"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” -- Anne Lamont
I'm blessed with this incredible little family. Don't confuse "incredible" with "perfect". My child has never been a successful night sleeper, and that sleep deprivation has taken its toll on Bryan and I. But there are these moments of clarity (after the babies stopped crying and I have had SO much coffee) that I remember this is just a phase (and largely in connection with the tubes this kid so desperately needs. Come on August 4th!) and that we are incredible together, even when we feel like fragments of our former selves. Bryan is my sanity, my reality check, my motivator, and my saving grace. I've needed that more than I can ever express appropriately.
You see, I don't have post-partum depression, but I have most certainly seen my anxiety take a nose dive for the worst. And that came from a combination of things that robbed me of my self-confidence and control that I so desperately thrived on.
Let me preface by saying I AM NEUROTIC. Every fiber of my being has been that way for as long as I can remember. I could give you a list of reasons why, but I will just say have always been the fixed, the reliable one, the solver. No one put that on me, but I accepted that responsibility in a lot of areas and that's a lot of weight to carry around. That was always offset by a social circle and a thriving optimism I was always able to renew. I am a worrier and simultaneously find something beautiful in each day. It's a lifeline that I hold on to. I still do this.
In the last few years, though, a particular set of circumstances started to unravel my soul a little. Professional identity, loss of two close friends, and a baby (before you get defensive-- he isn't unraveling it's the circumstances).
1) I left a job that although grueling allowed me to feel like college was "worth it" because I was good at it-- damn good and I rarely toot my own horn. It wasn't the best suited match for me organization wise and I don't for a minute regret choosing to move here and be healthier but it's been a long 2 years without a job that fulfills me that way. I think professional identity is very important.
2) In a matter of a couple years, I lost two of my dearest friends. I think I've really disconnected with that fact because I had to. Because the reality of it was too much. Because when Jess died, I was in the midst of a high risk pregnancy and knew detaching from the reality of her death was necessary to be healthy for the baby. But now I'm a year out from her death and it has become a heavy weight. I don't talk about it-- because the circumstances of that aren't what people discuss. I'd like to note I am grateful that I have the handful of solid friendships I do. The friends that get your dark days and don't require a daily check in but know something is up if you don't.
3) I had a baby. He's the best damn thing I've ever created. But with his current situation, he's isolating. Motherhood in general, I've discovered, is isolating. In part because everyone thinks the way they mother is "right" and doesn't want to risk criticism, but also because you put that baby first. They need a schedule. My kiddo has had ear issues since about 3 months. He doesn't ride well in the car, it hurts him. So we are homebodies. And that's sort of isolating too. I don't really miss social outings by myself too much. I just yearn to take him with me on adventures and show him off. Perhaps what really pisses me off, though, is the lack of effort from people who couldn't wait to be there for you, but are conveniently never available at all? I don't have the time or energy to fight or beg. Come around or don't.
Having said all this, I'm not in the least unhappy. I don't want it to sound that way-- I just think I have been bottling up a lot of things that I think would hurt someone's feelings or that no one wants to talk about. But I want to talk about it-- and you can take it or leave it. Part of renewing optimism is getting rid of the things that weigh you down.