Lessons in Vulnerability, part 1

I think I’ve lived most of my life feeling unworthy in some way.
Unworthy of belonging.
Unworthy of being loved.
Sure, I could probably list a lot more there, but they all boil down to those two:
Love and belonging.
How did I become a 35 year old woman, who is certainly loved by her family and friends, yet often feels so disconnected and alone?
How did I become a 35 year old woman who struggles with depression and discouragement, rather than a woman who has gratitude and joy for the victories in her life?
 I don’t know….but I do know this.

All my life, this woman has longed to be seen. 

NO, she has not longed to be seen as the visible “center of attention” seen; She has never desired to stand out in any crowd.
NO, she has longed to be deeply seen.  Deeply seen in the way that her passions, her fierceness, her loyalties, her needs, her worth, her imperfections, her fears, and EVERYTHING that makes up her spirit is somehow as visible as the clothes she wears, BUT…
Somehow, even at the age of 35, this woman is still very much like a child inside. She needs to be healed of the injustices she has experienced, reassured of her worth and held in arms of strength and tenderness that cultivate trust, confidence, and authenticity.
Perhaps, healing is as easy as getting dressed in the morning. First, she would take off the veils of mystery. Than, one at a time, she would add elements of self-expression. Some are more necessary that the other, but all are intentionally chosen.
Would it be so easy?

What if she could get up and wear courage as easily as she wears her favorite skirt? What if confidence was her most flattering color?  What if belief in her worth was as striking as the width of her smile?

What if releasing who she thinks she should be was a real thing? Then, she could reach inside, grab those pointed, jabbing, fingers, and throw them in the garbage!

Would it be so easy?
You see, then she could  be who she is meant to be, without shame or question, without fear of not belonging, and without the scent of anxiety lurking.
And finally…I think she would know.
She would know.
She would know that THIS is the necessary part of life. Not clothes or sparkly things, or hardwood floors, or all white-kitchens, or open floor plans or brand new cars or cherished guitars or songs we sing or labels we’ve made…Not worrying or obsessing or restricting or dieting or hiding or panicking or analyzing…..
She would know life beyond the shadows and peace amidst the noise.
She would know.

She would know that THIS sense of worth, made possible by courage and worn with risk, is necessary and more beautiful than anything else; because unlike the perfect face or body, this sense of worth doesn’t fade over time and isn’t weakened by age’s hand.

She would know.

I want to know.
I want to try and wear this.
I want this for myself…
This sense of worth, this courage, this vulnerability that would allow me to be deeply SEEN.
I want to know;
I’m willing to know.
And, maybe….just maybe…that’s enough.
Today, I was getting ready to bring my daughter to the water park. I was wearing a bathing suit I normally only wear around my family because it is red, bright, and noticeable; and, I was also inwardly annoyed at myself for buying such a color. Then, all of a sudden,  my daughter excitedly barged in and shrieked,
“Ooooh mommy, you look so beautiful!”
“Thank you, Bels!” I said, when all of a sudden, it struck me…
True self-worth cannot be captured by unveiling the perfect body, belonging with the right crowd, having the perfect job, making lots of money, possessing what many covet or looking/eating/appearing a certain way.
True self-worth cannot be captured by chasing after the superficial.
It can, however, be captured in our willingness to accept our our beauty as others do; to celebrate our beauty as others do.
And, to believe it, too. 

May all of us women, who constantly jump over the battle lines of superficiality and authenticity, know that we are worthy and deserving of love.  – A. Stephens


T-ball memories.

I never played t-ball,actually. I’m pretty sure I never hit a ball off of a real tee. However, I did start off with the amazing red plastic bat and ball.

Summertimes in the 1980’s were pretty darn cool. I would say it was because no one was fearful of kidnappings or strangers or crazy people, and we could do whatever we wanted. However, my mom was 3 steps ahead of everyone back then and reminded us constantly that “there are Jeffrey Dahmers everywhere!” ( In her defense, she is a Chicago native.)

But no, summertime was cool because every kid got to do what we dreamed of doing all year: play outside all day, go swimming every day (or most days), ride our bikes all over the neighborhood, make up outrageous games, and play ball.

As a kid (and to this day) my dad worked on the railroad. That means that that he worked almost everyday and a lot of hours. However, he always seemed to make time on the weekends to take us down to “the field” to play ball with us.

I remember it all so well.  The cooler of water and pop (Chicago lingo), packing up all our gear, putting on sunscreen, and walking a block or two down to “the field.”  My mom and dad would warm us up with a game of catch and then my dad would start hitting a few balls to us. During this time, he would have us rotate to all the different bases, explaining each role in a casual, off-handed way. Finally, he would let us have turns hitting the ball.

My mom was actually a pretty good hitter, but unfortunately, my older sister was a crazy little outfielder who caught almost everything. I’m quite positive she could have played centerfield and caught every ball at every corner…..she was so fast, and her arm was powerful. I always hated playing outfield after her.

Fortunately, I was a good hitter so at least I could rub that in my sister’s face, because she wasn’t. (-: We really cherished all the advice my dad would give us.  I still remember him telling me not to be predictable on the mound and how in giving us all his “secret wisdom,” we felt special and important.

Looking back, he was so cool about it. I can definitely remember getting yelled at by my dad, but never on the field. My sisters and I loved those weekends. And not to mention, we were a pretty decent team…for a team of a mom, dad, a 7 year old and an 8 year old ( and a 2 year old who probably played in the dirt the whole time).

In 3rd grade, my dad signed me up for summer ball, and I still remember my coach’s name. I was so excited to be on a real team that I made sure to wear my favorite skirt to practice. In true Davila style, my dad asked me if I was sure I was making the best clothing choice and then let me go on to face the consequences.

I ran onto the field wearing my skirt and never looked back.

That sounds like I played forever, but I didn’t. I actually quit right before my freshman year because it got serious, and I decided that I hated being told what to do. I managed to maintain that attitude all the way into the Air Force recruiter’s office and joined the USAF in 1998 …along with thousands of others who also hated being told what to do.

In closing, it is pretty cool to watch my own daughter play ball and to see how much she loves it. I am so grateful that we get to make these sweet memories. Every time I watch her and Chris, I am reminded of my dad and our summer ball days.

Thank you dad for making such great memories with us. You raised three softball players, and one actually still plays (-:  That’s gotta be worth something!

Love you forever,