So yesterday I succumbed to fear. I let hurtful words of others paralyze me and ruin a lot of my day. And it was my birthday. I went into panic mode and took down my blog, the entire thing, for a period of time. Bad decision. I shouldn’t have done that. I have all of you wonderful readers who support me and write and tell me how my writing is helping you, or lifting you, or giving you courage to stand in your truth. And I let you down. A tiny number of people made me take down my platform and I lost sight of all of you that share and read and keep coming back for more. To all of you, my dedicated and loyal readers, I apologize. It will never happen again.
I stand in my truth. What does that mean, exactly? To stand in my truth means that I am owning and admitting that this is my perspective. My point of view. It may sound selfish, but that’s all we know as human beings. We only feel our own feelings and experience our own lives. I believe in having empathy for others and I know that I do. I have deep empathy and even pity for people who have let me down in my life that I might write about. I don’t write to incite or to inflict pain to those people. I write to inspire you, my readers, to know that you are not alone. That we can survive difficult things and then find our way to happiness. In fact, I have so much empathy and compassion for these people that I have never divulged names, dates, locations, or even details. I don’t even write under my maiden name. I have been intentionally vague, to protect both myself, and others.
I attended World Congress of Families IX and one speaker talked about the effects of the sexual revolution and no-fault divorce on the children, most of whom are adults now, but suffer the post-traumatic effects of this culture. I found myself answering yes to nearly every bullet point on the slides shown. But it gave me hope, surprisingly. Hope, because I knew I had made it. My husband and I had changed the situation in our home with our children, which means that others can do it too. We don’t have to be victims. I never want to be considered a victim. Not even a survivor. I want to be known as a thriver. Because I am thriving. And it’s because of choices. I made choices that have allowed me to thrive. When I actually had the power to change my stars, believe me, I did. And so can you. So many of you have. That is why I write. To share some of my stories of overcoming and standing in what is my truth, so I can stand beside you as you overcome and stand in yours.
My truth is not your truth. Your truth is not mine. We cannot tell each other how to feel. We absolutely are not allowed to edit each others’ lives. When people try to silence others from speaking their truths, abuse continues. Abuse is protected, strengthened, and grows. Abuse is rewarded. I also learned at WCF-9 that we must stand up and say what happened to us, as survivors of no-fault divorce. If we don’t tell our stories, we can’t help other young couples as they begin their own families and are tempted to continue in negative traditions they brought with them from their own homes. If we stand in our truth, with the intention of inspiring and uplifting others, we should not be afraid of those who wish to quiet us. They are threatened by our truth because it invites them to discover their own truths, which they are not willing to do.
I am intelligent. No one has to tell me that there are more sides to the pyramid than mine. I have never, ever said that I was speaking for others. I write about my life. My stories. My experiences. My lessons. My triumphs. And it’s not selfish. I could keep it all inside myself so no one else might benefit from learning from my struggles and mistakes, joys and wins. I only want to help others who might be like me. I want to help young parents realize they can change their stars and they do not have to repeat the traditions of their parents or grandparents. Even if it’s not abusive.
Example: For Thanksgiving, I do not make the fruit salad I grew up with for my whole life. The one with red grapes, pineapple, apples, whipped cream, bananas, and marshmallows–I think. I don’t make it because I don’t like it. I hated cutting up the grapes and removing seeds for that salad and I never liked how by the end of the meal the cream had separated and mixed with the juices of the fruits, the bananas were brown and slimy, and it was a big, wilted mess in the Tupperware bowl. I make Lemon Chess pie, which I discovered on a trip to the South. I attempt to make the stuffing my mother-in-law always made. I make the things our own little family has come to love. We have kept the traditions that are spirit-building, happiness-giving, and comfort-lending and created others for ourselves that fulfill these goals, and thrown out the rest. We have trashed the slimy fruit salad. It’s not on the menu here.
That is the power of standing in my own truth. I can make a different salad for Thanksgiving. I can wear more than one coat of mascara. I can wear jeans everyday. I can do whatever I want in my own house and not get grounded. I can trust that the people I live with will fiercely protect me, comfort me, and love me because I’m safe. If someone out there doesn’t like what I write, then I invite them to stop reading what I work hard to give. It’s not for them. This blog is to lift. To become the cream. To find, defend, and stand in our truths. Not to hurt, but to help.
In the allegory of the cream rising to the top, and if you’re unfamiliar with that idea, I invite you to go back and read my older post, “Why, Becoming Cream,” where I shared with you about taking care of fresh milk from our dairy cow when I was a kid. We had to be careful to strain the milk straight out of the pail. Sometimes it was dirty, especially if the cow had been in the mud. Sometimes it required more than one straining. The milk passed through the paper filters, into a pristine bowl. What was left in the disposable filter was surprising. Hairs, dirt, small pebbles, hay, grass, etc. Souvenirs of where the cow had been in the last 12 hours. Nobody wants cow lint in their sweet and delicious milk. Often, the bottom of the pail would have the most debris, the things that were heavy enough to immediately sink. After the milk was filtered, it was pasteurized and allowed to cool in the fridge. The longer it rested on the cool shelf, the more thoroughly the cream rose to the top. Two or three days in a row, that milk would be skimmed from the top in order to collect the cream, the most desirable part of the product. But it took time to rise. It had to be left alone, to cool, to settle, to allow the best part of itself, its TRUTH, to rise to the top.
Yesterday I disabled my blog, for a time. To settle. To cool. To heal. It didn’t take me two or three days. My husband and kids, friends, and family reminded me through their love and kindness, feisty defending of my character, and pep talks, to keep going. To keep writing. To keep on in my quest to become the best cream I can be and help you if you want to join me in this quest. We must filter and strain, 100 times if necessary, and then sit in the coolness and allow God to comfort us. And He will. Because God knows what is true. And God inspires us to want to be better and do better and stand in our truth, but more importantly to stand in HIS TRUTH. So, my birthday was ruined initially by a handful of unkind people. But it was saved eventually by so many more beautiful people who love me, after I made the choice to focus on the plethora of blessings I enjoy instead of the few miniscule pebbles and hairs in my pail. So I got up, washed out the pail, threw away the filter, and put the milk in the fridge to cool. I enjoyed the rest of my birthday. I gave thanks to God for all His gifts He has given me and repented for hurting anyone while standing in my truth, and received comfort and love from Him in return.
So I stand in my truth. This morning, there is cream atop the milk that I allowed to rest overnight and I feel like myself again. Undeterred by haters. I will write MY truth. I won’t stop. It’s my mission. To become the cream and help others who want to be the strong, rich, dynamic cream instead of the thin, weak milk. Thank you for reading and sharing and my prayer is for you all to have a very lovely and happy Thanksgiving. With lots of whipped cream!