To which many of you are saying, "YEA!" and then also, "And I have totally hated you, Christine. You have totally pissed me off!"
I get it. Some of my dearest friends have been the source of said pissiness (sorry auto-correct).
It's in those moments, days and weeks that we tend to only hear and read the positive in the lives of others. I have written posts where I just dump my misery and frustration. Yet, people comment, wondering how I stay so positive. Yup. I've been there. It's like short-term PTSD. You can't hear what was actually said, but you are hearing things based on your current experience and feelings. You can't think about tomorrow because you can't even see past this second to get your brain there. And why would you? It might suck, too!
Yet, I want to be happy. I want to be positive. So, I have built some principles for myself over the years and I stick to them better and better, the older I get.
I surround myself with passionate people. If you are passionate about turtles, and I find them weird and boring - doesn't matter. It's your passion that is contagious. I want to gravitate to you. I want us to connect on our common ground and I want that fervor to ooze into the things I love. And who knows? Maybe I'll find I actually do have an interest in turtles, after all.
When I am in a parenting slump, I have a very select group of people I cling to. Each of them will do two things for me: they will let me moan and whine and ask stupid questions I already know the answers to. They will say, "Man, that SUCKS!" and give me space to grieve and doubt that I can do this for one more second.
They will also stay close and gently nudge me forward. Each of them, in their own special way, will be my greatest cheerleader. Some kick my butt a little harder to get me back in the game. Some share music. Some send Reiki. Some pray over me. Others sit in silence with me. Some ask me questions and let me find my own way back through the answers.
They are passionate about parenting. They are my inner circle. When I am floundering, and I read their positivity, I HATE IT. It pisses me off. So, I feel it, and I embrace it and I roll around with it. And when I'm ready, I reach out to them.
I have the same circles for different areas of my life: health, simplicity, diet, faith, marriage, business. Most of my friends overlap these categories. It's beautiful.
The vast majority of my inner circles do not live near me. Technology is my BFF. I can actually have a face-to-face conversation with someone on my computer, any time, 24/7. Throw in texts and emails and FaceBook and I have an amazing source of positive mojo!
Last night I went to bed, thinking of how blessed I am to have such amazing, passionate people in my life. Had just enjoyed yet another painfully intimate conversation with a friend. Someone who has stood with me in front of something plumbing, electrical and/or explosive related. One of us says, "I'm scared." The other says, "Me, too." Then we grab a screwdriver and do it anyway.
And we have walked the exact same process in giant things in our lives. Crazy, big, daring, adventurous, terrifying, wonderful life stuff. We grab a screwdriver and do it anyway. Together.
You have to seek out passionate people. You have to dare to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to say, "I'm scared" or "I don't want to do this" or "I'm pissed off that anyone in the world is positive today."
“You are the average of the five people closest to you.”
Surround yourself with passionate people.
My base. My rock. My Miguel. He pushes me when I stall and he leaps with me when I'm already in the air, dragging him by the wrist.
My parents, who lived out passion in front of me, every single day of my childhood. They did not let society or the world dictate who they could help, how/when they could be educated or what "living out faith" would look like.
My Lush, who dared to move her family into a house on wheels.
And that was only the beginning.
My favorite lesbitarians, who dare to be a family in a state that says they're not.
My Billy, who continues to do his work in a way that others don't. He fought for it, worked outside the box (even if that meant working in the basement) and began all of this because what he was doing just wasn't enough.
My Brice, who will cross a scary line to move along in the adventure.
The line is a dot to him. Screw the line!
My Kev, who has always made his way. Whatever that means. Whatever that takes. Following his loves and passions and gifts.
My Tara, who has 429 kids (give or take a few) and lives in Haiti. Loves Haiti even when she loathes Haiti. Embraces the bad days, grieves, then uses her inner circles to catapult her back into her life of passion and service.
This photo represents every single parent of trauma I have in my life. Unbelievable inspiration. The fact that some of them get their pants on and remember to eat some days, is beyond belief. And they do. Over and over. And they dare share their lives with me. Who am I, to be so lucky?