For the past 3 years, I’ve not shown up as much as I ‘should’ have in a professional capacity. I’ve not been active in any communities, I’ve not had the bandwidth to stay in touch with many people, and I’ve shared barely anything on social media. I’ve been inconsistent, sporadic and flaky. That’s NOT the me I’d come to know!
My personal life has been firmly in the driving seat – coming out, starting my first lesbian relationship, exploring my adoption and trying to make contact with my birth mother. It has been a time of exploration and turning inwards, not turning outwards.
But as I get more of a handle on the personal – especially in relation to my adoption – it feels the right time to start showing up again, to start being seen by more than just one or two people, and to start standing out (it no longer fills me with horror to write that. Progress!).
One of the most fascinating experiences over the past 3 years has been uncovering and seeing some of my default patterns as things that I can actually control, choose and change, instead of hiding behind the belief that it’s “just how I am”.
I used to believe that being adopted from birth hadn’t impacted me in any way (cue Becky’s guffaw). The reality is that it has, naturally, shaped my entire way of being.
Being abandoned by the person who’s brought you into this world, who IS your entire world at 7 days old, has a tendency to do that. Very early on I, as we all do, learned certain behaviours and patterns to survive and get my needs met.
Most of the time, we go through life using these same patterns and behaviours, unaware when, where and why they developed and never questioning whether they’re still serving us, or not.
This journey of mine has been a fascinating exploration of my own patterns and behaviours. I’ve learned that, instead of protecting me and keeping me ‘safe’, the following default patterns and behaviours keep me isolated, alone and no longer serve me well…
- Getting triggered by anything potentially rejecting and abandoning, even if that isn’t what’s actually happened.
- Going off onto my island and sealing myself off, emotionally and physically, to cope with a (usually perceived) experience of being rejected or abandoned.
- Using anger and grumpiness as a defence to keep people away from my own vulnerabilities.
- Needing to know because, as my therapist put it, my ‘pot of not knowing’ is full to the brim of unknowns that most people just know. E.g. who my birth parents are, what actually happened in the few days after I was born before I was taken home by my adopted parents, the circumstances surrounding my adoption, her reasons for giving me up etc. etc.
We frequently talk about going on a journey of self discovery, well this – the ability to start choosing different patterns and behaviours that actually help me meet my own needs and get my needs met by others – feels like one of the most exhilarating and powerful journeys one can experience!
As you’ll see from the home page of my website, I’ve always labelled myself as multi-passionate; I’ve bounced from idea to idea, excelling at the starting things up stage but being less thrilled at the day-to-day stage of maintenance and steady growth. While it’s brought many, many positives, it’s also come with disadvantages…
The biggest one? If I’d stuck with just one thing – Location Independent, for example – imagine how huge it’d have been now if I hadn’t taken a break from it when my children came along and done something ‘easier’!
With my various projects, I’ve often experienced a sense of things feeling disparate, separate, not cohesive, not integrated. It’s been a constant source of frustration – my time feeling pulled in many, varied directions instead of being able to focus on one core thing.
This is, of course, also connected to my own emotional stuff – the bigger and more successful something gets, the more I’m seen, and being seen, for me, resulted in abandonment and rejection.
Of course my adult, logical, rational mind knows that this wasn’t necessarily the case – but my baby brain, and the resulting narratives and patterns that were deployed to cope made that initial link and have continued to run the show. Until now.
I’ve finally discovered and committed to a theme which underpins everything I do…all my projects. I say I but I mean we…
Becky and I have been plugging away at LemonAid, slowly growing a community, creating products etc. etc. In between raising a blended family of 4 young kids, and home-educating and flexi-schooling them all – it’s been hard going.
In a similar vein, we’ve struggled to find one over-arching theme that tied it all together, in amongst the coming out, the lesbian family, the blended family, the bi-racial family, the home educating, the running our own businesses – that’s a lot of ‘other’, a lot of hooks we could use to appeal to our right people, but we’ve struggled to find THE one.
Until, finally, we agreed that the one thing that does indeed underpin all our work is the word we’d struggled hard with as a couple…intimacy.
When one of you has an utter terror of it (ahem, surprisingly that was NOT me!), it’s been quite a journey to overcome this and work towards a place of true intimacy…that is, of being able to show up and be seen (and loved). And now, we work with it, in it, on it, daily!
The iSpot is all about intimacy as a superpower in your life; Location Independent is about how you can use intimacy as a superpower to show up, be seen and stand out when you work from anywhere/online (and it’s even easier to hide behind your computer screen and never fully show up), and here at my site, I help folk show up, be seen and stand out online with a website that works, as well as use it as my own personal platform to show up, be seen and stand out.
It feels like everything is aligned – pulling in the same direction, working at depth and breadth, and in a way that works 100% for me, personally and professionally. Finally,