Friends, I'm writing with a heavy heart. Someone I love very much is hurting and I can't help her. But I can sympathize. And, even more importantly, I can empathize.
Babydoll, I've been there.
I have SO been there, more than once, and I've looked down at the depths of my despair, sprawled out in front of me, and I have crawled back up out of that pit. More than once. The thing is - it gets easier because the 2nd time, and the 3rd and the 4th, you recognize the path better. You see the signs and don't let yourself get quite so far down that it's harder to come back up. Oh, my girl, I have been there.
But I'm okay right now. My little family unit - we are okay right now. Like, literally, at this moment. But tomorrow could change. And yesterday may not have been as good as today.
Marriage & divorce, sickness & health, babies & kids, money (lack of) and bills, time and energy leeches, housecleaning, cars, pets, grocery shopping, dentist & doctors appointments, lack of sleep, lack of motivation, fear, worry, resentment, anger, and, finally, hopelessness and despair.
Show of hands: who has been there? Yes, no?
If any of you said no than, please, walk away right now. This blog, today, isn't for you. Much love to you - but get the hell outta here and come back when you can say, "Oh yeah, I've visited that big-fat-monkey-ball-sucking-place and I have your back."
Here's my hand. Way, way up high.
I have lived, for long, long periods of time, with nary two pennies to my name. When I have maybe paid *some* of my bills and had 10 days until my next paycheck, $20 in my bank account, and four mouths to feed, two cars needing gas (to take us to daycare and work everyday), and somehow we all survived. I would make myself sick with worry (sometimes that still happens, but I try to let it go). I thought if I didn't pay my bills by the due date something awful would happen. Or, at the very least, my power company, or credit card company, or whatever, would judge me and I didn't want to be one of "those people" who didn't pay their bills.
You know what I've learned? Eff that. Life is too short to let something stupid like money dictate my happiness. I try, more than ever, to live in the moment these days. To enjoy the time I'm with my kids and not spend that time worrying about something that, at that moment, I'm powerless to fix.
JUST LET IT GO.
But what if, just for arguments sake, that you're broke and barely getting by on one paycheck. Your kids seem determined to throw every elbow they can at you - including getting diagnosed ADD, or Autistic, or OCD - and rant and rampage and say every mean thing they can to tear down your already fragile confidence. You know, you really do, that they aren't doing it to be mean but because they are scared and confused and don't know how to express it so they are lashing out at you - their rock - because they simply CAN and they know you'll still be there. Because you are their MOM and you live your life for THEM. That, coupled with your guilt, all-consuming, mind-imploding, never-ending, wrack-your-body-until-you-are-sick GUILT for making the hard, hard decisions you have made that, yes, may sometimes seem to be a mistake but in moments of great clarity you KNOW, in your very heart, that it was absolutely the right decision - for you and for your little angels. But what if you just don't have that clarity all the time and the guilt, and the arguing, and the signs of mental anguish you see in your kids, and the lack of money, and the all-consuming oh-dear-god-I'm-just-going-to-die feeling doesn't go away. What if it doesn't go away? And they still need you to be their rock?
I'm not a psychologist and I don't have any fancy answers . . . but I say: go to your happy place. Sound cliche? It is. Totally. But this is how you crawl out of that pit. This is how you shrug off the despair. You find your happy place. Your happy thoughts. Your silver lining. The brightness in an otherwise dark and dreadful sky.
Let me ask you this: What is good in your life RIGHT NOW? Name one thing. Then, tomorrow morning, name two things. Then, tomorrow before bed, name three things. Before you know it you will have climbed out of that pit and, damn, if the world isn't much, much brighter.
Will your troubles be gone? Nope, not at all. They don't just disappear. (I'm not delusional, after all). It's all about perspective, honey-child. You know that old saying that you can catch more flies with honey? The same is true for walking through a quagmire of problems. Be confident and optimistic and things tend to work out a little better. Or at least you feel better about it and that's the part that matters, right? YOU choose how you deal with problems. You, or me - we - are humans with thinking brains and, hopefully, above-average reasoning skills (my readers, you see) and we can conquer the negativity that threatens our healthy perspective. Ooh, I like that. Let's say it again, shouting, in all caps:
Can you parent effectively if you are simultaneously wading through a deep, dark pit of despair? No, right? Are you taking good care of yourself then? No, right? Then let's turn on our thinking caps and dial into the healthy perspective channel. Then we can parent with love, compassion and understanding rather than guilt, fear and anger.
Choose to be happy. Choose acceptance - in your lot, in your kid's foibles, and in the consequences of your decisions - and let.it.go. Let it all go. Choose to honor the decisions you made with faith in yourself.
I love you, my dear girl. You are not alone. You are smart and beautiful and kind and devoted. Please don't, any of you, forget that ever. Bring yourself back from that pit. Love yourself. Do what you need to to understand that. You deserve it and you need it. To be the best mom, person, employee and just the YOU in you.
Gentle readers - holla back if you've been there, por favor. Let's build up one of our sisters. Mwah.