Identity

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Finding yourself again after you’ve lost your identity is such a wonderful, wonderful thing.

We all go through that identity crisis as teenagers and young adults, that period of angst and rebellion and mistakes and discovery, that time of trying on personas until just the right one fits. By the time we are in our mid-to-late twenties, most of us are finally settled.

Unless you experience something earth shattering. In my case, the person that most of my identity was tied to abruptly disappeared…

and thus a huge chunk of my identity went with him.

So much of my struggles since losing him can be traced back to that loss of identity. I was left this raw babe of a person, left behind, confused, uncertain and exposed and insecure and unsure of where to go.

For the longest time I tried to reshape her based on what I thought she should be like. I formed her identity from the past, from who she used to be and who her parents thought she should be and who she figured she should be as a parent and who the world thought she should be now. I gave that illusion of this new identity such power that I let myself feel bound by it, trapped, stifled.

But these days, I’m consciously letting all of those chains slip away. I’m recognizing when I think that way, and stopping it. And in the process, I’m discovering so much I didn’t know was there.

I’m realizing I’m stronger and more capable than ever before. I’m deeper, more substantial. I have more room to love and a greater capacity for appreciation and affection. I’m realizing that I’m still fun and I can still be silly, and I appreciate those carefree moments so much more now because it’s from a place of intention rather than innocence. The fibers I’m weaved from are more varied and richer than they used to be, and I’m slowly developing a finer talent for crafting them into the best they can be. I surprise myself sometimes, as I realize this person I am uncovering is someone I really like and someone who is worth a lot.

Is she perfect? Hell no. She is impatient, overly generous, nice to a fault, stubborn, overly optimistic, sometimes too impetuous and spontaneous, indecisive, an over thinker, and quite the procrastinator.

But she’s also pretty awesome.

Finding yourself again after you’ve lost your identity is such a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Sometimes that person is better than ever before. <3

monica chaney

♡ !

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday folks! Here are a few things I am feeling thankful and happy about this week:

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#3 and #4 and #5

#1. Good times with good friends. My bestest and I have both been so busy lately and even though we have a weekly standing lunch date to help us through our weeks, we hadn’t really had a chance to let loose and hang out. We finally had a coordinating evening this past Friday to do our little post-holiday tradition: Christmas tree bonfire! Wine, music, burning things, and drunk b*tch talks = perfect. The testosterone of the group was very patient, haha. I love my friends and I’m excited for some happiness on the horizon for these guys, it’s going to be a good year.

#2. Finding new adventures and making more memories. With the holiday my kiddo and Mama were both school-free on Monday, so we decided to take off on an impromptu adventure for the weekend. Surprise, surprise, right? This time we didn’t go far, just spent a few days in Jacksonville exploring a few sights we had always seen/heard about but never really checked out. We hiked a little, visited Fort Caroline and the Kingsley Plantation, took a wrong road and ended up being forced to take the car on a ferry haha, wandered around downtown a little and ate some great Irish food and saw a massive old tree, and spent the day riding carousels and trains and feeding birds and stingrays at the zoo. It was fun, it was relaxing, and it was just what we all needed.

#3. Unexpected blessings. I got a little surprise this week when I learned I had qualified for something as a homeowner that I didn’t think I would end up with, and thus had a little financial perk from prepaying into an escrow. The reimbursement came at the perfect timing to use toward something I was torn over, and made my decision a clear-cut and easy one. I love little unexpected blessings that help you see you are making a right choice and help you along your path. Reinforcement is always reassuring, and now a burden has been lifted from my heart and mind. I am so, so thankful.

#4. Progress. I can apply this one in so many ways — progress physically with my fitness and health goals, progress with school and career goals, progress with a friendship I really thought was dying, progress with personal goals and struggles. The steps might be small, but when you step back and look at them collectively, each little inch is significant and worth celebrating.

#5. Giggling like a schoolgirl. You see, I have met this awesome person. It was by chance that I did and I didn’t expect anything from it; I still don’t, but it is progressing so organically and I am finding myself more and more interested…and those feelings are reciprocated. I’m grinning and giggling like a schoolgirl these days, but yet not doing my usual freak-out-and-overthink thing. It’s really quite nice, and I’m pretty happy right now. I’m enjoying getting to know him and the possibilities out there.

So what good things are you grateful for this week? Link up with us below or share in the comments.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

 

Tuesday Tunes | Beauty in Tragedy

August Burns Red — Beauty in Tragedy

So there is a little back story to this week’s song. Someone pretty great shared it with me, feeling like it might resonate with me. Well, little did he know just how perfectly it would. This was one of The Hubs’ favorite bands, and I have a feeling that if he had had the chance to hear this song he would have loved it. It is perfectly his style and just listening to this band again not only reminds me of a lot of good times but also brings alive a part of me I’ve closed off. Somehow the mix of lyrics that perfectly express some of the things I’d like to say to him these days and music that unlocks some of that carefree girl is exactly what I need right now. It’s healing. And pretty much on repeat right now. So, thank you E. You rock.

Lyrics:

There is beauty in tragedy
The heart won’t stop beating,
For the end is a new beginning
Where sorrow pulls the skyline of reality
And restarts a love ever after
As we grasp beyond defeat

So keep us breathing a little longer
For just one moment we couldn’t offer
This night is falling on my hearts shame
These feelings bring tears to my eyes

Just take away my world,
Leave my side
Hear the angels sing,
As I embrace you with a warm welcome home
Hear the angels sing.
Hear the angels sing.

Tomorrow,
The air will be a little colder
But I’ll be sure to breathe for the both of us.
And the nights
May be a little darker
But I’ll be sure to carry the torch to warm the hearts
They’re never gonna have to feel yours
I can hear your voice,
I can’t hear your voice
But that’s okay
Cause I can feel you in my heart

One morning I’ll wake up to you,
One morning I’ll hear the angels sing.
On that morning we won’t be worried about the weather
Nor will we might wither his life
While the clocks alarm.

I’ll be sure to write your name in the sun
Where the waves can’t wash it away

Until then I’ll walk,
Until then I’ll breathe in your name!
Never surrender the dream you had for this world
To love
To forgive
To make something out of nothing!

I WILL FEEL YOU, I WILL HEAR YOU FOREVER

Each week I share a currently meaningful or relevant song from my playlist. You can check out past Tuesday Tunes here. I love new music, so please share your favorite tunes in the comments or use the new the new weekly linky below! This linky is still new, so please share to get it going! :)

Tuesday Tunes Weekly Link Up!

Helping Yourself Heal – Part 2

helpingyourselfheal

Suggestion #2 – Recognize Your Grief is Unique

Your grief is unique because no one else had the same relationship you had with your spouse. Your experience will also be influenced by the circumstances surrounding the death, other losses you have experienced, your emotional support system and your cultural and religious background.

As a result, you will grieve in your own special way. Don’t try to compare your experience with that of others or to adopt assumptions about just how long your grief should last. Consider taking a “one-day-at-a-time” approach that allows you to grieve at your own pace. [source]

This is such a great suggestion, and one I have found so relevant.

Your grief is your grief. It does not belong to anyone else, it is not the same as anyone else, and it cannot be fully understood by anyone else. Your grief is individual to you and cannot be compared.

So many times over the past few years, I’ve seen comparison damage grieving people. I’ve witnessed families torn apart because they compared their relationships and thought one grief was more important than the others. I’ve seen individuals put unnecessary pressure on themselves because they compared their situation another and thought they should act a certain way. Grief is hard enough, and all of this extra hurt makes it apparent that comparison has no place in the healing process.

While it is certainly helpful to find camaraderie, understanding, and support among others who are grieving, and there is plenty to be learned from those who have experienced what you are going through, it is important to realize that your journey won’t be exactly the same. Each person responds with their own emotions, their own actions, and their own personal preferences. You might be a crier where someone else is a stoic, you might chose to date early on while another could never imagine it, or you might not believe in an afterlife where someone else looks to faith. There are so many things that make your grief yours. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing your loss and situation to someone else’s only creates should’s — the expectations that you must act, think, or feel a certain way to be a ‘proper widow’. I dealt with the shoulds for a long time. In fact, I still fight them. And trust me, they make everything harder. You don’t have to try to be a certain way. However you decide to grieve is okay. Whatever choices you make along the way, whatever emotions you feel, however you act…it is okay. Because it is your grief.

And just like you experience your own individualized grief, so do the other people who are grieving your loved one. Try to be gentle and accepting, not only with yourself but with them as well. Remember, each person had their own type of relationship with your spouse and that relationship was special to them. One grief is not more important or worse than the other, because they are completely different. You couldn’t justly compare an avocado to a grape, so why compare the grief of a mother to the grief of a widow? Or a brother to a friend? They are unique, they are different, and one is not more or less than the other. Because honestly, they all royally suck. You are all feeling the loss of the same beautiful person, so try to focus on that person instead. Choosing to respect our differences and never compare our grief is one of the best things our family has done since losing The Hubs. Because we don’t compare, we are able to support each other and listen to each other and help each other heal. It might not always be easy, because we are human. But we make a conscious effort, and it has made us all even closer now than we were before.

Have you ever heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” It’s true. And it’s also a barrier to healing. Try to let it all go and remember, your grief is unique. <3

Check out Part 1 here, or read more about this series here.

Chosen One

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I wrote this post a few nights ago, and then didn’t publish it. It sounds pretty whiney, which I am not proud of. And I’m doing really well lately. But you never know when someone else might be feeling the same way, so I’m going to share it anyway.

Sometimes I wonder why I was chosen to live this life.

I don’t mean this in a woe-is-me-why-me kind of way, I truly don’t. Honestly, I mean this question as a serious contemplation. Why was I chosen for this path? Why was I selected as the person to be The Hubs’ wife, to become a widow, to be a single parent, to spend my life alone now?

I never would have expected these things. But here they are. Deep down, I truly believe that there is a reason for all of this, for the path my life has taken, for the things other have to endure.

I have to believe that.

I don’t know those reasons, I don’t know what grand scheme they play into, I don’t even know who makes those reasons…I don’t know anything. I just know what I feel in my heart to be true. And in my heart, I believe there has to be a grand plan. Only a God of epic proportions could create all of the intricate, unexplainable beauty in this world, so it stands to balance that only that God could be behind all of the pain as well. And if the Jesus I know, that forgiving, accepting, loving, renewing presence, has anything to do with that God, then it can’t be all for nothing. The sorrow and devastation has to eventually be for good somehow, even if I can’t see it now. I have to have faith in that, in something, or it would all seem so pointless that I wouldn’t be able to hold on.

My faith could be wrong, I don’t know. You don’t know. No one knows. But isn’t that the very essence of faith? Believing when you don’t know?

So, I have to believe that there is a reason.

I just wish I knew what that reason was. If I knew why, if I knew for sure that there even was a why, it would make living with the questions a little more bearable. Maybe if I knew there was another chapter for me out there, it would make the waiting a little more pleasant.

I know I am fortunate. I often look at myself from the outside… yearning and contemplating while sitting inside my comfortable home, listening to beautiful music, comforting myself with a nice glass of wine and a plush blanket, just feet down the hall from my amazing child… and I feel such GUILT. Who am I to feel that I am suffering when there are such wonderful blessings around me?

But sometimes I still ache.

Sometimes I wonder if I was chosen to be alone.