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.

All those times I told you no

Perhaps a more proper title might have been, “why anxiety keeps me at home” but we all know I like to have something that’s a little more catchy. But getting to the point, this is an apology for almost always saying no. My sadness has won. It’s won for years. Anxiety told me, no and so that’s what I said to you.

We moved here a little over 9 years ago. I had these hopes that I’d maybe left the anxiety and sadness back home with the old house and the old life. I was bitterly wrong. And despite a valiant attempt at being a social butterfly, including starting a MOPS group, I quickly lost to the monster that anxiety is. I think it started to creep back in when I got pregnant with Dexter.  I had this embarrassment associated with having a fourth. The stigma of another unplanned, but much wanted, baby. I remember when my friend Emily told me about her little Matthew, it was a relief to be able to finally tell someone, who I knew would be happy, that I too was expecting. I kept Dexter a secret for a while and when I finally did tell I felt each and every time someone looked at me poorly for adding another to my family. It was like a mounting hill of shame and anxiety seeds. A full field, waiting to bloom into something that looked like the shell I was and occasionally still am.

When my MOPS group fell apart, that probably didn’t help either. Because as each friend disappeared from my life, another anxiety seed sprouted. And when the one friend I really wanted, didn’t show up to our pizza date, I began to lose all hope I’d had to ever be apart of the social circle I’d so badly tried to infiltrate. I stopped letting people in. Even the kind Emily who kept me from feeling like I was a lost mother. I just stopped and I stopped saying yes. I made excuses not to go. I stopped returning texts. I never picked up the phone. I said no, to everything and everyone. For years.

I said no to the parties and to the play dates. I’ve made excuses not to show up.  And despite my love for shooting families, I admit, I’ve spent years hoping people would cancel but always glad they didn’t.  When I got pregnant with Dixon, I hid it for a full 20 weeks. Afraid to be excited; my anxiety stole the excitement of that baby bump. I was afraid people wouldn’t want him, they’d be upset he was a boy. That people would think I was crazy for wanting a fifth. I cried when my beloved friends threw me a baby shower. Because my anxiety told me I wasn’t good enough for a party. Thank goodness for my friends who saw my worth. Thank goodness someone loved me enough to celebrate me and my to be born son even knowing how anxious and unworthy I felt.

But even after that,  I still said no. To everything. To meals, I could have used after he was born. To help on the first day of school. To playdates and lunch dates and all those things. And people stopped asking and I felt relief but then I felt lonely and then my anxiety told me I wasn’t worth it all over again. I had regret. I have regret. For all the things I missed. For not calling my brother, for not saying my peace. For not taking my mother’s group, for not fighting for my place. I feel regret for not riding the rides, for not dipping my toes into the ocean. I regret not learning new things, for not taking the photographs, for not learning how to truly sing. For so many things.

But mostly I have regret for the no. I said no for no other reason but anxiety and self-doubt. And I am sorry. I am sorry I told you no. I wanted to go. Deep down, I wanted to go to your party. I just couldn’t. My inner worth told me I wasn’t good enough and I was too worried I might embarrass you or myself.

I won’t say no anymore. Please ask me again. Sure there may be reasons I can’t go but please, invite me again. Help me beat this monster. Remind me. Remind people like me that I can go, that I am wanted and that I have worth.

I won’t say no.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The trouble with the truth

I have been thinking about this a lot. I made the mistake of clicking over to a Twitter account I have no business looking at anymore and reading, yet another dribbling version of this person need for everyone to know her “truth”. It made me think of this article I’d read some time ago about why science tells us not to believe eyewitnesses testimony. The reality of it is, we all see the “truth” different.

You see, you and I can watch the same thing and see two, totally different stories. It’s proven. And so while your truth is “your truth” and my truth is mine; that doesn’t actually make it the truth. It makes it what our memory sees. It’s bullshit. It’s a memory and we all have memories that are different than the next persons.

The past month has been a series of ups and downs. Somedays I have this peace seep into my soul that let’s me think for a few moments, everything is going to be okay and then, a something else washes over me, with this fear, that this person , relentless, selfish, insecure and mean, is never going to let anyone try and get back to a normal life.  Instead, my life is going to be a series of hateful tweets, shitty, self-centered decisions and scary stalking motions that leave my teenage daughter fearful for her safety.

There are fewer of those days luckily and more days of peace. Days of walks and baseball and summer. There are mornings of watching the beautiful men in my life snuggle and hold each other close. There is that excitement of when our Daddy comes home. There is sharing memories that have been missing for the last couple years. It’s a pity I still let those shitty days, that hateful person, rent space in my head but I am incredibly grateful for those days that I get peace.

Erin, my therapist told me to find something that I love about all the things I “hate”. Whether it’s food, eggs for example, or whatever, or whoever. I hate them but I love how a good, fresh farm egg makes a cake taste. I find my mindfulness in the flavor those eggs give to my much-loved baking. I hate the smell of cigars but I am reminded of my dad who smokes them at card games and I love him and I love that he gets pleasure from some things, even if it’s cigars. And today, my love for this person I hate so much is that they gave me pieces of my life back. Ones that I have been missing forever. Love notes and handholding. The courage to put on my wedding rings again. I love that, despite the months of torture, I found my voice again. That I have found a love for working out and caring for my body, my temple. That I have made it a priority to make it to the gym, to the therapist, to eat better, to take my medicine. And while I truly, deeply and profoundly hate this person, I love that I got some of my life back because of their selfish, hateful and evil-driven actions. And because they’re so awful, I know I am not. Because I have truly seen what an evil, unstable person can do.

I’ll be honest here. I am tired of being silent. I have sat by and watched this person shit on my life.  I don’t know that it is all about me, or my family but  I am sure some of it is. I can guess what. I have 400+ screenshots of hateful. I have hours with the Royersford Police and many miles to the courthouse and avoid going to certain stores as to avoid this nasty person. But I am done with silence and I will write what I want. And I will say how awful and selfish I feel this person is. How a normal person would have stopped with the bullshit months ago. But instead, makes it a point to make fun of or hurt people they “supposedly” love. What a joke. When you love someone, even when they “scorned” you, you don’t dig daggers into their back. The people you love, you care for. Even when they hurt you. You make sure, even though they’ve imploded your world, that they have a coat when it is cold and food in their bellies. You don’t burn their fucking house down. That’s what SELFISH people do.

The truth works two ways. Mine and yours. Stop with it now. Move on. It’s time. Stop trying to hurt us. Stop hurting yourself. It’s time to move on.

 

 

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.