:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A few words of THANKS…… (Stephany)

It’s the day after Thanksgiving (which is one day after I was supposed to post – guilty as charged). I’m sitting in a not-so-comfy chair in an office in the hospital in my hometown. I’m here for a couple of reasons. First, my mom works here and asked for my help with a project, so I came into town to see what I could do to assist. Second, the Web really isn’t worldwide. Most people can communicate with people in the far reaches of the world, but my folks live in an area where it’s dial-up only if you want to access the Web. NO THANKS. Call me crazy or spoiled, but I like Web access to take less than 10 minutes! And there’s WIFI here at the hospital. (Thanks, hospital!) Third, I think I really need to write today. I really do. Is that odd?
I’ve thought a lot about what to say in this post. A LOT. I keep coming back to the fact that even though I’m tackling some big projects right now, maybe it’s important to do more than look at and celebrate those. Maybe it’s time to look BACK a bit, for some healthy and sincere reflecting, to gain some perspective, to appreciate some things that deserve some appreciation…
It’s been quite a year. It’s been difficult. It’s been frustrating. It’s been liberating. It’s been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. I finished my first full year of teaching. I had my first summer “off” with my kids. I learned so much about myself. I got in shape and started a book project. I filed for divorce. I took some big chances. I was more scared than I’ve ever been in my life. I was more tired than I have ever been in my life. I was more honest than I’ve ever been in my life. I was (oddly???) happier than I’ve ever been in my life. What a year, indeed.
Despite the magnitude of the changes that took place this past year, I believe that it’s absolutely unnecessary and completely unhealthy to dwell or focus on the tough stuff. I’ll never forget (or allow myself to forget) how hard the year was. Never. It would be completely foolish of me to forget. From the difficulties, tears, fear, frustrations, pain, and all the rest, I found and grabbed hold of some really GOOD “stuff.” I think that’s the stuff that needs shared today, so here it is:
1. My family is unbelievable. Sincerely. Completely. My parents and my brother have been rocks for me. They’ve allowed me to vent, to cry, to be angry, to voice my fears, to grow… They’ve listened, hung out with the kids, poured me drinks (I know, right? The BEST!), dried tears, helped financially, and been steady and solid. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for any of them to stand by and watch me fall apart, which is basically what I did. They didn’t exactly stand by, I guess; but they did allow me to go through what I needed to go through, and I can’t put into words how grateful I am for that. It probably would have been easier for them to jump in and “fix” things, (kick some ass or something!) and I think at one point I’d have preferred that myself. They didn’t do that, though, and that support is…. well, there aren’t words. It’s cherished and appreciated beyond words. Truly.
2. My kids are so special. I always knew this; but if I’m completely honest, I have to admit that, since their dad and I separated, my relationships with them have changed. I can’t quite explain how; they’re just different. I love them no less, only more, and it’s almost like there’s this new layer of survivorship that we share. They’re not happy with me about our situation, by any means, but they’ve been troopers. They’re kids, and their worlds were rocked, altered, changed forever in the last year. Some changes haven’t been so big, but there’s legitimate loss and pain in the KNOWING that things are never going to be the same. To watch them experience this loss is almost more than I can bear at times. I wish I could make things easier for them, and I’d do it if I could. However, I’ve realized all over again that they should be the focus, now more than they ever have been, and I think that’s going to be a very good thing!
3. My job is amazing! I’m employed, which is more than so many can say, and I get to say that I work with superb people for the most part. We are all crazed in many ways (I think you have to be crazed on some level to surround yourself with 1200 teenagers every single day!), but I think we all genuinely care about those 1200 kids and want to make a real and profound impact. Teaching is a joy, and I’m thankful I get to do this job with the people I do it with; I truly am.
4. My friends are the bee’s knees, to borrow one of Little P’s cutest sayings. For real. I’ve historically been a selfish and poopy (another COFFEE word I’ve come to enjoy using – ha!) friend, but boy did I choose good friends. They’ve hung by me in spite of everything. And I have reconnected with some old friends, a couple of whom are part of our COFFEE family. I’ve also been blessed with a few very special new friends that I so look forward to learning about via time spent, posts read, coffee ingested, comments shared, and more! I can’t even tell you how much I look forward to sharing and doing life with all of these people from here on out! How awesome!
5. My heart is healing… I’m so thankful for this. For a while there, I didn’t know if it ever would. I really didn’t. I can attribute much of this to the love and care of my folks and friends. I can attribute the rest of this to me finally caring enough about myself to allow it to heal. It’s pretty awesome to accept yourself where you are, at least most of the time, and to know you deserve good stuff. And I’m enjoying some really GOOD STUFF for the first time since I can’t remember when…
6. My future is wide open… well, in all the right ways it is… I have some stuff locked down (thanks, KBC! FO SHO!), and I know who my real peeps are. I have plans, many of which have been outlined here in COFFEE-Land. Others, I’m still playing close to the vest. Either way, I’m excited about life and really living life for the first time in ages, and I love that!
I guess maybe this turned into a Thanksgiving sermon… if it sounds that way, I guess that’s okay. It’s fun to count blessings; it’s important to count blessings; it’s ESSENTIAL to count blessings. Blessings are the GOOD STUFF of life, and life is pretty doggone GOOD if we just take the time to SEE that it is! Yes, Sir, Life is GUUUUD (I’m hearing Jim Carrey & Morgan Freeman from Bruce Almighty in my head right now- hahaha!)… and today, it’s my most sincere hope that your lives are all equally full of and that you take a moment or two to recognize all that GOOD STUFF!


Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Hey Steph, I get the feeling that just flowed directly from your heart and soul straight to your keyboard and into this post. I think you're the bee's knees Sister (I love it!), and I think you are a brave and lovely soul. Your words made me tear up, something apparently I've been doing more of lately, but more importantly, you always make me grin. ;) Anyway, I, along with all the COFFEE chicks I'm certain, am rooting for you in all angles and every single way possible, and I feel honored to be a part of your writing about your journey. You rock on little kahuna, rock on.

patresa said...

i love this a lot. you are a warm and mighty soul, ms. s! gratitude is one of the most gorgeous choices and forces in the world, and you do it up right natural.

i can't imagine how tough this year has been for you and your kids. oy. but my educated guess is that you're handling it with a lot of grace and strength. those are some lucky kids!

have i said before how glad i am that you're here? because i am! i knew i was pulled to you for a reason. what a beautifully sincere post. :)

you're the bee's knees!

patresa said...

p.s. i reposted your post with your name in the title, and i hope i didn't screw up the format again. i didn't look before i did it. bah!

Steph said...

Girls, thanks... sincerely. I love ya both.
And P, you'd think after the first three posts, I'd remember to INCLUDE my name in the title! Argh! Will eventually be able to do this independently, I hope! :)

blj said...

Steph, you sound like you're in a good place and it also sounds like that place is long overdue. I'm happy for you and your fabulous attitude!

amy said...

Stephany, I LOVE this list, all of it. It's a good, brave, sincere, full-of-heart list. You have an amazing family and friends and coworkers and a sweet heart. All the ingredients for a really cool, wide-open, awesome future.

Back in 2007, I had what I like to now affectionately refer to as my Crazy Period (TM). C and I separated (my decision) for several months, and it was a deeply gut wrenching and sad time. I call it my Crazy Period (TM) because during this sad, gut wrenching time, I did a lot of really dumb things, and I interacted with a lot of really damaged people.

But I also grew a lot and learned a lot and came out on the other side understanding myself (and C, and other people) so much more. I'd say I'm a better person for having gone through this muck, and I'm much more compassionate towards all human beings now, and far less judgmental. (Okay, unless I'm driving...I'm totally judgmental of other people while driving.)

One of the things that pulled me through that time was having a wonderful family and several friends who just listened to me and supported me, even when they didn't fully understand or agree with what I was doing. People like that are gold, just gold.

And writing! Sometimes it's just a cathartic, must-do kind of thing to get it all out. (Even when in low internet areas. Particularly when in low internet areas.)

Which is why I think you are just really fabulous and brave and a terrific person.

One of my favorite Jewish stories is the one where a man asks his rabbi why God writes the word on our hearts, not IN our hearts, because IN his heart is where he most needs God right now. And the rabbi answers, "God never forces anything into people's hearts. He writes the word on our hearts so when they break, He can fall in and fill us up."

Which is kind of nice, to know that sometimes we can just let go and something very Good will show up to help when we most need it. This post tells me you are surrounded by lots and lots Good. (AND you like BRUCE ALMIGHTY? That is one of my most favorite movies ever! You are in like flynn with me, Ms. S.)

Katie said...

Oh Stephany, I'm so glad you wrote this. There is nothing like seeing all the things we have to be thankful for out in plain sight for everyone to see. And it was so reflective. This feels like those posts you write in order to preserve a moment or feeling in time, so you can go back and call it up immediately to bring back that feeling of hard-won balance. It is an important thing to write down.

Thank you for sharing with us.

T-Free said...

Wow. Great post. What a lovely list of things for which to be grateful, and such a wonderful reminder to remember to take a minute and reflect on all of the GOOD STUFF once in awhile.

Divorce is the hardest thing in the world (been there), and I'm so glad you have an awesome support network of family. So important. It also makes me really happy to read that you're feeling happier than you ever have in your life, despite the tough times this year.

Here's to the brightest future EVER! Rock on, Stephany! :)