Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Outgrowing Confining Comfort and Why You Can't Grow Without Space For It

I woke up this Thanksgiving morning in a really bad mood.  I had gotten several texts and messages throughout the night.  When I'm online dating, a lot of activity is always between 1 and 4 in the morning, and just before a lunch break at work.  I've written about this. I'm a light sleeper and I didn't sleep well.  My neighbor started playing soft hits on an injured speaker and singing along to it.  Singing is my happy sound, so I normally wouldn't care, but my mood was enough to know that I wouldn't have been in the space I wanted to be in if I had gone to feed the homeless like I was planning to.  Instead I went to see pretty things in an effort to find my center.

I went to Abalone Cove because it was on my list and my sister that hosted Thanksgiving lives close enough that not going would have been a wasted opportunity.  The views were beautiful, and the trail down the bluffs to the ocean was easy.  I sang to the music on my favorite playlist.  I danced alone on the beach.  I picked up rocks and sat on boulders to watch the waves crash.  I stood in gratitude for the life I get to live and the opportunities to feel freedom that land in my lap.

After the hike up, I went across the street to the Wayfarer's Chapel.  It was a beautiful building with amazing acoustics and beautiful gardens. I was so glad I took the time to explore.  You should totally be exploring. [facebook url="" /]

I made stops afterward on my way to my sister's house. The Wayfarer's Chapel is beautiful and Hopkins Wilderness Park was closed for Thanksgiving so I walked through Redondo Beach Pier.  I found ways to recharge and find that inner joy so when I was at my sister's house, I was happy to pitch in and be present.  I was dancing and singing while completely sober because that was what I chose for the day. It was a really amazing feeling and it carried me to sleep.  I mean, I got home and my neighbor's celebration was still in full swing, but I was happy to hear the happiness from his party and it didn't stop me from falling asleep.  I slept through all of the late night texts and messages.

Part of my walk on the beach was the hunt for rocks.  My favorite rocks are unique in color, often rounded by water or weathered in some way so they are smooth and not crumbling and if I'm really lucky, I find a rock that has a hole weathered through it.  I've had two before and I've given them both to people that matter to me.

The first was given to a friend of mine that helped me work through the major traumas of my marriage and life.  We met in that second leadership class.  It's about taking leadership of your life and part of that is facing whatever you've been running from. He was a safe place to yell and cry and scream.  I left it all in that room when it comes to my ex and my parents. We exchanged our vulnerabilities and he showed me areas that were broken and helped me heal them.  Time doesn't heal everything.  You need to release it, and let it all come up and out of you.  It was just in September and I cried so hard that I was shocked by the sound coming out of me. I had given him a rock I once found with twin holes, side by side, being weathered in.  They were dips and not fully formed.  I was thinking of a gift to give him and holding that rock and I realized it was us.  Just as I rescued it from being weathered, together, I was being rescued from the hole inside of me and with his help, I found hope again.  It was after working through things with him that I started seeing dates as a possibility for a deeper connection.  Before that, I wasn't  at all emotionally available.

The second was the first rock I've ever found that had a hole through it.  I was unique and beautiful and I loved it enough that for a while I drove around with both in the console in my car.  I would hold them through traffic and they made me happy.  I gave this second rock to a person that is gender fluid.  I think of her as a her, because I identify with her as more female, but when she shifts into more of a male, he is so hot (and way too young).  I offered the rock as a unique gift for a unique person.

Now I have new rocks that will ride shotgun with me.

My favorite take home is this last rock.  It has holes through it from sand and water washing it.  I also has a tiny shell inside of it.  I imagine the shell was much smaller when it first landed in the rock.  As the creature grew, so did its shell.  The rock was protection.  The rock offered a safe place where the animal was protected from prey.  It was able to grow and eat in safety until one day it was too big.  It was too big for the life it was meant to lead, so it left and created a new shell and probably didn't need the same protection because it was bigger and stronger than it was.

This could be a metaphor for the life I've had as a wife, but it's so much bigger than that.  We grow as people when we're protected, and eventually the situation that protects us becomes a prison instead.  It's the blurred line between supportive love and enabling co-dependency.

I love the life I get to live.  I love feeling independent and free.  I feel so much peace in knowing that I'm not the only one responsible for my kids and that when they're gone, I have the freedom to figure out what I want my life to look like and who I want to be.  Without the safety of that rock, I would have never known what it was to not be able to be who I am and stand where I do.  I occupy the spaces that matter to me.  And it feels really good to look at this rock and know I'm no longer that person that was confined by my protections.


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