By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
May 19, 2018,
She is suffering, but no one knows that, because she hides the pain some place deep inside. The last thing she wants is pity.J.M. Storm
Have you heard that saying about always being kind to others because everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about? I’ve often wondered how many of us have waged a whole war and still kept a smile on our face while our neighbors and acquaintances were none the wiser.
Fourteen years ago my mother decided that she no longer wanted a daughter who was gay. Unfortunately, I was her only child…
My father abandoned us when I was three years old, and she was left with nothing. I know that my mom, along with my grandparents, worked very hard at providing what they believed was a stable and proper environment for me. I was taught their version of morals, values, and work ethic. I was also deeply indoctrinated into a cult-like religious faith. She made some pretty egregious mistakes, but as an adult, I’m able to extend her forgiveness and see that she did the best she could at the time.
My mother and I had always been extremely close, and when I told her I was gay (in a very clichéd Thanksgiving moment in 1995!) she said she had suspected for a while. She included my first partner into the family for the next ten years. When that relationship ended, my mother decided that it was time to straighten up, no pun intended, and fly right. It was time to, “Get right with God.”
I tried. For ten, solid, prayer filled, church going, come-to-Jesus months, I tried. I tried my gut clenching, soul twisting, brain aching, hardest to be the straightest heterosexual Southern gal you’d ever see. It didn’t take. There’s a story there, but I’ll save that gem for another time.
I thought, at the time, that being disowned would kill me. The suffering was intense, long-lived, and almost unbearable. The longing was deep, and the loneliness was palpable. The outrageous unfairness of literally being thrown away over something I had no control over was blinding in its injustice. I was horribly stunned, immeasurably broken, and indescribably furious all in equal measure.
For years, I sent long rambling letters, sweet cards, and issued heartfelt apologies to my mother to no avail. She was lost to me.
As much as I don’t like the condescending saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…”, it’s true. On many occasions in my life, there have been times that I have wanted to curl up in the fetal position and just cry myself away on a river of sobbing, screaming, uncontrollable tears. There have been times when I have wanted to run so far away that I’d never be found. And, yes, there have been times when I have wanted to just close my eyes and never wake up. I hated, loathed, and despised my very being.
But here’s what I’ve learned:
You don’t die from a broken heart. No matter the devastation, your lungs keep working, your heart keeps beating, your kidneys keep filtering, your muscles keep moving, and your blood keeps pumping. Life does indeed go on. And! If you can just open your eyes, even for a brief moment, even battered and bruised, even dazed and hurting, even spent and scared, and let in just a little love, it will start to carry you through and bring you out on the other side.
So here’s what I want you to do:
Love hard. Love fiercely. Love with all you’ve got. Love so mightily and so well that it sets your soul ON FIRE! Open your heart, your mind, your arms, and your life to all that is possible. Allow your body to begin to heal itself, through good whole foods, through gentle exercise, through simple meditation, through restorative sleep, and through the power of friendship. And when your body has healed, you can then stand back in delight and watch your spirit soar!
Allow love to thoroughly course through your body, tear apart those jagged stitches, rip you open, turn you inside out, and wash you clean! Mother Fucker! It’s an amazingly delicious ride! Feel all the shitty, stored up emotion, from the top of your cute little head down to your perfect little toes. And then? Let it all leave your body with such awesome soul rendering force that it knocks you flat out on your perfect little ass!
Loving yourself and loving others, with every inch of your beating heart, truly is the healing balm for all that afflicts us. Seriously. No matter what you’re struggling with, the battles you’re fighting, the war you’re waging, love can and will heal you if you let it.
Not love from others, but love from within.
You cannot fully love anyone else until you are absolutely and wonderfully in love with yourself. This is not about ego, and it’s not about being self-centered. It’s all about radiating joy and love from every fiber of your true self in order to live your most authentic life.
Do you know what happens when you allow yourself to be completely flattened?
Do you realize how it feels to be washed beautifully clean from all the pent up sadness, anger, trauma, stress, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and other messiness that we all cling to?
YOU FUCKING RISE UP! Just like the much beloved Phoenix who rises like a queen from the ashes!
You can live a magical, majestic, magnificent life full of love and hope! You can live in truth and beauty! You can encourage others and also be encouraged! You can love and be loved in return. The possibilities are enormous and unending! And when you love yourself, then love is attracted to you!
Love yourself fiercely, right now. Love, like your life depends on it! Because, my beautiful friend, it does…
Lyndsey, you give me chills with your words. Thank you for sharing yourself with this world. We need you. Xo Molly
Today’s recipe will love you up as much as you love it!
- 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans, divided (725g / feel free to use canned beans)
- 3/4 cup diced red onion (95g)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (about 10 turns)
- 3/4 cup water (or more if you want it less thick) (175ml)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz / 411g)
- Place 1 1/2 cups of the Black Beans (310g) in a medium-sized saucepan and set aside for now.
- Place the remaining 2 cups of Black Beans in your blender, along with the red onion, garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, black pepper and water. Blend until super smooth.
- Transfer the blended bean mixture to the saucepan, along with the tomatoes and stir.
- Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, with a lid on the saucepan at an angle. Stir often to keep it from sticking to the pan and burning.
- Serve with chopped cilantro, diced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Have a happy week. May it be filled with LOVING.