A few days ago, I read a Hands Free Mama blogpost about a mom who solved her most distressing parenting challenge: her anger. Her husband noticed her scowl was for the family and her smile was for the world. The writer told us she turned her perpetually irritated state around by setting a goal to see, grasp, exude, personify and spread joy. Many mantras later, she’s arrived at a much better place. Her smile extends to her immediate family now. Oh, what a relief not to be within that stuck anger-filled spot anymore!
When I read the Hands Free Mama blogpost, I found myself getting angry. Maybe that’s because a blogpost can’t recount the numerous stuck moments this mama felt while she worked to ease her anger. The irony of my fury doesn’t make me laugh. Instead I ponder how stuck I feel with my latest parenting challenges, how far away real change feels.
We talked about our stuck places and how difficult really changing ourselves feels at the last Badass Mamas circle. Jenni said if changing our lives was easy, we would have done it already. I brought my own stuck place to the Badass Mamas circle on Monday night. There’s embarrassment around this seemingly unmovable condition. And shame. And years of thinking hasn’t propelled me into being unstuck.
At our support group, we sit with our stuck places. We poke at these places with writing exercises. We share some of our stories. It’s hard not to jump into someone else’s tale and try to solve it. It’s hard to witness someone else’s hurt and know they are going to have to unravel it in their own way.
It’s tough to see my own stuck place and hear Jenni say there is no easy 3-step process that leads to being perpetually unstuck. But I find that I can breathe more deeply when Jenni tells us that we will play with these seemingly unmovable conditions. That we will loosen the edges and learn how to unravel these knots that feel too tangled right now. That we may never become totally unstuck but that very stuck place may turn into a slightly sticky place that we can work with more easily.
That’s the thing about being stuck; loosening this to see what’s underneath takes massive support and effort. Once you see what’s underneath and put energy into healing, it doesn’t mean you are — voila! — unstuck. You’re healing and growing and removing some of the ick around the stuck place. But you’re not perpetually joyful now. You’re just able to see that stuck place more clearly, to work with it, to know that the only way out is through, but you’re never fully through. You’re simply better at seeing your stuck place and moving through it.
The morning after group, I woke up feeling defeated. Although I slept heavy, those lists I wrote about my hard, knotty issue felt very much alive inside my body. But I remembered Jenni said we can tuck those lists away. She said if it’s hard to leave those lists until we meet again, we could symbolically give that yuck to her to hold. Oh, Jenni, I thought, here is my stuck place. I breathed in deeply and surrounded my hurt with Jenni’s swagger. I tossed that hurt surrounded by her swagger — let’s pretend it’s a pretty ball of yarn at this point, pinks and oranges and reds and yellows — over to Jenni’s tall frame. Here Jenni, please hold onto my beautiful yarn ball tangled mess. I know there is no change without support. As I pictured that sweet yarn circle flying through the grey fall sky, the sunlight pushed at the clouds outside my window. I can’t tell anyone how to be unstuck, but I’m learning how to sit with the Badass Mamas and be stuck together, no wordy solution necessary.
Here's that Hands Free Mama post if you'd like to read it for yourself.
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