I see you.
I see your hurt. Your frustration. The overwhelming feeling of being stuck. The lack of progression. The fear that your life, as you know it, will always be the same entwined with the fear that it will change.
I've been there.
I know what it feels like to see all the unfairness. It flares blue and pink like a baby flame.
Then a burning. A smoldering. It doesn't take much for it to turn into a fiery blaze you can't control. Flames on top of flames. Spitting and licking and burning up all the blessings you know you should be grateful for.
I know what it feels like to be hurt, and to have those who hurt you never even consider apologizing. Listen to them lecture you about being offended, about letting go. To watch them do the same ignorant and hurtful things over and over and over again. For years.
I know what it feels like to be so alone in your grief. The grief of disappointed hopes. The grief of losing the people you thought they were. The grief of witnessing your children's confusion and tears. The grief in trying to explain the inexplicable. The grief in finally seeing the truth: That we are all just human.
It hurts. Deeply. And no, it isn't fair. Yes, it's scary.
But we are strong, sister.
I still fall into the flames. The hurt, the grief. The frustration. But now I try to float above the smoke. Let the air swallow it all before I inhale it. Before I let it smolder and burn.
I hope someday you can join me. Up here above the smoke. I hope you can join me in believing that you are enough. I hope you can understand that you are the change you're searching for. I hope you can free yourself from the need of their love, the need to explain, the need of equality, and watch as the unfairness and hurt and frustration turn to ash. And all that is left to see is the love.
I hope someday the fire dies out and we can settle our feet back down in the soil together. Watch as the tender green blades of love push their way up. And with relief, feel the solid earthy assurance that we are all just human.
Maybe we will be able to rejoice in that truth rather than grieve for how it could have been. And maybe, just maybe, we can let the love we see swallow up the rest, smother the hurt filled flames.
I see you and I know. So when your words burn and are unfair and lack understanding, I'll forgive you, sister.
I'll let your words die out in the black smoke beneath me. Right where hateful words belong. And I'll wait for you.
Today I was determined to write. I've been wanting to work on this short story I'm contributing to my writing group, Word Addicts. I am so excited about this short. If I do it well, it may be one of the most important things I will have written to date.
If I can get it written.
I sat down to write last night and then someone got out of bed.
I sat down to write this morning and then the kids started fighting.
I sat down to write this afternoon and the baby started crying.
I sat down to write this evening and was so anxious about being interrupted that I just couldn't focus.
So here I am, leaking thoughts instead.
This is pretty normal for us moms, I think we expect to be interrupted constantly but knowing that doesn't make it any less frustrating. Our work follows us around with tiny footsteps and endless needs which makes working on anything else, especially ourselves and our own goals, feel impossible.
I'm so tempted to give up sometimes. I'm so tempted to say: "this isn't going to happen right now in your life. Your kids need you and that's all you can give. You're maxed out."
I'm so so tempted to raise the white flag and surrender my dreams to "someday."
But I won't.
Several years ago I was called to be the Young Woman's President in our ward. I would be in charge of this youth program of almost 40 young women with the help of several other amazing women. I was the youngest, least experienced, and most definitely the least qualified.
I was expressing my anxiety about this new responsibility to my mom and she gave me some advice that I clung to and still do. She said: "Amy, just show up. Some people don't even do that. Just show up and do your best and it will be enough."
I wasn't perfect, I made many many mistakes. But I continued to show up. And because I did, I was so so blessed!
I'm reminded today of that same advice: Just show up.
Especially through the years dealing with anxiety I've found that these two words, show up, are pretty powerful. They give me something to focus on, to calm the onslaught of worries and what ifs. Those can be dealt with when they arise, for now just SHOW UP.
This has helped me get to meetings, workout classes, social events, and more. And 98% of the time, once I get there, once I "just show up" I'm so grateful I did!
Now I can't claim to be perfect at following my own advice all of the time. I've missed meetings and workouts and social events a plenty. I've had too many days to count when I didn't show up for my family.
But most often, I don't show up for myself. All too often I show up for everyone else but me.
But with some grace, I try again.
So even if I'm interrupted endlessly, Even if it feels impossible to focus or accomplish anything other than keeping children alive, I'm going to keep showing up.
I'm going to show up for my family.
And I'm going to show up for myself. My dreams. My goals.
And with some grace, patience, and a whole lot of showing up I will get this story written!
The last few days I've been crazy anxious. I don't even know why. I think it's hormones? It's definitely feeling like I keep cycling back to this. I'm pretty sure I felt this way a few weeks back. Hmm.
My husband keeps asking me what's wrong to which I answer: "I. Don't. Know." And even though it's the honest truth he thinks I'm holding out on him.
So I check in with myself. What is wrong Amy? What the heck? Why am I so bitchy? Have I been taking my meds? yes. Have I been doing all my self-care practices? yes. Eating healthy? yes. Exercise? yes.
And still. Here. We. Are. I. Don't. Know.
This isn't the anxiety where I'm paralyzed, so worried about something that I'm incapable of doing anything anxiety. Nope. This is the jittery, on edge, everyone is walking on eggshells because mom's a tornado of tasks and rage kind of anxiety. The desperate "I wish I could crawl out of my own skin and run away for 24 hours before I literally become insane" anxiety. But I can't and don't because I'm an adult and have responsibilities and I can't remember how I know this but I'm pretty sure running away doesn't solve any problems.
The worst part of feeling this way, besides not being able to snap out of it, is my inability to patiently parent.
That's the nice way of saying it.
What I really mean is that I'm my own flaming hot mess and there is no way I can handle your hot mess right now. So, please, everyone MUST. NOT. HAVE. ISSUES.
NO HOT MESSES.
Except I live in a house with 4 daughters and the poor man that has to deal with our drama.
And there's that annoying fact that I'm an adult with responsibilities: namely: Olivia, Joslynn, Adeline and Ella.
So! How do we solve other people's issues and cool down little girl hot messes when you're a raging hot mess yourself?
I. Don't. Know. Please let me know if you do.
Yesterday I told my 6 year old that I was in my safe space sitting at the kitchen table writing and if she wanted to come into said safe space to do her homework she would have to leave behind her funky, whiny, negative energy behind. Including all accompanying groans, grunts, and attention seeking sighs.
And I had this moment of self assessment thinking: am I just being bitchy again? But then I was like: NO! I am so proud of me. I just set a freaking boundary! Boundaries are awesome. Boundaries are healthy.
And that's what this post was supposed to be about.
Setting healthy boundaries with your children such as: Don't touch my food, it's rude. Or, okay you went past funny and now you are just being annoying. Or, do not under any circumstances drink my Dr. Pepper. You know, life lessons.
But as I sat there typing all about asking my daughter to set aside her funky emotions so I didn't have to deal with them-proud of myself even- I realized that I wasn't willing to do the same. That I was holding onto my negative emotions and expecting everyone else to deal with it. Acting like our home was only my safe space and no one else's.
But do I walk on eggshells for my kids when they're having bad days? Do I let them put off chores for tomorrow? Do I teach them how to take care of themselves and their emotions or do I just get mad because they have attitude? Do I respect their boundaries and expect their siblings to do so too?
Do I really think that only adults need self-care and have bad days?
I've spent a lot of time practicing how to recognize my own emotions, to question them, find their roots- even if its just hormones. And then take care of myself. I eliminate stress by accomplishing tasks. I take sick days. I set chores aside. I ask for help. I spend time creating and writing to help me through. I talk to someone. I spend time alone. I spend time with friends. I exercise. I take naps, or baths, or walks.
But do I teach my kids to do the same? or do I just expect them to set their emotions aside as if they aren't worthy of feeling them?
This morning little jo came into our bed early. We snuggled. I told her I loved her. I apologized. I apologized for being so grumpy and negative and snappy. She forgave me, because most of the time she's just better at being human than I am. And then she thanked me for dinner the night before, she told me how delicious it was. (Food is super important to this kid- is food a love language? Well, it's gotta be hers.)
And today. Well, today we're chucking the eggshells out. We're all allowed to be hot messes here. So long as we do it TOGETHER.
And yes, boundaries are still important and healthy but not when used to intentionally isolate ourselves which inadvertently isolates those we love. Even when, no, especially when those we love are whiny 6 year olds.
So even if it's messy and I'm not as patient as I normally am. I'm going to try to teach instead of isolating myself inside my "safe space bubble."
I'm going to try to say "Mom is feeling super anxious today for no good reason, yeah, it happens. So I'm trying to help myself feel better by writing. Do you want to sit by me to do your homework? It would really help me if we sat quietly though. Could you do that for me, so I can feel a little better?"
I'm going to try to express more "I know how you feel, mom feels that way sometimes too. This is what I do to deal, what do you think will help you? How can I help you?"
I'm going to try to cultivate a home-a safe place for us all- were we are supporting each other in these negative emotions, days etc. We'll pick up extra chores when someone isn't feeling great. We'll keep our voices down or give someone space when they need it.
I'm going to try to ask my kids for help and understanding instead of pushing them away to find peace. And I'm going to try to teach them to do the same. To lean in instead of leaning away.
And I'm going to apologize when I mess up. Because that's just inevitable.
Basically, I'm going to keep trying.
Hi! I'm Amy
I am a Christian wife and mother, a writer, and a recovering perfectionist who is tired of chasing happiness in all the wrong ways. I am now on a journey to find a deeper state of being. Join me on My Peace Project and we'll learn how to survive the chaos together!