I am an over thinker. I analyze everything no matter how big or small. If I find flaws in the world around me, I tend to find what I am doing wrong first rather then put the blame on someone else first even if it is clearly not of my doing. I've had to learn how to handle my life better especially as my daughter has gotten older. And as parents, we put so much of their mistakes on us. We think if we could have taught them better or helped more or done something differently, maybe we could have saved them some pain. Because let's be honest. We don't want our kids to make the same mistakes that we did. If we can help them avoid that hurt, why not help them navigate better then we did? So we take notes of every choice we made for them, take stock of every decision, and then hold it against ourselves as they grow. We find ways to blame ourselves for the bad choices they make because we don't want to let them fall as hard as we did. I watch my kid navigate her way through this brand new world and I hold my breath every time she walks out that door. I know the world that is out there and it still terrifies me to leave my house some days. I've had to learn to trust the foundation I gave her even if I think maybe I didn't make it sturdy enough. I've had to trust that if she falls, she'll figure out how to get back up just like I did, just like my parents trusted for me.
As kids, we hold our parents up to these unbelievably high standards. That pedastool is so high that maybe we set up our parents up for failure. As kids, we think they can do no wrong but when they do we don't have the capacity to understand they are humans just like us. At some point in their lives, they were kids, too, with hopes and dreams and goals. We don't understand that sometimes having kids changes our parents' lives so much that we alter their dreams, their hopes. We love our children. They are beautiful and amazing and bring so much joy to our lives but there is a reality that we also lose a little bit of ourselves when we choose to have them, too. It is not a bad thing. Please don't take this as any declaration of regret for having my own. I look at my mother, this amazing kind and wonderful person, and I watch her find who she is after she gave her life to us. I came from this strong woman that gave us so many years of her life without blinking, not once asking anything for herself. As I get older, the more of her I see in me where I thought I was always more like my father. I got the best of both worlds, I think. She's raised her kids. She has no more obligation to us other than to just continue to be a great Mom. And I look at my kid, now legally an adult. Where I was once scared of having an empty nest, I get more excited for my own journey.
I've spent pretty much my entire adult life as someone's mother. Again I am so happy that life decided that I would be the mother to this kid. She has been an inspiration to me, a form of strength I never knew I had, an avenue to become a better person. She has taught me so many things in this world that I wouldn't have known without her. The struggles, the tears, the not knowing what the hell I was doing was worth every second for that little girl to be in this world. But now a new chapter is starting. It's her time to go into this world and learn those lessons that I did so many years ago and I have to be OK when she falls down because she will, many times to come. I will forever blame myself for the mistakes I made with her. I will always worry that I didn't do enough for her, that I didn't work hard enough for her, that I wasn't there for her as well as I could have been. I will always think that I made these mistakes and that I somehow messed up her entire life. But here's the thing I think we, as parents, need to do. I think we just need to cut ourselves a break. Good parents are going to make mistakes. We're not always going to know what to do or how to fix things no matter how old our kids get. There will always be things that, as adults, our kids can blame us for. But, listen, it's healthy to take accountability for what we do wrong. We don't have to beat ourselves up so badly either. There have been two things I've wanted for my kid. I've wanted her to grow up to be a kind person and to just find her happiness. And I think at the end of the day, isn't that we want?
I had a good childhood because my parents loved us enough to provide that for us. We had shoes on our feet, food in our bellies, a place to lay our head at night. They provided us with a solid education and gave us opportunities even if we weren't smart enough to see some of them. I grew up with laughter and smiles and jokes about poop at the dinner table. It wasn't fancy. I wore hand me down clothes and I fought with my siblings and we moved a couple times but it was a good childhood. I can look back at it and appreciate all of those things they gave us. If I was missing anything, it was just me being a brat. And, sure, my parents made some mistakes but, as adults, we can let those go. I grew up strong and very much in my own way. My mother was smart enough to understand that was just how I was going to be, her stubborn and unusual child. I was going to find my own way through this life. And I remember during that very rough time in my life, I was angry at them, so angry. What I didn't, couldn't see is that they were two humans who just didn't know what to do for me. I pushed them away. They didn't abandon me. I guess I didn't really understand my parents until I became one myself. I wish I had a lot sooner in my life. I wish I had known all the sacrifices my mother made for us when I was younger and I wish I could have helped her more. And I hope my father knows up there in heaven that I love how he taught me to dream, how to believe that impossibles can happen even if these days my life feels like a struggle bus. Mother's Day is coming and maybe this blog is a few weeks early but we should tell our parents more often how grateful we are for them. My mother, this amazing woman who doesn't want the praise, deserves to know how beautiful her spirit truly is. I can only hope to be just like her one day.
It is hard to understand, to see something clearly but not exactly know how to get there. I always know what to do. I've never had that many doubts about the things I have to do in this life. I don't question what I want or second guess my destination. Where I seem to have the problem is allowing so many things get in my way. I focus on the in between when really I just need to keep my head forward. My feet will eventually follow. I don't want to write another blog about my life isn't quite working in the moment. Sure, I do not like my daily routine, the phone calls I have to answer, the feeling like I'm wasting so much time on all these things that don't really matter. They don't but me writing a blog week after week about how my current status is a drag isn't really going to change my seat. It feels like I'm in this game of musical chairs but no matter what seat I take it still won't be where I want to sit. Why? Because I don't want to sit any more. I want to stand and dance and laugh and live my life with this fire that I've been terrified of most my adult life. I want to live, not slowly fade or rot. What a perfectly good waste of a soul, right?
And I guess this week some stuff has happened to make me look at myself with some confusion. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I've carried these things with me most of my life and they are heavy, sure. Some mornings I want to lay in that bed and never get out of it. Some nights I lock myself in the bathroom and cry for a long time because this life hurts. It does and I'm not going to sugar coat that. It just hurts me a lot but I won't talk to you about it. I won't sit down and explore that with anyone because it is my battle, my war to win... and every day I get out of that bed, every night that I come out of that bathroom I win a little more. I know that I am not alone in this world. I know there are people who root for me and I love them dearly. I have so many in my corner, cheering me on, some not even knowing what they are cheering me on for. But this life is for me to figure out because I can't digest fully if you figure it out for me. That drive to stand on my own is what has kept me going this long. And though I understand the power of help, I only ask when necessary. Right now, I won't lie. I feel like I'm down on one knee but I won't stay here much longer.
This week like so many other weeks in this life struggle of mine has taught me some lessons. My husband was diagnosed with early Type 2 Diabetes. My brain does this thing where it thinks of the worst case scenarios. That is my first reaction. He tells me in the middle of the day while I'm at work and it was this downhill run from there. I thought that he was going to die, that I was going to lose him. I started thinking about insulin and needles and made him bed ridden. I started thinking about his funeral and just kept going down this very dark rabbit hole. That's what I do. You don't call me, I think you hate me. My kid doesn't text me back, she's in a ditch somewhere. My back hurts and I have cancer. I expect the worst because if it is not the worst, then we're OK... but it's silly. I make my own life so much more complicated. I get it. I am the one that leans into the dark, that allows myself to go down these paths when I don't really have to. He went to the doctor and the situation is not great and we're going to have to make a lot of life changes but I don't have to buy that coffin just yet. (Dark humor is how I deal. No malice intended).
And that's what this week has taught me. This darkness that I fight doesn't have to be my every day. I don't have to look at my husband and feel like we're on borrowed time. I don't have to answer those phones and allow that toxic vibe determine the joy in my life. It's OK that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning just as long as I get up. And I'm not ashamed that every now and then I lock myself in that bathroom and cry until my eyes hurt. My soul has a right to let it out. This world, this life will always hurt. I don't have to be afraid of that hurt. Because the silver lining in that hurt? I know how to love and I don't have to be scared of that either. Parts of my life are a drag but nothing I can't fix. I sat down at my desk after he texted me the news and I laughed. The phone rang and I remember thinking none of this matters. I am going to answer that phone and someone is going to complain to me about a something that means nothing but I will answer the phone. I will answer until life presents me with window (jumping out at the slightest of cracks). I'm on one knee right now but my head is starting to look up. It's only a matter of time. This blog isn't a woe is me thing. It's an about damn time declaration.
For most of my life, I have been terrified of dropping the ball, of making one mistake and screwing everything that comes after. I looked at my daughter when she was born, so scared of this tiny girl because of all the mistakes I saw myself already making. So much of my life has been wasted on not pushing myself in fear of letting myself down. It wasn't necessarily failure that scared me. It was this idea that the struggle would just keep going and I would have no reprieve. This cycle would just keep repeating itself. I will end up always hand to mouth, always with a dream just out of reach because I can't take a leap. Lately, I've found myself falling again, feeling like I'm going down this rabbit hole of feeling like no matter what I do, it will not get better. I feel myself swallowing myself again because it is easier to retreat into this darkness instead of clawing myself out once again. So much of this life is spent climbing mountains only to fall back down to get back up to fall down to get back...
If I'm being brutally honest, I'm burnt out, completely and utterly burnt to a crisp. I have so much desire to make these words sing, to make my lines dance but I get so exhausted by all the other things that bang around this head. I go to work every day, listen to people yell at me for things that don't really matter, making money that barely pays the bills. I am so mentally drained at the end of the day, so empty where all I want to do is crawl into my bed under my covers and not come out. I feel all these warning signs that all the battles that I've won are all falling apart. This old feeling of constant dread, of never being able to catch my breath. I looked at an old picture of me the other day and I was smiling. I thought I wish I could feel that smile again, that I could feel her warmth and hope but I understand that the state of my mental health is up to me to care for. I understand my triggers, the things that make my fists clench. I wear a hair band around my wrist and I have had to flick it much more recently. In this understanding, I become more aware of myself.
So, over the last few weeks while I've been sitting in this brewing storm, I've had some revelations. One, because for my own mental state I've had to. And, two, because I literally cannot live with this much dread. I have been trying to teach myself how to let go and let god for lack of better words. I have a tendency to let myself get wrapped up in my job, in other people, in these things that do not matter. It is so much easier for me to deal with your baggage than to carry my own. And all these things that I don't like about myself, about my life are all things that I can fix. It's just it all feels like a struggle, such a struggle right now, but I have to stop only seeing the climb and accept more that I can succeed. Right now I don't want to get up to go do what I have to do. I want so desperately to just create and find my wings that doing anything else feels wrong. The more I write, the more I draw, I realize the more I let go of all these things I've carried with me, all these burdens that weren't my own to begin with. I'm not scared of failing. I'm scared that I will never really win.
My husband and I were sitting at breakfast this morning after we had done the laundry, the beautiful world of adulthood. As usual, we are struggling right now. We are good, kind people. We are doing all the right things and making all the right moves. Between the two of us, we spent 20+ years in the service industry, doing what we had to do provide for our family. We both just recently got out of it because we got older, because we didn't want to work nights, because we were burnt out from being constantly in people's faces. It's not an easy industry to work. So, we made the move and left. And, now, we've had to learn how to manage our lives in brand new way but right now it feels like a struggle. I see how stressed out he is and I feel my own self falling into the shadows. But when I look at him? I see hope and I feel his faith and I know he worries. I don't ever want him to feel like he has to worry that I will crumble even if right now it feels like a fight not to. I sat there this morning and I just looked at him. I thought about what I left over the last few years, knowing that even if it feels like maybe I made a mistake I have to trust that this climb will eventually lead to the top. I am tired. I will not lie but I know I will keep on. This war that rages in my head may never truly quiet but I will eventually win. Let go and let me and just keep climbing..