Emotional Vomit (or Purge on a Page)

Gosh, I could talk for months about emotions. In fact, Rob and I have been doing just that. I usually have a pretty well-thought-out idea of what I want to say when I start writing, but when it comes to this subject my mind goes all over the place and I can’t nail down what it is that I actually want to say. So this time I’m rambling.

One thing I’ve been working on recently might seem small and petty, but that has helped me tremendously. It’s this:

I’ve riddled myself …my entire life…with substantially overusing the phrases I SHOULD do this. I SHOULD be like this. WE SHOULD. THEY SHOULD. IT SHOULD be this way. Also, I NEED to do this. I NEED to be like this. WE NEED. THEY NEED. IT NEEDS to be this way.

You get the picture.

I’ve come to realize how damaging this has been to my psyche/spirit, because when I say those things I’m not giving myself (or others) any wiggle room, any acceptance, any consideration, any way to ever be anything but an impossible, optimized version of what I deem to be “perfect”. 
I used to tell myself I was just an optimizer and if I wasn’t doing my best ALL the time then I wasn’t good enough. The problem is…not only is no one perfect (which I did already knew), but it’s not even possible to try my hardest to be as perfect as possible all the time (which I didn’t already know). In other words, I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I had to try SO HARD to be as perfect as I could be all of the time.

Trying so hard…because I SHOULD be and I NEED to…is exhausting. And painful.

One day I just woke up to what I was saying and realized how unnecessary, how untrue, and how damaging saying those seemingly little phrases over and over again have been to myself and others. I started changing those two tiny little awful words to I COULD do this. They COULD. It COULD be this way. Also, I WANT to do this. I WOULD LIKE it to be this way. It WOULD be nice if.

Doing that slight little shift has opened my eyes and heart to other possible answers and solutions. It has taken so much pressure off of me to always do the perfect thing or to be the perfect way. 

What am I getting at? I don’t know, honestly. There are a thousand other things I could type about.

Honestly, this last year of emotional growth has been an amazingly eye-opening experience for me and Rob, one that has brought so many answers to so many questions regarding:

  • Who we have been
  • Why we have been who we have been
  • Who we really are
  • How to be who we really are 

After all the emotional turmoil Rob and I have both been working through together we’ve learned so much more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. I mean, it was freakishly crazy when one moment we thought we really, deeply knew ourselves and each other…and then suddenly realize that we have to start all over from scratch. We abruptly came to find out that a lot of who we thought we as individuals were, is not really who we are, but a “part” or a “character” we’ve been playing to help us get through life.

We used to think to ourselves, “This is my just my personality.” Or, “This is just who I am.” As it turns out, there are reasons we have certain personality traits and they have more to do with coping mechanisms rather than the true person we actually are at the core.

Sure, maybe we’ve gone our whole lives thinking we are “like this” but what if we don’t want to be “like this” anymore? Guess what? We can figure out why we are the way we are and be honest to ourselves about how our life circumstances have affected us. Once we clear out those closets, we can hit reset. And breathe.

It’s been a miracle to finally realize that just because “I’ve always been…” doesn’t mean “I always have to be…” There’s a surprising amount of freedom we have found in finding out about, and learning how to let go of, the parts of ourselves that don’t accurately reflect who we are and who we want to be. 

Admittedly, it’s been an awkward and even a downright hard transition at times. Fortunately, we’ve both been entirely committed to working through it together. Two or our true personality traits are commitment and hard work. Thankfully we’ve both still got those pieces firmly in place. 
I’m fairly certain that every single marriage goes through a period of tear down and regrowth. If not, then there are probably some serious issues that haven’t been admitted or allowed to surface. Because…when you marry (especially when you’re both so young when it happens) how can you possibly expect either one of you to remain the same person throughout decades of life? If you do expect that, then there is obviously some emotional maturation that needs to take place. 
Emotional maturity. Gosh. I thought I had it. Rob thought he had it. Turns out, neither of us had a clue. But…now we do have a few clues along with a few tools that we are learning how to use. And you know what? It feels right. It feels real. It feels like we are finally learning how to really care about ourselves and each other in healthy, genuine ways. 
Yes, these last 9 months have been growing months for sure. Uncomfortable. Scary. Selfish. Maddening. Sorrowful. 
These last 9 months have also been incredible. Tender. Honest. Loving. Selfless. Healing. Forgiving.
Over my lifetime I’ve heard, thousands of times, people saying they’re grateful for and stronger from their trials and that they’d never trade them for anything. When I’d hear that, I’d always want to raise my hand high and shout, “I don’t believe you! I’m JUST fine just the way I am. I’ll grow on my own without needing any prodding from trials. I can make that growth happen all by myself and save myself from hard things, so I’d rather not test out that theory, thank-you-very-much!”
Well. Now I finally understand what everyone is talking about. My eyes have been opened to how God uses our own failures and shortcomings as opportunities to bestow bounteous blessings upon us. The stuff people say about being grateful for the lessons learned from trials is all true. At least, it can be if you’re committed, hard working, and humble. (I can also see how easily it would all go awry, depending on specific situations.) 
I’m not trying to get at anything here. I’m not necessarily trying to make a point and wrap this up all pretty. I don’t have any final words of advice or motivational quotes or helpful tidbits. Just rambling…for my own sake. Just getting these chaotic thoughts out so I can think and feel more clearly.
This is my emotional vomit, my purge on a page…because sometimes we’ve just got to let it out.

14 Years Down…

Here is one picture of Rob and I for each year we’ve been together.

2002
Mt. Timpanogos temple in December. I was freezing but could hardly feel it because I was so happy!

 

2003
For our first vacation together (other than our honeymoon) we went to San Diego but first stopped in Tehachapi to visit my grandparents.

 
2004
I had some work training and testing in D.C. for a week so Rob tagged along. 
 

2005
Ahh, Paris. It was much more fun for me this time around because I wasn’t alone and I had my own personal translator with me!

 

2006
This is right after the blessing of our new son. My how our life changed that year!

 

2007
I was a couple of months along with Madeleine when I graduated with my business degree. Phew! I was so glad to be finished!

 

2008
We enjoyed a “babymoon” in San Francisco. And no, I’m not full term here. I still had 6 weeks to go!

 


2009
Portrait time.

2010
We took a weekend getaway to explore Capitol Reef, Boulder, Devil’s Garden, Kodachrome Basin, and Bryce Canyon.

2011
Another portrait.

 

2012
We took these serious-faced self portraits in our living room.

2013
This was our digital Christmas card.

 

2014
We get silly every now and then.

2015
Here we are just hanging out while the kids feed ducks.



2016
We loved exploring the Mexican ruins together!

Onward and upward to another great year together (and decades more) as best friends! 

Various Notes to Have Documented

Creative title, no?

This post is dedicated to emails that I want saved in our family blog.

 

 

8-22-10

Today during sacrament meeting Nate asked me if he could bear his testimony. I said that to bear his testimony he needed to say what he knew was true about Jesus Christ and the Church.  He told me that he knew that Jesus was real. This was a great moment for me. I told him that we would practice during family home evening and that he could bear his testimony soon in primary or maybe even sacrament meeting.  He would prefer to do it in sacrament meeting.  Unfortunately, I didn’t help him recognize the spirit because it didn’t occur to me at the time.  I’ll be sure to do it during FHE. Rob

 

4-2-10

Robby,

I sure love you. I REALLY appreciate all the time you spend with the kids. It gives me “refresh” time and they just love you soooooooo much!!! You’re a wonderful, involved dad and there’s no better out there. You’re also a caring, sweet husband who lets your tired wife sleep as much as possible. Sorry I’ve been somewhat neglecting you lately. It’s not on purpose. How about we have a beautiful and quiet night together on Sunday.  Sounds nice, huh? Let’s do it. Let’s spend some good husband/wife time together without distractions. I promise to be less selfish and more giving to you and the kids. Love you with all of me!!! Julianna

 

Thanks for the nice note Julie.  I understand how tired you are.  You are growing a baby after all!  Sunday sounds great! Love, Rob

 

 

3-17-10

Julie: Thank you for all the work and love that you put into our family!  I love you for all the big and little things you do, for you care, for your sacrifices, for your love. You are an amazing woman, AMAZING! Love,  Rob

 

 

2-9-10

Rob, We really had a lot of fun with Nathan. We understand the sacrifice and the trust you placed in us. He is a wonderful traveler, so mature. He found many ways to entertain himself while on the long drive. It was great to see Joseph and Nate play together. Joseph never would stop smiling. Nathan has so much patience and loved to show Joseph just how things worked. He literally would lead Joseph by the hand. We were so impressed how special, smart and kind he is. We were so overwhelmed. We wanted to share our experience with your young Son with you on Sunday. But things were a little rushed. Sometimes words fail to express feelings. We spent the whole trip smiling and laughing. What a Joy he is. What a wonderful child to start your family. We know he will be a great example to Madeleine and the rest of your family. Just the way you have always been to ours.  Love Bob

 

 

12-18-08
A short list of times when I have found myself incredibly in love with my you, my husband:
Our first drive down to St. George.
Hearing you converse in French in France.
Listening to you serenade me “Angel” for my birthday.
Reading books to Nate and making faces with Madeleine.
Anytime you’re in a suit.

 

 

3-16-10

Julie, I cannot express to you the kind and tender feelings that I hold in my heart for they are beyond compare.  I hope your hand feels better really soon!  As I have begun my wonderful life with you, I feel my love and devotion for you increase and develop without bounds.  Your smile, companionship, and endless love make my heart melt like fondue and my heart to swell with joy. I love you and our love will never fail. Never. I cannot begin to convey the deep bond that I feel with you. My Lifeforce is bound up in you. I love you.  Rob

8 Years Ago

Today is our 8th anniversary. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to a friend on 09 Sep 2002.
 

Yes, Julie IS a dork.  Me being the little worry wart that I am, decided to ask/confront Rob about our little plans seeing that we hadn't talked about it for quite a while and if we did get married in December, we need to get this thing rolling!!!  Holy FREAK, it's only 3 months away!!!!  

So last Wed. I was planning on talking to him about it, just to see where he now stands.  But HE actually kinda brought it up.  After a lengthy discussion,(in which I practically begged him to propose) (I told you I was a dork!!!) he concluded that he would be proposing within the next month probably. But that's all he would say, afterall, he wants it to be a surprise...of course.   

Whitney, I'm so excited.  This is it.  HE is IT!!!!   

He's so good for me and he's everything I've ever prayed for.  I love him and I want to marry him.  

I’m SOOOOOOO glad I did!!

My Sister’s Wedding

My (Julie) sister got married last weekend! They asked us to take their engagement portraits. They wanted casual poses on a dark backdrop so the focus would be on them and their interaction with each other. They hugged and kissed and cuddled (with a little guidance) and we snapped shots and hopefully caught “moments” between them.

Their wedding announcement.

 

There was a last minute change of venue due to the weather so we ended at a family friend’s house. There wasn’t much time for pictures, but here are a few shots of the ceremony. The families went to dinner afterwards and the whole thing was a great success.

 

Together they have 5 boys. Five boys! And, as she points out, only 1 bathroom. Yikes. 

Congrats to the new Lewis family!