True Self

(Not) Earning God's Love, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

(Not) Earning God's Love, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

I imagine the people I grew up around down here in the Buckle of the Bible belt worry about their child calling to say they are gay or that they got a tattoo of Satan on the right side of their neck where there is no way to cover it, even for the best of job interview opportunities. I worry about those things too, but not because I think my children will end up burning in hell, but because I think they will experience a judgment hell here on earth by those who think they know what is good and wholesome and what is bad and worthy of an eternity in the pits of fire.

Freedom, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Don’t cry, Susan
My mother said as many of yesterdays’ horrific events
fade back into the recesses of my being …
my tears dried.

Don’t feel, Susan
the world told me as a diverse and risking life continued to teach me
well into the depths of my adult life. . .
Numb became normal.

Stop! my body tries to tell me
as I cry and risk and go on
well into the best part of my life and my work.
I go on working. . .

Don’t be a woman of possibility,
a woman who says the f___ word,
obey the message
“ be nice”
the world says of my ability to say no
because I am a female.

Smile, don’t cry, be nice, talk nice
holds me in a self-made prison of my messaging ...
when
I want to roar, shout, cry, be hated and
most of all not be nice!

I hurl myself through the wall of messaging
Plunging into the
Wild wonderful world
Of freedom and excitement and possibility
Of creative identity named
ME.

Susan Austin-Crumpton
Executive Director & Founder
The Estuary, Inc.

Oneness of Belonging, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Oneness of Belonging, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

My mother died in 1995.

Yet her voice sounds in my mind over and over again with the same message from my childhood, adulthood and even after her death I still hear her saying, “Susan, don’t forget who you are!”

Do I Matter?, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

Do I Matter?, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

I received a postcard the other day. I was excited. I thought a friend had visited a cool and exotic place and had thought of me while there. 

Then I read it. 

Dear Jacqueline,

My name is Brent* and we don’t know each other. I have been praying for you morning and evening for the last 30 days. 

May the peace and goodness of the Lord be with you and all you love. 

Brent (Awaken Nashville)

At first, it confused me. Then a strange “invaded” sort of feeling came over me, not unlike I’ve experienced when something of mine has been stolen. That invaded feeling turned into anger.

Ongoing Life...Ongoing Therapy, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

Ongoing Life...Ongoing Therapy, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

I have been in therapy for over 20 years, most have been here at the Estuary. I’m still coming and I now get to write for this place. It is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I get to write, something my soul has been longing to do since I was a young child. The curse is that I have to write and now I’m being held accountable. 

Forgiveness, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Forgiveness, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world".

   -- Desmond Tutu, The Book of Forgiveness 

I was a terrible oldest sister.
 
In our dysfunctional family filled with addiction and anger, yet held together in intense love and loyalty, I raged and cried and felt isolated.

Truth Tellers, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Truth Tellers, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I have been watching a special “comedy” routine by Hannah Gadsby. She is a wonderfully strong person who is intelligent, funny, well educated, and successful. She taught me lots about feeling connected in a way we all long for, beyond gender and power.
 

My Stories, Myself, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

My Stories, Myself, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Driving into Arches National Park in Utah, I have this joyous feeling: I have never been so happy in my life! I am with my beloved husband and two glorious grandsons. It is a precious time.

It Was Me All Along, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

It Was Me All Along, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I was backpacking alone in Utah, carrying a huge pack on my skinny hips that looked like raw meat.  I felt invincible, capable, with every step validating that there is nothing I can’t do. I loved it! That was many years ago.