Inside: Every single decision to draw a line in the sand has altered the course of my life. It isn’t that life became miraculously easy but that I changed how I see.
I remember the day, almost like it was yesterday. I decided to live.
I had tried three times to die and after this time failed, I felt like a loser. I couldn’t even do this right. But I was also tired.
I was tired of trying and failing. So I decided to live.
I didn’t know how I would live—only that I would. That was the first time I remember drawing a line in the sand.
My stubbornness is one of my greatest strengths. It kept me alive on more than one occasion. Not when I was trying to die. But after. It helped me carve my own path in life, for which I am grateful.
My stubbornness helps me show up through fear and be real.
For most of my life I felt weak and inadequate. But this was inaccurate. I was stronger than I realized. I walked through some hard stuff and had almost no help. My stubbornness and curiosity led me to read and learn and persist. I see now that I can do hard things; my stubbornness kicks in when I need it. Like when I draw a line in the sand.
i decided to draw a line in the sand
That first line was when, at 18 years old, I decided to live.
I was 31 the second time. I remember exactly where I was: walking from the little kitchen of my first 80-year-old home into the entryway. I was filled with fear. My mom had died, I was having panic attacks and had returned to binge eating in an attempt to dull the pain. I had been trying to outrun my pain, grief and fear for most of my life at that point and in that moment, I was done.
I planted my feet and decided I wasn’t running from fear any more. I pivoted and turned my body 180 degrees and faced fear head on for the very first time in my life. That was the beginning of learning I was far stronger than I knew.
Life didn’t miraculously become easy after either of these experiences. I still had to show up the next day and the next. Afraid. I didn’t know what I was doing. There was no textbook to guide me. But I kept showing up.
My third child arrived when I was 33. It was a hard pregnancy. I was exhausted and sick for months of it, and my hips were in excruciating pain. I felt like something was off the whole time. And one day, after she arrived, and as I held her little six-pound body, I realized something. I realized I would never again diet or treat my body with contempt. I would never again bully myself or speak to myself unkindly. For her sake and mine, I decided to love myself. I drew a line in the sand.
EVERY DECISION TO DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND HAS radically ALTERED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE
My stubbornness has served me well, but over the years I’ve awakened to the truth that I am knit together with other gifts too. The very characteristics that often got me into trouble or made me feel somehow less than—I see now that they’ve served as both weapon and shield.
It is true that once upon a time, my sensitivity and deep feelings threatened to crush me, but now I use my strength to offer hope and encouragement to others. I am a recovering perfectionist who scans for beauty and sees how this messy world can be made better.
It isn’t life that changed and made me happy. I changed.
It isn’t that life became miraculously easy but that I changed how I see.
I changed how I see And this changed my life
The truth is, I’m still the same girl who wants everyone to get along. The same young adult who just wants to love and be loved. I am the same mama who worries when her baby is unhealthy or unhappy and who grieved intensely when her own mama left.
I am that person. But I see differently now. And I drew a line in the sand.
I woke up to the truth that we always get to choose our response.
That we can be the boss of our thoughts.
That there is nothing more that I require to be worthy or lovable.
I see that sometimes life feels scary and I have no idea what I’m doing. But there’s no shame at all in asking for help. Or in trying and failing or being less than perfect. I no longer see a need to compare myself to you.
I see that joy and pain can coexist, and the goal is never absence of stress. I see how beautiful my body is with its stretch marks and limp. I see that everything looks different when I choose gratitude.
All I did was stubbornly draw a line in the sand.
The Midlife Crossroad
Midlife can be messy! It’s a time of truth-telling, important transitions, and invitations to growth. Here are 7 powerful truths to help midlife women (re)claim freedom, health and joy amid the messiness.
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