Returning home has been filled with activity, such as cleaning, cooking, and reacquainting myself with life at home. The highlights have been get togethers with friends. Sharing the stories of what happened for all of us over the past 9 weeks has been filled with laughter and tears.
I had the luxury of experiencing 9 weeks without the fear of judgment from people I care or have cared about. It was like truly having a clean slate. I chose to take that freedom and be authentically me every day. Amazing growth and practice! It was easy to get better at being me and liking myself along the journey. Yet returning to a place filled with people who know a version of my old self is like returning to a muddy slate. The fear and anxiety of seeing the people from my past and their judgment is surprisingly daunting. When discussing this with a friend, I realized that this fear of judgment or concern of running into someone who pretty much hates me has been part of my regular daily life for over 10 years. No wonder I had trouble being authentically kind to myself here. I suppose that happens to many people who divorce with children. You still have to interact with someone who does not ever want to see you, let alone co-parent with you. Let us be honest, even if there are no children, it still sucks! So, I don’t believe I am alone in this fear of judgment feeling. The tension in traveling around town knowing there is a real possibility that I may see my ex-husbands and their followers of the hate Kristin camp returned within 48 hours of being home.
This experience of returning home is much like stepping back into an old toxic relationship and then noticing on how my body feels and reacts. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that. My girlfriends know me and love me. They realize we are all on a journey and sometimes fall on our faces. So, we are there to help pick each other up. It is the rest of the people who once loved me and have made a decision about who they think I am is where the challenge begins. My mind is just having a grand old time with this one. As my heart gently reminds me that how people feel about me is really none of my business. The way I feel about myself matters. My mind and ego are jumping up and down screaming that I have to stop smiling so much, be quiet, look out for those who do not like you for they will try to hurt you. Be prepared, so practice all the scenarios that could happen so you can be safe. OMG! Breathing does take the edge off, yet nothing can touch the feelings that arise when I set foot into the local grocery store or coffee shop. In a small town, everyone really is connected to everyone else in some way. After 21 years living here, I am in that web. The negativity is not real, it is my old self-wanting to return and I will not let it.
That is when I break out the Windex! My slate may be muddy here for others, but it is not for me. I just keep on cleaning it every day! My mind attempts to tell me that moving is running away. No, it really is not. My girlfriends will be my friends forever. I have no family here. Most importantly, I learned on my trip that I love to explore places and meet new people. I am primed and ready to go. The Tree Hugging Tour showed me how to get started by working through the fear of what others might think of me. So, now I just keep cleaning my slate daily and prepare for my next life chapter. In the mean time, I have another luxury; face my fears/anxiety and love myself through it where I am right now! For you never know who will show up!