Do you ever notice themes showing up in life? I’ve unintentionally been theming my blogs each quarter (season). As I begin to unravel what I want to say and words fall out of my mouth and onto paper, I can then start to see what’s underneath it all.
So it’s no surprise that I’m writing another month around the topic of family. I’ve had this deep urge to go visit my parents and be nurtured. I know there’s been some deep healing taking place, calling me to come home, and as I grow, I can see another layer of beliefs I grew up with fall aside and start be redefined.
Healing comes in layers
Have you ever been annoyed that you’re still dealing with stuff from childhood? Well, that’s totally normal — you’re healing deep stories, level by level. You peel back a layer, work on it, and then over some period of time the next version of stuff to heal comes knocking at your door, waiting for you to be ready to take a look.
This version of my healing story goes back to earlier last month; I had the privilege of packing a bag, getting on a plane, and flying to Oklahoma, of all places. Did you know I grew up there? Yep. Tumbleweeds, tornados, and some of the sweetest people on the planet exist there. No one goes to Oklahoma for the atmosphere — you go for the people (or at least that’s my story).
It’s been at least 5 years since I’ve paid a visit; typically my parents visit me here in Seattle or we’ll meet somewhere in the middle on vacation. I feel blessed to have had Oklahoma be the place I established a foundation as a child, and, I was also ready to get the fuck out, ASAP, as I grew older.
I knew from a young age that I would leave. I remember visiting New York for the third or fourth time when I was eight years old and telling my mother that I was going to move away — as though my little mind somehow knew I needed to prepare her for my departure.
I always felt stuck in the middle, wanting to be close to my roots (my family), and realizing at eight that I would need to leave Oklahoma to learn the lessons that would shape me as an adult to do the work I was meant to do in the world.
I will always be extremely grateful for having so much freedom, growing up in a small town that had a safe neighborhood and close community around. As long as I communicated the general location I was headed, I had permission to go wherever I wanted. I wasn’t scared to knock on strangers’ doors to sell candy for my band trips, or talk to every stranger that walks by to shoot-the-shit, as they say. It was amazing…and beyond the sweetness, I always longed for a little bit more.
On the flip side, I inherited my parents’ travel gene and passion for following my path, and I knew after seeing so many different places at a young age that, even though I was surrounded by such a loving environment, I would need to spread my wings and move away.
So I flew! I moved 2,000 miles away to get the crash course in discovering who I am. This came as a rude awakening; I got the experience I was looking for, the kind you can’t pay money for. I learned who I am, what I wanted to do, and most importantly, I learned to love myself when no one else I knew was around to mirror that love back to me.
What I left behind
Though it sounds harsh, it was me. I left myself, my childhood. I abandoned her like a piece of luggage never claimed at the airport. I wanted to move beyond the little girl, and in the name of achieving that I left part of my story behind as well.
Reflecting back on the young adult I was, I can see how I started compartmentalizing my life. Within months of moving, I would tell the stories of Oklahoma like I was sharing someone else’s life. Before my Seattle days, where I really grew into adulthood and felt essentially reborn. I didn’t realize how much I was hurting myself in the long run.
Not being able to accept my past and keeping everything separate had me feeling like two different people — this isn’t healthy for anyone. The outer nature of who I was and what I looked like didn’t change much, but my my insides wanted to abandon my upbringing. Which, unsurprisingly, also impacted my roots to my family.
It became exhausting to try and separate myself, to hide a piece of where I was from, only to realize that when I shared my lovely family, it would all come out anyway. I wasn’t really hiding from anyone but myself.
I thought it meant something bad to be from a part of the country which, to my knowledge, isn’t really known for anything but its play Oklahoma! and oil companies. People talk slowly, and move slowly. While this has no reflection on their intelligence, it made an impression on me, and I knew I wanted no part of it. Unfortunately, I also put my family in this category — slow and undesirable. When I eventually realized this I felt horrible. My family is wonderful and I know it, so why did I let this childhood story impact my life for so many years?
Then again, isn’t that what we do?
We start formulating these stories at a young age about the people around us and circumstances we see. We eventually outgrow the circumstances and move forward, but if we don’t update our stories, we’re walking around living like frustrated children. In my case, it was an eight-year-old running the show, and OMG she is so stubborn.
Nevertheless, during this visit I finally saw that it didn’t matter where I was from, what I did for a living, or what stories I lived or created for myself. The only thing that really matters is me knowing who I am now, and caring for the people I love most (insert tear droplets). My original thoughts about my family were created by an insecure child, and I don’t have to hold onto them or give them any more power. Bless my parents for creating such a lovely environment for me to thrive in, even if it took me 20+ years to realize how great it was. Being able to see them this month, relaxed in their home, comfortably in their element, helped me finally see that I’ve made a similar home for myself. It’s just located somewhere else.
Digging through the Dirt
As I sit here wrapping up the second half of this blog, I have to laugh. I wrote out the first half of this blog quickly, and have been avoiding finishing the other half for weeks. Even though I help others update their bodies physically, emotionally, and energetically, I’m still human and have my own blind spots. I have areas that take up my emotional space and exhaust me without knowing it. Sometimes digging through the emotional stuff just takes time.
Part of my process is first being able to notice something there. Noticing (being aware) is one of the most powerful tools we have, but it isn’t always easy to use. Emotional turmoil can show up when we chose not to look. But then again, digging in and looking at what’s bothering us isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, either.
This blog is an excellent example. I started writing my newsletter and blog just a little over a year ago, and it continues to be a long and emotional process. I’ve been told for years (by many teachers, healers, and clairvoyant friends) that part of my journey is to share — through me, others see an example and can work through something for themselves (you’re welcome). So every month I put myself through the writing process; sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth.
I’ve learned, though, that the process of writing is really helpful. The act of sharing forces me to work through whatever experience I want to learn, grow, or expand from. There’s no summary, cheat sheet, or answer on the interwebs that will show me what’s under the surface. I have to move through it, dig deep, and find the root of what currently needs healing.
In the case of my family, I needed the reflection of my childhood home to really see the full picture. I got to look at the reflection of the outdated Heidi, and realized she needs an update. Writing it out was the final step for me to move through it and let it go. This process might not work for everyone, but it makes a huge difference for me.
Ironically, I’ve been avoiding calling myself a blogger, a writer, or anything else in that category because I feel like an imposter. Even knowing how much writing makes a difference for me, I have some old stories that are still hanging around. Growing up with dyslexia, having to take special reading classes, and not really learing how to take proper notes in college — all of these contributed to my hesitation. But life has its own mysterious ways of helping us grow, and if we pay attention, we can uncover the stories over time.
Even if part of me still feels like a little eight year old — a girl that hides away when she feels scared and small — the rest of my life is supporting the next step. After all, that little girl had parents who loved the written word, and the current Heidi is married to a writer who makes it look easy. Little by little I’m learning to voice, write, and express my experiences, and that little girl inside of me — filled with judgement, fear, and who wants to belong — can finally be set free.