Sunday, January 22, 2012
Affirming Life's Positive Moments
I could go on and on about the things in my life that aren't the way that suit. I've done that here already in other posts. Then a few days come along that allow me to know that my life is much better than it used to be and makes me think about how good things are for people who have the life experiences I have had. The past few days have been like that. One thing that makes my life different is that I have no relationships with other women of my experience in the local area. That has much to do with where I live and my daily schedule. My friends who share the experiences that I have experienced all live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, metro D.C. and Ohio. I only get to see them a few times a year. I wish that I could see them more often but that really isn't possible at this particular time in my life.
Many women of my experience most often write about the terrible things that have happened to them or are happening. To be sure, some of the things that I have gone through in my life have left indelible scars. Sometimes wounds get reopened when I least expect it. Moving past those things requires a lot of spiritual discipline, something I have not perfected. I work hard to improve my spiritual condition which in turn, allows the wounds to heal and for me to experience a more joyful life. It also makes it less likely that I will be retraumatized.
It also takes my willingness to seek help from people such as my therapist Dana and my pastors, Ann, Heather, and Jim. Caroline Tammermand, Michelle Alexander, and Nicole Amie have a real handle on spiritual growth and truly inspire me to look beyond the things that are unhappy in our lives and in my own life. They all help me focus on the the things and experiences that are uplifting. Christina Lang has been a sister to me almost as long as I have been on the internet. I have some other women I am close to who have been wonderful supports and are dear to me too. I won't name them all because I wouldn't want to hurt one of them by overlooking them. Please know that you are all cherished dearly and deeply.
Most important to me is Patty. Without her and her love and support, my life would be empty. She is such a positive and spiritual woman that she truly inspires me and I admire her so much! How I wish I were more like her!
The past few days have been what I wish life were everyday. On Wednesday, I went to voice therapy and the two speech and language pathology therapists always make me feel like any other woman they might be working with.
I was supposed to go to a workshop yesterday morning, but it was icy and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Later in the day I did go out to go shopping to get some things I needed. I went to get my new glasses and an older woman waited on me to fill my prescription. Because of my medical information it was more clear what my life had been in the past than I would have cared to have revealed. She was so kind and complimentary to me. She gave me the gift of not "otherizing" me. She enquired as to my work as part of helping me select the lenses that would help me the best.
She told me that she thought that I must be very good at my career which made me feel really good. She also said she thought I was very photogenic (she used a computer imaging system to make sure that the lenses were centered correctly), which was very flattering to someone who is not always as comfortable with her beauty as she should be (Because every woman is beautiful in her own way, but she often doesn't recognize it). It wasn't something she had to say. It wasn't a matter of salesmanship. It was a sincere compliment from her heart. It made me feel like any other woman who might have come in for a new pair of glasses.
I had some time to spend before picking up my new glasses, so I.... went shopping! Belk had a fabulous sale going on and I had been wanting a ruffled cardigan sweater that I had my eye on for quite a while, like since before Christmas! So I scored that, and of course, there is the inevitable. I ended up buying two dresses and some hose. What can I say? They were on sale!!!! Look at all the money I saved! I admit, I love shopping and I love to be stylish, but I always find what I like at a bargain! Patty says I'm the best power shopper she knows! (At least I didn't buy any shoes, but I did look!).
The saleswoman I was working with helped me with the dressing room when I tried on my dresses. We chatted about the nasty weather and she complimented my diamond and the color of my top which I shared that I had gotten there and I admired her beautiful silver Chandelier earrings. We chatted about designers we like, she told me she liked Ruby Road and Rafaella, which I like and I shared that I love Donna Morgan dresses and I wish that Belk would carry more of her dresses. I also told her I liked Evan Picone fashions too!
Today I went to church. I felt disappointed because I had missed a workshop on Discernment that I wanted to attend. Today's experience made up for having to miss yesterday's workshop. I was quite touched spiritually today. As the service began, it began to snow these great big, wonderful, beautiful snow flakes! This was so totally unexpected and not in the forecast! During some of the hymns and parts of the liturgy, my attention drifted to the windows to watch this beautiful pure white snow begin to trim the deeply rich green of the magnolia outside. It lifted my spirit and I felt warm and at home feeling the love of the congregation that we all have for each other and for those who are of different faiths or no faith at all, and for the reconciliation of those who are not of any faith or belief as well as those who believe differently. We shared about being penitent about our anger towards those who have even harmed us in some way. We talked about learning how to demonstrate that penitence publicly.
After the service, I have gotten into staying for coffee and the adult education class after that. I have been enjoying that so much since I finally got up the courage to stop being shy and go! <<Rolls her eyes at herself!! and smiles miles sheepishly>> I am making so many new friends with women there. They are so welcoming and embracing. I can see the possibility of becoming close friends with several of them. Pastor Heather gave me a book for Christmas on women of the Bible who exemplify the best attributes of friendships between women. This is the sort of growth that I have been seeking. Coincidentally, in February, there will be a workshop on this topic and I am so looking forward to this time to learn more about myself.
You know, what I came away with this weekend, that was so powerful in my healing and growth? I didn't have to think about the ever looming issue of "GENDER" when one is in transition, seems too often in the forefront of one's mind. It just didn't happen. I didn't wonder about those negative self doubts and what someone might be thinking of me or about me. I was just free to be! I was just totally present in what I was doing in the moment.
I also reflected that the vast majority of my experiences have been really positive. There have been some bad experiences on rare occasions. Really though, I almost always experience the exact opposite of what I am afraid of. Looking back on my life, I have to say, growing up one way was tremendously worse than living this way. The lessons? Learn to be still and listen. Learn to trust yourself.
What a WONDERFUL feeling! I feel free.