This blog has been woefully silent. I have many good excuses but perhaps not as many good reasons. Life, to put it simply, has been nuts. No, not nuts, stressful. Really, truly, dreadfully stressful.
Health issues, COVID, a flooded basement, more health issues, little league baseball season, did I mention health issues and a flooded basement? It feels as if I have been holding my breath for months.
And amidst all the weeks and months of stress, I plodded on. Some days barely getting my assignments to my clients and editors on time. Taking care of my kids in a hazy cloud of exhaustion. And my house? Let’s just say it’s a good thing no company hasn’t been over for a while because it is just now getting back on track, minus the flooded basement whose carpet we had to rip up.
During all this stress and angst, the thing I typically forgot to do was take time for myself. Instead, I became the last priority, which only caused me more stress, deeper depression, and further anger and resentment.
In those moments, I tried to focus on gratitude. Yes, I had water leaking into my basement, but at least the only thing damaged was the carpet. I still had a home with a soft bed to sleep in at night and a fridge full of healthy food. Yes, my health has been a roller coaster which is still going, but I am still here, working on it, and I’ve managed to lose 33 of the 40 pounds I set as a goal last March.
33 pounds in 15 months is slow but steady, and I’ve done it, even with all the added stress. I also stopped drinking alcohol, significantly improving my weight loss and mental health. I’ve lost 22 of those 33 pounds in the six months since I stopped. If that’s not an endorsement to stop drinking, I don’t know what else is, mainly since most of my other habits have stayed the same.
So I have a home, a job, two healthy children, a supportive partner, and people who love and care for me; my health is crazy, but I am working on it. Reasons to feel grateful. But I still wasn’t taking time for myself, or at least not enough.
Writing is one of the things I enjoy doing and use to do just for me. But, since it’s become my job, like most hobbies turned professions, it became daunting to do even more of it for myself. So, I journaled here and there but couldn’t find anything meaningful to write about except complaining and ranting, and no one wants to read that. So, I didn’t blog.
But in not blogging, I perhaps took something I needed away from myself. Maybe, the exact thing I was too tired or stressed or angry to do was the very thing that would have helped me. So as I sat here working on an article that I am actually ahead of schedule with (wonder of wonders), I started thinking about blogging.
I stopped working on the article, and I started this blog. I wasn’t sure where it would go, and I’m still not. It’s very stream of consciousness right now. But I am getting myself on the page. I am taking a few moments out of my hectic day; more doctor appointments, more baseball… and doing something solely for me.
I don’t expect life to be a piece of cake every day; I know people are dealing with far worse challenges and issues than I am at the moment. However, that doesn’t take away what I was feeling. It doesn’t negate that nearly every stressful thing that could happen to a person seemed to happen to me simultaneously. I felt pulled in so many directions I couldn’t breathe. It felt as if even a feather touched me; I would shatter.
I don’t often share these moments. Instead, I come off as a perky, positive, happy person, and I am those things.
But I am also
A patient who sat down on the floor and started crying at 8:45 on a Wednesday morning because, after nearly six months, yet another set of blood work and tests gave her no answers.
A woman who looked at her partner several times in recent weeks and felt like she hadn’t had 10-minutes alone with just him that wasn’t discussing something kid, health, or house related.
A homeowner who sopped up water and washed towels five times a day for nearly a week before discovring where the leak was coming from or could get a contractor out to take a look.
A writer who was stressed one week because she didn’t think she’d have enough work to cover her bills and then the following week had so much work didn’t think she’d make all her deadlines.
A mother who wanted to cling to her children and not let them out of her sight after the tragedy in Texas. But was so exhausted at bedtime simply wanted to put them to bed and spend 15 minutes alone with a book.
A Mom and step-mom who grocery shops for six people, works from home, manages the house and pays the bills, tries to keep the house clean, and plays chauffeur to baseball, gymnastics, and drum kits.
A mom to an 8-year-old with combined presentation ADHD and borderline OCD and his 30-minute bedtime ritual.
A mom to an 11-year-old with anxiety who this week is obsessively worried about needing his wisdom teeth out in eight or nine years. And despite having good grades all year convinced he’s not advancing to 5th grade because of a comment his teacher said to the class, which he can’t remember, so I can’t help explain.
And I imagine I’m not the only one, so I’m sharing. Because while my story is entirely mine, it’s not unique.
Slowly last week, some of the pieces began to come back together, and I could breathe. I could pause and enjoy the trees rustling in the wind outside my library window. I could breathe and enjoy a board game with my 8-year-old without my mind wandering to ten different things I had to do next. I had time and the ability to see the beauty in the world again.
I could breathe and enjoy an evening out with my partner and some quiet time on the couch with him. I could look forward to a baseball game my 11-year-old was playing and relax and watch the game.
I read a book. I took a shower I didn’t need. I ate a bowl of real ice cream; because what’s the point of losing 33 pounds if you can’t have real ice cream once in a while? I wrote this blog. I exhaled. And I took those moments back and made them mine.