I Didn’t Know Why–My Messy Beautiful

I always knew there was something wrong with me, horribly and irrevocably wrong with me. And for the longest time the earliest memory I had of feeling that way was when I was two or three years old.

I was sitting in the backseat of my dad’s Volkswagon Scirocco–I was sitting behind my dad, who was in the driver’s seat. We were rocking out, er, I was rocking out to The Beach Boys’ “I Get Around”. I loved the The Beach Boys, still do. I was kicking my little toddler legs and singing my heart out and you know that moment in the song when they all clap in unison? I freaking nailed it, man. I was super duper ridiculous excited! And then they laughed at me. My mom and dad. They laughed at me. I knew I had done something wrong, horribly and irrevocably wrong. I was mortified.

Now, it may seem obvious to you that they thought I was cute. Who hasn’t laughed at an adorable toddler? It rang differently for me. But, I didn’t know why. Just like I didn’t know why I suddenly felt so weird when my mom would change my clothes. I remember sitting on the foot of my bed, wrapped in a towel that I wouldn’t take off. My mom asked me why, and I said, “I don’t know.”

It would be years before I began to understand.

In elementary and middle school I was an outcast. I had only two friends and they treated me pretty poorly. I started eating to numb my feelings. I’d eat half a carton of ice cream as an after school snack. I ate toast slathered in butter and melted cheddar cheese. I made friends with kids who had junk food in their houses because ours did not. I just couldn’t fill the hole in me. But, I didn’t know why. I assumed it was because kids didn’t like me and they hurt my feelings. I was so desperate for attention that I annoyed everyone. But, I didn’t know why.

Why did I feel so wrong and broken? Why did I have to hide? Why was I constantly afraid of being hurt by my friends?

One summer I tried not eating instead of overeating and a new world was born. I dropped a lot of weight, felt pretty, and life was new. I started flirting to numb my feelings. Yes, feeling wanted was the answer! But, I didn’t know why.

As I got older, flirting got bolder. I didn’t have sex with lots of guys, but I did kiss lots of guys. I even married one of them. We’d been dating off and on for a number of years, long enough that it seemed that the logical next step was to get married and start a family. (Way wrong answer.)

I didn’t know why I was so angry, always. I was always on the brink of flipping my lid. I didn’t start or get in fights; I wasn’t that kind of angry. There was an anger deep in my belly that was constant. I felt angry at the world. But, I didn’t know why.

In the meantime, I’d discovered booze and pot and was in full blown active alcoholism. And, then one day, after a few years of a lot of nonsense, I woke up. I saw that I was married to a man who frightened me; I had a baby I pretended to know how to take care of; and, I couldn’t get out of bed if I couldn’t get high or drunk that day. I went to AA and got sober. I gave my life over to God (Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.) That third step was the best news I’d heard in a long while. I’d really screwed up my life. I figured God could do a better job of putting it back together than I ever could.

I got better. But I still was afraid of people. And I still flirted more than I should. I began to notice that I especially craved attention from men in a certain age bracket. And a certain height. With grey, or salt and pepper, hair. But, I didn’t know why.

One day I was sitting in an intensive leadership training program and was blown over sideways with a memory. It was like I blacked out, and my mind was transported to years ago.

I was two or three years old and I was in my old bedroom in Rochester. (My parents were on vacation. Walter and Kay were taking care of my brother and me). Walter’s hand was moving up my leg.

And I stopped. I consciously told my brain, “No more.” I didn’t want to remember anything else. I knew all I needed to know. Finally, I knew.

I knew! I knew why I felt broken and unworthy. I knew why I used food and men. I knew why I felt afraid of everyone and trusted no one. I finally understood where some of my cracks had been hidden and was able to begin to lick my wounds.

And I finally, finally began to heal. I began to have romantic relationships that were authentic and fulfilling. I began to take better care of myself (eating healthy, playing more) because I finally felt I was worth my time.

That was almost 10 years ago. I continue to heal. I married a man who is patient with me. He is kind to me. He is generous with me. He doesn’t tolerate me hiding for long. He is, more often than anyone else, someone I don’t want to hide from. He is very, very good to me. He is better to me than I was to myself for many years. We have a fun, not-easy, chaotic, stressful, loving, exciting, boring, messy, beautiful life.

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It’s so real!

Oh my goodness, guys! I threw out the idea on Facebook of piloting my Capstone project communication seminar as a free conference call training and I already have five people on board! I was hoping to max out at eight so this is really exciting!!! If you want to spend a few hours with me going through the rigors of what is and is not excellent listening then message me NOW! Like I said, I only have three spots left. Two months ago this was just an idea that I hoped to make happen before I graduate in May and today I’m scheduling the training! It’s so real! You can reach me via the Contact Me page or on Facebook. I can’t wait to ‘meet’ you!

The Truth About Hiding

I began hiding when I was about three years old and a man who’d been entrusted with my welfare did some things he really shouldn’t have done. For the next 23 years I didn’t remember much of anything about that man, but what I did know as I was growing up was that there was something wrong with me and I had to hide it from everyone. My greatest fear was that if I let you in, if I let you know me, then you would find out there was something wrong with me, you might even discover what that something was and that would be the worst thing in the universe.

It was a little over twelve years ago when I began to see just how much of a toll on me hiding had taken, and I became determined to do something about it. Slowly, one day at a time, I got better. I let people know me. I let people get close enough that I could feel their love for me. It was miraculous.

And then slowly, one day at a time, so slowly that I didn’t notice that it was happening, I began to hide again. I hid behind the title Coach. I hid behind my communication expertise. I hid behind listening well. I had begun to spend so much time focusing on getting to know others that I stopped wanting to let people get to know me.

See, about a year ago I wrote an essay for the Huffington Post about what I’d learned about marriage through the hardships and complications of the two marriages I’ve been in. It was me, peeking out into publicity a bit. I was testing the waters of being a known blogger and writer. What would people think of the things I’d done that had led up to who I am today, whom some folks admire? Well, readers didn’t like that I’d had two out-of-wedlock pregnancies. They didn’t like that I’d made some huge mistakes. They focused on the things I’d done wrong and talked about it in the comments. They judged my character from 1,000 words and boasted that they knew the real truth about me. I had put myself out there, dirty laundry and all, and while a number of people were enthusiastic about the piece and appreciated that I had the courage to share my experience, it was hard to look past the naysayers. It was a painful day for me. And it was the day that I, once again, started back into hiding.

The result is that I have had an easier time focusing on finishing college since I stopped paying attention to writing this blog. And while this is not altogether a bad thing, this blog is still important to me. And while my goals have changed and I’m not sure how Take It From Meg fits into my new direction, I miss writing and interacting with you, my readers.

I was introduced to the blog Momastery a few months ago. Glennon Melton is a writer who makes being vulnerable look beautiful. I have told possibly every single one of my coaching clients to trust that being vulnerable inspires people to love deeper. I usually (consciously?) forget that the same applies to me. Reading Glennon’s book Carry On, Warrior opened my eyes to how closed off I’ve become. Momastery has sort of given me permission to throw off my cloak of expertise and seek to become known as I am within and behind that expertise: I’m a recovered alcoholic who needs people and God more than she ever cares to admit.

Next week, I’ll be posting an essay as a part of Glennon’s Messy Beautiful project. I’m not quite sure exactly what truths I’m going to be telling, but I’m determined to get out of the way and let God inspire me. I have wonderful friends and they know who I am. But I consider this project a giant leap into being known no matter what. I know that I’m not meant to hide from the world. So, I’m embracing the truth that hiding breeds loneliness and to own the truth that I need people far more than they need me.

I hope you’ll come back next week and share in my truth. Maybe it will help someone to share theirs.

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For What its Worth

Meg:

There is so much in this post that speaks beautifully to what does and doesn’t allow romantic relationships to work. I highly recommend this blog for humor and raw honesty about dating relationships and dating/life in general. It’s so much more than a “I drank a new brand of coffee today” kind of everyday blog.

Originally posted on Fieldwork in Stilettos:

In General…

I am sorry that we never put that sushi kit to use.

I am sorry that we didn’t get to eat the last of the tamales your parents brought from New York (sorry rather, that I didn’t get to eat the last of the tamales… I’m assuming you’ve finished them on your own by now and if not, go and eat them before they go bad).

I am sorry that we’ll never dance to our song again.  I’m sorry that I’ll probably never find a dance partner as good as you.

I am sorry that we had such different ideas of the perfect home, the perfect lives.

I am sorry that we won’t be filling out the rest of our “Barbie and Ken Dreamhouse” real estate evaluation sheets.

I am sorry that I won’t get to see your kids grow up.  Or watch them graduate from high school. …

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Should You Fight for Your Marriage?

If you’re reading my blog then I’ll assume you’re looking for my opinion. Caution: straight communication ahead.

Yes. Fight for your marriage.

Do whatever it takes, whatever you can, on any given day, to have a marriage that works. Even if it means starting today.

Say what you need to say. Yes, even that.

Listen to, and really hear, what needs to be said.

Take a stand. Get honest with yourself and with your spouse. Clean up what needs cleaning.

Ask for outside help if you need it. Marriage counselors and relationship specialists exist for a reason. I am one. Ask away.

Staying married to one person for your entire life is not easy. Did someone say that it would be, or should be?

Do everything you can, because if you give up you might regret not fighting harder. You might wish you had done more. And that is a regret I wish upon No-One.

Divorce sucks. It’s hard and it’s painful and nobody wins.

Saving a marriage may be hard and painful, but everybody wins.

Yes. Fight for your marriage. Maybe for no better reason than that the day you got married you said you would.

“One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.” -Judith Viorst