Saturday, February 9, 2013

Storm Stayed

This morning, of all mornings when I would have loved to have slept in, I was awake at 5:30. I awoke to the low moan of winter outside our window, rising occasionally into a whistle.

I hate winter. I've made no secret of it. I hate everything about it - except for the fact that it doesn't last all year long where I live. I detest the cold, the wind, the snow, EVERY winter sport or activity, the ice on the windshields, the shoveling, the slippery roads, the ice underfoot, the slush, the slow traffic, the lack of greenery, the short daylight hours, the bulky clothing and ... did I mention the cold? Uggh!! 

"An Old Mountain Shelter Covered with Snow"
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol at

I've learned to survive, of course. I'm Canadian after all. We accommodate. ;) 

I've even learned to find things for which to be grateful in the midst of all this "white stuff" - which technically ... is quite dirty and not something I would want to melt and drink! 

I can be grateful for a warm, safe home, when so many must sleep in dumpsters and on park benches even in this weather. I can be grateful that (for example, today, when there's a blizzard raging outside) all of my loved ones are accounted for, and most are sleeping late! I am pleased that the power is not out - at least not yet - and that even if it does go out, we live in an area that usually can get it going fairly quickly. I can be glad that we knew that this storm was coming and that we had time to stock up on groceries, batteries, and the like. I can be thankful that hubby did my laundry yesterday, that we are on the city water and sewer systems (so we don't have to use a commode anymore!) and that in the fall of 2011, we paid someone to come in and spray-foam (insulate) our furnace room. And finally, I can be very grateful that storms don't last forever. 

That last point is good to remember when I've been hit with the blizzards of life, too - when body-blow after body-blow happens and I feel overwhelmed. "This too shall pass." Or, "The storm doesn't stay." 

At times in my past, I had a tendency to get storm-stayed and lose my way, refusing to emerge from my hiding place. When events would transpire that were distressing for me, I'd hunker down. And these occurrences would pile up! After a while, I'd expect to get those emotional hay-makers, and would interpret everything that happened, not at face value, but by attributing the motive that "they're out to get me." Even the good things were tainted with bitterness. I'd mistrust any good that anyone did for me, wondering what they wanted in return. I'd deflect any kind words, thinking that those who complimented me or were kind to me didn't really mean it, that it was just the polite thing to do ... or that they felt sorry for me. 

When I started to heal on the inside, I started to realize that for decades, in response to years of physical and emotional abuse, I had created an emotional atmosphere within myself that was conducive to many of the negative things I was experiencing, or that I perceived to be happening. Since I expected bad things to happen, that's all I saw, which only deepened my belief that I was somehow under a curse. 

In a sense, I was under a curse. I was stayed - stuck, detained - in the "What next?" mentality, a real "storm magnet." However, as I became more and more free from the effects of those childhood experiences, my self-esteem became more balanced and I was able to find my own identity, and not the one that was tied up in what others thought about me, or how they might want to hurt me. 

In time, and with a great deal of repetition and reinforcement of the "new Judy," I actually began to believe statements like, "Today is a good day, unless I make other plans." And, "Don't let a bad moment turn into a bad day." As I did, and I started to get to know myself and like myself, I dared to believe that others could like me too. It's a process, of course. Part of it is realizing that there are going to be people who won't like me, no matter how hard I try to impress them... and that I don't need to keep chasing after them. It's okay to let go. It's okay to be me and not feel I have to apologize for it. 

I'm still learning those lessons.

So now, when those kinds of storms happen - and they do occasionally - I remind myself that it's okay to protect myself from them, but that they don't last, and I don't need to be stayed by storms beyond the "all clear." And I can remember that, as George of the Jungle said in the 1997 movie, "Something good always happen after."

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