People Pleasing

I caught myself in a wicked web- and I’m not talking about Halloween spiderwebs.

No, I’m referring to a web of lies that went out of control- lies I knew at the time would bite me in the butt, just like a spider, actually.

I didn’t mean it.  I went along with assumptions about me and what my life in Boston was like, quickly to realize I was stuck.  With a new job opportunity and people supporting a path I wasn’t sure I wanted to take, I realized I wasn’t being authentic.

I was doing and saying things to please other people, not doing what was in my heart.

Half truths, I realized I need to have a conversation with one of my good friends.  A face to face conversation.  A conversation that may leave me with my tail between my legs, but would set me free.

Looking to re-integrate into the community, I began to connect with people and tried to appear much stronger than I am.  I didn’t want anyone to view my abrupt move as a weakness, to offer me help, or to view me as broken.

Things didn’t exactly leave off pretty in Boston.  I quit my job, I left my apartment, and packed my things up with my mom.  It wasn’t a move I expected, but it was the perfect time for me to come home nevertheless.

As I look at what aligns with my heart and my goals for my life in Michigan, there’s a lot of things I may have done in the past to gain acceptance- but today I don’t have to do those things.

I know what works for me for my social life, my sobriety, and my overall mental health.  I know who is supportive, what I want, and where I see my life going.  Dishonesty doesn’t please people at all, and it especially won’t make me feel content.

Oh, the tangled webs we weave- but now I can unwind them and be true to myself.

That’s true freedom.

The Beauty of True Friendship

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It’s clear that Traverse City has beauty, charm, and so much to offer.

Since moving home last Tuesday, I have loved strolling the streets, revisiting my favorite spots, and snapping photos of the new art.

But the best part about being home are the relationships I have been able to have once again.

I had no idea how much my friends cared over the years- and how worried they were about me as I bounced from city to city.  They knew I hid my loneliness.  They were concerned about my alcoholism.  They were sad to learn I spent holidays by myself.

I didn’t even realize I was missed- but now I do.

I’ve had some of the most priceless experiences with old friends this past week, meaningful conversations, and re-connection with people I have known since I was 12 years old.  I have filled my calendar with coffee and lunch dates, received hilarious Marco Polo videos from one of my best friends navigating motherhood, and have bumped into former coworkers.  Wanting to help me in any way they can, I have felt more love this past week than I have in years.

These are the people who knew me before I thought I had to put on a mask.

My mask of strength was a tool to keep me safe from the world- and to keep me from getting hurt.

Today, I finally know who I am- and that I don’t have to hide from good friends.  I don’t have to hide who I am here in Traverse City- I can simply be me.

Taking a deep breath of relief, I am beyond grateful I could fly home and show my face- and what is in my heart.

Who Are You Calling Fragile?

Over the past few years I’ve learned the benefits of vulnerability and the value of opening yourself up to other people. As a self proclaimed “counterdependent,” I often have a hard time sharing myself with others one-on-one, or showing who I am due to fear of making a connection:

But connection is powerful.

Taking back the narrative of your life and owning your truth is a gift that takes time, but reaps immeasurable results.

I opened myself up to many different people this past year- some in recovery, and some not. Thanks to my friends in sobriety, I learned to safely share my story with people who understand.

However, sometimes you open up to people who don’t- or won’t. That’s okay too.

I was recently in a situation where I was called “fragile” by someone I hardly knew- simply because I am sober in recovery and showed my vulnerable side. What?!

I’m not sure who he thought he was talking to, but I do know today to keep my standards high and my expectations low.

After years of settling for less or compromising my own morals, I’m no longer willing to let someone else dictate my value or worth.

Struggle brings strength, and although I haven’t always made the best choices in my life, I survived my difficulties and have been able to thrive because of them.

The butterfly represents transformation and new beginnings- if she hadn’t struggled to emerge from the cocoon, she wouldn’t have the strength to spread her wings and fly.

She may be delicate, but she certainly isn’t fragile- and neither are you.