Last night, as I drifted off to sleep, I prayed, Please, God, surprise me this week.
But let it be good surprises. I feel like I have to put that disclaimer there because I don’t trust that you won’t allow something awful to happen to teach me persistence or patience or growth or some shit.
Yes, God, I obviously have trust issues with you but can you blame me? Being raised in a church that told me to welcome conflict, that you allow sorrow and pain in order to bring me closer to and make me dependent on you? Asking you for things makes me feel like I need to duck under some protective cover, like the other shoe is going to drop right on my head.
Let’s work on this trust thing maybe? Show me you allow good things too, please. Like maybe I get a call back about a job? Or I don’t catch John’s awful cold even as he snores and coughs all over me (unintentionally?) in his sleep? Something?
Pause, as I think of all the other people who need something good to happen to them this week. Families who lost their beloved to murders by the police or our government at the Mexican border or to drugs or PTSD or suicide or a million other things.
Maybe let us all have some good surprises this week because let me tell you, God, things have been kinda shitty everywhere lately if you haven’t noticed (and too many times it feels like you don’t notice or don’t care, honestly). Okay? Can this happen, please?
I then fell asleep.
I did have one nice surprise today (Monday): I’ve been dreading going to Walmart to pick up my birth control because this year, it has cost me $400 every three months. United Healthcare also sent me a letter this month saying they will no longer cover this birth control I have taken for the past 7 years to keep my PCOS and endometriosis symptoms at bay and my periods regular.
I am going to see my OBGYN on December 13th for my annual visit so I will have to ask him to write me a new prescription.
But I finally decided to go to Walmart because I can’t go without my birth control between tomorrow and December 13th. I wanted to cry at adding an additional $400 of debt to my credit card but I had no other choice and knew I’d be reimbursed in the next month or so.
Well, somehow, it wound up only being $91 this time and it just dawned on me this is because we finally met our deductible for the year, like just now dawned on me, haha. I thought maybe they’d only given me a month’s worth but nope, all 3 months were there.
It still went on my credit card but it wasn’t as painful as it would’ve been so thanks, God.
Nice surprise #1.
On Day 10 of Rosie Molinary’s book Beautiful You, she writes about having her students look at their positive memories and what they appreciate about themselves. She does this to help them see how body image is played out in our culture and our own paradigms.
The writing prompt is as follows:
Today: Answer these questions in your “Beautiful You” journal. What do you appreciate most about yourself? What are you most confident about? What is the first positive memory you have of yourself? Was anyone there to witness that moment? If so, who was there and how did he, she, or they react?
What do I appreciate most about myself?
I would say my self-awareness and willingness to see myself as honestly and open-mindedly as possible and grow and change where I need to. This is so hard sometimes, maybe most of the time, because there is a lot I need to learn and embrace and grow from, but I always know I will be better for it.
When John and I do these painfully long walks and I’m tired, my legs ache, I’m starving, and it’s a long way back and I just want to sit down, I think, Amy, the only way you’re going to get home is to walk back and the sooner you start, the sooner you will be home.
I think that is a pretty good analogy of how I look at my life and myself. Growth and change are exhausting and the “other side” and whatever better, stronger version of me exists there feel so far away, but the only way I am going to get there is to face my bullshit head on, and the sooner I do this, the sooner I will evolve and become a better person for myself and everyone around me.
What am I most confident about?
While my faith in God and Christianity goes through a deconstruction and rebuilding phase, one thing remains in all I learned growing up:
There is a purpose for every season in our lives and some good will come out of all the bad.
I know this comes off as trite at times and I also acknowledge the privilege I can speak this from, but seriously, Mr. Rogers said it, “Look for the helpers.” The good is out there. Even in the darkest shit, something good happens even if we don’t always live to see it, even if it’s not in our lifetime.
I am a better, stronger, smarter, funnier, kinder, more empathetic and compassionate person for all the dysfunction and abuse I have lived through. Do I wish none of it happened to me? Yes. Would I go back and change anything? No. (Well, maybe one thing but overall, no.)
There is still good. I can be good, I can do good because I know how much it hurts when hurt people hurt people. I am a hurt person and I have hurt others from this hurt.
We are all individual stories in a epic collection of stories, and there is gold even in the darkness.
What is my first positive memory of myself? Was anyone there to witness that moment? If so, who was there and how did he/she/they react?
My first memory is being 3 years old and at the movie theater with my grandmother June who took me to see the Rainbow Brite movie. I was obsessed with Rainbow Brite. I don’t really remember a reaction from June then though.
I guess the first really positive memory of myself has to be in second grade. My teacher Mrs. Taylor adored me and I adored her. She loved to tell me and my parents how smart and sweet she thought I was and what a great speller I was.
She was so encouraging at a time I felt very ignored and neglected by my parents. It was just Adam and me then (Mama was pregnant with Ben). Adam was already the favored child and I was always getting yelled at for acting out because I was jealous of this and already felt like a burden and problem.
I remember my dad saying to me in front of Mrs. Taylor, “Why are you so good here and so bad at home?”
She saw what they didn’t and maybe couldn’t at the time, I guess.
Years later, she found me on Facebook and messaged me. She said I was always one of her favorite students and she thought of me often and always remembered me as her sweet, smart student. I told her she was my favorite teacher throughout school and it was her confidence in me at such a young age that helped me make it to where I am today.
You can read all of my other posts from Rosie Molinary’s Beautiful You here.