The Busiest Person Wins. Except When They Don’t.

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I used to be a massive perfectionist. I could never rest, never relax, never have down time, never have fun. Never stop. To stop meant I could no longer run, no longer escape. And the thought of standing still, and having to acknowledge the things that silently ate away at me beneath the surface, was nothing short of terrifying.

Busyness was the vice I chose to numb my pain. It served my mask of perfectionism well. But being busy is no different from any other vice we use to detach ourselves from life a little – drinking, gambling, shopping, gaming, eating, whatever. Except, society has made busyness an acceptable vice, if not a glorified one.

The busiest person wins.

When really, our busyness, our perfectionism, our performing, is just another way we hide the shame that we’re not good enough. We think if we keep busy we won’t notice the ways we fall short, fail, disappoint, can’t keep up. We won’t notice our inadequacies. We won’t notice we’re not enough.

And we hope like hell no one else will notice either.

We fear if we aren’t accomplishing and achieving at all times then all we loathe about ourselves will be exposed and we’ll face criticism and rejection from others. We fear we’ll no longer be able to hide from the truth of how substandard we really are. How flawed. How imperfect.

How human.

Perfectionism is a slow death of the soul. It will kill our joy, our creativity, our peace, our ability to love those around us. We become servants to performance, slaves to our fear and shame. We live crippled by our comparisons and beliefs that no matter what we do, we will never be enough.

It took me years to recover from perfectionism. One of the most important things I have read, and continue to read, is this quote from Brené Brown:

“No matter what gets done, and how much is left undone, I am enough.”

Even though I have worked through my perfectionism, I still fall back into it at times, and need to be reminded of this often. Be reminded that my humanity, in all its inadequacy, is not shameful – but instead authentic and real and vulnerable and perfect.

Today two things happened.

My children went back to school after being home for two weeks of holidays.

And winter broke.

The longest goddamn miserable winter I can ever remember finally, finally broke in October. And it was glorious. 

And as I stared down the barrel at my list of things to get done today – because OH MY GOD THERE WAS SO MUCH LOST WORK TIME TO MAKE UP FOR NOW THAT HOLIDAYS WERE FINISHED – I couldn’t do it.

I was so drained, so tired, so worn down still from having spent the holidays meeting the needs of others. I needed to revel in the sunshine. I needed to be refreshed. I needed to be renewed. I needed child-like joy. I needed nature. I needed to live fully in the wonder of the day. So I came here, to my favourite place, and found life again.

Life is too short to be busy, and too beautiful to be missed. Leave behind the things that hold you to your busy, to your performing, to your need to be perfect, and live. No matter what gets done, and how much is left undone, you are enough.

Kathy x

The Courage To Choose Love, Even When It’s Hard

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I was reminded today that we can choose to be bitter. We can be bitter over how much we have been hurt, the injustice of every way we have been wronged. Over the ways we weren’t loved and how we weren’t cared for and all that we didn’t receive that we felt we were entitled to. We can carry that close to us and hold it dear and let it dictate how we treat the world. Respond in kind. Even score. Eye for an eye.

Or we can see what a blessed opportunity we have to be the catalyst for change. To be the ones to break generational cycles. To choose to no longer hurt others because of the ways others have hurt us. To do for others what was never done for us. To sow love where only hate has been reaped.

To do differently; to do better.

It doesn’t always come easy, and it doesn’t always seem fair – to be the ones to have lived without love and yet be the ones to offer love back into the world that broke us. There isn’t any justice in that. Yet we are the ones who now choose to put in the hard work of ripping out our thistles of anger, bitterness, and judgement that we have allowed to grow and have nurtured with our unforgiveness, no matter how justified we may have been. 

It takes much effort from our often weary hands to work the hardened soil of our hearts so that new seeds may be planted; much dirt under our nails and blisters on our fingers and grit that gets trapped inside our skin that we scrub, and scrub, and scrub, yet still can’t be free of. But it’s not always our own pain that matters. It’s how we choose to treat others in spite of that which makes all the difference.

It isn’t our responsibility to change the entire world ourselves – that is too much for each of us to carry. But we can change our part of it by offering love in the places we have been hurt the most. This is how we can heal not only the hearts of others, but also ourselves.

Because today, as I was able to offer love in a place I had been wounded, something was changed inside of me too. Something was released. Softened. Broken open. Healed. Restored. A work was done deep inside of me as I chose to override my own pain so that I may not cause the same pain to another.

A new seed is born.

The world is healed a little more.

Our healing comes in many ways. But always, always, our healing is found in the courage to choose love, even when it’s hard.

2am, Again. 

And they are so merciless,

these hours of darkness.

Broken clocks and silence

that shatters the windows

and shadows that arrange

themselves in the hollows

of my wretchedly sad mind.

There isn’t anyone but me,

a small girl with a big world

that closes fast around her.

I am alone, lost, homesick.

A vagrant heart that beats

in hushed resonance with

the loneliness of the night.

I long to find my way home

so I tie my laces and follow

trails of stale breadcrumbs

back down the paths I have

taken to find my way here.

But they are all overgrown

with weeds of remorse and

they only incline me further

away from myself and I have

lost the path that leads me

narrowly back to my heart.

I ask the stars if they would

show me the way, but they

busily cavort with the moon,

eager to skite their radiance

before morning light steals

away their glory, and I walk,

alone, lost to the night again,

still trying to find my way home. 

~ © Kathy Parker ~ 

Image courtesy http://www.mei-senpai-chan.deviantart.com

And This Is How Survival Looks On You

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And sometimes it is so hard to care for others when you can barely care for yourself. When you are tired in a way sleep will never ease. When the night goes too long and the morning comes too soon and you wonder where you will draw the strength to get through another day when there is nothing left in your drought-stricken bones.

You dress, make coffee, force a smile and hope nobody studies your eyes close enough to see the 4am loneliness that still lingers like tendrils of ivy that have crept in and wrapped themselves around your soul; relentless, incessant, determined.

You wear brave so well that nobody sees beyond the surface of your survival to the battle beneath. The way every day is another day on the frontline, no matter how exhausted and torn apart you already are. Nobody sees the fresh blood drawn from old wounds or the anguish in your muscles that are always on guard or how much it takes for you to get back up when your knees bleed from the crawl.

You do the best you can but it never feels enough. Every night inadequacy whispers its shame against your ear and soon your heart beats in time with its words. Failure. Disappointment. Hopeless. Weak. Useless. Incapable. All you ever wanted was to do better – to be better – than what was shown to you. But you feel as though you fall so short. That you let down those who need you. That you aren’t enough and never will be.

You’re so damn hard on yourself. As if it isn’t enough just to have survived this far. As if it isn’t enough to have found a way to stitch your broken pieces together when there was such little of yourself left. Instead, you’re so ashamed of not being straight lines and seamless joins and all you see are the jagged scars drawn across your body and your fingers trace over them like braille and to you they spell defeat.

Darling, let me tattoo truth inside your wrists so when you’ve forgotten who you are you need only look down. Undefeated. Worthy. Resilient. Strong. Courageous. Determined. Perfect. Enough. And if the light grows weak and the words fade before your eyes I will say them out loud and the letters will fall from my mouth and form a bridge that will lead you back to yourself once more.

You are so much more than you see. Your weakness intertwines with courage, your fear entangles bravery and your vulnerability is laced with strength. There is so much fortitude in the way you give all you have, even when you have nothing to give.

I know, today, you don’t believe me. I know today you are tired eyes and tear-stained pillows and battle scars etched upon your face. But all I ask is you look away from what you have come to believe about yourself and instead, look at me. Search my eyes for your reflection and in them you will see the truth.

That the way survival looks on you, my love, is nothing short of breathtaking.

Image courtesy http://asman0526.javanblog.ir

 

From My Heart To Yours ❤️

Today my Facebook page hit 5000 followers. This time last year I had about 500. And maybe to some, this isn’t significant. But to me, I’m humbled and thankful beyond words. It isn’t about the numbers. I don’t align my self-worth and success with numbers, and would continue to write even if nobody followed my work. It’s about each and every one of you allowing me into your lives. Me – just some girl from the middle of nowhere who started to write because I needed to heal. The words I write are my journey, and I’m so incredibly grateful for each and every one of you who has come along this journey with me, and who has allowed me to become a part of your journey too. 

I don’t always find writing easy. To be honest, I don’t always find life easy. My world unraveled a number of years ago when I stared rock bottom in the eye and had to find a way to rebuild through the haze of Complex-PTSD, as well as ME/CFS. Some days I am still so overwhelmed with life, I cannot even get out of bed and face the day. Some days I want to write but there is such a heavy fog upon my mind the words get trapped and there is no way for them to find their way out. I get exhausted, frustrated, despondent. Some weeks there isn’t enough hours for me to bleed all I need to on the page. Other weeks, I can’t even pick up a pen.

Because of this, I don’t always respond to every comment. It can take me a while to get back to messages and emails. I often need to disengage from social media and won’t write or post for a time.

But I’ve learned to be kind to myself and know that this is okay. There are no rules to the way we heal. There is no right or wrong. We can’t heal, and live, under the expectations of others. To do so will only destroy ourselves. We walk our own path, one foot in front of the other, and we make it through each day the best way we can.

Through each one of you, I have come to know I am not alone in this. That I am loved and supported and cared for, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. Thank you. You’ll never know how much this means to me. 

Many of you have asked whether I have a book out. Now seems like a good time to mention that my first book, The Unraveled Heart, is currently being published. I don’t have a release date at this stage, but hope to have it out by Nov/Dec, so I’ll keep you posted as I know more 🙂

Thank you again, my beautiful tribe. Thank you for being here. Every one of you is significant to me. Every one of you is a reminder of why I continue to write, even when it’s hard. It matters. You matter. 

From my heart to yours, 

Kathy x

Free. 

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And she thought
to be accepted
she had to be good.
Follow the rules.
Do everything right.
Be perfect.
Keep them comfortable.
But good wasn’t real,
and she began to shrink
inside the lies of who
she pretended to be
until she became
so small her bones
crushed inside her frame
and she broke wide open,
scattered pieces laid bare
for the world to see.
A glorious destruction.
No longer hidden.
All of her naked.
Uncovered. Bleeding.
Exposed.
Free.
Real lost her many things.
But her soul it found.
And she would rather
walk alone in her
wondrous truth than
forfeit her real
for a scrap of their
shallow acceptance.

To Darkness

rain

Harsh winds began to rattle the windows
and the trees were stripped of their beauty
and she mourned the final moments
of autumn light as it became lost
to charcoal skies.
She shivered as the chill of winter
settled under her skin.
It brought with it a heaviness,
as if each drop of rain that fell
landed inside her hollow bones
and left her waterlogged; drowning
beneath its bitter sadness.
She longed to stay above the darkness
that rose inside her chest,
but each day she grew colder
and apathy wrapped around her until
she surrendered to the weight of it.
“Just for a while I’ll stay here
in this bleak comfort,” she told herself.
“Just until the wind no longer howls
through my soul and the sky
lifts its sorrow from my eyes.”
But it has been winter for so long now
that she fears she has become it, and
her grief-soaked heart lies in silent hope
that one day someone will pull her
from the water and gently wring
the sadness from her bones.

And No-one Ever Told Me How To Break

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And no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

That it would be an anguish

that claws along my ribcage

before it tears me wide open

and lays bare all my ugliness.

That it would be scarves of

pain weaved around my neck

like hands that grip my throat

and leave me fighting for life.

That it would be a wilted body,

exhausted from the relentless

fight against the demons that

wage war upon my beaten soul.

That it would be bloody hands,

blistered and raw from clinging

so tightly to the addictions that

deaden this goddamn torment.

No, no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

I didn’t know it would hurt like

barbwire dragged over my skin,

and knives gouged in my heart.

Yet all I know is before I’m able

to full heal, I must allow myself

to fully break.

Image courtesy yourtango.com

Oceans Made Of Silence And Tears 

And it was always there; the underlying sadness, the ocean she had wept in silence and in tears. Most days she was strong enough to keep ahead of the dark waters she so feared. But then there were the days she could only tread water. These were the days sadness grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her below the surface. These were the days she could no longer hold herself above the water; the days she could no longer breathe for the weight of pain that would rest upon her chest and close in around her lungs. These were the days she wanted to be saved the least. These were the days she needed to be saved the most. And all she longed for was someone who wasn’t afraid of the deep. 

Drought-Stricken Love

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And I have seen what love does.

Razor blades against soft flesh.

Blood poured like mulled wine

into glasses that get shattered

against walls of hurt and blame.

I pay no heed to the rising thirst

that wells from beneath my skin.

I am dry bones, dust-filled veins,

arid landscapes of wasted hope.

Here, there is nothing left in me

that can bleed upon the ground.

Here, there is nowhere love can

grow in this drought soul of mine.

But still, even without the rains,

a flower will bloom in the desert,

and I cannot help but pick petals

that break through parched soil.

They are blown into the distance,

and the echo of my hopeful voice

is carried upon the summer winds.

He loves me, he loves me not.

 

Image courtesy theodysseyonline.com