My writing and novel are being show cased!! Please hop over to What Inspires Your Writing to check it out!! Follow the links to my novel and make it #1 on the charts (I’m currently #2!!)
My writing and novel are being show cased!! Please hop over to What Inspires Your Writing to check it out!! Follow the links to my novel and make it #1 on the charts (I’m currently #2!!)
The thing about depression is there is no black and white. No yes or no. It’s a journey. Some days the going is hard and other days just treading water is a success.
5 days shy of 8 months and I finally feel like things are on the up for me. You see, getting better does not really start at getting help. Some times it gets significantly worse after that. Getting help is like clawing at the sides of the hole you are in to slow down the rate at which you are falling. You are either going find something that saves you, or you’ll hit the bottom. And for some, that is the only time they are able to climb out.
For me, I did not quite get to the bottom. I am adult enough to know that things could have been far worse. For me, reaching out meant a small dose of medication, counseling and a ton of support from the people around me. I am not embarrassed about postpartum depression. I have a ton of friends that are pregnant. If they start having symptoms, they know exactly who to talk to.
My PPD was not a disconnect from my children. It was different. It was not even triggered by pregnancy and birth, but exasperated due to the hormone changes that go along with it. I’m depressed because I hate the way I look after these beautiful creations clawed their way out of me like Ace Ventura out of a rhino butt..
I am sad because I will never be 20 again. I will probably NEVER fit any of those jeans in the blue tote in my basement. And I will NEVER reach my fitness goal of wearing my old bras again either.. I have so many cute ones, this in itself is depressing. You can tell me I am ridiculous and to go easy on myself because I just had a baby. But when have you ever known me to go easy on myself? It’s one of my quirks and everyone secretly loves me for it. If I was not so hard on myself, people would not get paid, and my son would smell like farts. All.The.Time. So you are welcome for me holding myself to high standards.
Back to what I was saying. I am glad you think I am beautiful. My husband is still attracted to me after this transformation, but I am not attracted to me. Nope. I struggle with the state of things. I know how to fix them, but I have not been able to sleep because babe wakes up at least every two hours to nurse, I work full time and I solo parent a lot of the time.
And I have been so tired that I would cry when my alarm went off. It was bad.
This week has actually felt like I consistently kept my head above water. I was even faced with something that would have completely derailed me, but it did not. In the past and with everything I have been through, I thought I was pretty resilient, and I guess I still am. I did not stop fighting to be happy. I knew that if I was unhappy, my children would be effected. My marriage had already taken a huge hit. But I made it through. We made it through. I could not have done it with out them.
But you know what the big turning point was? Moving the baby to her own room and sleep training. I stopped nursing in the middle of the night. She protests adamantly in the beginning but no more than an hour of crying and falling asleep and crying again cycle. After one week, I am a brand new person. I could, and plan to, conquer the world. Now I can enjoy my coffee instead of survive on it. Maybe it is selfish of me not to want my baby close at night, and I have noticed that as I get older, I am less and less willing to compromise on things like sleep. Selfish? Fine. I will own that. But I am also getting back to a personal state of better health. Which is far more important to both of my children at this point.
So thank you darling. I know when you grow up and read what your mama wrote about you, you might not like it. But if we could help others by sharing our experiences, then I’d say we’re already a pretty darn good team.
This is a Mother’s Day post, but not in the sense that you may think. The last 17 years, our relationship has been complicated to put it simply. There were many lessons that she tried to teach me as I was growing, but in true child form, I opted to make mistakes versus listening and obeying the warnings she tried so desperately to penetrate into my adolescent psyche.
She became a mother at a very young age. They were married soon after conception and my father, owning the responsibility of his new small family, joined the military. Then I came along. I have written about what I remember (or don’t) of my father in those early years of life, but the constant was my mother. She was always there. She raised us with very little help from anyone else, as we constantly moved from one place to another and away from family most of the time.
I really wish I had appreciated her more then. I wish I had followed some of her instructions. I wish I had even liked her more. No doubt that I love her. She is my mother. But with my stubbornness and her life long search to find herself, we were never friends.
In the fourth grade (I know this is a trivial time in one’s life that should not hold much weight into adulthood), I started to suck at school. I discovered at an early age that I was really smart. I also discovered that I learned so fast, I could pretty much wing-it most of the time. So I stopped doing homework. To this day I will go out of my way to avoid bringing work of any fashion home with me. This habit also was the driving force that convinced me it was time to leave the military. All this to say, my teachers informed my parents, who were unsuspecting that anything was wrong.
In 1995, my mother wrote me a letter. It has remained preserved in a clear pencil pocket all these years. I took it with me after I went to juvy (another story for another time), was court ordered to live with my aunt, through college, to war and back twice, owning two houses, having two children of my own. This 3/4 piece of paper in my mother’s handwriting has remained with me.
You are a very intelligent young lady. Your father and I are very proud of you and your accomplishments. We only ask that you try a little harder at keeping your mind on your studies while at school. You only get to go through school one time, please make the best of it. Life is too short as it is. Loosen up, enjoy yourself but remember without knowledge and education, we are poor people. And I don’t mean just the lack of money. I mean, in the lack of mind and knowledge. Try to view school as a play. You have the lead. Your even allowed to make up things as you go along. But you have to learn your lines. Spelling, Math, Reading, Social Studies, etc. You know what I mean. You know you can do better. I’ve seen you do better.
I love you,
When I became a teenager, my mother and I started down the same path. I can recall a day sitting in the passenger seat of the family car and mom driving. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her that I just wanted to party. All the time. At 15, I decided that I disagreed with 98% of what the world viewed as the responsibilities of being an adult. She tried to explain these concepts of paying bills and taxes, needing to get a job and what it truly took to support myself and be successful.
I cannot imagine the desperation of my mother, to see me headed down a road that would lead me to just barely scraping by. I am truly amazed that at 32, I do not have an 18 year old child of my own.
Recently, I had a chance to spend sometime with my mother. More time than I have spent with her since the day she drove me to the police station and handed me over.
It suddenly occurred to me that we both walked down a path together. And as I left her that day many years ago, I was able to jump back on the right track and make something of myself. She stayed. She made a series of choices that led her to a place that me and my siblings felt needed some intervention.
As I picked her up and drove her to my home, I could not help but feel like the tables had turned. If I had not finally accepted the advice my mother had tried so hard to give me, I would still be in that passenger seat refusing to accept responsibility or acknowledge consequences of my life choices.
There is so much I want for my mother, but really, I just want a mother. I did not grow up how she expected, but I found my round about way to a successful life. I was not around for us to build that relationship that other daughters have with their mother. My kids might not get to visit Meemaw at the same house she had lived in for decades, like I got to growing up. But that’s alright.
On Mother’s Day, I always struggle to find a good card at the store. Vague ones that simply say “I love you, Mom.” and don’t talk about “You were always there for me. You’re my best friend. I couldnt have done it without you.” I wish I could say those things, but for whatever reason, my fault, hers, or simply victims of circumstance, we don’t have a relationship like most women.
I love my mother so deeply. I would tear down a mountain for her. And heaven help anyone that disrespects her or hurts her in anyway. That said, I cannot force her to make choices that would help her fit into this idea of “Mom” that I knew before. If she is happy, healthy, and taken care of I cannot ask much more than that.
Even though her time with me was under stressful circumstances and her departure was quite abrupt, I did learn one thing. I need my mother. No matter who she was before or who she is now. I just needed her because I know she’d love me even if I wasn’t successful. Even if I was still in that passenger seat. Even if she had an 18 year old grandchild. She will always love me in the ways she can.
So, happy Mother’s Day, Woman. I love you.
I have always been a quick learner, fairly crafty, and extremely cheap. So when I met my good friend Jasmine of The Jaybird’s Nest, I knew she was my people. Through the years she has taught me some very valuable things. Not only that, but she helps me raise my kids. For this, I am indebted to her forever. lol So let me tell you some fun things she has taught me about crafting.
I make things because I have a driving need to be creative as most crafters do. It is a healthy outlet, plus power tools make me feel… Powerful? lol And when that one project turns out so good, you want everyone to see it when they come over, there is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment. Or you could just be happy you finished something before starting a fifth project.
I asked my mister yesterday (while I was painting in the kitchen and MAYBE i got a little paint on the counter) if he was annoyed with my crafting. He said no, not at all, but he just wishes that I would finish my projects before starting them so I don’t have a dresser hanging out in the garage, taking up space for a couple of years before I ultimately abandon it anyway. But hey, you win some, you lose some.
Why do you craft???
I have not taken part in a flash fiction challenge in a long time. I have followed Kimberly Crawford since the beginning of my blog nearly two years ago. My first short story, The Last Piece,was from my first shot at one of her challenges. I am thankful that she continues to post these.
This week, we are challenged to write about our ideal work space. Deep in my heart this is where I want to be.
I write in the wee morning light. When everything slumbers. When the night animals tuck in their dark spaces to escape the day and the day animals roll sleepily where they had claimed as home the night before. When my children are snuggled so warm and peaceful and my husband’s feet are still warmed by the pup at the foot of our bed. The crickets have stopped and the birds have not started.
My wooden desk sits slightly shorter than most, but perfect for me. It’s old and worn and soft to the touch. The front ledge is rounded from generations of pen wielding arms pulled from left to right creating hand written letters, stories, poems. Parchment replaced by technology: a double screen, wireless keyboard and mouse. The sentiment remains the same.
My chair sometimes requires conscious balance. Leaning back is a guaranteed concussion, but the arm rests still serve their purpose. The cushion needed reupholstering when my grandmother was a child. The red, orange, yellow fibers are still vibrant nearest the wooden frame but the seat has a comfortable divot to accommodate my posture. Nothing comes close to this custom fit. I have purchased new chairs, but none offer the history and familiarity as this heirloom.
My coffee sits to the left of my keyboard. The steam carries the aroma of awakening and clarity. It brings me from the fog of sleep into the world that I have created on the screen. Sometimes the two intertwine in my dreams, other times I require the liquid motivation to bring back to the place where it started, like a conditional learning pattern. I keep a black pen near my journal on the right. The journal is made of recycled material and has rough, beige pages. My pen spills more ink than needed making my thoughts appear bold and important against the imperfect paper.
A picture frame proudly displays a collage of my family: two happy adults with their silly and adorable son and daughter. A fat beagle is never far from the subjects. I keep a calendar for literary reference and sometimes to remind me of where I am in time, if ever I get lost.
I do not keep a clock and hide one from my screens. My children are my alarm in this place. I have reached a state where they are no longer competing for my attention. My work is completed in the silence of the morning, not in the corporate bustle of obligation.
The nook of my writing space is an extension of the living room. Pushed against the wall underneath a wide window. It faces south, so the sun passes by as it makes its daily journey but never directly in. With them cracked even just an inch, the sound of the rushing creek engulfs the space. It is both strong and gentle. It ushers a breeze that carries the scent of the over-hanging cottonwoods and tall standing aspens. The smells of earth and coffee transport me to the place where my thoughts become someone else. Where primal fears fuel the adrenaline needed for survival. Where lust is mistaken for love. Where death is not the end that it was once perceived to be. The world is no longer confined to what is tangible, but is simply anything I am able to articulate.
Sometimes, I do not even right. Sometimes I hold my coffee with two hands, lean carefully back in my soft but unstable chair and I muse. I let my mind step out of the window and float amongst the leaves of the trees, fall to the water and chase the rapids between rocks. I think of other places and who I would find there. I put them in situations and create their reactions. I allow myself to feel emotions that belong to others and make note of their progression.
With sounds behind me, a giggle, a yawn, sometimes even a flush, bring me back to the world that I cherish above any other I could imagine. Where my calendar reminds me of how far I have come and the little people so excited for the day that they have woken up and are that much older. They look forward to the real adventure Mommy will take them on. For the journey that they will live and the emotions of situations that are their own.
Before leaving, I glance one more time at my space and thank God that it has given me the ability to give to my children what I had only dreamed of.
Imagine, if you will, an ache. A small swollen pain that is constant and further irritated by doing the one thing that soothes you. Then remove your ability to fix it, or even articulate your need for assistance aside from screaming bloody murder and thrashing around. You have become a miniature angry octopus-banshee creature that is utterly inconsolable. This is my child.
You have become a miniature angry octopus-banshee creature that is utterly inconsolable.
No, I did not get lip injections, I was somehow kicked in the face multiple times. While I tried to pretend it was a massage, my muscles were not fooled. Yes I did shower today in a desperate attempt to wake up, however this hair style is called the my-eyes-were-still-closed bun. If I had not set my kids clothes out last night, they would be wearing pajamas to the sitter. I also sincerely apologize to the gentleman that I MIGHT have cut off today on the highway. Your middle finger was very much warranted. Thank you for not retaliating in any other way like tailgating, honking or the like.
Normally I am that annoyingly chipper morning person, so I’m just guessing this is Karma coming back at me. Well played, life. Well played. I am far too nice to not smile back at everyone I see, but it is seriously exhausting to do so.
I cannot taste my coffee. It is having zero effect. I desperately wish it was Friday instead of Wednesday but it is feeling so much like the third Monday of the week. Oddly enough I will probably be far more productive today in attempts to compensate for my lack of motivation.
But after such a torturous night, waking up to happy kids puts a nice buffer on the rest of the day. Pulling myself out of bed after only hitting snooze once, made for an easier morning and less rushing.
It is amazing what an hour nap does for a baby. I love you, Pumpkin, but you have made Mommy’s day suck really bad. And there does not seem to be an end in sight. I’m scared to google “how long does teething last” because my four year old now has molars coming through. Heaven help me.
There was one time, I jumped out of an airplane. I had been on many before, even over a war zone when the turbulence was questionable to the pilot’s skill and flares shot out the back to ward off enemy fire. I would sometimes ask my fellow passengers if they would jump. Some looked at me wide-eyed and green-faced and shook their head no. Others would consider the question and without too much thought claim they would. I, however, had spend some time mulling the question over. I decided that if some one shoved a parachute in my arms, and had full confidence that I would live through the experience, I would absolutely do it. I think this is pretty consistent with most things in my life, though only a few where failure would mean certain death.
There is never a perfect time to have kids, buy a house, change jobs, get married. I mean sure, looking back everything fell into place, but at the time it was hard work and incredibly scary. I struggled and got hurt along the way, but every single thing in my life has placed my in the seat I am in (attached to this damn pump). Through all of these changes, one thing has remained consistent: my resilience. I never stopped looking up. I never kept trying for inner peace in the situation. I never let things consume me. And when it was hard to do on my own, I got help. I have been through some of the most horrible things. But I still smile and play with my baby girl when she wakes up, I still hug my son and tell him how handsome he is before school. I tell my husband how much I love him every single day. I come to work and put pride in every thing I do.
The other day I watched a video about Will Smith describing the time he jumped out of a plane. He said something like how complete and utter fear precedes unimaginable bliss. If you have children, those moments before that little person arrive are riddled with fear and anxiety. But the moment you hear that perfect sound of their cry, nothing ever comes close to the happiness and relief of that moment. Separated by milliseconds. Sometimes they are even all smashed together into one.
If this does not personify my message today, I don’t know what would. Thank you Kellie for letting me share this moment.
So if you’re on the fence of something incredibly scary and life changing I encourage you to take a chance for the better. (If you are on a literal fence and it’s a long way down, maybe you should reach out for some help like I did). Either way, change might be scary, but I think living the same day over and over is far worse.