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A photo from my drive

Some days I like to drive. Don’t get me wrong I hate it sometimes, the other day I drove to Providence twice with the kids, and sometimes they don’t stop asking questions, and when I answer the question they say, “What?” “What did you say? I can’t hear you.” Then they ask the same question again and again. Its kind of cute how curious they are, and I do often have the patience, but some days I just want quiet.

When my kids fall asleep in the car, I could drive to Timbuktu. I get lost on these windy roads in the woods. It’s fun because I never knew these gorgeous places existed so close to my home. I always wish I could stop and take pictures but I feel like its awkward and I don’t want to wake up the kids, I feel like if I brake sometimes or make a turn, they are up. So my solution is to roll down my window and snap shots as I drive by… The pictures never really come out great.

I didn’t think much of my photos from my drive yesterday. I scrolled through them and just thought I got nothing. I also think, its not easy to take a photo while driving and actually compose the shot and do all the things I like to do when I take a picture. So looking at these pictures all of those thoughts come before actually seeing the picture and accepting it for what it is, imperfect.

But as I started to look at the pictures this morning again and edit them I started to see beauty. I had four pictures of gates. I started to think about gates, and how many times in my life I have felt like everything was closing in on me. Like I was locked up and empty. Like I was stuck in a place just desperate to be free.

Gates and fences keep things contained. Closed off. Stuck. Its easy to get stuck. Maybe right now you have a fence around you. You are confined to the things you have to do. You're hoping that the gate be opened and you be free, maybe free from the chains that are dragging you down.

I want you to know, you might be fenced in, but nothing can contain your spirit. Nothing can keep you hidden. You might have to do a lot of things you don’t enjoy doing right now, or maybe you are going through hard times, struggling everyday to survive. But there is light in those small moments in your day. Nothing can take them away. You can see the beauty if you choose to look for it.

So open your eyes. See. You can’t break free from the cage if your not looking for the light.

Be bold and fearless.

Left the clothes on the line for a few days.

Story of my life. Story of my life....... what does that even mean? I think it's a funny saying. I say it when I feel like this stuff happens, life is messy, it never stops, and that's just life. But part of me says it thinking yep I did it again, I left the laundry on the line for a few days and that is my life, I am forgetful. I said it yesterday in my instastories, my phone had no space on it again, it's been like that for weeks and I just keep trying to get more space and it's not working and it's stressful, yep I take too many pictures and hoard them hating to clean off my phone. That is my life. I used to say it when one of my kids had a blowout and got poop all over their bedroom, or my toddler is screaming in the middle of aisle 5 at the grocery store. And I used to say it when every time at the bar the creepy guy would start talking to me and I wouldn't know how to get out of the conversation. Or my car ran out of gas. Or I forgot the one thing I needed to grab from home before a long day at school. Or when something ridiculous and crazy happened to me, it really felt like only me.... So does story of my life mean I am settling with these things, sort of thinking well this happens to me all the time and that's ok? I think it used to have more of a negative meaning to it. Like I do dumb things, bad or weird stuff only happens to me, this is my life. And it felt like only me. I'm alone in the mess. But after reflecting on it, wondering why is that my silly go to saying, I've realized YES I forget stuff, I scramble often, I'm a mess, bad stuff happens to me, I end up in awkward situations a lot, that is apart of my life. But I am not alone. I know I'm not alone. Somewhere out there is a person who has dealt with something similar to me, maybe they feel alone. But we are not alone! I used to accept everything that happened to me. Just say it happens. And not really feel or deal with the issue. Just move on and keep going. Just say to myself it's just another thing on my list of ridiculousness. What's next.... Now, I don't wonder what bad thing is looming, that stops you from feeling the joy around you. I also don't settle, yes it happens, and I feel ________ about it. And this is what I am going to try and do so that it doesn't happen again. Inevitably bad things will happen again. But I have noticed so much growth in me, from each situation. Not just the silly ones but all of them. I wouldn't be who I am without the mess. So I have to continue to embrace it, and not settle. I feel like story of my life is funny. But I also know I'm not alone. It's not just me. There is a solution. I just have to keep finding what works for me in the story of my life. Keep looking for light. And keep growing, never just trying to get through it but actually living it.

You get mad sometimes, no big deal right. It happens, everyone gets mad.

If you're thinking this, you're right everyone does get mad to some degree. It’s a emotion we all experience and express in different ways.

However, when you are angry and not in control, you say things you wish you didn’t, you have no concept of personal space, and you have outbursts. This is not normal.

This hurts more than you can ever imagine. Yes in the moment you lost it. You are sorry and YOU move on. But the person on the receiving end does not forget it. Each time it happens, its like you are taking a bat at this person chipping away at their mind and their heart. Beating them down till there is nothing left.

The person on the receiving end was someone capable of anything, Destined for greatness till you told them they were stupid over and over again. This person was confident and could walk into a room and speak to anyone, till you told them they were nothing without you, one to many times. This person went from feeling worthy of love, to incapable of being loved by anyone.

Maybe you think the person your often mad at is too sensitive. You tell them its no big deal. Your sorry you get mad, but its not like your hitting them.

Well I’m hear to tell you it’s a big freakin deal. These situations every single one can break a person down to a version of themselves they don’t even know any more. These situations over time can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They can take a person that was once happy and positive, to someone that is constantly living in fear and shame. They can't even see anything positive if they tried.

The sad part is, the person on the receiving end also has told themselves it's normal. It's normal to be treated like this, maybe they are too sensitive, maybe they are just dumb and deserve this. They find ways to cope with it, and in arguments they shut down, they know whatever they say isn’t valued anyway so why even bother. Or they feel like they are always wrong anyway so why try. They give up.

Maybe they are afraid to share their true feelings, or their wants or needs, because time and time again you put them down or dismissed them.

They start to get afraid, they are walking on eggshells constantly, not to upset anyone or anything. They will do anything to please anyone even if it means they get hurt in the process. They just don’t want you to get mad again. They don’t want anyone to be upset with them, because if someone is upset with them it means they are worthless.

They can’t make decisions anymore. They have become afraid of disappointing you. They feel paralyzed. What should we eat for dinner? Does this look okay on me? Should I wear this? Can I buy a new purse? Should I buy the kids some new sneakers? Everything needs permission because they don’t want to upset you.

They let all this anger and these situations break them down. Wear them down to a version of themselves they don’t know anymore. And they are just different, a different friend, a different parent, a completely different person than they were. And then this gets passed on from generation to generation. Not only does the anger get passed down, but these feelings of helplessness, indecisiveness, and people pleasing get passed on as well.

If you are reading this and have an anger problem, please I ask you to seek help. Its going to be hard to admit some of the truths of your past. Pride will get in the way. But I promise you, when you go deep, figure out the starting point of that anger, rip it up, wrestle with it, understand it, joy will start to come in. Only you can do this, no one else can fix you, and no one should have to suffer the damage from your rampage. You may not feel like it sometimes but you are free. There are ways to handle your rage. You just have to open your eyes, seek help and guidance from a professional, meet others that have worked through their anger. I promise you if you don't deal with this issue, you will lose everything you have or are going to have. It doesn't just get better with time. It takes hard work and vulnerability. and courage. I want you to know you are loved, more than you know. I have witnessed some incredible transformations and these people did the work. There is hope.

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