in retrospect

It’s just occurred to me a few days ago that I missed gen­uine mud­pie’s 3rd birth­day! *gasp* :O

It’s some­times in March, and now it’s July. I total­ly missed it. It’s come and gone and I did­n’t even notice, like noth­ing’s happened.

And I did­n’t share an anniver­sary pattern :(

I feel real­ly bad about it. Like I’ve cheat­ed every­one and myself out of a celebration.

Come to think of it, it’s been a hard year.

I turned 30. My grand­moth­er passed away (her funer­al was on my birth­day). My oth­er grand­moth­er had been seri­ous­ly ill (she’s okay now). My mom was deal­ing with some new­ly dis­cov­ered health con­cerns. School work was intense, where sup­port­ing oth­er peo­ple through their sto­ries of pain brings up my own sto­ries of pain. And then I found myself in a series of con­flicts, some small and fiz­zled out soon after they start­ed, some seri­ous­ly hurt the feel­ings or well-being of all par­ties involved, and in the process a val­ued friend­ship was lost. At the end of it all I was in quite a bit of dis­tress, with feel­ings of guilt, self-doubt, fear, ques­tion­ing my own char­ac­ter. And so I total­ly for­got about gen­uine mud­pie’s 3rd birth­day. Nor did I spend much time to process my turn­ing 30.

I was at a nar­ra­tive ther­a­py train­ing about a week ago. In demon­strat­ing a tech­nique of ask­ing ques­tions, the pre­sen­ter asked the vol­un­teer inter­vie­wee to iden­ti­fy a pea-size prob­lem in her mind and then answer his ques­tions in rela­tions to that prob­lem. I was glad not to be the vol­un­teer inter­vie­wee because all of my prob­lems are at least clos­et-sized, and if I start talk­ing about them I might imme­di­ate­ly burst into tears and that would be embarrassing.

One of the ques­tions the pre­sen­ter asked was: what did­n’t the prob­lem know about you, that if it had known about you, prob­a­bly would have left you alone?

For some rea­sons that ques­tion stuck with me long after the train­ing was fin­ished and into the week­end. It was one that I could­n’t quite answer for myself about my clos­et-sized problems.

On the week­end I brought home my most recent grad­u­a­tion pic­ture to my par­ents’. My par­ents have a col­lec­tion of grad­u­a­tion pho­tos from when my younger sis­ter was in ele­men­tary school. It’s grown to be quite a large collection.

And when I looked at these pic­tures, it was kind of like step­ping back and look­ing at the big pic­ture that spanned the past 12 years and gain­ing a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, and an answer came to mind for the question: what did­n’t the prob­lem know about you, that if it had known about you, prob­a­bly would have left you alone?

You chose the wrong per­son to mess with.

I turned 20 in a hos­pi­tal. I did­n’t believe that I would live pass 22. I was con­vinced that anorex­ia was how I was going to live my life and how I was going to die.

And by the time I turned 30, I’m mar­ried to the best, most car­ing, most lov­ing hus­band. All of my fam­i­ly mem­bers sur­vived the ordeal that was anorex­ia and emerged with deep­er under­stand­ing and love for one anoth­er. I have a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship with food and I’m in good health. I eat what I want and go where I want to go. I’ve earned 3 uni­ver­si­ty diplo­mas and am about to start on the 4th. I’ve start­ed doing what I dream of doing as a career.

I would not have lived and kept going if not for God who for some rea­sons would not let me die even when I gave up on my own life, and for the fam­i­ly and friends who have con­tin­ued to love and sup­port and believe in me, who have been there along­side me even when I could not care for them, even when I did not believe in myself. I’m priv­i­leged with resources and sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships, and I’ve also worked very hard to use those resources and sup­port to get to where I’m at today.

So, prob­lem — what­ev­er you are: guilt, self-doubts, fear — you chose the wrong per­son to mess with, and you can­not take me down with you.

And reflect­ing on me turn­ing 30 and gen­uine mud­pie turn­ing 3, I’d like to say that I’m grate­ful for every word and ges­ture of love and kind­ness that has been extend­ed to me, from every per­son I have known in per­son or through this blog, for a brief moment in time or for years. I’m grate­ful for God’s end­less pro­vi­sion and great love. I’m grate­ful for dif­fi­cul­ties and con­flicts. All of these things open my eyes to new pos­si­bil­i­ties, lead me home to the core of what I val­ue, and allow me to extend out from the place of home into the world with deep­er under­stand­ing, courage and love.

return with us 

This was cre­at­ed with words from a poem called The Ini­ti­a­tion Song from the Find­ers’ Lodge in Ursu­la LeGuin’s Always Com­ing Home. I found the image in a Nation­al Geo­graph­ic mag­a­zine exact­ly the way it looks now, with a hole cut out on one page and a pic­ture of the hori­zon on the page behind it. It was made in reflec­tion on my year-long place­ment in a com­mu­ni­ty pro­gram, but I think it applies to the “turn­ing 30” and “turn­ing 3”  reflec­tions as well. 

Thank you for jour­ney­ing with me, awe­some ones :)



14 thoughts on “in retrospect

  1. Very well said. Look­ing for­ward to many more gen­uine­mud­pie to come. Hap­py belat­ed 30th!

  2. Dear Trish, thank you so much for what you shared with us. It’s so inspir­ing, all of it, not only the cro­chet pat­terns and ideas you share but the sto­ry in ret­ro­spect — it all sounds so courageous. 

    As for the cel­e­bra­tions — this love­ly blog of yours is a cel­e­bra­tion itself. Enjoy!

  3. Thank you for shar­ing all of this! You’ve come a long ways. God is good, isn’t he? I’m also sor­ry for your lost.

  4. All the best to you, Trish! That is very brave to share so much with us. But we love you and sup­port you. And con­grat­u­la­tions on your three year anniver­sary! So cool! Look­ing for­ward to many more craft­ing adventures!

  5. Thank you for shar­ing with all of us. Some­times say­ing scary things aloud, makes them lose their pow­er over us. I’m grate­ful you are here, that you made it to today. It’s been a joy get­ting to know you and to craft with you. Here’s to (at least!) anoth­er 30 years! :)

  6. yes! thank you for being here Amy when i say these scary things. so hap­py to have known you and to be able to craft along with you! :D

  7. Anoth­er thank you for let­ting us in on this part of your life. I feel very lucky to know you. This blog is a source of inspi­ra­tion to me and so are you. Have a won­der­ful year of mile­stones (kilo­me­ter­stones?). Look­ing for­ward to more craft­ing adventures.

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