And So It Ends…



The 2015 Christmas tree is no more. This weekend found us taking the bugger down and tossing it to the curb. That’s how we do in the city.



After not having a tree for a few years, I really loved living with this one for a few weeks. It wasn’t perfect or anything, because it was real. And all real things – like people – have flaws. Beautiful, natural flaws.



Now all things Christmas are packed away and the business of a New Year has begun. I can honestly say I’m ready and happy to embrace 2016. Woo-hoo!





I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but here goes: I love myself. I do. I love the way I try in life. I love that I create. I love that I love, for cry-eye!


But none of that means I think I’m without flaws. Oh, Lordy, no! I am well aware of shortcomings, mis-steps and general fucked-up-ed-ness. And yet my awareness of those things does nothing to lessen my love for myself. If anything, my imperfections only serve to endear me to me. For I care for me – actively. My joy, my health, my willingness to grow and change – those things are my responsibility. I carry them – gladly.


That being said – ahem – there are some parts of me that I’m none too fond of. One of those items is my tendency to lodge stress in my body. I mean really. When I’m feeling stress (and who isn’t), it settles somewhere in my person. And it isn’t predictable, either. Some stresses prefer my back. Some make themselves at home in my neck. And then there’s the latest Occupy Mikki stress encampment: my jaw. That’s right. I have now begun clenching my jaw in my sleep, and my jaw is hurting like a mutha. Yawning hurts. Chewing hurts. It sucks, I tell ya.


Anyhoo – I’ve seen my doctor and my dentist and now I’m on a course of anti-inflammatories. I am also doing some physical therapy exercises to strengthen and re-train my jaw to friggin’ relax.


I’m hopeful. I really am. Because I want to be healthy. Because I’m willing to do the work. Because I love me – screw-ups and all.




Note: I’m about to over-share…


Several years ago I was breaking down. I was. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t know how to save myself. I reached out to my friend, Mare, and she offered up the contact info for a buddy of hers – a therapist.


After making the initial call (which took more deep breathing than I care to relate), I began seeing the therapist on a regular basis. That stint lasted about 2 years. Years! But it did come to an end, and my therapist and I agreed I was ready to head off on my own and deal with my life. The timing was right and I did indeed manage to function productively for quite a long while.


Cut to around a year ago. I wasn’t managing well at all. I knew it was happening, and this time I knew enough to call the therapist I’d had so much success with all those years ago. She fit me in her schedule and new work began.


For those of you who’ve experienced therapy, you know what I mean when I say “work.” For those who’ve not called on outside help, you’re just gonna have to trust me when I tell you work is a 4-letter word. It can be hard as hell, but for me, it has been worth it. Digging into my psyche and my soul isn’t always pretty. Pretty ugly is more like it. But each time I’ve pushed my ego and fears aside and faced myself, I’ve come away a bit more sure-footed.


I’ve been seeing my therapist every other week for several months now. Last month (November), she suggested we try scheduling 4 weeks out (versus every 2 weeks) and skipping a full month between sessions. I was game and that’s what we did. Earlier this week I met with her and after a while she asked if I wanted to schedule 1 more session or say our goodbyes. I thought about it and said, “I think I want to be brave and say goodbye today.”


For me, being brave right now isn’t like jumping off a cliff into a rushing river below. It’s about caring for myself. Today, bravery means choosing to tend to me and exactly who I am at this moment. It means owning my imperfections and holding my head up.


Before I left the therapist’s office, she offered me a talisman. She held out her hand, and there were several different stones resting in her palm. Each was lovely in its own right, but I was drawn to a small scarred stone with chipped edges. My therapist asked if I was sure about my choice and I said yes. That little stone reminds me of my heart. It’s been through the wringer and is a little worse for wear. It’s still lovely, with smooth parts and complex colors. When I turn the scarred side over, the underside is shaped like a heart. The similarities to my own heart are not lost on me. I’ve made an excellent choice.


I’ve made a brave choice.