Thursday, January 22, 2009

P is for...

I feel like I am all of these things and none at the same time.
No, that's not even true....

Maybe because its a new year, or maybe because I'm sick and just want to crawl back in bed, or because things have happened in the last week that were wake-up calls or I'm about to be 30(!), but I am completely worn out and feel like I am off track from what I thought I would be like at this point in my life. It's made me do a little soul-searching and its brought me back to a hard time I had a few years ago.

After Luke was born I developed pretty serious post-partum depression. The scary kind. But it was such a bizarre blessing because it brought me a very special doctor who turned a mirror on myself and changed my life in so many ways. She made me realize that again, I wasn't quite sure where I stood on so many things, and that trying to be so many different things to so many different people was simply wearing. me. out. I wasn't spending my time and energy on the things that truly did matter to me for fear of hurting someone, leaving someone out or letting someone down. I wasn't living my life for me. I had lost my principles along the way and it was haunting me. Trying to keep up with these non-truths finally got the best of me and I lost it. My body and mind said, "Enough," and shut down.

She shattered so many of the lies that I had been telling myself for years: That I had to be, act and look a certain way to be liked. That I should keep my opinions to myself because I might hurt someone even if it meant I would be hurting myself in the end. That I had to keep a perfect house and perfect kids, and never sit down to take a break because I stayed home. I had serious SAHG (Stay At Home Guilt.) I feel like being here for my kids when they are so little was what was best for them. But it put such a huge strain on our finances and Jason, that I felt awful about it pretty much everyday. He never said anything, but I convinced myself that he hated that I stayed home- so I would get upset and try to compensate by being Super Mom, which is an impossible feat. So I'd feel like a failure. And beat myself up and be miserable. So to Jason I was stying home like I wanted to, but was hating it. Which pissed him off. A lot. I believe the word "Brat" was thrown out more than once. So then I would get upset and start again, trying to be Super Mom.... It was such a vicious cycle and it was making me a wreck and ruining my marriage. So one day she just had me ask him what were his expectations for me staying at home. And you know what he said? "I just want you and our kids to be happy and healthy. Whatever you can do within your power to make that happen is all I ask." That's all. He didn't care that O had a hair bow to match every outfit. That the throw pillows on our bed were perfectly spaced apart. That every TV was was wiped free of any little finger prints. I had been so busy doing all the small stuff, that I had lost sight of the big things: Making time to play with my kids, spending some quiet evenings with my husband, taking an hour for myself to watch the first season of Greys on DVD....

She worked with me for over a year to work out each piece of my life's puzzle. We turned pieces around, we tried them in different spots, she pointed out at times that I was trying to force pieces to go where they just didn't fit and those had to tossed back in the pile. We'd try those again later in the process, once more of the puzzle was complete and we could look at it more clearly. It was hard, it was eye-opening and it was lots and lots of tears. But it was also one of the best times of my life. I looked forward to every Wednesday at 10 am, to see what I would uncover in the next 55 minutes. There is nothing more liberating than being able to say what you really feel. No holds barred. She never laughed, she never judged- she just held my hand and handed me tissues. And she changed my life.

I learned to speak up. And to be a better listener. I learned to not sweat the small stuff (although I think almost everything is a big thing, so I'm still working on that one...). I learned to respect my husband and his feelings: that they are just as real to him as mine are to me. I learned that I didn't really owe anyone anything: It was up to me to make the choices of what I felt I should do. I learned to say "no" and "that's enough." I learned to stand tall and defend the choices I make. That if I need help, I should ask for it. That I need to be a better example to my daughter, to ensure that she understands inner beauty is more important than outer appearances. I learned that if I keep my hands full of unimportant things that there isn't any way to open them to reach for better things. I said good-bye to some people and hello to others. I learned that just being there is almost more important than saying the right thing. I came to peace with the idea that I am in the place where I should be. I shouldn't have to feel like it needs to be justified or defended. I am here, doing what I am doing for a reason: because of the choices I made. I am responsible for me, I put myself here.

And I am having the hardest time accepting that lately. I am having some serious "Grass Is Always Greener" and "What if..." moments, and that keeps me from appreciating what I have. I know I am always looking ahead for the next big event, big "thing," and that has made me miss out on enjoying the place I am in now. I know I do it and its hard to stop. I know I need to sit and take some time to recall the conversations I had with her. To take my own refresher course: Anne's Life 101. After such a long, hard year last year, I know I am trying to already force this year to be the Best EVER. We are 3 weeks in and I am already pooped.

But, phew. Having just read that sentence I can stop myself. I can appreciate that this is a new day and just let it unfold. I can't force anything. I am making a late New Years Resolution to just be in the moment. To breath it in, and hold that breath so I will remember the little details. I want to enjoy where I am and what that means. I put myself here. Now I just really need to sit back and enjoy this time and space.


mommy4life said...

What a great post! I know it was hard to write....

4Hoffman's said...

Great post, and I couldn't agree more! I'm sure that was hard to write and put yourself out there like that. But I am glad you did. (((HUGS)))

Machiavelli's Daughter said...

As an outsider, who's only seen a little of you, I think you're amazing. You remind me so much of my "perfect" sister, and I can tell you, it was around when she hit 30, that she seemed to find the stride where SHE actually started to feel pretty good about where she was (and stopped bleaching the baseboards when she was pregnant--talk about not seeing the forest for the trees).
Anyway, if I'm ever a wife and mother, I'd like to be one like you.

Anonymous said...

I'm in awe of your self-awareness.
I know how hard you've worked to get there.
I'm so glad Dr. S. was there to be your sounding board.
I'm very proud to be your mom.
love you lots,

The Saras Family said...

love you sweet friend

Our life is a bowl of Barry's said...

Thank you for holds true for so many of us that aren't able to put it so eloquently. Enjoy your steps, right?!

Lucrecia said...

You know how sometimes when you go to church, you feel like the Pastor wrote the sermon just for you? Like he is saying HELLO, listen to me, God is trying to tell you something?

Thats how your post made me feel. It was wonderfully well written and the timing, for me, could not have been more perfect!

Thank you for opening up like that! I know it wasn't easy.

Anonymous said...

You are such an amazing person. Love you ~ A