Tag Archives: growth

Oh, to be a river

Last weekend I went on a mini retreat with one of my oldest — and dearest — friends while Mr. B stayed home with the kids for an adventure only two toddlers can provide. Saturday morning my friend and I packed our computers, books, music and wine and spent a glorious 24 hours in the company of a river at a small cabin in the heart of The Mitten.

Chippewa River View

It was quiet and peaceful and everything my soul had been needing for some time. I have talked before about how bad I am at making time for myself, but I’m trying to do better. I recognized my need to get away and have a night to myself to focus on things I enjoy doing: reading, writing, thinking, dreaming and planning. And what better place for this annoyingly stereotypical Pisces to do that than by the water.

My goal for the retreat was to just focus on things I enjoy that fill my soul. I read two novels, wrote a blog post and spent a lot of time sketching out my dreams for my future — for my family’s future. And, I spent some time thinking about rivers, up to my ankles in the flowing water.

Feet in the river

There’s so much I love about rivers. The peace of the smooth, flowing water. The whispery sounds as wind slides through the trees on the shore and the water snakes past. The chirping birds and splashing fish. The waving grasses and plants on the banks. The coolness of the water on my unsteady feet as the sand and rocks massage my achy arches.

But there’s so much more to rivers than all their beauty and peace, though. And I wonder: is it possible to love and fear and envy rivers all at the same time?

Rivers — even more than bodies of water — scare me. I’m never so intrigued and nervous as I am in the spring when the rivers swell, flooding roads and homes as they wash away what remains of our cold, Michigan winters. And those who aren’t careful very easily could get swept along with the river. Rushing spring river waters carry with them danger for the people and property that get in their way.

But, oh the way they flow — not taking no for an answer, cutting new paths with a fierce stubbornness and conviction only a river can know. There’s a special kind of patience in a river, too, knowing their path won’t be cut immediately. If there’s something in their way, they push through it. It might take years, or decades, or eons, but the river holds firm in its goal. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in this world were cut by a river — earth never the same after a river’s run through it.

There are days I wish I could be more like a river — to have that peace and patience with a fierce streak of determination running through me. Perhaps that should be my goal — perhaps I should focus on finding peace with my path while knowing it’s within my power to cut a new one as I go. Because it is, after all, my path. It is my story.

A view of the river

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The Pieces of Me

In all this talking with Mr. B lately, I’ve been thinking about those pieces that, taken as a whole, make up the person I am. These are the words that float around in my head and, when someone asks what makes me Me, they are the words I use (in no particular order, of course):

  • Mom
  • Wife
  • Reader
  • Writer
  • Nature Lover
  • Woman
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Driven
  • Friend
  • Optimist (though I’ll always be working at this one)
  • Music Fan
  • Lifelong Learner
  • Dreamer
  • Creative
  • Doer
  • Happy

But, as Mr. B and I continue to chat about such things, I realize I’m not really honoring my whole self. I’ve been falling down on the job when it comes to being an authentic version of Kimi Joy because I’ve been neglecting some of the things I know make me the best version of myself.

For the last several years, it’s been easiest to focus on being Mom (“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”). And, if I’m being honest, I’ve let the other things fall away and, to a certain extent, fall apart.

Let’s break this down a bit:

I define myself as a “writer” but — until recently — I don’t write. I hadn’t even tried, bemoaning the disappearance of my muse. And I’m just recently finding myself nose-deep in good books, realizing how much I’ve been missing making friends with characters the world ’round for the last few years.

And Nature Lover Kimi Joy? She spends far too much time inside the four walls of her house — when all she really longs to do is be outside, barefoot and free.

The other night Mr. B commented that I don’t seem as driven, as dedicated, as I did when we met. Granted, when I met him I was training for a marathon and had a very specific timeline and goal. But — he’s right. I thrive on goals and improvement and measurement, and I’ve not taken the time to truly sit down and think about where I want to be and how I’m going to get there.

Let’s not even get started on where I’ve been lacking as a wife/partner, friend, sister, daughter … because that’s when it starts to hurt the most.

All this to say: I think we all have ideas in our minds of who we are — words, phrases, concepts that help us form our definition of ourselves. These are the parts of ourselves we should be nurturing because they are our Core. And I’ve been doing a piss-poor job lately.

Kimi Joy Picture

Can we talk about wearing maxi skirts all day every day, please? #authenticself

The words above? They help to make up the person I aspire to be — the person I want to be on my best days. They give my ship an anchor.

To be sure, I don’t believe I’m a fully formed, complete individual yet. And I don’t believe this list makes up the Whole of who I am or will be. There will always be a part of me that’s changing, that’s growing, that’s reaching toward the sun.

I will always be imperfect. And I am not yet Done.

But I do know who I am — I just need to get her back.

 

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Salon and More

I’ve been going to the same hair salon for, I think, about 11 years. And the same stylist for probably seven or so — I’ve lost count exactly. But, it’s a long time. Needless to say, my stylist knows me — and my story — very well.

For the most part — save a couple of years when I was kidding myself — my hair’s been short. I like it short. I feel the most “me” when it’s short. Through single-hood and wedded bliss, weight gain and weight loss (and weight gain), pregnancies and motherhood, loss and success, I’ve always felt the most confident when my hair’s as short as it can go without becoming bald.

So, I’m a regular every-four-weeker for my hair cuts and every 7 to 10 days for my eyebrow wax (I can’t help if I’m furry!). Well, lately, as the salon gets busier and my time gets more precious, it’s been harder and harder to find an appointment time that works with my schedule and on my timeline.

This week, I tried a new stylist at a new salon. It can be scary going to a new stylist:

What if she’s scared to take my hair as short as I like it? (Trust me, it’s happened a lot.)

What if she makes my eyebrows too thin? 

What if she talks too much?

What if … 

What if … 

What if …

Well, let me tell you: it was a wonderful experience! She talked exactly enough. She cut my hair perfectly short. And I am the proud owner of two neatly trimmed — but just right — eyebrows.

And the best part? She didn’t know my whole story. Because I’ve chosen to live my life in a little bit of a public way — at least some bits — and I try to be very honest in my sharing, it’s hard to live my daily routine (that’s pretty, well, routine) without someone knowing at least a bit of my tale. But, not when I went to the new salon. I wasn’t the woman with the tragic story. I was just the woman taking a one-hour break to get her hair done.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I love talking about Penelope Joy and sharing memories about my dad. And everything that’s happened to me is so very important to who I am. That story, tragic as some parts may seem, has brought me to a place in my life where I find myself happy, content and loved. But, for once, it was nice to just be another mom talking about her job, her husband and the silly things her daughter does. It was nice, for one hour, to just be … me. Short hair and all.

Family photo

Photo by The People Picture Co.

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