Daring To Meet Myself Just As I Am

Hello dear ones. I don’t even know how to begin telling you about the past couple of weeks, or how many times I started writing a blog post only to leave it sitting in my draft folder. But I do know why I left it there, and it took me until yesterday to admit it to myself. So now I’m writing a new one — one that I just know beforehand will be long. I hope you will bear with me.

a-box-of-opportunities

I’m trying to remember exactly when the delivery man dropped these boxes off at our door, but the past few weeks have been so full of ups and downs that I can’t remember. What I do remember is that when my hairdresser and new-found friend told me about Mary Kay I was sitting in the salon she works in to get my hair done. Over a month ago now. And not too long after that I signed a contract to become an independent skin care consultant. If you haven’t heard of Mary Kay, I’ll just explain in short. The company was created back in the 1960’s by a woman of the same name, who wanted to give women the opportunity to follow their dreams, have a career and the freedom to shape their life in whichever way they desired. Today this company spans continents and the women who have joined and still join have amazing success stories behind them.

What spoke to me right from the start was that freedom. That and the incredible warmth, compassion, enthusiasm and friendliness of every single woman I met during these past couple of weeks. To be surrounded by positive people who genuinely want nothing but to help you and see you succeed is so amazing, and just what I have craved and missed since I finished my studies in Sweden almost one year ago now.

getting-my-consultant-pin

mary-kay-event

I was so blessed to join them now. I got to go to a local area meeting to meet a few ladies, get some coaching and see how a skin care class is conducted, and one week later I went with them to an event at the Helsinki airport. The atmosphere was wonderful and the women who held their speeches inspired me so much. I can’t put into words how thankful I am I was given the opportunity to meet them all — it came into my life like a beam of glorious light at a time when I needed it the most. So when I tell you now that in spite of all this I was haunted by immense stress and anxiety on and off since I signed that contract, you might wonder why.

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summer-cottages-in-archipelago

First, I spent the last twenty-four hours on this cruise ship that runs between Turku, Finland, and Stockholm in Sweden. I have this very bad habit of using snus. It’s a pouch of tobacco used under the lip. I used to smoke, but quit almost three years ago now. Knowing addiction all too well, I shouldn’t have started using snus, but there you have it. It’s a Swedish product and not allowed by law to be sold in Finland. You are allowed to bring in 1000 grams for personal use, however, so every once in a while I take a cruise to re-stock my supplies. I know that once I put my mind to it, I will quit this, too, but for now I am another willing slave under an addiction. The things we do regardless of knowing it’s bad for us.

light-garlands-on-cruise-ship

One of the things I like about these cruises is the time I get to reflect. I mean, there isn’t anywhere to go or much else to do. Of course, for those who like shopping, there is the tax-free shop. Or if you like to have a drink and listen to live music, there is a place for that, too. There is also karaoke, bingo, restaurants, kids’ play grounds, saunas, spas and even a swimming pool. I always end up sitting in the cafeteria by these windows, with a coffee and my journal. I love watching as we pass through the Swedish archipelago. The most amazing houses dot the shores, and the view really is beautiful.

I wrote several pages during this trip. To be honest, before a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t kept my journal regularly since end of summer. But after I signed that contract I have been writing almost every day. Mostly to convince myself I was on the right track. Positive self-coaching and self-motivation. For every dip and moment of anxiety, for every time I started panicking, I opened up my journal and wrote myself through it. It has worked, sort of, but as I sat with my journal yesterday, the ship gently swaying beneath me, I couldn’t do it anymore. And on my way home, driving slowly through a frozen night, I listened to beautiful cello music and cried almost the entire way. My pulse was so hard and loud when I came in the door to tell Jay we had to talk. My darling man who sponsored me to get the start-up kit for this entire thing. For the longest time I couldn’t get a word past the lump in my throat. While I knew with every fiber in my body that what I was about to tell him was right — what my gut had been trying to tell me for weeks while I stubbornly ignored it — a storm of conflicting thoughts raged inside me. I’m such a failure. I’ll disappoint everyone. I just wasted so much money, and for what? How did I get here after all this time? Why don’t I ever learn?

I told Jay what I will tell you now: I can’t do this — be a skin care consultant — because I don’t want to be. I said yes because I miss and crave friendship and social interaction. People to spend time with, to share common interests and be enthusiastic with. To think that I a few years ago received the diagnose Social Phobia. And here I was, throwing myself into something I really don’t want to do just so I can be around other people.

Jay sat quietly for a while after my word-vomit confession, and my heart seemed to flutter around in every part of my body. Then he said well, these things happen. You have to try things to find out what is right for you and you did try. Remember I told you not to worry about the money. It’s just money and it’s all right. As I write this, I’m in tears all over again. I can’t tell you what a wonderful man I have, what it means to me to have his support while I stumble around and flail about when I lose my way. In the midst of chaos and tumultuous emotion, he is my steady harbour.

close-up-of-jays-hand

From these past few weeks there is so much to take with me. From this I can learn and grow. And as much as I fought with those thoughts that tried to tell me I was a coward, weak and a failure, I believe there is much more strength in telling the truth no matter what. And much courage in speaking up. Some years ago I would have soldiered on to the beat of the drum of imagined expectations. What will others think of me? What will make others happy? To succeed for the sake of assumptions of what others would see as success. Isn’t it incredible the lengths we can go to, the lies we will tell ourselves to satisfy an imaginary world built on low self-esteem and self-worth?

I remember something one of these inspiring women spoke about at that event this past Saturday. Something that truly hit me, something I haven’t been able to let go of. And what nudged the part of me that tried to wake me up to myself. She talked about self-esteem and self-worth. Have the courage to dare to meet yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are good enough, just the way you are. In spite of what you do or how well you perform.

I fully believe there are two kinds of roads in this life, too, that we are meant to walk on. That main road which will take us to where we want to go, and those side roads we wander down to get perspective on where we are headed. As this woman who spoke about self-esteem also said, but do not linger too long, find someone you trust to help you back onto that main road. And you know what? When I spoke with with my friend about my decision over the phone, she told me to remove the thought from my mind that I have to hold these skin care classes. No one expects this of me. I decide what I want to do and how much, and I will be welcome among them no matter what. Can you imagine it? I felt like whatever remaining knots and bundles of stress and tension left in me whooshed out. Isn’t that just so wonderful? She is such a warm soul.

So it is with deep conviction I believe I was meant to do this. To gain a different perspective and clarity. To understand better how very important it is to me to meet other people — accepting, supportive, compassionate people — to make friends and to connect. And to dare to meet myself, just the way I am. Every single day. To tell my reflection that I am good enough, just like this. Even with the chaos and turmoil. I have spoked a lot of chaotic emotions, but I feel that for every time we face something difficult we learn to accept it that little bit more.

illuminated-frosty-tall-grass

frosted-foliage-clinging-to-a-log

sunlight-filtered-through-frosty-tree-tops

Oh, this day was so beautiful. The glimmer across our fields today after the night left a thin blanket of snow in its wake — this I will return to, over and over. These photos were taken over a week ago, but it’s just as sweet and fills me with peace and thankfulness after having seen it a thousand times. Filtering rays of soft light through branches dressed in rime. The creak beneath my shoes as I walk across the frozen lawn. A cloud of breath dancing alongside my dog when he runs back and forth in joy, trying to catch a snow ball Jay or Lilli throws at him.

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frost-covered-moss-wonderland

The small wonders of autumn’s remnants — golden colours scattered across the earth now as we pass into winter. I barely lifted my camera in these past few weeks. Only a few strewn occasions, and what a challenge it was to make myself. But when I did I felt such peace of mind, and I am so happy to finally share it with you.

frozen-fireweed-in-farm-house-foreground

morning-lit-moon-through-blurred-branches

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artful-frost-lines-in-wooden-logs

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Soon I am going to start the Christmas season craftiness with Lilli. For years now I have wanted to make our own Christmas cards to send out and this year, damn it, we will have our own-made cards. And a wreath to hang on the door. I already got the wire to tie the spruce branches together. When I was little, we used to do all kinds of crafting for the major holidays, and I always loved it when my mother brought out the paints and papers, or when we collected things from the forest to craft with. I want my daughter to have these memories, too. Do you have any seasonal decoration traditions?

I will now leave you with a couple of photos from Father’s Day and wish you all a wonderful evening of what is left of this Wednesday. I hope to see you again soon! Much love. ❤

father-of-the-day
Jay is so handsome in his suit. ❤
entre-snack
The food took so long to arrive but we had plenty of snacks and conversation to hold us. 🙂
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Courage This Night

Hey! I actually made a deal with myself that for this Midsummer weekend, I would leave my computer alone and spend all weekend outside. No writing. No editing. No photography. There is nothing wrong with being passionate, but my brain has gone into overdrive. Just a couple of days ago, as I stood chopping rhubarb for homemade jam and pie, I started feeling so nauseous the entire world started spinning. I had to go lie down and fell asleep almost instantly.

For the past few weeks I have found it difficult going to sleep at night and then I wake up five to six hours later, ready to take on the day. As a result of falling behind on my rest I just keep getting more and more scatter-brained. I know these bright nights and long days are partially behind it, but it’s my tendency to become obsessively submerged in my passions that is the real culprit. So I said to myself take a step back and just be. Lilli went with her grandmother to spend the weekend, so I couldn’t have had a better opportunity to merely laze around and do absolutely nothing.

I took a blanket and a drink outside and lied on the lawn with Loke, and it was so wonderful to just be there. The sun warmed my skin even if we had a really cool summer day yesterday, and I listened to the wind and the swallows as they whooshed past above us. I even made the jam and the pie, which turned out absolutely delicious. But I forgot to leave my phone out of my reach. So while going through Happy Midsummer Eve wishes and photos on Instagram and Facebook–and squeezing my own in there–I started thinking about when this tradition started, and how did they celebrate it, say, a few hundred years ago?

As some of you may have noticed, I have a tattoo on my forearm. I got it my last semester at Härnösand Folk High, after almost twenty years of wanting to get one but never finding it was the right time. In it are Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn; Yggdrasil; and Thor’s hammer. And in rune-inspired font are three words–strength, courage, and wisdom. This symbolises all things that are important to me. It also serves as a reminder how in the end I never gave up, even when I thought I had. So last night, just as the sun stood at its lowest, I threw on my warpaint and ran through the fields. I don’t know where it came from, but I just knew this was something I had to capture, something I had to do. And as I sat here by my computer, as I said I wouldn’t, editing the photos I took out there, Jay told me you’ve got guts, I’ll give you that.

I do. I have courage. I think I always had. I just wasn’t wise enough see I was the one holding me back, nor strong enough to break down the walls. So now I would like to share the vision that seized me last night and had me flying through the fields to capture.

Siezed

Familiar

Yonder

Stranger

WhispersWithin