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The Mess that is Me

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’m in a “lazy” stage. It seems my pattern is to take a big leap, then pull back a bit from life. If you read my last blog, you know my big leap was that I was planning to take a trip by myself in November, and that I was pretty terrified. Well…I’m very happy to report that I had the time of my life on that vacation. I think the first moment I knew I was going to be okay was when I stopped for a quick drink in between flights down to Turks and Caicos. I sat down next to a lovely young woman and struck up a conversation. She was From L.A. and within five minutes we were discussing how she doesn’t really know her therapist as a person, and maybe she would like to ask her a few questions about herself. Needless to say, I was the last person to get on my connecting flight and nearly missed it.  But I remember thinking to myself, “Julie, you’re going to be great. You know how to talk to people.”

My one uncomfortable moment came early on in the trip. When I got to the resort, I quickly put away my clothes and made my way down to the beach, taking in the gorgeous surrounding that was Grace Bay. I walked over to the beach bar, which was where, after careful pre-trip planning, I thought my people would be. Unfortunately, I was less than pleased to find a bunch of twenty-somethings in bikinis using a slip and slide. Hmm. Ignoring that, I grabbed a cocktail and sat down on the outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. Beautiful. Just beautiful. But then…I felt my solidarity swoop over me like a huge gush of pain and loneliness. My face flushed; my body stiffened. “What the Hell am I doing here?” I thought. I.Can’t.Possibly.Do.This. I took in a deep breath. I looked around. This wasn’t my place. And these weren’t my people. I quickly got up and decided to find out where there might be a better fit. I walked over to the main bar, by the pool, which was still quiet at 5:30 pm. I sat down on a white couch, and sighed in relief. This was more comfortable. This was going to work after all. And so five days and nights went by quickly. The “outside of my comfort zone” feeling went away for the most part. I enjoyed an excellent balance of activity, relaxation, and partying. I met wonderful, interesting people. On my second night, I grabbed a glass of wine, sat on the beach, listened to Pandora on my phone and texted my friend Lynn: “I fucking love myself!” And I did.

It’s now a mere month later and that trip still sits in my heart but feels far away. I’m back to the grind. My twelve year old son just tried to leave the house in shorts and a sweatshirt in 18 degree weather. I may or may not have called him an asshole. It wasn’t even seven a.m! I quickly sent my ex-husband a text to complain, because clearly it was his fault. Luckily, he’s a nice guy and didn’t tell me to go hell (as he easily could have.) My house was only half-cleaned this weekend, I’ve been protesting eating healthy for the past three weeks, and I’m living on 5-6 hours of sleep per night. I’m a week behind on my clinical notes, the presents under my tree look like a toddler wrapped them…oh! And best of all, I have flies in my house. In winter!

Here I am, this Marriage and Family Therapist, license on the wall to prove it, specializing in relationships, specializing in self-love…and I’m a mess. How do I balance this messiness and this ability to do badass things like go on vacation by myself and help others recognize their self worth, move past affairs, and do a whole lot of other amazing things?

Brene Brown says, “The Magic is in the Mess.” Its a nice reminder. But it doesn’t feel magical. It just feels messy. I know that I’m going to have to turn around this feeling before I start my day. Well, I ate a banana and raw nuts for breakfast, and drank a dandelion tea. That was pretty healthy. And I have this very adorable picture of my son from when he was about six months old next to where I’m sitting, and he looks sweet and lovable. So I think I love him again. And I have to acknowledge that I have a good enough relationship with my ex that he forgives me for my rants and raves. What am I doing here?  Is this Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is about changing thoughts? Is it the power of positive thinking? Nah. It’s just me. Acknowledging I have both badass and messy parts. And knowing that I pretty much dig myself anyway!

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