Jill Louise Foley
My Year to Clarity: Classic Unobtainable Expectations
Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Welcome to my blog. You might have noticed the writings previous to this one that are over 3 years old. This brings me to a couple key elements concerning WHAT THE F HAPPENED?
1. The title itself rings so “classic Jill” that it's comical. Well, spoiler alert: apparently achieving mental clarity or 'balance' is an ongoing practice, to be performed over a lifetime. 1 YEAR... 1 YEAR. HA HA Ha ha... I'm genuinely amused at the severity of my unrealistic goals. This is one of the unhealthy patterns I continually place on myself. What results is a repeated sense of ‘failure’, which often births a spiral of self-loathing; lasting anywhere from a couple hours, days, weeks. Or, as you can see--years.
2. I ran into a little (biggish) setback: I got negative feedback. God forbid that something I wrote rubbed someone else's ego the 'wrong' way. However, in the spirit of telling the full truth: it rubbed them the exact right way. This lead them on a personal journey to self-discovery; they learned why my words created such a 'REACTION'. Anyway, at that vulnerable point in my life I hadn't learned how to brush off destructive criticism, and that is still a work in progress. Usually, I hold onto their poison, contemplate drinking it, then decide instead to freeze it. The act of its freezing in my mental space magically transforms it into a personal box of shame. Built of insecurities collected through my years, it confines me in a small space. At some point, I run out of air and decide to knock on the wall to ask for a breathing straw. Thankfully, the people pleaser in me has come a very long way over the past 3 years. I won't confine myself any longer, and I refuse to hide my words in fear of making another feel uncomfortable with my truth. I want to take up space and live…and I will take up more space than one simple box.
3. Addiction: smoking weed everyday also contributes to clouding my vision, mind and capacity to focus. Instagram proves to be another hazy distraction; lastly, my need to be liked. So, over the past 3 years I'm standing at a sober point! This has made a big difference when it comes to denial, shame, and well, the whole cycle that kept me in the cycle. It went like this: “Let's just get along and smoke a joint, let’s also never dive deep into anything that could bring up my triggers, when I am high there is no trigger, there is no problem.” Cue consistent reaction to when life has me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and triggered: 'Let’s smoke a joint.'
I've lost nearly 6 years of properly communicating my feelings due to my fear of inflicting pain. I was afraid to confront those who intentionally hurt my feelings. I didn't want to come across as 'not nice' so I kept my mouth shut and numbed out my feelings with substances.
I've experienced 'pure love'. It is magical, it holds the capacity to heal wounds; but investigating relationship cycles, unhealthy patterns, and personal protectors are really, really, really hard. It takes a lot of mirror work. No, I do not mean monthly facials or Botox to hide the wrinkles that betray what we call “life experience”, but deep, introspective searching into the soul of the ME. Relocating the little girl (my inner child) that had been neglected and was influenced deeply by generational traumas, about which we never openly spoke. FOUND IT! And what do ya know... It's right under the rug where every other challenging conversation remained buried. Now that I'm trying to ground myself on top of this awkward Mountain of Doom, I figured I better 'life clean' and get rid of the 30-year-old mangled rug and find that beautiful, underrated wood floor. A proper foundation on which to grip my bare feet sounds like a positive start to recovering long-lasting balance.
So. Those are a few key milestones or refinement areas I've been working on/getting over. If you didn't get the chance to read my previous blogs but are highly amused at my unfiltered approach to figuring out this whole human experience we are all currently taking part in, here are a few things about me you might find interesting and important moving forward:
1. At an early age of 2 I lost my birth mother to suicide. This is a big #1. For about 28 years of my life (I'm 32 now) I pushed this hard truth to the bottom of my heart telling myself that I was fine. I wasn't fine. I wasn't fine with having unconditional love from a mother figure and waking up one day to find it had evaporated. I wasn't fine thinking my mother was weak and selfish over her inability to move forward and fight what felt like an army of a thousand soldiers pushing against her will to live. I wasn't fine pretending I didn't miss her or need her. I wasn't fine. I've done a lot of tuning in to my inner child’s hurting heart, and identified how this tragedy stunted my inner value of being worthy of love. At age 2 I began to play my life on the lie that I wasn't worth living for, that my happiness wasn't worth the spotlight. I was here to be used and if I was chosen I better keep my smile on and be grateful. This mindset allowed unnecessary abuse in fear that my cries wouldn't be worth hearing. I decided instead to be 'fine'.
2. I used to be a National Level Body Builder. At an early age, I received praise for my physical ability in athletics. The better I performed the more validation I would receive, which led me to be extremely competitive with boys and girls. I played on girls and boys soccer teams, I would constantly want to keep up with my brothers who eventually, well... you know that testosterone thing--I was determined to compete with that and through my years of bodybuilding I began to compromise my hormonal make up in order to succeed. My need to win/compete trickled over in relationships. Instead of love, I would turn it into a type of competition: job, athletics, income--you name it. The constant loop of “anything you can do I can do better!” circled uncontested in my mind.
3. I have a personal relationship with God. This is something I really cherish in my life, and recently, I've really been pressing into the stillness and listening to what I believe the Holy Spirit is revealing to me. I grew up in a church-going family. Sunday school, bible studies, youth groups, communion, bible camps-- you name it, we were fully involved. Yet in and amidst so much 'community', I was only seen for my flaws; leaving me feeling more alone and pushing me further away from God. If I couldn't be accepted in the church family, then how could I be unconditionally loved by the Father? The closer I come to personally know God the more I recognize he (no real gender attached, how can you label the creator of the universe) isn't too fond of structured discriminative temples either.
These are 3 key points that make me ... well-- Me. They will continue to take part in my present and future. Some hold the well-paved patterns I long to break, but each will always be part of my decision-making and story. This is my grounding point. These are my truths: I know I am loved. I'm never alone, for the Lord walks with me as long as I invite him along. I am strong physically and mentally, for I have endured much; but through all the pain of loss, betrayal, and abuse, I have survived in order to share siphoning the poison from these wounds in order to heal them with love.