Coming to Terms With My Past

Working through it,

learning,

growing,

discovering,..

and then beginning to understand how it all fits together.

The things I did, the things I didn’t.

The parts I wanted to hide, the pieces I did hide for way too long.

It’s all part of the journey. The whole time I played with this piece I was thinking about that concept, and once again, coming to terms with my past.

So, that should probably be the title. 🙂 xo

 

SUMMER!

Finally! School is OVER, (which means driving 3 hours a day is OVER), our lovely vacation with the kids is OVER as well.

So,.. you know what this means….

I can GET TO focus on JACKIE!!! 

I’ve realized that over this past year, my thoughts, my energy, my mind, my heart has been devoted to Brian. Getting him into a new school, finding a new therapist, having the answers, driving him all over town, discussing issues with teachers, working out consequences for behavior, long convos about behavior, forgiving, meditating, feeling my feelings of anger and sadness, and literally giving as much as I possibly could to the situation.

But now my friends, is a NEW JACKIE.

Maybe I had to go through all of this to get clearer on WHAT I WANT FOR MY LIFE.

Because I have plans for ME. I have plans where I get to be ME FULLY, and I can no longer allow those plans and dreams and desires to be covered by the constant needs of this little boy.

We are reaching out for help in other directions and I am practicing saying NO. 

If anything, this is teaching me that I DON’T NEED TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. Oh my gawd tears come to my eyes just writing that out. My entire life I have felt that it was my JOB to have all the answers.

To everything.

And I can’t!

I don’t.

I am NOT AN EXPERT in what he needs.

I am ready to happily hand it over to the actual experts so I can enjoy more OF MY LIFE.

I need to be more important than all of these little things that used to occupy my time. I cannot change the situation. I cannot make miracles with everyone that I think needs to change.

I must matter, and so as I enter the summer of 2018, I am reminded that I will be here for me. If I fail to make decisions FOR ME, that is MY FAULT, MY DOING.

I can take care of me first, practice getting comfortable with NOT having all the answers, allow space for my husband and his ex wife to make important decisions, and remember to BREATHE.

I matter. I matter. I matter. xo

Holy Hell

Holy hell it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Sheesh! Actually it’s been awhile since I’ve done much of anything it feels like. I’ve started just making sure that I am making art, doing some writing, meditating, and the rest feels like it’s been driving Brian to/from school, and family stuff.

Something you may not know about me (why would you, I don’t tell anyone) is that I would like to have a baby. I think I’ve avoided coming out and saying that for a couple of reasons.

1. Everyone I know already has kids, and I feel like I’m starting late. So this has caused years of back and forth with should I or shouldn’t I? Do I want it or not. I think I was afraid people in my life would think it was a stupid idea, or that friends wouldn’t stick around. Funny, it sounds so silly when I spell it out.

2.  My husband has 2 kids, and quite honestly, especially this year, I feel like I’ve got them as well. Why would he want to start over with me? I mean he says he does, but for YEARS (literally for years) I denied my true feelings about having kids because I thought it would scare him away.

The truth is I want to be a mother.

My hubby and I have been getting acupuncture every week for months to help with fertility. My cycle has always been super long, and it really hasn’t changed at all since I’ve started this. Last week the acupuncturist mentioned she could tell I’ve got a lot of emotions that need to be released and she suggested doing some writing and FEELING. I am very familiar with Morning Pages. I did Artists Way 3-4 times and it was so incredible for me, so I thought why not, I can start those again. I gotta tell you though, at first even thinking about writing my thoughts down on paper, no matter what they were was giving me so much anxiety. I don’t know, I guess I was afraid of what I would find. But I started them anyway. Suddenly I am in a place of digging deeper into my psyche than I have in awhile. I am making all these connections and hidden realizations again! Ha!

I feel 1000 times more connected to myself than I have been in a long, long time.

This has been extremely helpful.

A couple of days ago during a writing sess, I realized something. I’ve been so drained, so emotionally trashed from running here and there, recalling our lists, contacting the kids mom, driving Brian, having parent convo’s, working things out with teachers, having more issues with him, etc. I realized that all of this, this parenting stuff could be the very thing that is preventing my body from figuring out my cycle. It’s like I don’t have the space to bring a new baby into the world.

There isn’t enough of ME to do it.

After talking to the acupuncturist yesterday, she confirmed it. She said that my body probably feels like I am already a mother, so why would it need to be more of one? It was a really sad realization. I am giving so much of myself, and yet, in this situation there is NO boundaries with my limit, or my role. It’s just this free for all that I keep jumping into over and over again. Maybe all of this needed to happen so I could see the truth of the situation. I know I have the power to change it, I do. I can make any changes I need, because I am not going to allow whatever outside forces there are to stop me from getting what it is that I want

FOR MY LIFE.

It’s hard because when I’m around these kids, I love them, I want to show up the best that I can. Especially because their MOTHER can’t mother, she can’t show emotions, or empathize so I’m automatically without even thinking, taking it all on. Unfortunately, no matter how much I do for them, and love them and try to give them what I think they are missing out on, it’s not enough. Though I think they appreciate it, the truth is, they want their MOM to give it. They will always want their mom to give those things.

So how can I be there, but not be so emotionally drained by all of it? I don’t want to disconnect. I don’t want to be uninterested. That’s not who I am, but how do I take care of ME at the same time preserving my emotional balance?

I would love any advice from someone that has gone through a similar situation. My acupuncturist said it’s very common for women that are taking on families like this to struggle with having their own kid. Please send any helpful info my way. I know there is a better way to balance things. I would love to hear any thoughts!

Sending you all love and light…

Play = Me

This is a little fluid piece that I was playing with in my art book. Like I mentioned before, I am making it a goal to incorporate more painting and pen play into the big pieces I am doing. It doesn’t make sense to have this fluid easy play in my art journal, and not just make these ideas into bigger pieces.

I think I still struggle sometimes with keeping the flow alive. Once I know I am ‘creating art,’ I tend to lock up a bit as if I’m afraid of making a mistake. However when I am PLAYING in my book, the fear of mistakes is gone.

So like I have said before, the only way out is through. That must mean I just need to make more WORK.

I know that my true voice is the voice that rings out in my moments of sheer joy, and total flow. So incorporating the parts the naturally show up when I’m not trying at all, is what I am aiming for.

My intention is to live my truest self, in my art and in all areas of life….

Sending you all love and light, and hope that you’re feeding your inner artist…..

xo Jax

Clear That Space, Woman

Geez, a New Year is here! Ahhhh! Isn’t it amazing to start a fresh chapter? I know I keep mentioning it but I still can’t get over it. The luster is hopefully going to last far into the year for me because it’s keeping me going.

I’ve been doing a lot of checking in with myself these past couple of weeks. I didn’t like how I was starting to feel pretty regularly by the end of the year last year. Sort of tired, and put upon, and constantly feeling like TIME IS RUNNING OUT,.. you know, all of that. None of which makes me feel
EMPOWERED or
PASSIONATE or
CREATIVE or
ALIVE.

So I knew I needed to make a change. 

thumbs up

One of the adjustments I am making is HOW I can take care of myself better.

Now, I know better than anyone that I require a lot to feel my best.

I need:
To do feelings meditations super regularly, and deep breathing, and go to bed early, and make art, and cry, and see friends, and connect with my hubby, and eat protein often, and write, and exercise until I am covered in sweat, and take baths, and visualize solar light, and wake up at 4am, and speak my truth, and have conversations with depth, and I am sure there is plenty more.

I’m pretty good at all of these, but one area I’ve been struggling with is creating spaces that feel good to me. Spending time figuring out how to make spaces clutter free, or warm, or full of love so I feel good in them.

I realized this with my sacred meditation space. I’ve appointed a small walk in closet as my meditation room, but have allowed it to fill up with junk (probably just like my mind), and haven’t bothered to fix it up. Every morning I trip over a bunch of crap in order to close my eyes and attempt to meditate.

How ironic is that? 

After New Years it dawned on me that IT’S UP TO ME to create the space exactly the way I want it. And really, if I have it at all, why not make it feel good? Isn’t that the point?

Again, WHY DO WE MAKE LIFE HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE? 

Ah! So I am in the process of creating my meditation space so I feel clear and vibrant and at peace when I am in it. Yesssssssssss! And THAT FEELS like I am taking care of me!

 

I will show pics when it’s done!

xo

Fresh New Year 2018

Ahhhh! There are few things I love more than starting a fresh new, blank chapter. An unlined, crisp, white papered chapter just gleaming with morning dew and ready for me to dip my brush in it.

Ah!

That being said,…wow. Can you believe it’s 2018???! What a crazy year full of learning and growing and the absolute unexpected last year was. Ha! I am grateful for the trials and tears and growth but I must say, I am so so so ready to start this new year. Last year proved to be far more difficult and immerse than I would have ever guessed. But I have the power to figure out why and make the changes necessary for this year.

Every New Years, my hubby and I rent a cabin in Idyllwild for 4 days and work through everything from the year prior and bring what we want into the fresh new year.  We create lists of all we experienced, the learning from it, old beliefs that no longer serve us, and anything else that needs to be healed. We talk and cry and discuss for hours. Then the magic begins… We spend the next half of our visit creating the year the way WE WANT IT.

What feelings do we want to experience?
What new experiences do we want to have?
What are the intentions we have for this new year?
I have learned that if we create everyday with INTENTION, we get closer to what it is we really want.

My favorite realization over this New Years visit was that our habits, priorities and intentions need to be aligned in order for us to create the life we want. If one of those is off, life becomes a lot harder and usually we end up not where we want. Ah!

I am so ready for this year, and so ready to dive in to the unknown, even when it’s not always fun or easy. My intentions will guide the way, and part of that is writing more frequently on this blog. Yesss.

I am sending everyone lots of love and light…., and I hope that you’re all ready to move full force into this new year as well!

xo Jax

Under all the Art

First of all, I am so so so so so appreciative that I get to create. That I have SPACE in my life to create. I am so appreciative that making art fills me up in such an incredible way. It’s like this warm hug, right from the universe. I feel empowered and connected and powerful and it’s all from the act of sitting down with my paintbrush. Just opening a can of my favorite paint melts my heart and sometimes I can’t stop myself from bursting into tears.

This is the best parts of being an artist for me.

This is the part where no matter what my life looks like, I can say with everything I am that I am so so so grateful I have something that fills me with this much passion and joy. I am truly grateful.

With every ounce of my being it’s not about what other people think AT ALL. AT ALL. For me it is so personal, and it is entirely the process, the in-the-moment creating that makes me feel so full.

That leads me to a slight issue.

I said I want to BE AN ARTIST. Be the artist I know I am.

What does that mean exactly?

Well, if I had my way I would be painting and painting and painting for hours on end with sore fingers and an open heart. I would be immersed in doodles and sketches and shrieking and giggling and crying as I create, all day everyday. All the time. But I said I’d like to also make money as an artist. It’s funny, saying the word ‘money’ along with art physically twists my stomach into knots. I don’t really care if people want to buy my stuff or not, I don’t.

I create solely for myself.

That being said, I also know without a doubt that we are given gifts and abilities to SHARE.

As you can see, I’m sorta stuck here. Stuck between what is comfortable and replenishing and what I know in my heart we as humans are here for.

So what do I do? 

 

I do know that I have always wanted to make a difference in peoples lives, and now is no different. I love community service, and random acts of kindness, and smiling at strangers, etc. etc. etc. If this really is the case, would I really want to hide away day after day creating and bursting and feeling and playing and making all in secret?

That’s not me living my truest self. 

If SHARING who I am means SHARING my art, how can I do that authentically?
Without feeling like a jackass?

All marketing is a painful, repulsive venture for me. I literally have to force myself to post on Instagram or Facebook, or even show my work here.

Wow. Okay. So I am noticing as I write that I have a LOT of emotions, way more than I thought, and it’s making me I want to shut down and cry and make art.

I realize that if the idea of showing my work is making me this upset, I must have a lot of fear underneath. 

Maybe it’s fear that I’m not good enough.

Maybe it’s fear that I won’t make money.

Maybe it’s fear that I WILL be seen as someone that needs to be acknowledged for her art.

Maybe it’s fear that someone will actually LIKE my work.

I’m not sure, but because of all these extreme reactions, I’m going to investigate. Ah! I love discovering more things about myself to release.

I guess this just means I need to share, I need to post, I need to expose myself anyway.

I don’t need to BE COMFORTABLE.

I can jump even if it’s terrifying and feels gross. In the end I will grow and that is what matters to me.

I need a Change NOW

These past couple of weeks have proven to be some of my most difficult. Probably ever in my life. But through them, like icicles glimmering in the sunset, there are always nuggets of realizations and moments of discovery. This time is no different. I guess what gets me through the tough times is knowing without a doubt that there is SOMETHING for me to learn.

Something for me to deepen as a human.

Something that I may have missed before but that I am now ready to learn. 

 

So here goes.

The thing that has by far taken up most of my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy right now is BEING A STEPMOM. I know I know I’ve written about it a lot lately. I’ve done google searches and researched books that could maybe help me feel more empowered, more at peace, more in a place of joy. And yet most of what I read is pretty depressing. I mean it’s nice to see that I’m not along, but there isn’t a lot of ACTION ITEMS to try, which is what I am truly craving.

The truth is, I haven’t liked who I am lately. I’ve felt so tired and annoyed and irritated and quite honestly stuck. It’s a horrible feeling, and because there is probably nothing I dislike more than feeling like a victim, I know there is a way out.

There is always a path to empowerment, I just need to find it. 

This weekend was another one of those hard times. I spent most of it in tears, and exhausted from attempted to guide, and teach, and ask questions, and create plans, etc. etc. etc. and I’m left buzzing around from one thing to the next completely drained and unhappy. I don’t like feeling angry. I’m so sick of being upset and near tears so much of the time. This isn’t the way I want to be, and I know that my core is not.

Things need to change and I am so so so ready for it.

One thing I have learned from past experience is that the CHANGE I’m talking about needs to come from me. It doesn’t work to be waiting around for the ex wife to change, or the kids to change or the situation to change. They all have their own agenda and course to run.

The change NEEDS to come from me. 

But what is it? Hmmm…
I know I can meditate more.
I know there are a handful of things that I probably need to let go of.
I know I can’t do everything.

But how do I make these adjustments? 

Amidst all these questions running through my brain, I got this funny little realization. Perhaps it’s the title that is screwing me up the most. Since I’ve titled myself as a MOM, and the kids STEPMOM/BONUS MOM, there is instantly this pressure to do everything I can to encourage!  To shape! To question! To inspire! To lead! To guide!

Is it the word, MOM?

Though when I say it to myself I feel full, powerful, maternal, warm, and like I have a place in this world. But what comes out is burning weights of pressure.

If the kids don’t learn their manners, it’s my fault. If the kids still don’t have goals, or interests, I didn’t do something right. If the kids are horrible at time management, I must not have carved out time to teach them. If the kids are lazy, I screwed up.

I have just realized the terrible voices that run through my mind all. day. long. No wonder I’m exhausted. No wonder I have this anger hiding inside my body. No wonder I’m feeling small and yucky and not enough.

I was realizing all of this after my husband pretty much required me to go out to the garage to meditate and paint. Both of these are things that I love and center me, but usually when the kids are here, I have a difficult time doing them.

Anyway, after a good hour of Jackie time, I realized something else. Though it’s obvious I need to make ME wayyyyyyyyyyyy more important than I have been. In fact, I need to be the first one that gets attention. I also realized that I don’t need to say the word ‘MOM’ to myself. It’s fine whatever the kids see me as, but to me,… I can be just Jackie.

If I am just Jackie, then I get the FREEDOM to show up as me. NOT as someone that needs to teach them or guide them every minute. NOT every second should be a teaching moment anyway. What if we are just a couple of souls that are hanging out in this lifetime learning from each other?

What. Woa. This just took the pressure way off.

Now, I still see myself as a MOM, but what if I am more of a universal mother, NOT NECESSARILY THEIR MOM?

I walked back into the house, and noticed right away the change in the energy. I felt a desire to chat with them and laugh and it felt easy.

I was being Jackie.

I let go of the PRESSURE to do anything else. The kids and I hung out and watched Project Runway. Ah! It felt so much easier and smooth, and we were chatting and discussing the whole time. I felt myself being interested in their observations and enjoying myself the way I am with anyone else.

I know everyone has a way that works best for them, but this might actually be mine. I’m seeing that even if I had my own kid, the pressure to BE SOMEONE’S MOM, can be overwhelming. And yet, they are on their own journey just like we are. They are here for their own reasons, and maybe I’m only here to softly guide and continue along my path side by side. I don’t know, I haven’t worked all this out yet, but it definitely feels better, and I like just being Jackie.

What the HELL is my role

The biggest question of my life right now,…

What is my role????

I’ve told myself I am confused about this question because

I am a stepmom.

Right away the words STEPMOM fill the room with hazy smoke, the kind where you can’t see 2 feet in front of you, and you suddenly have no idea where you even are. Just THE WORD is full of questions. 

But then for some of us, the role gets even stickier.

I’m not ‘just a stepmom.’

In fact, I am the kids main emotional support. I am the instigator, I am the listening ear, I am the one figuring things out, communicating with teachers, connecting the dotes, finding therapists, locating new schools, discussing, giving consequences, and driving all over the place.

It’s a strange dynamic because I enjoy being a part of a family. I love being relied on and knowing that they can trust me to follow through.

But,… I’m not the mom. I’m just a stepmom.

Right?

Am I only doing these extra things because their MOM can’t? No,… that’s not entirely  true. My love for them continuously grows the more I do. The more I learn about who they are and what they need, the more I want to show up.

Because I love them.

And then again there are times when I get super annoyed that their ACTUAL mom doesn’t know even a morsel about them. I get angry, and I feel taken advantage of, and I want to step down.

But what would I be stepping down from when my ROLE was never established in the first place?

What would I do if I ‘stepped down?’

Who would fill these roles if I didn’t?

So I go back and forth between feeling obligated and then really wanting to show up. Sometimes I have lots of energy for it and I feel empowered and strong. Other times I’m seething with anger and want to scream at everyone.

My feelings go back and forth, just like the hazy, muddy, slightly skewed title of ‘stepmom.’

I was thinking about this today as I was doing yoga.

MY ROLE is all over the place and nowhere and has no definition and is yet all encompassing. I was starting to get anxious just thinking about it.

But then I realized something else.

Why am I so special?

I mean, am I the ONLY one that doesn’t have a clearly DEFINED role?

I’ve been so caught up in my STEPMOM identity and what that means or doesn’t mean, that I didn’t give myself a chance to check out everyone else.

Maybe the reason this has been so confusing for me, is that we ALL seem to have some weird idea that our ROLES, any of them, should be clearly defined and explained.

We must feel like we SHOULD know exactly what it means to be a good wife, or good friend, or great sister or daughter, or excellent employee.

We SHOULD have learned what the parameters are, what is expected, what isn’t, how we can EXCEL, etc.

The more I think about it, there isn’t one single thing in life that is surrounded by clearly created black and white boundaries and definitions, right?

What if the very concept of ROLE is just bullshit?

What if it completely depends on who the person is and their intention for how they want to show up in the world? Wow. That just took a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Seriously, I felt them just fall.

What if I don’t need to do ANYTHING to perfect my ROLE. 

What if I just get to be Jackie? I can do more or less depending on what I feel, but I don’t need to have all the answers, and I certainly don’t need to FEEL like I have to do anything. I’ve just decided while writing this that my only requirement is that I’ll do everything with lots of love. Love for the kids, and my husband, and his ex-wife, and my family, and my friends,…

But most importantly, I can have a lot of love for myself, and let myself OFF THE ROLE HOOK!

 

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