Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who Am I?

OK, Here I am struggling with some issues that I shouldn't be struggling with. Issues I have dealt with over and over again. So, I beat myself up a little, I know better. But, I do it. The question goes deeper than why do I do this, the question becomes who am I?

I start my day with centering prayers and meditations. It helps me to meet the challenges of my day. I use several sources for things to meditate on. I use a daily reflection from Sunshine Cathedral.It's from a publication titled Spirit and Truth. I also use Meditations with Native American Elders:The Four Seasons by Don L. Coyhis.This is a book of meditations for learning to walk the Red Road. This is the path I have chosen for my healing journey.I also use the Sacred literature-Scriptures of my Christian traditions. More often than not, they work together on the issue that I need to be working on. Spirit is very good at working things to my benefit like that. But, then I get down to it, and I get fearful. I slide back into old habits, and I know better.

Who am I? The problem is I don't know anymore.

I know who I have been. I know how I became those women, but I don't know who I am anymore, and that is a problem. Since I am not who I used to be, I need to figure out who I am in order to go forward. I need to figure out how to become who I am supposed to be.


I have been lots of different people in my lifetime. I have grown and matured and changed over the years. I have used prayer and meditation to seek my Higher Power and to attempt to let go of my self will and live Most High's will for my life. As I walk the Red road I use wisdom found in nature, in the medicine wheel, and wisdom from the elders. Our lives grow in seasons, and we may be in a spring season as it snows outside.But we can learn from nature, and the Medicine Wheel and the elders no matter what season we are in. Every season has lessons for us.  I find myself in a winter season of life right now.

In the winter season we often find ourselves lost. Our identity is gone and we seek a new one. According to the elders, in the winter season we are faced with three questions. Who am I, why am I, and where am I going? As we seek the answers to these questions we will learn and grow and transform ourselves once again. So here I am, who am I?

I am totally aware that I have been feeding the wrong hunger the last week or so. I know that in feeding the wrong hunger, I have been sabotaging myself, keeping me from becoming who I am supposed to be. I gave into the fear, and fear is the mindkiller.

When I was growing up I was an outsider looking in. I didn't fit in with my family, my circumstances or my neighborhood.I didn't fit physically, mentally, or spiritually. I needed to learn, I studied everything.Knowledge was my downfall and my future. Everybody called me "the smart one", which sounds positive, but in my family it was an insult. It was said in a way that I knew it was not acceptable. But I had no other way to be. I was Esther, the smart one, who was also the fat one, the big one that nobody understood, or cared to get to know. I wanted to be my little sister, the cute one, the one who had a nickname, who was allowed to sit in laps and be hugged.But, I was Esther, and nobody wanted to hug me.

 I learned to accept that that was who I was. Esther spent her time learning and applying that knowledge to the world around her. She kept her own counsel, and built walls to keep the pain contained. Fortunately, Spirit put people in my life to teach me about love. I lived for the summers, we would come to Kansas City and stay with my father's favorite sister, My Aunt Emma. My auntie was an amazing woman, she loved all of us. If we were family, especially those few of us who were 'black sheep' for whatever reason, she loved us. So I could make it through the rest of the year, because I knew that at least in the summer, someone who loved me would be there. There were other people, a friend of my brother. They were in boot camp together, and he was from the Navajo nation, and the reservation was too far for him to go, so he came to our house when they had leave. He talked to me, and more importantly he listened to me. He talked to me about his traditions, and walking the Red Road. He taught me that I was strong, and that our Creator loved me. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Schultz. She saw greatness in me, and never let a day go by that she didn't tell me that. I visited her even after I was in junior high, and we were friends for the rest of her life, we wrote when I went off to college, and I visited her when I came back during breaks. She was my great friend and my greatest encourager. These all called me Esther Belle. I was named after my Mother and my Aunt Emma. Emma Esther Belle, and so Auntie called me Esther Belle. That was the name and the 'me' I associated with love.

When I became a mother, loving and advocating for my special needs child was who I was. Again I was able to use my intellect to solve problems and educate myself and others about my son's needs. I loved being Ms. Jones, William's Mom. Ms. Jones was able to love her son and to also love other children in the neighborhood. They needed someone to love them enough to set boundaries and hold them to those boundaries. Children do not like being out of control. This lesson applies to the child in us when we are in our winter changing seasons. We do not like being out of control, and so part of learning who we are is learning what our boundaries are. Boundaries are not the walls I built to protect me from pain. Boundaries are the paths I walk, the bricks I place to get me Brick by Brick down the path on my healing journey.

Then Ms. Jones was walking down the street one day.It was a beautiful day. The kind of spring day that we wish they all could be. Bright sunshine, about 60 degrees. I had been to a meeting and after my friend dropped me off I remembered that William needed something for school the next day. It was the perfect day for a walk, so I decided I would walk to the neighborhood store. As I was walking down the street I looked up and this tall thin man was cutting across the street diagonally. He was going to end right in front of me. My mind immediately started searching for a reason, but this was not someone I knew. He walked up to me and said "I have been trying to get up the nerve to talk to you for six months. You're the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." I laughed. It definitely was not a pick up line I had ever heard before. But when I laughed I saw his eyes, and he meant it! "Excuse me?" was all I could say. He said it again, "I've been trying to get up the nerve to talk to you. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." I am still kind of speechless, and I say "Thank you, I guess." He goes on to explain that he lives at the bottom of the hill and he sees me walk my son to the school bus every day. He has tried a couple of times to speak to me, but he was too nervous. But when he saw me walking down the street today he told himself it was now or never, and he crossed the street. I was prepared to continue walking, but he kept talking. He told me how he had just got out of rehab 4 days earlier, and that he was on his way home from putting in job applications. Well, I had been clean and sober for 16 years and the friend of Bill W. in me wouldn't let me just ignore him. I told him I had to go to the store, but if he was still in the park at the end of the street when I got back I would talk to him. He was there, we talked for 2 hours that afternoon, and every day after that.

Such a simple act, crossing the street. No big deal. But in that simple act of walking across the street the world would never be the same. In that moment our lives became eternally joined, entwined. We would never again make a decision without discussing it or considering the impact it would have on the other one.We would never again think of ourselves as Bill or EstherBelle. From that moment on we were BillandEstherBelle.

So, I must learn to be EstherBelle again, or just Belle as my husband and friends came to call me, or maybe EB the nickname my friends use. I must learn that  I need not be afraid to go forward. I must stop allowing my fear of the unknown keep me from sculpting my bricks and making my path as I journey to wholeness. I have some genetic dispositions that are obstacles. I am genetically predisposed to gaining weight and holding on to weight. In prehistoric times I was the survival of the species. But this is 2011, and the extra layer of fat is no longer necessary for survival. As I get close to the numbers changing on the scale, I must not fear the things that come my way. I must not fear men paying attention to me, I must not fear jealousy from others. I must embrace the new me, a me that has not weighed less than 250 pounds since she was a child. I must stop sabotaging my weight loss journey and work to be in control of my eating and choose to joyfully discover what being a normal healthy weight feels like.

I am genetically predisposed to depression and alcoholism. I must not let that determine who I am. I do not allow the pain of my physical diseases win, so I must apply the same intent and purpose to overcoming the pain of my mental health issues. I am going to celebrate a really major milestone in a few days. On January 19 I will have been clean and sober for 30 years. As I choose one day at a time to not use drugs and alcohol to mask the pain, I must also choose to not use the most widely available mood altering drug-food-to mask the pain either. I must choose to come into a healthy relationship with food. Allowing food to be what it was meant to be and nothing more.

I must choose to be who I am supposed to be, as I spend this winter season of my life pondering the answer to that question.To ponder is to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate; to weigh carefully in the mind. Pondering for me is to find the answers and apply them to my life as I become who I am supposed to be.

Who am I? I don't know yet. But, as I continue to sculpt the bricks, and to choose to not give in to the fear I will find out.The fears used to blind and bind me for years, and now they only blind me for a few days. That is victory along the journey. It will be an amazing healing journey through the season of darkness, and of course Spring should follow.
Who am I? Not sure, but I think I will love her into existence.
Peace and Blessings,
EstherBelle a.k.a EB

1 comment:

Shari said...

This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul on this blog. You are a wonderfully talented writer and an incredible blessing.

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