my niece as well.  My in-laws are almost always available for the day-to-day help. Picking kids up from the bus, from school if they are sick, weekends if possible.  They are becoming more and more busy and in demand as they are gaining more precious grandchildren and they try to make themselves available for all of them.  And again- I am so grateful for ALL of the help that my entire family receives.

And yet, oh dear- isn’t there always a contradiction with me?  And yet, sometimes the help becomes too much for me. I have an issue with boundaries. I either have far too many and don’t allow people to even scratch the surface or I allow people to have no respect for them whatsoever and get all up into my space.  This is where the trouble lies.

I need help and I appreciate help. I sometimes don’t ask for help because of my pride, but I  need it almost all the time. I will never get a mom of the year award. (I wouldn’t really want that piece of junk anyway- I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to put it)  My children probably won’t look back at their childhood and remember many family game nights or amazing family vacations – and I am okay with that. However, I don’t want them to look back and only remember the crappy times and the arguments.

Okay— so I got into all of that because this is what made my dear friend start to talk about my “power”.  As I have been navigating through these various thoughts surrounding self-care, self-love, finding myself – I have been pulling away from many people. One of these people would be my husband. I notice that as I begin to change in some areas of my life, some areas stay the same and sometimes these are the areas that need the change the most. The biggest area is my relationship with my immediate family- Damian, Madison, Myles, and Mayci. These past couple of years have been the roughest. Damian and I have drifted apart, my relationship with Myles and Mayci is not nearly as I strong as I would like it to be, Madison and I have been the worst we have ever been. So it has been quite a relationship mess in our little Curtis household.

Without going into all the nitty-gritty details, in speaking with my friend she started to tell me that as a mom I have a “power” that no one could take from me in that I am my children’s mother. I am their mom. I carried each of them for at least 37 weeks in my body and I physically brought them out into the world.  I have held them while they are upset, nursed boo-boos back to health, cheered them on during their successes, scolded them for their wrong doings… But this still didn’t seem to sit with me well. I do love my children. My love for them may be displayed in ways different from other mommas out there.  I have done all of those things mentioned above– but there are other people in their lives who have done the same for my children(and at times even more)- that my children have bonded with more. And because of that, more often than not, I feel inadequate as a mom. Especially for Myles and Mayci. I believe that in my absence, they would not look for me or feel as though they need me for anything. I do not feel like I have that “power.”

My friend insists that this is not the case. That among all of my insecurities surrounding parenting, I still hold a position in all 3 of my children’s lives. And I am starting to realize how true this is over the past several weeks.  About a month ago, my father in law brought something up to my husband.  He informed my husband that Myles (my 9 yr old) told him that he didn’t think that I loved him because I never want to spend time with him.  I did speak with Myles and got the whole story, but we won’t even get into that today.  Regardless of the “actual story”, this situation got me thinking.  I started questioning even more so about my relationship with my kids and where I stand with each of them.  From that moment – I began to realize my impact on my children’s lives. I spend time with my son watching basketball or talking about school, cherish my girly time with Mayci speaking of princesses and goals, and am starting to actually enjoy my more “grown up” teenage talks about all of those coming of age topics with Madison.  What I haven’t done to be honest is change anything about my parenting, I have just made the time I am with my children more intentional.  I don’t even know if I have truly increased the quantity of time that I have spent with my kids,  but I sure as hell am focused on the quality of that time.

Have I fully embraced my “power”? I have no freaking clue.  Do I feel that my power is diminished by others? Yeah- I think I may still feel this way a little.  The thing that is different– I am  no longer allowing the bond that my children have with other people(grandparents, friends, other family members, etc)- to make me feel like less of a mom.  I am beginning to understand just how lucky my children are to have even more people they feel bonded to and how their worlds do not begin and end with me.

YES- as I always like to remind everyone…my relationship with my children is different. Many other moms would frown upon it- but I think that makes my dynamic even more special.  My children will have their own stories to tell. And while I hope that these stories are fun and light, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tell of the meltdowns,scary moments, and hard times.  Those times aren’t a secret.  They aren’t anything to be ashamed of.  They are a merely just another dimension of my phenomenal power!

To all you mommas out there (and daddys too)- I will not give you advice. I have no advice to give. I have no magic tricks, no mommy win stories, nothing… just words from my experience that I would hope you wouldn’t judge me for.  And if you do…that’s cool also.  What I will tell you is this: your relationship with your kids is just that. It is YOUR relationship with YOUR kids. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON can take that away from you.

Find your power! Own your power! Embrace your power! Cherish your power!

 

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entering 36 and the upcoming journey…

Three weeks ago I turned 36.  I remember being a child and honestly feeling like a new, more mature person with each birthday morning.  Now- not so much.  I never mind my birthdays. The idea of getting older is actually exciting to me. I don’t tend to look at getting older as something cringe worthy.  It actually excites me- well, at least for now.

I woke up that morning and felt good. Well I was still a little sore from a yoga class I took 2 days prior… but all in all… I felt great!  And now three weeks in, I still feel great. I am confident that 36 will be just as enlightening that 35 was.  As we were getting closer to this particular day, I did start to think about the past 365 days and how I have grown through them.

My mindset has certainly shifted. Entering my 35th year, I was still living for other people.  Saying the things that people want to hear in order to not hurt them. Supporting things that I did not believe were right, because I felt that is what I was supposed to do.. Not moving forward towards opportunities or towards the things I want because I knew they would be difficult or I didn’t want to hear from naysayers.

Over the past year, I have slowly began to just be honest- not the brutal honest kind that is hurtful and disrespectful, but just gentle honesty that most people respect and some people just need.  I no longer support things (financially, emotionally, etc) that I do not agree with. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t honest before… It was more that I didn’t say certain things because I knew that they weren’t what people wanted to hear or because I knew that it may hurt them. 


I want 36 to be even more different. I want to be more adventurous and more myself. For years I had been an impostor- like my true self had been hidden because I was busy trying to fit in to little groups and be the right person for each group that I was a part of, work-family-friends, etc.  That is a scary realization and one that I worked hard on fixing over the past 2-3 years.  I don’t think that we are ever just one thing and that is what makes humans amazing creatures.
I want to experience life this year. You know, really experience it. Try something new once a month. Whether it be a new book, a new place, a new food. The world is full of so much and I want to take in all it has to offer. 

I started school AGAIN(for the 3rd time) at age 35 therefore for 36, my only goal related to this is to not quit. (We all know I am a chronic quitter- they really should make an award for this) I am not due to get my Bachelor’s degree (finally) until well into my 37th, so it is imperative that I work hard through 36.   I don’t want to float through this age, but to sashay down the runway that is age 36. I will put more focus on writing and less focus on talking about writing while not actually doing it. I will say NO when I don’t want to and begin to follow through with my YES’s. I will honor myself by taking time for me and not feeling selfish for it. I will no longer look for validation from the outside but instead from the inside of my soul.

36 will be the year that I will recognize my POWER. My power as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as a student, as a writer, etc. And I will use that power to rise above my fear and my inconsistencies.

I am going to work hard to not compare myself to others as often as this is something I do always. I am not as disciplined as this person, not as motherly as that one. I am not has organized as so and so. I will work hard to eliminate these thoughts and to understand that in my power, I find my strength and my worth.

I will no longer tell myself that it is too late to change  my parenting tactics and just begin to make the necessary tweaks to help my family and my relationships with my kids stronger, regardless of my children’s ages. I will hold certain expectations for my home and how my home is run and I will no longer allow others to impede on these. 

I will focus on using my voice and words to build others up and stop tearing people down. I am going to work hard at making my conversations be less about criticizing other people and more about praising them instead. When praise cannot be found, I will simply stay quiet if my words cannot be beneficial. 

My theme for 36 will be INTENTION. I will aim to be more intentional. I will make decisions rationally and boldly. I will be confident in who I am. I will honor myself and my family and focus on teaching my kids the importance of being confident and true to your word.

I am beginning to realize that while age 35 was the year of realization, age 36 is going to be the year of execution. Let’s get this party started!!

In all things find beauty, 

MRC

 

 

Show the hell up…

Just show up! This is what I have to tell myself daily. Show up for my kids. Show up for my husband and other family. Show up for my friends. And damn it… SHOW UP FOR MYSELF!

Such simple words. Yet it is not a simple notion for me. I am known for not showing up. It is a sad fact and breaks my heart that many see me in this light.  My intentions are always good- but life is hard and people are sometimes just way to much for me. I love telling people yes and being there for people. I don’t like having to leave the comfort of my home sometimes, my safe place.

When I talk about showing up, I mean the term in many different ways. I mean being there for the people who are important for me.  Being there through their roughest moments as a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or just someone to sit in silence with. Being there during their accomplishments as one of their biggest cheerleaders. Being there just to be there to hang out, talk, be crazy, catch up.  This goes for family(and not just those related to me by blood), friends, coworkers, other adults or children in my life that just need someone to be there- to show up for them.  This is my goal, but this is not yet my reality. I back away and do not always show up because … well… mainly just be because I am afraid.  I am afraid to be there for one person more than another and then upset someone else. I am afraid to not be there in the right way for someone and then I end up hurting them more. I am afraid of letting myself out of my comfort zone and then what?  All the what ifs start to creep in at theat moment.  And don’t get me wrong- I do still show up… sometimes.  And when I do, I give my all. My biggest problem is aggreeing to show up before knowing if I truly can. That is where I get into the most trouble and I am tired of doing that. And then that makes me afraid to commit at all.

I talk a lot about my fears when I am writing because that is the emotion that has the most control over my life currently. Who am I kidding, this is what has controlled me for the better part of my 35 years.  But the thing that fear has most controlled when it comes to showing up– is me showing up for myself. I mean really- I am probably one of the most selfish people I know (listen, I am just being honest here- this is my safe place)- so why on earth would it be so difficult to do things that benefit me?  Now don’t be confused, yes I take plenty of time to binge watch my favorite shows, to eat the crappy foods I enjoy, to drink too much at times, to speak in ways that are not always becoming- but I cannot seem to show up for myself when it comes to making healthy decisions,  working towards MY goals, and doing things that truly excite me…yet I cannot seem to figure out why?

I have been thinking about this so much because I have been a part of a workout/healthy eating challenge through a local gym.  And one of the things I have been focusing on is SHOWING UP FOR MYSELF.  This requires discipline  in showing up for at least 3 workouts a week and focusing on getting the “correct” amount of protein and water in my daily “diet”. Oh my word- I SUCK at this.  I always have. Being disciplined is hard for me.  A lot of people think that it shouldn’t be this way since I served 8 years in the military– but boy are they wrong.

I still don’t get why showing up for myself is hard. Like, shouldn’t being there for myself be a priority? Shouldn’t I want to love on myself and take care of myself so that I have enough to give back to others? Shouldn’t I feel that I am important enough to show up for? The answer… HELL YES!  It is time to show the hell up for myself.  Stop with the excuses for why I cannot invest in myself. I am in a constant battle in fighting what I want to do versus what I need to do versus what people expect me to do…  The fight is over…..I am no longer going to worry myself about what other people feel I should do.. as long as what I want to do and  need to do align..then, the only thing that I am going to hold myself accountable for over the next 380 days is to just show up for myself!!  It will be challenging, scary, will piss people off, will push some away, will draw some near… but will continue to be worth every moment!

WISH ME LUCK

In all things find beauty,

MRC