Who in the hell is that?

Drew and Me

My Drew. Gosh, he was the cutest baby. When I was pregnant with him, they thought something wasn’t right with his kidneys. I saw the ultrasound techs face and knew. Kevin thought I was disappointed that he was a boy. I wasn’t. I knew by her face, we’d get a call.

We did. And a level two ultrasound. But he was fine. Is fine. Thankfully.

This is my favorite photo of the two of us. Even though my posture is off and I have wild hair. You can see I am happy and healthy. That I love where I am. Who I am. What I was. I made that Mei Tei. I was finally falling into motherhood. Accepting that it was what I wanted to do, even though I’d felt like I had bumbled my way through it up until then. We were babies ourselves when we’d started our family. I never realized how much I’d miss those days.

I started to lose myself shortly after this. We packed up our whole life and moved to Pennsylvania hoping this would be a fresh start and our home. It’s been challenging at best. I’ve lost as much as I have gained. Maybe more. Sometimes I find myself thinking that the move here was the biggest mistake of my life. Kevin has tried to help me see the silver lining but it’s hard to see the joy when you’re so muddled up in the sadness. He reminds me that all that happened could have happened there. I tend to disagree.

I lost myself here.

It started with my friends. The fall out of a mother’s group, I watched one by one as we parted ways. I felt ashamed and shunned, my church shortly followed and eventually my faith. Which I am coming to terms with and learning to love my new-found ability to question everything. Even when it makes people uncomfortable. But once I’d lost most of my friend base and my church, I started to let myself go too. In about 5 years I gained 50 pounds. Putting me at a weight I am too afraid to even say. I can’t figure out how except maybe sugar but it happened. And I stopped letting people take my photo and I stopped letting anyone touch me. I could barely look at myself. I wore the same ratty clothes and I never left. When I did it was in a long sweater and I hid in the corner, hoping no one would see me there.

There is almost no record I existed the last 5 years.

And in that five years, the demons in my head, they won. Over and over, telling me that I sucked at everything. Everything. Parenting, loving, crafting, talking, friending. I put the camera down, the paint brushes. I stopped trying. The demons told me I was unloved and unlovable. Sometimes they still do.  I heard in everyone’s voices I was a bad mother and a bad friend. A bad child and a bad sister. I was a bad wife. I wasn’t worthy and I wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t kind or smart or helpful. I was worthless.

Worthless.

I let bad people tell me that too. I still do.

Worthless. I can hear them as they mock my lack of a job. Not knowing how much I carry. And it’s a lot. I just chose not to prove it to you. I take care of everyone. Everything. Thanklessly. Always.

But I am taking the steps to reclaim my worth. And I’ve lost so much weight and gained so much strength. And I did it the right way. With diet and exercise. The scale tells me I am working hard. So do the measurements and the feelings inside. But when I look in the mirror I see the same sad, chubby, ugly girl and I think, “who the hell is that?” I still see the wrongs and none of the rights.

That's me! Sunflower fields

Brains are cruel things sometimes. My body image is so tied up in this idea of what broke me that all I can think is I must have just been a hideous monster for what happened to me. Comparison is the thief of joy and to be pushed aside for something so truly ugly, well, it does a number on you. And no amount of weight loss is going to fix it. And I don’t know how to change it inside my head.

How do I see the beautiful people tell me I have? How do I see the arm divet without wondering if my arms are really that big or if it’s just the camera angle? How do I convince myself that I am worthy and beautiful and kind and smart? How do I love myself?

How do I start to love myself?

How do I stop listening to the demons? I can feel happy and then, bam, the sad comes back. I’ve covered myself in armor trying to avoid the triggers and yet, they still creep in, reminding me. There will always be this hole. It’s unfillable now. And I want to stop thinking about it and wanting. I want to stop wanting and worrying and thinking and reverting back to the old girl, April’s girl. I want to be new… and shiny and happy and in love with myself.

I just want to be whole. I want to look in the mirror and not question what I am seeing. I want to stop worrying and just go with the flow. I just want some happy, more often and less this. I don’t want to have to work so hard not to feel so sad. Happy shouldn’t be so hard. Even though I know it’s worth the work. Happy should be easy. I know my happiness is there… the work is removing the rest.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” — Helen Keller

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

A question of karma; what did I do

Forgive me for I am not acting myself
But these bees in my breath have to come out
Well you give me no reason to doubt your word
But I still somehow still have my reasons
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to scare you at all
I’m just trying to drain all this bad blood

This week was a tough one. I find myself going through waves of highs and lows. This week, I spent fighting my way out of the low tide. I didn’t win much but I kept fighting. I am still fighting. This morning, I ran the water as hot as I could and cried the same primal cry I’d had in April, remembering what’d I’d lost this time last year and what I’d lost this April. Sometimes it feels like the sad is winning; even though I am fighting with everything I have. Even though there is so much more sunshine than there was. Sometimes, the clouds steal my sun. There was so much rain this week.

I felt so alone.

I visited with the psychiatrist in charge of my medicine trying to muster up the energy to overcome the embarrassment I felt, for wanting something else. Something in addition to the anxiety meds. I wasn’t brave enough and left without anything else. I immediately regretted it. It was just so hard to say when I am really so not into meds. But I can’t always decide if the sad is circumstance or truly depression. But what does it matter? I need someone to help me with my sad. I looked at the therapist after, lungs full of words but my mouth closed down because some weeks, this one especially, I feel ashamed of the feels I am feeling.

Instead, I said, in the middle of the war, what did I do? What did I do to deserve this?

But no one can answer.

No one can tell me why I have this August shaped hole in my heart that cannot be filled. And why it’s paired with a hole that is shaped like April and many other months before. No one can tell me what I did to deserve all this.

Instead, they say nothing. I did nothing or literally nothing. When they say literally nothing which hurts more than saying something wrong. Because when people say nothing? It feels like you don’t deserve their time, their words. It fills the August shaped hole with worthlessness and the April shaped hole with despair.

What ever did I do to feel so worthless? Why are my good days so tainted with despair?

I want my sunshine back. To fill my arms with it. To get the rainbow at the end of this storm.

There is no rainbow for me. Someone else got everything I wanted, without any of the work.

Mental illness. I guess. Is that why I have such good weeks and then such low ones? Is it mental illness or is it me?

The summer is almost over and it seems like it passed in a blur. We didn’t do anything we wanted and still, it was gone in a flash. I added a second job to the first new job. Both I am still so excited about but I confess, the logistics of it all are scary. Sometimes it just feels like they’re not enough hours. I know there aren’t when I look at my paper list of to do. I was already busy. But I can’t say no to either. Both could be so good. But I with school starting soon, I am just worried how I will get it all done. I am not Wonder Woman and let’s face it, help is hard. Really hard.

We’re looking to move away. Well, at least I am. This isn’t home anymore. Was it ever?  A reminder of something pops up at every corner. But still, the thought of going away makes me so sad that the lump in my throat feels like it’s the size of Jupiter. I don’t think I can deal with much more change. But I don’t think I can stay here.

Tomorrow is Monday. I hope tomorrow I get my sunshine back. I’m looking for it. It’s there. I just need to find my footing in all this mud.

 

 

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Finding the silver lining, when the clouds that surround you are very dark

This week the kids were busy. Very busy. I made multiple trips to the Kids’ Camp that some attended and some volunteered at as well as many appointments and you know, life. We’re as busy as the next person, and not as busy as some but for some reason this week I really felt it. I barely made it to the gym and the days I did were cut short because I needed to get home to get someone somewhere. The kids love Kids’ Camp. Me? Not so much. It’s incredibly loud and incredibly chaotic. I used to take the photos but stopped, I’m glad I did but sometimes I feel a tinge of “miss it” when I walk into it. Until of course, I walk into the screaming auditorium of hell. I remember why I stopped then. Heat, loud and anxiety. It’s better someone else shoots it. And it’s helping me learn to control my inner control freak. Each year it gets easier. Each year I am more grateful for someone else’s hard work. Grateful that there are more people out there who serve where others cannot. Self-care and caring about people. Things that sometimes go hand in hand.

We’re fortunate to have cousins who aren’t blood cousins but cousins indeed. Their mother lets me have them all week and I was glad. And Wednesday, she took them with her for some fun. Except we learned Drew is INCREDIBLY allergic to something at their house. Guinea pigs we think. And this? This is what happened to his face.

Gramma Bamma was quick thinking and gave him some Benadryl and when he had some trouble breathing we took our butts quickly to the emergency room. You’d have sworn it was a full moon, it was so busy but they got him in fairly quickly and treated him even faster. I appreciate nurses so much. Kind and thoughtful and funny.

He fell asleep and I waited. Three hours to make sure he didn’t have another reaction.

I am glad he slept. We got moved from one room because an ambulance came in with what looked and sounded like a drug overdose. I saw the foaming mouth and heard, “what did you take”… one can assume but I really don’t know. Drew was put in the hallway while they mopped the blood up off the floor of the new room and sanitized it for safety. The head nurse yelling at housekeeping all along the way. I felt sick to my stomach. It’s easy to think about people dying there. I am sure many do.  Once settled I sat in the chair next to the room opening and overheard the next room’s conversation about what to do if mama’s heart stopped. I heard the sound of what I can only assume was mama’s husband, voice cracking as he said, “I am not ready to do this. I can’t let her go.”

The hustled continued through the hour. People in and out. The man across the hall waiting for an MRI. A couple, newly pregnant hoping to hear a heartbeat after a gush of blood, leaving with all smiles. And then, the sound of the visibly pregnant mother, all alone, when she let out a primal sound after one can only assume she lost the baby. I don’t know why else anyone would make that sound after a room was totally silent. I have heard that pain before. I have been there.

Just a few hours before, I’d thought, fuck, what next? What fucking next. Monday I’d pulled up to drop Devlynn off at work and saw our “problems” car. Furious, I waited in the parking lot a few minutes before heading inside to sit and watch, as I’d promised Devlynn I’d do. I ordered my coffee and sat at the high tops and waited silently for these people to leave. They sat a long time before stepping out. I think they waited for the moment I turned away for a phone call. These people are awfully brave online; not so much in person. Even when they cowardly smiled for the photo I took to send the police. We’d agreed it was fine to visit, but not okay to stay. I should have known that would be short-lived when the one said they’d stop tweeting and started about 8 seconds later, earlier this spring. Boundaries are clearly an issue for these people. Had they gotten up the moment they saw my child, I’d have extended grace but it was CLEAR, they had no intention of leaving. And I was pissed.

The next day I went to one of their jobs. I stood in line, waiting to order and when I got to the register, I said, “Hey ______, does this make you uncomfortable that I am here? Because this is how you make Devlynn feel. Knock it off.” and walked away. Maybe not my finest moment but I was done at that point. Totally done. And when someone we both know came out to talk to me about it, I trembled and yelled, because their behavior makes me afraid. Even if it’s passive and cowardly. I tried to “face” them online because it’s the only way they seem to communicate. I was ignored, of course. Because it’s easier to be a passive bully, then face a situation.

I’d gotten a screenshot the week earlier. It’s below. And realistically, as an outsider looking in, this would be a harmless and maybe even funny tweet but when it came from someone who when you said to them, “we are afraid and know you have two guns,” says, “actually I have three, you start to feel afraid. And this isn’t the first passive threat. There have been mentions of shooting and burying 17-year-old girls and references to Liam Nielsen and his famous, I will find you and I will kill you, line. So, when they start showing up at your child’s job again, you get nervous and you get nervous fast. I thought, jeez us, this is never-ending and this unstable person will eventually hurt one of us.

 

By Wednesday you see, I was about nuts. So worked up about the next thing that I could barely sleep until I heard that noise. That sound, that poor woman who’d just lost everything. And I realized, now? We’re okay. We are safe. We have police involved, we have a home and food and people who love us. And I am not alone, in an ER, screaming primally for all that I have lost. Instead? I am moving on. Making changes and trying to make sure everyone and everything that is important to me is safe and taken care of. I am not going to stay stuck in the past. Even if sometimes I trip up and post some mean on my Twitter; I am human and I am fucking tired of these games. I want to be around this corner. I have one foot there.  I have forgiven and I am trying to make the best of my fucking Lifetime movie. Damn it, when did I audition for this shit?

Thursday, as we walked, the problem drove by again. Still confused why they feel they need to come down forth, I stood in the middle of the street and waved. This problem called the police and told them I jumped in front of their car. Seriously? Really? But when the cops showed up knowing my first and last name and address, they put two and two together and realized they knew all about it and this person and words like “mentally unstable” and “we’ll handle it”, were tossed around. They mentioned how odd it was my car just been vandalized. And as they nodded in agreement as I pleaded with them for this person to leave us alone, I knew, even after all this, there was still a silver lining to it all. Despite all this pain and well, torture, I was still okay, we were still okay and we will always be okay as long as we continue to work and do the right things. (Occasionally peppered with a middle of the street wave. Funny, I don’t know why that was so different from them waving wildly from their car or in the grocery store. Backfired for them, that’s for sure. )

Silver lining? Patience pays off. Silver lining? Despite a serious dip, I am getting everything I wanted and some. Silver lining? I found me. My voice. Silver lining? I’m learning everything will be ok.

Everything is still okay. It’s going to be okay. I’m so sorry for all the tragedy of the ER but I am thankful for the peace it’s given me. Knowing that despite the very low, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay. We have each other. Despite what anything thinks. We are fine. We just hit a bump, a ugly, nasty, hatefilled bump in our road. We are okay.

I have thought of those people every day since. I’m so sorry these things happen. No one ever deserves to have that kind of scream. Ever.

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.