It feels good to be "out". To not hide the what, why, and how of my life. (Although, those that know me probably wonder when I ever hid! ;-) But with the exhilaration of letting it all hang out also comes fear and anxiety. I think it's been pretty apparent in a lot of my first posts and my disclaimer. I've been trying to set things up perfectly so I don't hurt anyone. Since my recent post about sleep training being a choice, not a "have to", I've experienced considerable angst. It's amazing how these feelings manifest themselves in our bodies. I can actually feel the tension inside like a spring coiled inside of me and even though I feel tired today, I also feel this coil as a nervous energy. Everything I wrote feels true and right to me. And I'm glad to give support to others that are going through hard times and questioning their choices - especially those who are feeling alone. I know that I felt that way early in my "parenting career" when I was beginning to make choices that weren't typical in our society. I felt uncertain, I didn't know how things would turn out and I felt like there weren't many people who could give me assurance or tell me about their experiences.
And yet. I worry that I am hurting those who I love - those who have been good to me and supported me regardless of *my* choices, in spite of the fact that I may have been choosing something quite different then them. It's a new, strange place I'm in. I spent a lot of time when Marisol was little worrying about my choices and what others thought of me. I tried to find "like minded" people. Friends who held similar values. And I found a lot of friends with babies and little children who had things in common with me. A while after moving to Washington DC I observed some things about my new friendships that led to an important realization. I shared something important with each of my new mama friends - one had a home-birth and was passionate about breastfeeding, one friend had similar sleep woes, breastfed her baby till he was over 2 years old, and held similar ways of dealing with toddler behavior, a third friend wanted to do things in an attachment parenting type way, but her children were much closer in age than mine and she struggled with sleep. The third friend was also very "natural" minded and limited TV. I have another friend who on paper looks very much like me but emotionally we are quite different. All of these observations led to the obvious realization - we each had things in common and areas where we were quite different. And that is ok. We don't need to be or think alike to love each other.
The past couple of days I've been deep breathing through my fear and discomfort. The cool thing is that I am comfortable and confident enough in myself to put myself out there. I've also fully embraced the idea that no one can *make me* feel anything - hurt, sad, even judged. I am in control of my own emotions. It is a truly empowering idea. I have to trust others to find their own way. I have to hope that those I love know my heart and my intention. (Also in the few hours that have passed since I started this post I've thought that probably some of the people I'm worried about hurting don't even really think about "cry-it-out" at all anymore. As our children grow our focus changes.) Perhaps (probably?) I'm blowing things out of proportion. I'm taking myself too seriously. But I do hope that if I hurt someone that I love, they would let me know. It's so hard to put your convictions into words in a way that doesn't sound like you are judging others! If I say I am judging our overall culture and not specific people does that really make a difference? Or maybe it is good if people are uncomfortable by things that I say, it means I touched something inside of them.
I'd rather people close to me think, "Oh Susan, she is crazy! But I love her" than to think I was attacking them. But perhaps change is never that easy or simple. Perhaps in trying to bring about change it is inevitable that people get hurt.
I'm at the rambling point and it is past my bedtime. If I wait to post until this things make sense or I make up my mind, I will never hit the publish button. Goodnight friends - know that I love you and hold us all in compassion in my heart.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.