Luckily, something, somewhere, had my back.
Started with a stellar therapy session (therapy RULES, people...you'll be amazed) that forced me to do some fairly deep soul searching. Then the weather stopped being a dick. Then one of my favorite people in the world called me to the carpet, reassuring, steady, and there for me. I received a "Paid in Full" letter from one of my student loan companies. My big girl got her stitches out and my little girl allowed me to spend approximately one hour without her so I could talk to other adults. I'm on my way back up...I can feel it.
Still, I found myself wishing I had some sort of quick fix for these awful episodes I tend to encounter. I yearned for one thing I could turn to when things got bad ... one thing guaranteed to lift me out of my funk. And then it hit me...
Now don't get me wrong, my kids are often a source of my anxiety. I swim in parenting guilt so thick Lewis and Clark couldn't find their way out. But that being said, I realize when I focus on making life fun and interesting and meaningful and joyful for my kids, the effects wear off on me, too. So I've been hanging with the kiddos more than usual. It's been helping! But, sadly, I've noticed hints (specifically with my oldest) of the same anxiety and negativity that follows me around. Can't say I'm surprised. Our children absorb the environment they are raised in. I try, but I am not perfect. I am flawed, through and through, and they experience the effects of those flaws.
So what's a mom to do? Well I think we all know my answer to that question. Yep. Write a blog post.
I try and tell myself the following truths throughout the day to prevent episodes of negativity, depression, and anxiety. They are all things I know to be true in my heart, but struggle to remember amidst life's little troubles.
1. You do not need anything to be beautiful.
You don't need makeup, clothes, hair, a partner, a job, or a specific number on a scale to be beautiful. You can't buy beauty, can't smatter beauty on your face, inject beauty into your body. Your beauty lies within, as it does for all human beings. Almost everyone realizes this truth at one point or another...more often when they're falling apart and covered in wrinkles. Your beauty lies inside. It is a light you can ignite and add kindling to until your very last days on this earth. Try not to be on your deathbed before figuring this one out. It'll save you money, time, and tears.
2. Your two hands can impact the world.
You may never cure cancer. You may never travel to Africa. You may spend the majority of your day in the same place, around the same people, surrounded by the same things. Reach out, I beg you, and touch the world around you, however familiar it may be. Your two hands can plant life. Your two hands can save a life. Your two hands have the power to irrevocably impact the lives of those around you, and in turn, impact the world.
3. The greatest gift you can give a relationship is honesty.
Be honest with yourself. Identify your needs. Express them with honesty. Never try and cover up your needs...not even for a minute. To do so is to add a slow-working poison to your relationships. Know yourself....and when you don't know yourself, find a counselor who can help you figure it out (hint: Self magazine quizzes don't count). Only when you've identified your own needs and boundaries are you truly ready to dedicate yourself to another. Only then, when you are honest with yourself, are you truly ready to embrace and contribute to someone else's forever.
4. What you put in, on, and around your body matters.
Food is not a microwave oven atop a keg in the closet. Food is money, food is life, and food is power. Learn how to grow your own food. Share what you learn with others. Try to encourage others to care too. Do not assume it is anybody else's job to know these things but your own. When you spend money on something that will go on or against your skin, learn about where it came from. If you can't get an answer, buy something else. Or better yet, make what you need yourself. Or even better than that, find someone who's really, really good at making what you need and become their friend. Your choices affect the world....you're a domino.
5. If life sucks, you're to blame.
It's not his fault. It's not her fault. It's not the world's fault. It's not your boss' fault. Life sucks because you're letting it suck. Look at your skin. See your scars? Your body healed itself. It has the power to close wounds. It has the incredibly magical ability to create tissue where once, there was nothing. It has the confidence to place new cells exactly where they need to be. It has the determination to fight against things it knows are bad. Coolest part? You control you body without even acknowledging it. If you can subconsciously create skin, I'm pretty sure your focused energies are capable of overcoming a sucky day. Or week. Or even year. One foot in front of the other. Just do it. Your body knows the way.
6. Your pride is worth more than mine.
I am so proud of you. You make me proud every day. When you were born you were gorgeous, even though newborns typically look like alien old men. When you said your first word you were a genius, even though hundreds of kids do that everyday. When you hugged me while I was sad you were the most sensitive and caring little girl in the world, even though seconds later you farted and told me you had to poop. I am your momma and I am proud of you...but my pride means nothing compared to the vision you have of yourself. I won't be sitting there during your first job interview - you will. I won't be standing there when you're forced to end a bad relationship - you will. I won't be laying there when you are struggling to get out of bed in the morning - you will. Your view of yourself, your pride in your abilities, and your confidence in your choices, means so, so much more than mine. Put effort into proving it to yourself before proving it to me.
7. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
Make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Learn. Try again. Repeat. I just explained life in a nutshell. Don't worry about becoming a master at anything....because once you are, your brain will find something else for you to pick at. Perpetual motion, as long as it's forward, is all you need to succeed. Be brave. Don't give up. Make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Learn. Try again. Repeat.
Like any parent, I want my kids to learn from my trials and tribulations. It's delusional to think they will...yet we all try anyways. My daughters will likely encounter the same struggles I do, regardless of how much time and effort I dedicate to teaching them the truths listed above. That's ok. I'm ok with it, really. My wish isn't for perfection in my children. It's for peace and comfort when they need it and I can't physically be there. I hope the things I say will resonate with them at the exact moment they need it the most. Who knows, maybe my book-crazy girls will pull up Mommy's blog somewhere down the road, when they're lost, missing me, and needing help. I hope they find this post. I hope they read it and find strength to climb into joy.
If you ever read this, my wild and free girls, Mommy loves you. Embrace the beauty that surrounds your glowing beings and remember you have a soft place to land, nestled deep between kindness and movement toward your dreams. You will forever have a home in me.
Thank you so, so much for reading.