Friday, December 25, 2020

I made you something

 So this year. 2020. The dumpster fire that it is. It gave me some pretty incredible gifts. For example, this morning I poured coffee on a cocoa bomb that was left on my doorstep two nights ago by one of my dearest friends. A friendship that came to be because of the mess.

I should back up a little.

Since the beginning of the year, my kids' school district has offered the option of hybrid (and later full time in person) school or full time online synchronous school. From day one, my kids have been all online. It felt like the right thing to do, for a lot of reasons.

It also very quickly felt very lonely.

So I decided to do something brave. I made a Facebook support group for the families in my district whose kids were 100% online. Dozens of people joined. I suddenly felt at home, like I'd found my people.

And then something even more spectacular happened.

One of the wonderful moms in the group, M, sent me and a few other moms a group chat. Would we come to an outdoor, socially distant, happy hour in her backyard?

I think the 3 of them were already close. I was the outsider. I'd known A for years, moved in the same circles as L, and had met M once at a girl scout leaders meeting, but this was not a group I felt part of immediately. And yet. And yet I did.

So I went. Numbers were lower then, and none of us really went anywhere, and it was really safe enough. And it was lovely. Exactly what my soul needed.

But the most wonderful thing was that afterwards, the group chat continued. And I was included. I BELONGED. Because these were our people. Anxious moms with anxiety kids. Smart, socially conscious, kind women.  The truest of the true hearts. Kindred spirits.

And I wouldn't have found them if it hadn't been for the flaming pile of shit that is 2020.

In the past week, those 3 friends all dropped off generous, thoughtful, creative gifts on my doorstep.  A Joe Biden ornament. A wine glass decorated with the name of our group chat. A bag of candy and hot cocoa bombs. Gifts that weren't necessary at all because of course the real gift, the gift that Covid gave me, was finding a place I belong. It took my breath away. 

But also, I was filled with shame and doubt.  I didn't have anything to give to them. Certainly not anything as creative and thoughtful and they'd given me. So this, I thought, is where they realize I'm a fraud and exile me from the tribe. Where they realize I don't have any talent or worth and they don't need me after all. I don't have anything to give.

Nothing but my truth.

"Y'all want an essay?" I joked. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

What is

 I am sitting on my couch with my feet up watching Schitts Creek. I am tired, all the way down to my bones. My kids have been asleep for hours. My hair is in a messy pony tail on top of my head with strands falling in my face. I haven't worn makeup in months.

It's 2020. I've been staying in my house for months, staying in with my kids whose mental health is starting to falter, just as mine is. This is hard. So hard. 

I want things to be different. I think almost every day, I mumble to myself, "I  just need everything in my life to be completely different." 

I feel like I've been training for years to learn to accept what is. There were dark days when my babies were little and you, you were the ones with me through it all,.the ones who got me through. And as much as I want things to be different, I see what is and I am practicing every day accepting it.

I am sitting on my couch watching Schitts Creek and I am here now.  I'm going to try to remember that when things feel like too much. I'm going you try to be there then too.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Hi again (or Grace)

 Well hello. It's November. It's November 2020. Everything is screwed. But I thought maybe I'd show up here and do this thing anyway.


It's 12:15, which means it's technically not the 1st anymore which means technically I missed a day which means technically I failed.

But there's this gift that my depression and anxiety have given me over the years and it's called grace. So I'm giving myself grace. I'm saying it's okay that it's not the 1st anymore. I'm saying hi, I'm here, and That's enough for tonight. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Stay

At 1:30 in the morning last night, my 9 year old was standing next to my bed. My eyes fluttered open to look up as she spoke.

"Mom, is it bad that it's 1:30 and I'm awake and I can't get back to sleep?"

I don't think I said anything. I reached for her with one arm and  lifted the sheet next to me with the other. She folded herself into my arms, and within minutes was asleep.

I lay there, awake for a bit but just barely, curled around this preteen who somehow once grew inside my body, and just breathed.

I saw a post today on facebook where another mom of a third grader was lamenting her daughter's baby days. The baby days were rough for me, man. Sometimes I feel sad about that, wondering if I missed something, if I was supposed to feel differently about it. If feeling anxious and sad and frustrated and lonely all the time was the wrong thing. If I did at all wrong, if the baby part was supposed to fill me with something that I would always long to get back.

And these preteen days, they're hard too. They're different hard. Putting this girl to bed last night, I listened to her cry about school, about friends, about not knowing her place and worrying about whether people would like her. An hour before, I'd sent her to her room for hitting her sister because she was frustrated with me for not sending said sister to bed yet. Two hours before that I'd followed her and her friends up and down the street while they picked up trash, an idea that had been entirely their own.

At 1:30 last night, I held my big little girl in my arms, and I just wanted her to stay here now. And she won't, we won't, we'll all keep growing. And the next stage will be wonderful and terrible, beautiful and crushingly hard. And I hope that when we're there, I can BE there like I was for a little while last night, when my brilliant, dramatic, anxious, wonderful daughter curled into me like she did nine years ago. I hope that I can just stay.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Snow day

The phone next to my bed rang before my alarm did. 5:00 AM. I fumbled with the phone, managing to pick it up without knocking it over.

"Schools will be on a two hour delay."

"Oh thank God," I muttered, clicking off the phone and rolling over.

I stayed out too late last night, at a Girl Scout volunteer meeting that included more wine and gossiping than I'd expected. A meeting/impromptu girls night that I had been incredibly grateful for.

But it was morning, and I was supposed to substitute for third grade today, and I was not prepared to get up.

And now I didn't have to.

An hour later, without much surprise, I picked up the phone again to hear that school was closed. Told my kids to go ahead and turn on the TV. Fell asleep on the couch.

I slept off and on for hours. We played in the snow. Did crafts. Baked cupcakes.

It's night now, and my kids are in bed, and I'm grateful for today. Grateful and also... Vulnerable? Wondering if I wasted the day? Feeling guilty for my laziness? And I'm trying to remember that it's okay to have a lazy easy day.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Can we talk about courage?

I had a mini coaching session today (okay, just saying that makes me sound self-indulgent) (okay, probably just to me) where we talked about my limiting beliefs. There were a heck of a lot of them. Like, that I need to write something deep and meaningful every time I write. Like that people aren't going to like what I write. Like that it's embarrassing to try, that my worth is tied to my accomplishments.

What if I fail, we said. I'd be embarrassed. I'd be right where I am now. I'd be afraid to go on. I know that I SHOULD just start before I'm ready, that I SHOULD just write, just show up, power through. But I don't wanna.  It's scary.

Well, she said, you need to think about courage.

And you can't just sit around and wait for courage to show up (well why the heck not? That would be better). It's our thoughts that give us courage. What thoughts would give you courage?

Ummm. Uhh. Well. I don't know? I can't really think of anything?

Hmm, she said. And then silence. (Which meant she was judging me, right? That she thought I was hopeless? No, right? Of course not... right?)

I want to have courage. I want to be brave even though I'm afraid. But I don't know how to get there.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Quick, hit publish before you regret it

Where do I belong?

I think maybe this is the question I've been asking myself my whole life. I had two lunch tables in high school, and would float back and forth between them, never really sitting still anywhere long enough for anyone to notice what a freaking mess I was.

And now, here I am, 38 years old, and I still haven't really figured out how to be in the world. I go to PTA meetings, but I'm not really part of that group. I am a substitute teacher, which means I can float in and out of teachers' lounges without anyone ever really noticing me or seeing me. I post fluff and memes on facebook, funny things or heartwarming things. I make jokes about my life because if I'm laughing then I can't get hurt.

I'm freaking lonely, guys.

A month ago, I went to England, and I didn't tell anyone except my parents who were watching my kids and my neighbors who were getting packages from my porch. I don't know why. Because if I admitted that something exciting was happening, people would think badly of me? Because I was afraid of wanting anything?

I am tired. I am tired and I haven't even been doing anything. I am in this house by myself, pretending that I do something that matters, pretending that I am a person of substance, when really I'm just living on the surface of everything, trying to be small, trying to be just likeable enough that I don't offend anyone, trying to not get hurt.

I'm tired of not existing.

I want to come back.