Inside


These are the days of looking inside everyone’s life through social media. You’re looking at their beautiful children and their perfect marriage. You see all the fun they’re having. You see all of their wonderful times out with friends, vacations and new toys. You notice how perfect they are and you cringe because you know you aren’t like them. 

You tend to forget that people don’t live their inside outside. It’s so much pressure to be perfectly perfect, isn’t it? You must have it all. You’re failing if you don’t. The truth is that no one truly has it all. 

The older I get the more I realize that people aren’t who they seem. People aren’t perfect, with perfect children and perfect marriages. That’s all for show. That’s the outside. 

I just read an article about being a mother in your 20’s and 30’s. It was perhaps a relevant topic to me at one point, because at one point I was in my 20’s and 30’s. A mother working, balancing house and career. I worried that I wasn’t doing it right. I worried because of ear infections, bullying, giving enough of myself to this person and that person. I worried. 

The same is true of me now, the woman in her 40’s. The topics change, the worries shift, the balancing is different. I’d almost like to go back to those days. Those are the days that you should slow down the most. Nurture your children, love your spouse, instill strength and self love, take care of yourself, find who you are. 

The woman I am now in her 40’s is finding that perhaps this is actually the real shit. The real hard shit. See, it’s just relevant. 

My father lives with us and I continually am reminded of how sad his life is. It’s frustrating beyond belief to have to face his mental illness day in and day out. Choices. I made the choice to move him into my home. 

My daughter is utterly exciting to watch as she spreads her wings. As she speaks of moving, life without me, I can’t help but have a tinge of jealousy. Sometimes I want to spread my wings. That’s exactly why I am all for her becoming the self she wants to be. No regrets. No, I wish I would haves. 

My son struggles day in and day out. I can’t fix him. I’m no longer the mom in her 30’s who could have at one point hugged him tight and made it all better just by being mommy. This shit is hard. 

I no longer have hugs and snuggles. I no longer have someone needing me like they once did. There is no more helping with homework, fixing snacks, playing Disney movies a million times or kissing a hurt knee. Both of my children are finding their own way and it’s starting to feel like I have little to do with that. I have to remember that the woman I was in her 20’s and 30’s has a lot to do with that. 

Each stage of life is hard. It’s all hard. Its relevance to you is undeniable. Don’t forget that people show their outside to you. They struggle as well. Perhaps their struggles aren’t like yours, but again…. relevance is key here. 

Years from now you’ll look back and find yourself realizing you made it through. You made it to the next stage. For that, let your inside be thankful.

It’s Only Freaking June, People


JANUARY:

 
My father was in a psychiatric ward for three and a half weeks in which I went every night to see him, with the exception of missing three nights because…

My Aunt committed suicide

Went 7 hours away to support my mother and had to ID my Aunt.

FEBRUARY :

Hell I could be wrong, but I believe this is the month one of my best friend’s father had a really bad stroke. 

Skin cancer removed from my nose for a second time. 

Grieving. Anger approaching.

MARCH:

My dad started saying angry things to me about his situation and seemed to be blaming me for moving him into my home.
Made a trip to go through my Aunt’s home and personal items. Ugh.

Tubes tied!

My Aunt’s boyfriend had a very horrible accident in a logging truck and was pronounced brain dead. No family, so now we’ve got his things to contend with.

Feeling guilty, still grieving. 

APRIL: 

My anxiety is getting really out of whack. Counselor, hated her. Another, hated him.

My anxiety ridden son actually went to prom when asked to go. Finally a good thing. 

Found a counselor I really love.

Discovered we have a $5,000.00 medical bill our insurance isn’t going to pay for because it’s for my husband’s back. He hurt his back jumping out of a helicopter years ago, so they say it’s service connected and won’t pay it.

While visiting home , my step-father had a pretty bad heart attack after dinner. 

Grieving, angry, feeling frustrated.

MAY:  

My son’s anxiety is turning into depression. I have so much worry about him. My spouse and I are not getting along too well. We have stress? You think? He begins to come to my counseling sessions for support. 

My daughter’s car door handle fell off on the passenger side. The trunk won’t open either. 

My dad keeps acting like he’s got something to say, but he won’t say it. Finally told me he wants to move back to his house. Oh my gosh, I just can’t keep up with all of this. I quit my job to take care of him. Granted I do get money from his trustee out of his funds to help for the absence of pay, but I left a GOOD job that I’m probably never going to find again.

 My daughter graduated high school. She keeps talking about moving in with her boyfriend of three years.

 Ahhhh. Stress. I’m still grieving. I feel like I’m on a nightmare roller coaster.

JUNE: My daughter’s driver side door handle fell off. Laugh. Just laugh. 

Our Toyota died. Hysterical laughing. 

Dad treats me like a servant and all my repressed anger about being left out of the family farm corporation is building up inside me. Did my grandparents leave me out of it because I’m a female or because their son adopted me and they refuse me as blood? They’re dead and all the men in my family run the show. The shit show. None of them even speak to each other. Oh and grandma and grandpa if you’re watching down on us…. look who’s taking care of your precious bipolar son. The woman, not related to you by blood. 

Daughter’s boyfriend breaks up with her.

Son is bad, real bad. Hospital time. Someone get this kid on the right medicine. I love him so so so much. We need to move back to where we moved from because that’s the one thing we know for sure we could do to help our son be happier.

Husband stabs himself accidentally in the bicep. Yep. He was at work, I did not do it.

Oh Mr. Loan officer, you say I can’t use my trust income for the mortgage loan and so we can only use my husband’s income to buy a four bedroom home we need in order to fit us all??? FRACK.

My mother. She’s in pain both physically and emotionally and I can’t save her.

Ring…. Ring…. insurance hasn’t paid any of your counseling bills and they aren’t going to because of blah blah blah.

Ex husband modifies child support because daughter graduated and instead of 7% less he made it for 57% less and the freaking judge signed off on it so now I have to contest everyone’s stupidity.

Husband has stitches removed and was told he has to see an ortho surgeon because he’s more than likely sliced his muscle. 

Husband’s father looks like he’s having a stroke only it’s not, it’s a brain tumor. Brain surgery on Monday.

Worry. That’s number one right now, worry. Anger, grief and my own anxiety need to all get in the back seat and shut the F up. 

Panic attack, husband soothes me to the point of getting it under control. Kisses my forehead and lays down next to me. We tightened our interlaced fingers together and I say, I feel closer to you and he whispers back, so do I.

Locked keys in car along with spare.

Husband’s father has brain surgery. The tumor is malignant. 

JULY: BRING IT!

The Way You Talk To Me

Do you ever listen intently to someone as they’re telling you a story? If you’re really listening, feeling the emotions of the journey they are telling you, you’re being spoken to by someone who is empathic. Not only that, you’re becoming someone who is listening with the intent to respond. Pay attention. 

My best friend was telling me how on Mother’s Day she tried to take a nap. She wasn’t able to because her neighbor’s girlfriend recently broke up with her, so her neighbor took up drumming as a hobby. Most people would stop there.  Crista on the other hand began to explain to me the beat and she played it out for a good 15 seconds. Enough for it to be in my mind still. Enough for me to have actually thought about her neighbor today. I wonder if she’s playing the drums right now? I wonder if she’s crying or if she’s playing with anger?

I now have empathy for a stranger, because I listened to my friend with the intent to respond. 

This is something I am currently trying to work on with my spouse. We have completely different ways of thinking. I’m always dying for him to be lyrical and romantic and he’s just not going to be… to my definition. If I listen to him however, truly listen, his compassion, love and empathy is there. It just doesn’t cross my paths, but if we both take a different way every so often, we’ve got miles and miles left to explore.

My Husband, Part 1 of Gratefulness

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Change often leads to wonderful things.

I found him one morning at around 5:45. The two of us were alone in the elevator going to the 4th floor. I couldn’t stop staring at his pulsing jaw and wondering what had made him so angry.

Neither of us said a word. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was alone for the ride. I often wondered if I was invisible.

It was Winter and the air cut through my skin in a way that only Midwestern know.¬† My heels were loud on the parking lot making their presence known against the asphalt and the cold dark morning. I was looking for the angry man. I couldn’t stop myself from seeking out his impassioned marrow.

Days went by of being alone with this newly found excitement. I think he may have looked at me once. His jaw, always pulsing.

I parked my car one morning in a different spot. I was always so predictable and this made me feel secure again. There he was walking by and I was unnoticed. Invisible once again. My sense of cover was shattered when I realized the angry man seemed to be searching for me. His pace slowed, he looked left and right. The very fact that this excited me made me wonder if I should wear my cloak again.

He should have already been long gone; yet there he was waiting, ready to ride the 4 floors with me. We were alone again. Is it possible that I have found fate?

I was the first to utter a word.

I said good morning to the pulsing jaw. It seemed to relax as it answered back. Somehow in the months to follow as Winter thawed into Spring, I started to learn that the anger came from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His jaw was starting to become more relaxed with each passing day.

My angry little bird turned from missile to feathered fowl. He was soft to the touch and soothing to my soul.