Searching for Bliss

One man's paradise is another man's nightmare.

Yes and No Question

Are you anxious when you sit and write?
No, because honestly just watching the pen
Form words is so relaxing to me.
And I know that it’s my brain that is
Guiding my hand and subsequently
The pen, and that empowers me.
It empowers me to speak my mind
And show my true self to the world.
The self that is sometimes kind and sometimes brave,
But always still anxious.
Even as I watch the ink dry instantly on the page.

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What is my purpose?

For the most part, I just get through life one day at a time. I wake ridiculously early so that I can have a few moments to get myself partially awake and sort of together. Then, I am pleasured with the task of waking a toddler up and dragging her through a morning routine that she has no interest or desire to be a part of. Once we get into the car, I distract her with an electronic device so that my nerves aren’t bombarded with a whining kid while also dealing with insane traffic.

On some days, I leave her at the babysitter’s, crying. She doesn’t cry often when I leave her, but when she does, my heart shatters into a million pieces as I drive away from her so I can spend the next 8 hours answering phone calls and filing warranty claims.

I get one precious hour for lunch, but some days, I have to cut my midday break by 30 minutes so I can go pick up my kid. It’s usually her dad’s job to pick her up, but if they call a mandatory 10 or 12 hour day on him, I am tasked with picking her up.

Once everyone is home, I prepare dinner for my darling child, just to have her push it away and tell me, “No, mommy! Don’t want!” After dinner, I usually get a few quiet moments while the other two members of my family head upstairs to play and watch TV, but I don’t always feel as though I spend this time wisely. Most of the time, I will watch something from my DVR or just scroll through my phone, grateful for some quiet.

Once playtime is over, I drag my toddler through a bedtime routine that she does not wish to be a part of. After reading “just one more” book for the 100’th time, I enforce lights out.

At this point, I just want to collapse into bed, but I usually spend at least an hour with my husband while we watch a TV show together or talk. Once he heads upstairs to start his nightly gaming and decompression routine, I am faced with a conundrum. If I choose to go to bed to get highly needed rest, I will usually end up lying there, staring at the ceiling while my CPAP machines breathes in and out in my face. If I choose to watch more TV, or read, or write, I never seem to get anything accomplished.

The TV I watch is mindless. The words I write make no sense, and most of the time, it’s just me lecturing myself on what an awful writer I am. If I read, the words form a jumble on the page, and my distracted mind can’t comprehend them.

Recently, I have added something new to my purpose. Once a week, a friend comes over, and we record a web show about something we both love very much. The next night, I edit the videos, and we publish them once a week on the Internet.

We are only 7 weeks into this project, but views are low, so that puts me into even more of a tailspin, especially when I sit around and ask myself questions such as, “What is my purpose?”

If a stranger walked up to me on the street and asked me that very question, this would be my answer.

My purpose is to be me. It is to wholly embrace myself, including those things that I hate most about me. My purpose is to be a strong example to my daughter, even though my time spent with her is me dragging her around to do things she probably doesn’t understand yet. My purpose is to constantly work toward my passions and to never, ever give up on myself or my dreams.

My purpose is simply to be better tomorrow than I was today.

I have an idea…

I have a new video camera, and I have been itching to film something profound and personal. Doing so will require that I speak to many others to see if they would agree to be interviewed on camera for this project. If they say yes, I could showcase some great skills here, all while telling a true story that is truly haunting.

Wash me clean

I’ve been holding my emotions in lately. I know it’s not healthy, but I slip into that role so unconsciously. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s just easier. Today, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Trapped in my car during the middle of a torrential downpour, I sat and cried like a baby. I imagined the rain beating on the roof of my car was washing me clean. The more I was cleansed, the harder my tears fell. I felt connected to the Earth as we both cried out our frustrations over the injustices of the world. 

Caution

So many changes up ahead.

They look bright, shiny, and new.

But caution is still my friend,

And I will tread warily through what comes next.

Back to the basics

Quit telling me I’m lucky

I am sick and tired of being told how lucky I am.

Back when I was pregnant, I made a “woe-is-me” post on social media lamenting one of the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. I was publicly chastised by a friend struggling with fertility, because in their eyes, I shouldn’t be complaining at all. In their eyes, I should just be grateful for a healthy pregnancy. Oh, I’m sorry! Does the fact that I am pregnant this moment and you aren’t invalidate the struggles I am experiencing this moment in MY pregnancy? Why should I be made the guilty party because of the thoughts and emotions YOU struggle with?

I try to remain hyper-aware of the struggles that other parents, besides me, go through because I have had my own share of struggles. I have one particular friend that I had to unfollow for a while on social media because his oldest son was born in the exact month and year my oldest child was born. His son is about to turn 11, but I had to bury mine at 10 weeks old in a tiny, blue casket. Seeing his son’s photos makes me constantly wonder what my kid would have been like. Unfollowing his page was not out of malice, it was for my mental well-being so that I was not being thrown unexpectedly into grief just by scrolling through my phone.

So while I may have been “lucky” to have been pregnant, I was experiencing some pretty unlucky symptoms at the time of my post. If my posts unwittingly caused grief to someone, why couldn’t they just unfollow me instead of trying to make me feel bad for even reaching out about MY struggles? Why can’t I be extended the same courtesy that I so painstakingly offer to others?

Today, I was lamenting to a coworker about an upcoming change in our daycare schedule. On most days, I will have to cut my lunch short by 30 minutes so that I can go pick up my kid before a certain time. Normally, my husband is the kid picker-upper, but because of the time that he leaves work and traffic issues, he will not be able to get there on time every day. Since I am the responsible parent for getting the kid out of bed, ready, and out the door every day, having that precious hour right after work to myself is gold. Being the sole parent who drops off and picks up every day can quickly push me toward burnout. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid and treasure every moment I get to spend with her, but I can also be a very high strung and nervous person, so self-care and alone time is very important to me.  

“You’re lucky,” an older coworker admonished. “At least you have a husband that helps. Most women don’t even have that. They are all alone.” Oh, I’m sorry. Does the fact that I have a husband that does help out a LOT invalidate any mental or emotional struggles that I encounter in MY journey as a parent? Why should I be made the guilty party because you had to raise all of your kids with minimal paternal support?

I admire the hell out of single parents. They can be bad-ass at parenting in a way that I can’t even fathom. I was single when my first child was born, and I remember the scary feeling of wondering if I would do things right or not. Had my first child lived, I am pretty sure that I would have taken the single mom life and rocked it. I did make a promise myself not to have another kid until after I was married, and I am so thankful that I kept that promise. Yes, I have an amazing husband that is very hands on with parenting, but just because there are two of us, does that mean we can’t talk about the struggles we face with parenting? Or are we not allowed to have struggles because there are two of us?

I think that most of us have a big problem with projecting our fears, and thoughts, and ideas, and opinions on people. We want them to fit in the box that we see when we look at them, all while demanding they walk on eggshells around us and cater to our whims and needs. I am guilty of this too! It’s so easy to slip into this very selfish line of thinking. Do we do this because we want other people to feel the pain we feel inside? If we stop and think about it though, I bet they already feel that pain, without the added weight of what we are about to throw on them. Maybe their pain wasn’t caused by the exact circumstances as ours, but it is pain nonetheless. What makes our pain more important? What can we do to stop the cycle? How do we stop the pain?