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.

Let’s talk about right and wrong, shall we?

I worry about the future.

It seems our current leaders are already lacking a moral compass and now? We’ve got a bunch of 20/30 somethings with the same issues. I worry about the work ethics and the inability to see outside oneself and as I watch certain communities as an outsider versus an insider, I worry. And I worry a lot.

So let’s talk about this. Shall we?

This is Davis. My oldest son and the other young man is Conor. They’re good kids. Both of them. But they’re friends and I happened to have a photo handy of the two of them. This is not about them but I want you to have a visual. So, say Davis is cheating on his school work. Like all the time. And that Conor found out. And then Conor totally ignored that what Davis was doing was bad. And not only did he not do anything about it, he gave him tools to help him to continue to cheat on his homework. And then Davis’ entire world imploded. He about lost his schooling and his life. Where does that leave Conor? To blame? No, not entirely but part of the problem. The really big, big, big problem. And let’s say there were many people who knew about Davis’ little cheating problem and they didn’t tell either. Are they to blame? Nope. But they’re still part of the problem. Davis life imploded. Davis’ mother is upset that his friend knew and didn’t tell her so she could help him and everything has gone to crap. And why? Fear? Is it fear that keeps us from doing the right thing? Is doing the right thing REALLY that hard?

Everyone is too scared to hurt their friend and then, in the long run, THEY REALLY HURT THEIR FRIEND. Are you getting this? By not telling, YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE. You are PART of the problem. You have a shitty moral compass and then to smack “Christian friend” on top of that lack of morality? Well, there you go. This is a huge problem. Huge. We should be guiding people. Steering them to do good and be good and not be self-serving little assholes who will lie about anything to make sure they get their way or not feel uncomfortable.

And let’s think about Davis’ mom here. She was the LAST to know. The last. And should have been the first. When there was an inkling of bad doing, friends should have said to Davis, “hey buddy, this isn’t right.” and if he didn’t listen? Maybe the teacher or someone like that if you felt too afraid or worried to tell his mother. But nope, Conor and everyone else just ignored the problem and in some cases, handed him the homework to copy in the shape of a theoretical house key. YOU WERE WRONG. You are wrong. Period.

I am baffled. Frustrated really with people, in general. And look, I am not perfect. I have screamed and pushed people at church services. *WAVING*, hi I am an asshole sometimes too. But I know how to apologize. Like a grown up. I know to say, “hey I did a really crappy thing. I can’t change it and nothing you did or anyone did makes that okay. And I am sorry”. That’s how you apologize. You don’t say, “hey I am sorry that I did that thing but you picked on me and so I felt entitled. But I am sorry, kind of but not really.” No. You don’t get to make an excuse to be an asshole. Period.

You also don’t get to be my friend if you sit back and watch that shit. This is what we call boundaries. Your vibe attracts your tribe. I fully believe that if the company I keep tends to snakes, they very well might be a snake too. But people like to watch the shit show, don’t they? The gapper delay is proof of that, isn’t it?  If you call yourself Christian if you call yourself someone’s friend. You are MORALLY obligated to point out to them they’re assholes when they’re being assholes. My friends do it to me. It makes me uncomfortable and sometimes I recoil but I appreciate it in the end. It makes me a better person and it makes me a better friend.

And so, there is my lesson for the day. I’m worried about our future. Worried.

 

 

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 last day I carried you

The day your brother broke his leg I knew of you. When they wanted me to go back and get X-rays, I knew of you. Struggling with the idea of you, I hadn’t told your father and when they needed another x-ray, I stared into his eyes, hoping he could read my mind. I think he knew about you too but didn’t actually know you, yet.

That week I stood at the dining room table and the word “Zika” came out of someone’s mouth. Your sister had just come home from Belize. I felt my stomach dip. I wonder if that was my first sign you wouldn’t make it to today.

We left for the beach that weekend. I carried your brother, your cousin. I walked up and down the beach and back and forth, collecting shells and memories. I felt the gush. Running back to our vacation house to check, I found the red. I tried to hide it from your dad. He knew though, that something wasn’t right. And I told him and I said goodbye to you. Sandra tried to tell me that not all bleeding meant a loss, but I knew you were gone. The guilt of my sadness had taken you. Six kids are too many. We’re not in a good place. How will I do this? But you were gone. I laid in the bathtub, alone, bleeding the pieces of my heart that I didn’t know I wanted until they were all gone.

You were gone.

You’d have been due today but you’d have been born next week. I always have babies that are late. Had babies.

I had babies.

I’ll have no more. Parts of me are okay with that. Most of the parts. Then, as I wash and fold the tiniest of clothing to send to baby Ritter, I weep, mourning you. You were my baby. A piece of my heart and a face I will never see.

I’ve posted little secrets about today, passively and quietly on Facebook. Hoping someone would recognize my sadness and mourning. Afraid to tell people of your loss, I wanted someone to tell me it was okay. I have been fortunate to have had a few people who did. I wanted someone to hold me though and drink in my sadness so it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Because it felt crazy to be so sad when I have five little things to be so happy for.

I’d posted on my large families board, one said: “oh it’s your age”, another reminded me we didn’t have to be done. I knew we were though. He didn’t want. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even imagine the comments I’d of received had we announced another one. “You don’t have to be done,” but I am. I have to be now. So much has stolen that choice from me now. So many people and so many things. 40 is coming. I am finally getting to the days I can watch the game and hang out with the adult people. I have to be done now. There is too much at stake.

I’m lucky to have Ritter now. Lucky to be able to breathe in his new. Holding him is like holding my own. And he knows my heart because he’s kind and an old soul. I’m lucky to have him.

Today though, I am going to feel sad. I am going to cry for you and remember the last day I held you. Making wet footprints, collecting the shells as though they were memories. Kissing baby heads and being a happy family that week. All that happy, I remember….

 

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.