Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Granola Girl: Part Five (Embracing My Inner Self)

"I have learned that caring for myself is not self-indulgent; it is self-preservation." 

-Audre Lorde


Each of us has an authentic self, the person we respect when our actions honor our beliefs. Sometimes our lives get out of sync, and we do things we believe are the thing to do, even when our hearts tell us something isn't quite right. Our brains may be telling us what to do, but until our heart can accept what the head knows, we are conflicted. Perhaps we succumb to societal pressures, or the opinions of those who do not know us well, or we believe our misguided notion that we need to be doing what others do. Until we know who we are, we feel lost in the day-to-day struggles.


By the time I had a career, and a husband, and young children, I behaved as a leaf in the wind, being blown from one place to the next, one errand to the next. There were deadlines to meet, schedules to keep, and things to be done. Somehow I believed that sacrificing my needs and desires made me a better wife and mother. I didn't make myself a priority, and that manifested itself in mindless eating, inactivity, and depression. In my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing by putting my family's needs before my own. 

The Utah Writers' Project was in 2002. One of the most significant things I learned there was that I need to set my priorities, not only in my writing, but in my life.



Learn what to embrace, what to enhance, 
and what to relinquish.
14 years later, and I'm still setting priorities. My life took unexpected twists and turns once I realized that I needed to embrace myself and honor what I believe to be true. I knew I was only just beginning to unearth who I was. I redoubled my efforts to get healthy. I enjoyed getting to know my children better. I read more, worked out more, and went into the mountains more.

One thing I learned is that relinquishing who I am is not the way to prove my love to my family, or my value as a wife and mother, and it is very detrimental to my emotional well-being. I call my true self my inner Granola Girl, but she is so much more than just the silly college girl who loved mountains. She represents the part of me that embraces nature, enhances her learning, and relinquishes anything negative or unhealthy. She seeks adventure on a regular basis, takes care of herself, and gets lost in the moment.

Your inner self has a different name. The Spiritual Guide. The Eternal Learner. The Adventurer. The Compassionate One. Whoever that self is at your deepest core, be sure you honor that person. Love yourself enough to attend to your needs so that you not simply surviving, but thriving.

The Granola Girl stories are a series. Earlier installments are linked below:

Part One: Do Moms Deserve Adventures?

Part Two: In Search of the Granola Girl

Part Three: A Glimpse of Who I Was

Part Four: The Granola Girl Nods in Approval


12 comments:

  1. You say a world of truth here and somehow manage to say what I'm thinking before it's even formed. How do you do that? Lovely writing too.

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  2. I love this! And boy, did it take me years to learn...also amazing that others often believe that relinquishing our true selves to please them is somehow of value.

    On another note, when I saw this photo of you, I heard my grandma saying "well, aren't you cuter than a bug's ear!"

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    1. Why, thank you, Deb and Deb's grandma!

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  3. Such good advice. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Melinda, thanks for reading. I hope you are doing well!

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  4. wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Darien. It is my pleasure.

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  5. I have enjoyed this series of yours, and like Tonia, you spoke my truth. I don't know about you, but I was doing all that you did with family, children etc. and didn't know who I was or what I wanted to be when I grew up. Still working on the growing up thing. Beautiful piece and well written.

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    1. Stella, I, too, am working on growing up, being accountable, and being authentic. I refuse to grow old, wishing to remain child-like forever...

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  6. Great words of wisdom, which ring true for me too.

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    1. Beth, thank you. I love making connections with other like-minded women.

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