Rain-drenched mornings are some of my favorite moments in this life. They afford us the chance to stand still and watch a bit, as we decided which intensity of the rains we wish to venture out into. As we watch the way the rains wash everything around us and the waters falling uncover the beauty hidden beneath the grime.
It's what we do: we live, we watch and we uncover things.
Rain is a strange and comforting companion of mine. Washing me when I need the cleanse most. Summer 2016, we feared that we would never see rain again, but it came and when it did it was glorious. Nothing in this world except for very close lightning would have brought me inside and away from this powerful and beautiful opportunity of being washed by Nature. Absolutely nothing.
I remember one evening I was desperate for the rain and oh, how the weather would tease! Each night it appeared as if the rains would come, as an overcast world would cover us every evening and the muggy, hot and humid air would descend. I would stare up into the clouds and demand for rain, absolutely begging for it at times. But on this one evening we had a friend over and as a sprinkling began to fall upon us, I began to taunt the clouds to procure more. Imagine looking into the clouds and shouting, 'C'mon, you can do better than this!'
Well, my friend did not like this and even suggested I was being disrespectful to the clouds, to the Weather, to Nature herself and more importantly to the Creator he feared. He was actually fully unnerved every time I threw my head back and taunted the clouds that 'they could do better!'
That was when the 'unsolicited advice came a knockin'. 'You know Cari.....you really shouldn't....you really should.....I wouldn't if I were you...'
That was when I threw my head back with full purpose and called out the weather proper! And that's when it began to pour.
Was I asking?
I sometimes wonder why exactly it is that others feel the need to to tell you how to behave or how you should live out your life. When you ask for advice or thoughts on certain matters you are expecting some feedback. I'm not talking about these moments though. What I am talking about are those moments in your life that you are fully confident in what you are doing and how you are living and somebody who can't do the same for himself, walks in and says, 'Hey! You can't do that! I have opinions!!!'
The thing is, we all have opinions and we all work differently. No two are the same! Each life pumping to a separate heartbeat with it's own divine and individual rhythms.
I don't go out asking for advice often. I'm very comfortable with my relationship with my own discernment. In short, I trust myself to make good and descent decisions. John and I work very well as a team and provide one another with more support than I have ever imagined possible.
Instead of advice, I often want to hear myself talk out the problem and gain feedback from those I am talking with and to. I ask less questions of anyone else and more of myself. I know that the only person able to understand the whole of my makeup is myself. Asking anyone else to sort out my conundrums is foolish. Asking for a sounding board to sort my thoughts is wise. I've never been one to have someone tell me what to do. In fact, I am more the type of person that will listen to you tell me what you think I should do and do the exact opposite or something so original that it no longer is held in the parametres of whatever the suggestion given to me was. That doesn't mean I do not take sound advice from dear friends and loved ones. I do, often and with great appreciation.
Quite recently this was brought into my world again. Opinions not asked for. Assumptions made where none were needed because, if listening, anyone can hear that I do not beat around any bushes to get to the bottom of anything.
Someone in my life decided that I had a problem (that wasn't mine) and that I needed to correct it. They were going to save the day. What was the actual problem? It was their failure to understand the closeness and communication shared between our daughter, Sierra and I. We talk about everything and not in a way that only scratches the surface. We have deep and meaningful conversations that go on for hours. We are able to go to places that others are afraid to tread due to the outlash that comes with being politically incorrect. Many parents have a difficult time understanding that their children are growing into adults that need to understand what that means by example. I don't placate her nor do I protect her in conversation due to her age. Our daughter is almost 16 going on whatever age comes to open minded, open hearted adults. I wasn't speaking over her level of understanding. I was speaking to her outside the comfort level of my friend.
So, boundaries were crossed and unwarranted comments were made while opinions were thrown around that seemed to amplified distaste for the way were were sharing with each other.
You see, we were talking of bullies and what makes them the way they are. This person truly wanted me to simply take my daughter, pat her on the head as she cried into my arms, as I told her everything was going to be alright, that I was there to protect her. And that is just not how I handled things.
Instead, I chose to support Sierra as she expressed her situation to me and I sat on a fence to give her some much needed and appreciated clarity. It's my intention to support her, to encourage her and to let her know that she absolutely 'has this' and that she is no one's victim. We had been dealing with this particular situation for months. Several choices were made both positive and negative to handle or mismanage the situation and lessons were continuously being learned as Sierra did her best to get through a really uncomfortable and harrassing situation. Of course I was and I am on my daughter's side! However I am and was not willing to be on her side so as to sabotage her own personal progress. Was I willing to to just sit by and let her become a bigger victim? Nope, I refuse to enable that mentality.
That's when we began to discuss the other side of the coin. The bully and her home life, her self-esteem, the way she presents herself, her support system and level of self-awareness vs Sierra's. Sometimes when being attacked you need to sit back and ask why when you haven't done a thing to provoke whatever is going on. John and I ask our children to look at the entirety of the situation to be able to grasp a full view and to compassionately understand. this isn't for the attacker's benefit. This is for our children's peace of mind.
The person who was objecting and offer opinions was perplexed by all of this and couldn't contain their distaste in the honesty and openness that was anything but coddling. Why was I not solely on my daughter's side? Why wasn't I licking her wounds? Why wasn't I protecting her and being more supportive?
This struck me hard. Was I being cold? No.
Was I blaming her or making it somehow her fault? No.
Was I judging her for feeling? No!
I was opening up the view to show a much bigger picture.
That was the last thing I expected to be accused of: not supporting our daughter. Even though I hugged her tightly and let her know she could let it all out to me. Even though I comforted her in her time and listened to her cry. Even though I was supportive, nurturing and loving, I was still in the space of heart and mind and able to see passed my maternal desires to protect my baby-girl by lunging for throats and tearing at jugulars.
Instead , we talked it all out. We looked at everything from all angles. Sierra is a force of nature who has more self-confidence than anyone of her age. I wish I had the confidence at her age that she has, but the fact that she does, tells both John and I that we have done our jobs as parents and guides quite well. What do some people do when they are insecure and see such confidence? They work to break it, to destroy what they don't have for themselves instead of creating that which they covet. They would never admit to it and would sooner call you out for exactly what they are, but that is the truth of it.
We spoke about the past Summer of 2016 and the crazy hot sauce stalker that wouldn't leave me alone. How that person was once my friend who showed, in the end, that they were continuously jealous of what I was and how I created for myself. Sierra watched as every bit of advice I had given to her was put to the yest and into practice by me. Not only that, she was able to see the consequences every time I went against my own advice and decided to lash out in frustration, in reeling pain from not understanding 'why'.
Every time I decided to retaliate, I fed the monster's resolve to hurt me and feed themselves. Every time I reacted I fed the machine of envy and hate. Every single time this person saw how I was affected they gained power . It was up to me to cut off their supply. It was up to me to let go and realize that nothing they did, said or accused me of was my own true reflection. It wasn't my reflection at all. It was theirs. Everything I was being accused of was and is exactly who and what they truly are.
I lived as a very open example that served this family well! I was stalked on a daily basis, taunted, sent harassing emails, had both my website and social media pages attacked, received calls from the RCMP questioning whether I was harassing the person stalking me. One quick email to the RCMP officer with the myriad of proof put a quick end to that route being taken by the bully but then it got even more sick and twisted when this person began making actual phone calls and sending emails to my colleagues and clients. Every time they would attack, they would rally their flying monkees and spin the story that I was the offender and that they were only defending themselves. I cried out 'why', I very nearly lost my mind in defending myself until I finally took a true step back and looked at it all, from the middle path.
What was I blessed with?
Now because I knew this person well enough, I knew that they had none of this. They have no integrity although I wasn't aware of it until I had the hindsight needed to truly view the situation. I had fallen into the trap of trusting outside of myself because at the time, I wasn't loving enough to myself nor did I trust 'me'. This is something I have reinforced with myself strongly in the last 10 years, and especially for our children: self-kindness, awareness and self-love. It shows in how they carry themselves, it shows in how we communicate and it shows in how they interact with others.
Truly Understanding Makes All The Difference
It took me months to stop looking for the abuse. It took forever for me to turn away from the car wreck they wanted me to suffer through as they lost complete control of the wheel. I did it though, and all for my daughter to see.
I never want my children to think that I am above them or perfect, that I've made no mistakes. Oh dear children! I wrote the handbook listing all the mistakes made! Learn from my example. Do as I say and as I have done and do. Learn in your own way and your own time but heed my warnings! You see I never had that. I was taught to believe my parents were basically perfect. That's a hell of a standard to believe you have to hold yourself up to. I refuse to set that bar for our children. It's unrealistic and damaging.
In our collective struggles we have looked at each other at separate times and asked one another why we are letting 'so-and-so' get to us when we know better. We've supported one another. Mom and daughter teams are unstoppable and so very rewarding as we build them. I never thought it could be possible to have this and yet here we are.
When you draw yourself away from 'why me?', you begin to realize things about them. When you look out of your own world and attempt to put your feet into someone else's shoes, you may not relate to them, but you can see the reasoning, however wrong or disturbing it might be from your level of understanding.
When we discussed all of this in relation to her own bully, you could see the stress, shame and anxiety begin to fall away from our daughter's entire body.
The observer, however, sat perplexed and agitated and their reasoning came out in their speech. Using words like, "I could never speak to my own....that way'. Or, 'I never knew how to talk to my children' and "I never had conversations like this with my kids'.
I looked at the observer, friend and loving human being and told them a very true story,
'Every way I felt as a child that I felt caused me, what sometimes felt like irreparable harm, I do not want to repeat those mistakes with my children. I want them to know they can come to me with anything and we will work it all out as best as we can together. I will not placate them with comfortable pats on the head and white lies from my mouth. I can not enable them to be a victim when I see an opportunity for them to recognize their strengths in times of feeling so weak and damaged. I will comfort the hurt and the harm and nurse it all with love and I will fortify the truth of their strengths and their power.'
Now this person expressed feelings of my daughter being overwhelmed by everything I was saying to her. The truth was, that listening to us, so openly and frankly discussing every possible angle of the bully and their actions, that caused my dear friend and observer to feel overwhelmed and admit to just that.
Sierra was engaging in our talk and she expressed normal reactions of understanding and confusion at times but she was also beside herself and the typical feelings of worrying about the outcome of the actions against her, as anyone her age would as she felt truly victimized. I know that feeling and at the time it feels so justified!!!
Being talked to from a point of understanding the bully, that gave her time to pause and reflect. Did it make the abuse better? No, it still hurt her and it still bruised her ego and her self-esteem. But at least when she asked herself 'why?', at least she had a better understanding of what the possible answer to that might be. That's when she stepped back and realized that she had so much to be grateful for to not need to lash out at others and attempt to take away the light they display so freely, openly and brightly, without apology.
Bullies feel like they are lacking. Bullies wish they had something their 'prey' has. Bullies are not happy with themselves so they pick on others. Some of the nicest people turn into bullies the moment they feel like they are 'less than'. Some of the friendliest humans have the most jealous hearts and the reasons for their behaviors are all within themselves. Not in what they covet from anyone. It's the idea that haven't figured out a way to do the same for themselves instead of stealing from those around them or belittling the ones that are comfortable with their own shine.
Like the friend with the opinions and recommendations that no one was asking for. That had me second guess the way I parent, guide and love our children because I am able to talk to our children in a way that I wish my parents would have spoken to me, in a way she wished she had spoken and opened up to her own children. She lamented her own life's choices and seeing how I work in my life floored her, made her defensive and uncomfortable. Made me a bit defensive and guarded as well. It's ok though, we work these things out.
I'm not sure what my point is today. Maybe it's to see things from more angles than your own so that you personally hurt less and feel less attacked. Other people's projected opinions and words aren't ours. They aren't about us, or meant for us. They are all about them. Same goes for us in so many ways, we are not immune. That doesn't mean that compassionately exposing bad behavior is all about you....that's just New Aged douchebaggery that I refuse to adhere to. You're still allowed to set boundaries for yourself!
Sometimes being bullied or even preached at is needed to remind us of how far we have come and how strong we are. And that's about all they serve, as reminders, not our own personal realities in the 'now'.
Author: Cari-Lee Miller
Understand this, dear reader:
This blog space is like a diary to which consent for my writings/feelings/expressions, is never needed or asked for. This is my space and if it brings you uncomfortable feelings, feel free to look no further and keep to the spaces that do you no harm.
I am a seed burst forth from its shell. I have mingled and fought in the dirt. I am ready to kiss the Sun. *CLM
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