There are two women in my life that have had the most intense impact on me. One is my mother, whom you will hear very little about. The second is Susun Weed, my Mentor. It is important to me to share their similarities and differences. Both have everything to do with why I love each of them, for very different reasons.
The similarities are what you probably would expect. They both love me very deeply. They both honor me as a woman. They both want the best for me. And that is where the similarities stop. Their approach to helping me become the best version of me is opposite. I chose Susun to be my guide and you will soon learn why. It’s important to me that as I speak of my love for Susun, my love for my mother is understood.
When I first showed up at Susun Weed’s just over 2 years ago, I was broken, terrified, hopeless, 3 months sober, and coming off a 10 year Adderall/Xanax addiction. I was in a state of brain fog. I was not grounded and couldn’t even comprehend what she was talking about half the time. I was angry. I was confused. I made excuses. I did not take responsibility for my actions. I was not present the majority of the time; I didn’t even know what that meant. I moved through life like a robot, going through the motions.
My mother, a nurse, had done everything in her power to help me. She sent me to rehab, took me to specialists, and loved me. My mom would have done anything to see me happy, and she tried. She never gave up on me through suicide attempts, toxic relationships, mental breakdowns, and so much more. Every endeavor or business attempt I tried to get ahead, she was right there. She showed up to help me. She gave everything she had and then some. She taught me to not give up. She taught me to be strong. And most of all, she showed me that no matter what, she loved me. She loved me unconditionally and only wanted what was best for me. For a long time, I punished her. Not because I wanted too, because I didn’t know better. I had no clue how cruel I was being. I was filled with hate, disappointment, fear, rage, and so many other things that I did not understand. At the time, I could not even identify them. I did not know what I was feeling, I just wanted to explode. When something didn’t work out the way I expected it to or wanted it to, I blamed her. I blamed her for something she could not have possibly controlled. I blamed her because I did not know how to take responsibility for my actions. I did not understand that failure teaches us. I did not understand that my expectations and inability to adapt to change were the real problem. I blamed her because I didn’t understand disappointment and that things just don’t always work out. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, and judged. I wondered what everyone would think. My fears overtook me and then were projected onto my mother, who only tried to help, love and support me.
My experience with Susun was the opposite. She made it clear before I showed up that I would want to run. She was absolutely right. I wanted to run far and fast away from her. At times I actually hated her–or so I thought. I didn’t hate Susun, I hated that she saw my truth. Not only did she see me, she called me out. I had learned to manipulate others to get what I wanted. I had learned to use my dis-ease for attention. I had learned how to make others feel sorry for me and want to help me. I learned to skate by and stay small. I learned how to make an excuse, pass the blame, change the subject and twist the situation so that you wanted to help me, or at least dismiss whatever you were angry with me about. Basically, I had learned how to escape responsibility. And Susun called me out! She forced me to look at myself. She showed me how to own my behavior. She challenged me to look at the story I was telling. Not just the story I was telling you, more importantly the story I was telling myself. Where did I get these stories? Are they the stories I am choosing? Are they the stories I want my future to reflect?
The work I did with Susun changed my life. It allowed me to change how I show up. Learning how to take responsibility for my actions, emotions, and behavior changed everything. All my relationships changed. Most importantly, I learned to honor and appreciate my mom in an entirely new way. Our relationship is now healthy, loving, and strong. I see her and appreciate her in ways I couldn’t previously comprehend. I am able to love and honor her now.
There were many questions, many answers and many A’HA moments that changed my life. So I will leave you with this for now:
As children we make up stories to protect ourselves when we are powerless, however these same stories may cripple us as adults.
What stories are you telling yourself that no longer serve you?
Please share your answers with me. I would love to hear from you, even if it’s feedback for me. Please send me any questions you may have. I am open to answering anything. Any part of my journey I can share that helps others, I am open to sharing.