Squirrel alert and my true voice


As you know, 
I love squirrels.
When did our love story begin? 
It has been at least 5 years. 
Maybe more.
It's hard to remember.

I like their fluffy exterior.
Their sneaky nut-snacking.
The way they reflexively know how to bury things. 
The way they scamper and play.
Their prolific numbers. 
Their ability to balance and run on small branches.
Their mysterious nests (what do they keep in there?).

I got to see a lot of squirrels over the weekend. 
Up close.
It was amazing.
I love them even more. 

Over the weekend, I was with my sweetie celebrating his work and family Christmas parties. 

I don't talk much about my personal life here on the blog. I'll probably keep it that way. But I'm not sure. I might share more. I'm still pondering. 

And I share about other parts of my life. So I want to at least mention this kind, smart, handsome, good-natured human! He treats me with respect and kindness. I feel like myself these days. More all the time. It's a good thing. And this has been a healing season. 

In the past, I've always been overly private about my personal life...not just on the blog - but all the time. Maybe because I thought I should be private about my personal life (a strong message that was instilled in us at seminary...especially those of us who were single). Or maybe I was private because I was afraid of the implications...whatever they might be. There are probably a lot of influences as to how I become such a public person with so many private layers. 

But, from where I'm standing now, I recognize that being super selectively private hasn't served me especially well. In fact, it has been harmful to me. 

I've had healthy relationships...that no one knew about.
I've had destructive relationships...that no one knew about.
I've been a great, devoted partner...and no one knew about that.
I've been a selfish, short-sighted partner...and no one knew about that. 

I love squirrels, deer, and falcons.

But in reality, I'm more of a chameleon.
Well...a recovering chameleon.

Old Emily: 
Whatever you need me to become, I will.
Whatever you need.
I'll become exactly that.
Whether it was friends or parishioners or co-workers or boyfriends or family...
I spent my days trying (subconsciously) to discern exactly what everyone most needed me to be.
There was no challenge too big...
I'd find a way to perfect any character.
And it was all on a subconscious level. 
It felt natural. 
Every relationship in my life had a compartment,
and some of the compartments were totally disconnected from one another.

I've lived my adult life as a compartmentalized person. 
Especially relationally.

And I know I'm not alone in this.
It's a pretty common phenomenon. 
Especially for the codependent. 

What I've learned is that people can only support me if they know about my actual life.
That's not to say that every person needs to know every detail. 
It just means that some people in my life need to know what's actually happening in my heart and mind. I'll need to be vulnerable and share...not just about a tiny selection of pre-approved topics that I know will make me appear however I think I need to appear in that relationship.

 My friendships will need to be authentically two-sided. 

I'm glad to say I've made more progress in this area in the last 3 months than I had previously imagined possible. I'm really, really really thankful for such compassionate friends and family. But I still have a lot of work to do. 

New Emily: 
An integrated life will be a more transparent life. 
Not so utterly compartmentalized. 
I can just be me. 
I don't need to be a chameleon. 
I don't want to be a chameleon anymore.
I'll continue to have different roles in life (employee, friend, daughter, volunteer, writer, sister, partner). But all the roles will exist in the same compartment. 

It's an interesting transition...learning to make choices based on my actual wants and needs and not based on whatever I perceive to be the wants and needs of others. 

It takes a lot of work for me. 
It's like learning a new language.
I'm finding my voice. 
My actual, truest voice. 
The one God gave me a long, long time ago.

I still default to old patterns sometimes.

But it's all getting better. 
And I sure have a lot of love and support. 
For which I am immensely thankful. 

On some level, I think this is the work we're all doing all the time. 

Thanks for letting me share about my journey here. 
It feels safe. 
I feel strong. 
Stronger than ever.