Sunday, January 20, 2013

All You Have to Do is Ask

I don't often recognize them as such, but there are angels in my life. They seem to appear right when I need them. Typically when I don't know I need them.

They are always there. I just have to know where to look.

Today the angel was in the form of a seventeen year old girl, the same age as my daughter. She gave a brief presentation during church and spoke about the need to ask for help in times of trouble and how doing so plays a part in her life. As a teenager, she talked about the prospect of being on her own and finding her independence.  I was mesmerized.  It was wonderful that such a young girl could be so insightful. I thought it was amazing she had the courage to speak in front of a large crowd of people.  And I marveled at how lucky she was.  She has discovered at seventeen that she does not know it all, cannot do it all, and asking for help is a better choice than struggling through on her own.  She knows this at seventeen, when it took me much longer.  Out of the mouths of babes...

I did not understand the gravity of, or the strength behind, asking for help until about four years ago. Until that point I had been plugging along, muscling through tough times, keeping everything to myself, putting up a front while suffering on the inside. My priority was to make everything look pretty on the outside.  I didn't let anyone know how unhappy I was. With every passing day I withdrew from friends and family. My way of handling my life was to numb, tuck and hide.  I thought I was showing the world how perfect everything was. 

Everything was not perfect.  I continued the charade for years until one day I realized how exhausting pretending had become. I finally woke up to the thought that I was done being miserable.  I was finished wrapping everything up in a beautiful package hidden by lovely wrapping paper and a bow.  I found the courage to ask for help.

Thanks to the help of many angels, I am a completely new person today. I frequently feel as if I'm the  girl I was in college. Starting anew, with a bright future ahead of me.  It doesn't matter how long it took me.  Sometimes it just takes what it takes.

I do not regret my past.  It is what it is, and I've grown from every life experience.  All of my mistakes and weaknesses have molded me into the woman I am today.   I have morphed into a woman who is not afraid of confrontation.  I am not afraid of change or progress.  I welcome new opportunities.  I am remarkably happy and confident.

I have developed new and improved ways to face tribulations today.  It is a daily routine of meditation, thought, discussion and action.   I absolutely do not "stuff" my feelings anymore.  I approach difficulties with strength head on.  Writing or training being my favorite outlets of course.

One form of therapy I partake in when I am feeling weighted down by life events, is to blare music.  Typically loud tunes belted out by strong women.  Pink, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, even Kelly Clarkson.  "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" is often the power song by a lot of female triathletes I know.  Strong women letting their feelings out through music.  It is so empowering.

There are times, especially recently, when my gut tells me to play the tough girl. Muscle through. I can ride 100 miles then run 13 or more in a training session, surely I'm resilient enough to face an emotional endurance event with equal mental toughness. I don't need anyone's help!! Bullshit.  It is a sign of strength when an individual recognizes when it's time to ask for help.  To take on the world solo is dangerous territory.

It is comforting to no longer feel lost and lonely.  There are people who come along and walk my path with me that have a profound impact on my life.  Long term friends, friends I've reconnected with from the past, new friends, family and people I meet briefly all have an important role.  They all touch me, metaphorically of course :)  Some of these angels are with me long term, some come into my life and walk with me a bit then move on.  That's ok.  Every person whom I come into contact with gives me a little piece of themselves and makes a difference.

That is my serenity today.

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