Friday, May 31, 2013

Ivy B Changing

or rather, I'm finally allowing myself to be me without shame or guilt or apology.

Hello Sweet Bees

and welcome to the last day of May, 2013. It's finally a warm, spring day where I am and at the moment, I have the house to myself. It's been while since I've written a post and since I'll be getting back into the swing of things writing and promoting wise (first other people than myself hopefully) I thought I'd send out a gentle reminder of my existence.

So, to explain the title of this blog post I must begin with a bit of darkness, but have no fear, it will shift to a lighter hue before the end of the post.

A year ago yesterday, I almost lost one of the most important people in my life. In November of 2011, the fate of another person I love and adore was in the balance. Currently, one of the people I love the most in the world is in a battle with her body. She is winning right now and we are thankful for that in a way that I do not possess the writing skills to explain.

Why am I telling you this? Well, lately I've been more me than I've ever been. Is it the result of watching three of the best people I know face death in an extremely intimate way? Perhaps. It may be cliche to say that I've had a "wake up call" or it may be that, like these people, I've finally realized that I'm not immortal. It has finally smacked me upside the head in a very mind shaking manner that life is short, too short, to waste on people, places, things or events that suck the positive energy from my being and replace it with poisonous and negative vapours.

I wasn't horribly negative about life in general. I'd say, in the past, I've been more on the cynical side of the glass half empty fence. I like being happy and usually choose a good laugh over a deep funk. I'm kind to people, forgiving to a point and a champion to those around me who are expanding their horizons and trying something new. I'm a good listener and have a well of empathy that enables me to be there for my friends and family when they are going through their darkest hours. However, for the longest time I had an enemy I couldn't shake. A black soul that followed me around everywhere I went. She lived in my closet, in my underwear drawer. She lived in my coffee cup and in my not needed bowl of chips. She lived in my arms, my torso, my legs and backside. I tried to ignore her, I tried to get rid of her, I tried to pretend she had my best interests at heart, but every time I was presented with a reflection of myself, there she was, my biggest foe: me.

Since I was 15 I've hated myself. 9 times out of 10, when I would looked in a mirror I would think something horrible about myself; something so impossibly cruel and hateful that if I commented on the appearance of someone I knew like that, I be very alone. Now, I could go on and on about the why's and the how's regarding these negative thoughts about myself, but there's no point. They were there and I was tired of them. My image is not who I am. My friends never say anything negative about it and in fact, and I say this without conciet, I am compliment by friends often for my smile and my hair and my eyes. So, why, I asked myself, do I keep hating myself so much? And it's not just my looks I loathed. I would curse my enjoyment of spending hours doing something not useful. I often would feel guilty for not feeling bad, or feel bad for feeling guilty. I would get mad at myself for worrying if people were mad and at me and on and on and on.

And then, death came knocking. I wasn't worried for my sake, but he stopped by just long enough for me to remember that he'll be back and that maybe I should start enjoying life more and hating myself a lot less.

When I look in the mirror now, I see me. I may think "oh...I look tired." or "how is it possible you still have paint in your hair. You did shower..." but the negativity is gone. When I'm alone with my thoughts, they tend to flutter around the happy and the neurtral. The dark thoughts that used to stick around, are kindly altered into ideas of positivity and change or they are quietly escorted out the back door of my thought process and politely asked not to return. I feel lighter, happier and more at peace with myself and my surroundings than I have ever felt.

Now, this is not to say that I don't get mad or rant or feel blue. The difference is that I don't get mad and then think "that's stupid, why do you feel that way?". I accept that I'm angry and figure out a way not to be by dealing with the situation in a way where I'm not hating myself for being mad about it. I'm a ranter in a way that makes me feel better. The old me would have felt like a big jerky tool for the rant, but now, I've accepted that this is a part of me and I'm ok with it. Those who know me sometimes just stand and stare at me with wide eyes while I loudly gripe about whatever has pushed me over the edge, but they usually just laugh and then I do too. Works wonders really, a good laugh after a great rant. And finally, when I get blue I don't get upset that I'm down because who can really be up all the time? I just ride it out. Not feeling guilty about it usually helps it pass quickly.

This journey that I've finally let myself be a part of is has not occurred because I've finally been able to change my thought process and stop hating myself, it's also come from the fact that I've surrounded myself with people that are good for my soul. It's so important to find a support systeof people who want to see you happy and positive. Too many people in my past have decided at one point or another that if they're unhappy, I should be too and because I didn't like myself, I was easily swayed to join their darkness club.

No more. Life is beautiful and yes, it is hard and filled with times that are challenging and awful, but I know that I'll be ok, no matter what I face because I have the love of my family, a group of incredibly wonderful friends and the gift of someone who I always need on my side: me.

Until next time,

Ivy B hoping you like yourself too.



Aurelia B. Rowl said...

Great post, good on you!!

Linda Kage said...

Oh, my God. This post almost made me bawl. But I know exactly what you mean about looking in a mirror and seeing nothing but flaws. I'm so glad you found a way to just see you. Oh...lots of virtual hugs. What a scary way to learn a life lesson but it looks like it helped. I hope your loved one wins the fight for life, and I wish you all the happiness life has to offer you.

Anonymous said...

So glad you wrote this, Ivy. It's nice to be open and honest and that's not easy to do. But we can all learn from each other and find support in different ways.

Mary Corrales said...

Oh, Ivy what an amazing post. Like Linda I got a little teary eyed, but it was in a good way. You are one of the best women that I know, and I'm glad you've come to see the wonderful woman that the rest of us see.

Big hugs to you!

Ivy Bateman said...

Thanks very much everyone. It wasn't my goal to cause tears. :) I just think too many of us our too mean to ourselves. Your being a friend who is always with you. Probably for the best if you get along and like yourself!