Why me time is time for them too

I have mostly been a “stay at home mom” for the last 17 years. Mind you, I’ve always done something on the side to bring in extra money. When we were first married I sealed envelopes. For awhile, I made pageant dresses. One Christmas the kids wanted a Wii so bad they could taste it; I spent hours and hours sewing tiny felt food sets to list on Etsy. I have been a photographer for 10 years. Shooting full-time at least a couple of those years. The last five or so, I’ve freelanced from home specializing in social media, WordPress, and graphic design. All while handling our house; paying the bills, being the taxi driver, doing my very best to keep it clean and everyone’s laundry done; homework and school, and well, everything but the bulk of the income. I think it’s been 15 years since I sat down. Literally. I ain’t eating bonbons here people.

But what I wasn’t doing was taking care of myself. I’d spent every moment making sure everyone else in my house was happy but rarely, if ever, did I take moments for myself. I went to baseball, lacrosse, all the school things. I made sure everyone was fed, physically and emotionally. I took care of everyone in my house and much more outside it. Between photography, and Fiverr and the little social life I had, I was stretched thin and by the beginning of 2016, I was tapped out. Totally empty, bucket dry.

My bucket was dry.

2016 was the year of hell. If you’ve read this blog at all, I’ve been pretty candid about it. And while I write about a lot, there are a lot of things I have left out. To protect me, my family, but mostly my kids. March was the last straw. Looking at myself in the mirror was a thing of nightmares and every time I passed my reflection, I looked but I didn’t really know who or what I was looking at anymore. I was lost inside that girl. I explained it to my therapist like this; I was pushed to the middle of this shit show ocean  on a raft and then someone cut the rope and all the people who were supposed to be taking care of me stood at the bank yelling “how can we help you” but because they couldn’t “hear” me, they did nothing or something else that they thought would help but wasn’t really helping. And there I was, a shell, on the raft alone. Everyone meant well. They mean well; but because I couldn’t say, “gosh please do my laundry and get these kids out of my house”, they shut the door and moved along thinking I was okay and I wasn’t. And it felt lonely.

And then, I realized the thing I’d been saying to Devlynn all this time, needed to happen in my life.

You can only change yourself.

YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOURSELF.

And so I did. Err, I am. I am changing myself.

For years I’ve avoided a therapist. I get sick of talking. (I know, crazy right from the exhibitionist writer.) But the therapist has helped me to see that what I was thinking was abnormal and weird and bad, is totally normal and human and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. She’s helped me to find “love” in the things that I hate, with a burning fire. She has made it okay for me to not only find my voice but use it. And use it I have. Even when it hurt someone’s feelings. I know now sometimes you have to hurt people’s feelings so they stop hurting yours. I’m TIRED of people hurting my feelings.

And so I go to therapy, every week even when it makes me feel stupid or little.  And I see a psychiatrist now too and she has me on medication. And I don’t like it but I know it’s helping and when I talk with her next, she’ll help me figure out if I don’t like it because it’s not helping the way it should or if I don’t like it because the assholes in my head are telling me weak people take meds and bad people see therapists. And the reality is, she’ll probably want me to take more. But I will say no because I have a voice but you read that already.

But probably one of my biggest changes has been that I am taking care of myself. Depression and anxiety took my ability to shower some days. Yes, SHOWER. It was all my energy to shower, then lotion and blow out my hair. So I didn’t because I needed that energy to take care of everyone else in my life. Honestly, I needed that energy to breath. Because I was having trouble filling my own lungs with air. There were days I forgot to even breath.

I’m showering now. I have to because I smell terrible after I work out. Alone. Without guilt. And I love working out. It started with an hour on the elliptical and then turned into cardio and weights thanks to my brother-in-law the personal trainer. I also meet every few weeks with my friend AND nutritionist who is helping me get past my food stuff. And I have a lot of food stuff. I have learned about eating for me between the therapist and the nutritionist. I enjoy the food instead of shoving it in my mouth and hoping I remember to do it again in a few hours. I am 2.8 pounds from my original goal. And 12.8 from my new goal. I lost 4 inches around my waist. That’s huge to me. And my biceps? Amazing and my triceps and shoulders are coming along. And my core will follow as soon as I master the burpees. The best part is I can look at myself in that mirror again and actually see me. I am in there. I am in that woman with the blue hair and beautiful tattoos and I am in that woman who’s got stretch marks proving she carried 5 kids to term and lost a few along the way. My cheek bones are fucking amazing and I am full of energy. And my friend said she saw it. And I believe her.

I believe her. I am in there. It’s me.

I got my family photos done this last Friday. We’d had them done before and I wasn’t happy with them. Probably because I wasn’t happy with myself and well, let’s be real here, I’m a control freak. But I walked into these photos with no expectations. No posing, sitting. Loving. Holding. And being a family. My friend Kat? Well, she took the most beautiful and amazing photos of my beautiful and amazing family.

And I am in there. It’s me. I’m beautiful in there. Despite the scars that I know people see. I am not ashamed of my sadness or my chemical imbalance. And that’s what it is… fucked up chemicals in my brain. I am worthy of all the love. I always have been. I just waited too long for someone else to tell me. I just needed to tell myself.

I am worthy of all the love.

And so are you.

I got a job today. After a year of applying. It’s perfect. I can take my kids and I can still shoot and craft and I can still go to baseball. It’s fucking amazing. And at the perfect time.

And so I’m lucky. My raft kept me alive… my raft and the voices calling me. Even when I couldn’t tell them what I needed. Hearing it kept me afloat.

I am worthy.

And so are you.

And taking care of me? Will help me take care of them. So they’re lucky too.

 

 

 

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.

And the praying continues

My phone blew up yesterday. I had to turn it off. I am sorry for not responding. I eventually will. And I realize how rude it is to read and not respond but the unfortunate reality of my state of mind is that I cannot do it. And the well-meaning, “I am still praying for you”? Salt. Horrible, bubbly salt. Stop it.

1.)Someone who hides malicious intent under the guise of kindliness

2.)A person who is “two-faced

1-“Hey I just met the nicest girl.”

2-“Yeah I saw…I know her, she hurts guys just for fun, her kindness is fake.”

1-“Jeez..what a wolf in sheep’s clothing”

My life, in a nutshell right now. A wolf, hiding under the sheepish shape of God and religion. A wolf who’s hatefully posted for weeks only to recoil when a kind young man, befriended them. The tone changed when I boiled over. They didn’t see the weeks of Tweets. The drive-bys, the Instagram photos of stalking work. They missed when they lied online about who I was and what they were going through. They don’t hear all the lies this person believes and uses as weapons against me. They didn’t see all the passiveness shrink away when called out on it. When I got called psychotic for looking at this person public Twitter when they have found ways to look at my private Instagram then tweet passively about how “fake” we were. So, eff you. For taking a side. Fuck you for picking the villain and not the victim if you were so inclined to feel you had to choose. God is not real. If he was, I wouldn’t feel shunned time and time again. Shunned when I didn’t sign your rule book. Shunned when I didn’t provide free services. Shunned when I had unanswerable and uncomfortable questions and shunned when I need someone to lift me up. God is not real. And religion is just an excuse to sing the praises of forgiveness instead of digging into the real problems. I am done with praying. Stop praying for me. Praying doesn’t work.

It’s people, not God that do this. I know that he wasn’t going to reach down a redirect crashing airplanes but everyone speaks of hearing him and I cannot. All I hear is silence and I see pain. All the time pain. I see babies who die and children who get cancer. I see bombs and angry and mean. This wolf in my life who can’t think of anyone but themselves. Who stole my memories and my peace. They live in the God bubble. It just makes me want nothing, ever, to do with God again. You don’t have to be a part of a church to be the good. I can be the good. I am not this monster.

I am so fucking angry right now. So incredibly angry. I am angry that my tiny problems balled up into this. That I let the “it could be so much worse” trap me into this corner of not trying to get it out and now, I have this enormous, ungodly demon floating around me all the time. Each silver car that passed made me shiver only to find out that the silver car was traded for another; convenient. Afraid to go out, afraid to do anything. I am angry that my kids’ lives got turned upside down and that everything I loved, changed and now looks different, feels different, smells different and is different. That I am the outsider in the circle and while the volumes of people reaching out make me feel loved, I am so hardened that I cannot accept it or permit myself to believe that they love me. How can anyone love me….. how do you get the words “well at least someone does” out of my head. How do you accept that people love you when this kind of thing happens in your life? How do you prevent the wolf and the illness from winning? Because they’re fucking winning. The wolf, a pathetic clone of what they thought was me. Ill-proportioned words and bravery, staggeringly hidden under the guise of “say it to my face” and “do you have something to say to me” but only in an audience and not one and one. That’s fear, whether wolves believe it or not. Running, fearfully from the store, knowing I was coming. Passively tweeting, that’s fear. Lying is fear.

Winning. What’s the prize? What do any of us win in this? A poverty of peace. A poverty of love. Instability. We all win fear. We win angry and we win sad. Surely you can’t believe anyone believes your painted words. Surely you have to realize how words mean nothing and actions mean everything. And you can’t fix smudges all the time.

Please stop telling me you’re praying for me. I don’t want to hear it anymore.

 

 

 

 

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.

In the house of boys, we needed a doll

Devlynn outgrew her American Girl dolls many years ago. Although they still live her, complete with accessories, she doesn’t, at 17, play with them anymore. They, however, hold a very special place in her heart and I know, being that she is my daughter, she is holding onto them because she is worried the memories will fade. Those memories stick around if there is something physical to remind you.

Drew briefly loved a Bitty Baby he affectionately named, Drew Too. I couldn’t tell you where Drew Too is now. He fell quickly out of love with him as we discovered Bey Blades.

Now I have Dexter. He is a feeler and a nurturer by nature and because I have been making these soft dolls for the past few months, I have been frequenting doll boards on Facebook. He’d noticed, over my shoulder a boy doll. American Girl’s new boy doll, Logan to be exact.

Logan is 115.00. One-Hundred-Fifteen. From my experience, with Drew’s Bitty Baby I wasn’t going there. Not that I don’t think the AG dolls are worth it. I do. We own several. I myself have a Josephina whom I love and adore. She is clearly built better than some of the big box store dolls but having experienced the sticker shock of a badly wanted baby disappearing into who knows what, I wasn’t ready to fork over those dollars.

But you can’t buy a boy doll at the big box stores. Seriously. You can buy a girl doll and re-wig it. But the wig, I have found is often as much as the doll and I might as well of put that much towards Logan. So I bought a rooted doll and I cut. Slowly and not till after hoping a hairdresser would save me. No one signed up. Not that I blame them.

Let me tell you, it takes a little bit of bravery to make the first few cuts. I used sharp scissors, a small pair like for embroidery after I cut a large chunk of the length off. I cut up instead of against like you would think to cut. It made the actual cuts less blunt and blend better. I got to photo number two before getting some advice from someone who actually cuts hair and ended up with the last photo on the bottom right. I also removed the “makeup” from the cheeks and lips and trimmed the eyelashes by about half. A quick gray tee shirt and khaki pants, we’ll buy some sneakers (although I am hoping to find some Jordans) and I will make a beanie but overall, I think we landed a boy doll. We’ve named him Mateo. He looks like a Mateo to me. The doll was originally Samantha and we’d considered calling him Sam but he just doesn’t look like a Sam to me.

He’s wonderful and he will serve his purpose. My 13-year-old, he’d kill me for sharing this, loves him more than my 5-year-old. I like that. My 13 year is a nurturer too. That too would embarrass him but it makes me very, very proud. I wonder, though, why is it in 2017 that I had to CREATE a boy. And that 2017 is the first year that American Girl thought to create a boy. I mean, I get it. American GIRL but while I do have a house of ball throwing boys, I do have boys who love babies and want to take care of people. Why not teach them through play? Why not give them a doll that looks like them too? I can’t help but think that if my son walked in with a little boy doll, he’d get far less looks than if he had a girl baby. Sad as that is. There should be no side eyes at all, but let’s face it, society is a judgey bunch and we’re just trying to wade through the judgment without ruining our children.

I am currently on the hunt for another doll, hopefully, used, to create another “boy” only this time, we will call him transgender because those kids are looking for dolls like them too. Luckily the internet is full of awesomeness and I don’t think my hunt will take long. And I am looking forward to creating some memories for other kids. And maybe learning how to make tiny Jordans. Hey, goals. Right?

Edited to add: Walmart does indeed carry a boy. Two actually and they’re pretty handsome. Apparently at one point Target did too but I haven’t been able to find him.

 

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.