Today is my golden birthday: I turned twenty-four on January twenty-forth. It's been a wild year, with lots of blessings and a few hard choices. I've learned a lot about myself and who I want to be, and I've made some progress toward becoming that person. I took a huge step toward feeling independent by renting my first apartment, and finally figured out what I want to do with my education. I've made some amazing friends, and for perhaps the first time came to truly understand how to lean on the love and support of my family without losing my independence. I've taken risks, and even if they didn't all work out the way I hoped, they were all worth taking. I am sure that the next year will bring me plenty of surprises, and I hope you will join me as I uncover them!
Today's video, like the very good Feel Good Friday video, was brought to my attention by Dan Pearce's blog Single Dad Laughing. It is quite possible that there is nothing cuter than babies talking to each other.
The original video was posted on Twin Mama Rama, the Tumblr for the twin's mother.
No commentary today. This one speaks for itself.
From the Dalai Lama's official website: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in the Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two the child, who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
When I was a babe, my mother, the earth, spoke to me. "My child," she said, "the sky is a river, and our world swims through it. The stars you see at night are other worlds, and we are all carried in the Great Maker's net." Then she granted me dreams of strange skies and different seas, and I believed her.
When I was old enough to hunt alone, my father, the moon, spoke to me. "My child, the sky is a great valley, and the sun a buffalo that roams through it. The stars you see at night are the mighty warriors who pursue the sun." And he granted me dreams of strong hunters and a shining prey, and I believed him.
You tell me that the sky is empty space, and the stars are giant fires burning very far away. You tell me that the river and the valley are illusion, that the hunters and the worlds are myths and falsehoods. You give me not dreams, but ideas as cold and hard as the iron tools you bear, and ask me to believe you. And I do believe what you say, of the sky and the stars.
Yet just because the sky is empty space, why should it not also be a river, and a valley? Just because the stars are enormous fires, why should they not be hunters and worlds as well? You think you have knowledge, but you have closed your eyes.
Shall I teach you to open them again?
Yesterday I broke up with my boyfriend of more than two years.
It sounds so simple, so easy, when it's put like that. People break up every day. I know that. And I know that it's never easy, or simple. Not for the people involved. Everyone knows that. Everyone has been there. And they all say the same things when it happens to someone else.
People keep telling me that I'm brave, that I'm strong. They say that because I chose to end the relationship, and did it not out of anger, but because I saw that our personalities weren't quite a perfect fit. I chose to end a good relationship because I know that I could have a better one with someone else, even if I don't know who. So everyone tells me that I'm doing the right thing, and that in the long run this will be better for both of us.
I try to believe them. Sometimes - most of the time - I actually do know that they're right.
But the truth is that when I think about the break up, I don't feel brave or strong. I feel like a coward, because I knew for more than two weeks that this was coming, and didn't say anything. I tried to take the easy way out and ignore the problem until a "better" time, feeling more and more like I was lying to him every day. The only reason we broke up when we did is that he could tell it was bothering me, and asked what was wrong.
One of the first rules we set in our relationship was honesty. He asked. I answered.
I feel broken because this amazing person I just left is someone I have loved deeply for two years. I still love him. I hate the fact that I hurt him this way. I hate that I have to push him away, even knowing that I'm giving us both a chance for something even better. I'm trying very hard not to hate myself for doing it.
Once before I had to break up with someone with whom I was still in love, for all the right reasons. That break up was the trigger for the severe depression that I have written about elsewhere on this blog. I hated myself then. Even knowing that my circumstances are so different now, that I have a support system and a greater self knowledge of where my emotional limits are, a part of me is terrified that I'm going to fall into that darkness again.
Another part of me, smaller but present, is tempted by it. The depression brought with it numbness, and it is tempting to prefer that over the pain. Sometimes I feel like my heart has been stabbed and the knife still in the wound, cutting deeper with every breath. It would be so easy, this part of me whispers, to run from the pain, to hide so deeply inside myself that it could never touch me.
I know, of course, that that is a false promise and a temporary refuge at best, so I bear the pain. Instead I talk about it, write about it here, and if the sharing doesn't ease the hurt, at least it makes it easier to handle.
To everyone who has offered or will offer me comfort and support, thank you. With all of your help, I know I will make it through this, and be stronger for it. Your kindness means a great deal to me, even if I'm not always able to show it as I go through this process.
This week's Feel Good Friday is the first picture I've selected, but I hope that it speaks to all of you like it did to me. You may remember that in 'Thinking vs. Wanting' I mentioned a phrase that kills all dreams: "I can't do that." Today's picture, on the other hand, illustrates how to keep dreams alive.
Like the kitten in the photo, we need to be able to see ourselves as we want to be every time we look in the mirror. While acknowledging the sometimes frustrating reality that right now we are just adorable fuzzy kittens, we must never lose sight of the lion we intend to be. There is nothing wrong and (as anyone who has ever cuddled a kitten will tell you) a great deal that is right about being a kitten. Everyone is a kitten at some point, and some of us take longer than others to grow out of it. But as long as you can see the lion in the mirror, "I can't do that" becomes "I can't do that yet."
I know that right now I'm just a young woman, hardly out of her teens, with a retail job and no degree. I am still a kitten. But I also know that some day I will be a counselor. I will hold an advanced degree, and help young people who are struggling with the same kinds of problems I have overcome. And I will help them to see their own personal lions in the mirror.
Lots of Love,
P.S. I'd love to hear about your own lions in the mirror. If you'd like to share, send me an e-mail or leave a comment below!
P.P.S. I looked for the origin of this picture but could not find any information on it. If you happen to know who originally created the image, please let me know so that I can give proper credit!