Growing Pains

What do you do when life gets a little messy and you start to fall apart and that starts to have an impact on the people around you…? Well, if you’re like me, you start to write. So here I am, ready to ramble because I feel if I don’t let it all out, I might explode. Or implode. Either way, the consequences of that can be devastating.

 

I have a lot on my plate in life. Those that know me personally know that. Those that know me intimately know that sometimes I don’t handle it very well. But what can I say, I’m human. I work full time (out of town, so add travel time to my full plate), I have 3 teenage children that can be a handful as they struggle with some normal issues and some extreme issues depending on the kid we talk about, I have a shit ton of bills and financial stress, I have an ex-husband that doesn’t pay a penny in child support and I honestly don’t think he ever will, I lack a support system from my family (though, side note, the support from those I do have close to me is pretty freaking amazing, especially since they choose their relationship with me), I struggle with anxiety and depression frequently, and a hundred other things I could list here. My point is, sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I’m overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m needy. Sometimes I’m emotional. Sometimes I require more love and attention from those close to me.

 

I seem to be in a growth spurt lately, and let me tell ya, I feel the growing pains. Like a child, it hurts, I cry, I accomplish, I laugh, I fall down, I get up, and it all repeats. Growing is hard. I’ve learned many important life lessons in the last year and a half and I’ve lost many “friends” and have had my heart stung through these lessons and losses. I’ve been used. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been treated badly. I’ve felt the crushing weight of stress. I’ve been scared. And through all of this, I’ve had to learn how to care for myself. I cannot put others’ needs before my own needs. I definitely cannot allow the poor choices of others to impact me to the point of me breaking. I’ve had to learn to depend on myself, even for emotional support. It’s been intense. It’s been painful. And in some ways, it’s been fulfilling. I’ve been learning and I’m still breathing and I keep moving forward. I’m succeeding, even through the changes. That’s what life is all about anyway, right?

Ever the Believer. The Lover. Me.

I disappoint myself sometimes. I frustrate myself pretty much more than anyone else can. The funny thing about that, is after 30+ years of being this way, I still haven’t figured out how to turn my heart off.

Even when I know something is likely bad, I feel for it anyway. Even when that piece of me thinks that things are only going to end in heartache—I still want to take that chance. But how can I not?

Everything I’ve ever had has ended in heartache, so I have two choices. 1. I quit and believe that true love, loyalty, and teamwork doesn’t exist and will never happen, or 2. I keep believing and hoping and giving chances. And the reality is, I was built with a lover and nurturer’s soul, so turning off my heart isn’t likely to happen. Ever.

So what do I do? I endure. I fight. I continue on despite the world that reflects negativity on the daily. I somehow allow my heart to keep believing. This road of getting my heart stung might not be over yet, but I can pretty much guarantee that even if it isn’t, it won’t make me quit. It’s just who I am. I am weak. And yet, I am Oh. So. Strong.

I Live my Life in Song Lyrics

I sit here at my newly delivered dining room table—with its beautiful finish, bar height, 8 chairs, and gorgeous 7 feet in length to write this blog. This impressive, brand new lovely wood warmth feels great to sit at, but that’s as good as the feelings get tonight. I sit here with a heavy heart. I sit here with a mind going a million miles an hour with hurt. I sit here ready to purge.

It’s funny how blogs give way to brutal honesty. Anonymity is incredibly freeing. It’s often truth telling honesty, poured freely from anonymous bleeders like myself because of its freedom. This freedom from pressure to constantly look, perform, and sound like I have my shit together 100% gives me the allowance to unashamedly tell my story. So here goes…

It was at this brand new table that my family was able to comfortably sit for a dinner together in this house for the first time. I was so excited coming home, knowing we were able to pay off our 90 day layaway just in the nick of time, to know we were going to have actual conversation over dinner together tonight. I was in high spirits. For a moment, life felt good. But it didn’t take long for it to be destroyed.

The entire mood of the house soured quickly in the instant Mr. Man decided he was going to throw a tantrum—something that happens with about as much regularity as I need to change my clothes. The tantrums have gotten old and so frequent that the mood of the entire house dims once it starts.

I move away out of sight from it all to allow my face a moment to adjust to my frustration (to not look as annoyed as I feel). I swallow hard, take a few deep breaths, and intentionally relax the tale telling muscles in my face. But it doesn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmed. Feeling like I’m walking through cement and am tired because I’ve done this same stretch of trudging for I don’t even know how many days in a row.

The TV gets turned off and some light 80’s and 90’s country plays on Pandora as we gather at the new table set for dinner. The kids are talking but I feel the tension. I feel tired. Am I really going through this again? Am I watching my relationship unravel before my eyes? Am I continuing to fight for something that is crumbling away despite my efforts?

I quietly eat my food as Faith Hill’s voice begins over the speakers, ♪“Baby, tell me where’d you ever learn to fight without sayin’ a word…”♪

I feel tears sting my eyes.

♪“Then waltz back into my life like it’s all gonna be alright, don’t you know how much it hurts?” ♪

I focus on relaxing my facial expressions.

♪ “When we don’t talk, when we don’t touch, when it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love…it matters to me.”♪

I blink back hot tears as I see the disconnect between me and Mr. Man. I see it in this moment. I see it every day.

♪“When I don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do, don’t know if it really even matters to you.”♪

He doesn’t even look my direction as I sit there in silence, choking down the food that my stomach has no desire to take in.

♪“Maybe I still don’t understand the distance between a woman and a man. So tell me how far it is, and how you can love like this, ‘cause I’m not sure I can…”♪

I am barely in control of my emotions and the song seemingly speaks about my life.

My children start in with going around the table and asking what the best part of everyone’s day was. This is a game I started when they were little just to get them to communicate with me and show them that I am interested in their days. My daughter’s big brown eyes look up at me as it’s my turn.

“Mommy, what was the best part of your day?”

I ponder for a moment and tell her, the best part of my day was when I was coming home. I was excited to be off work. I was thrilled that the new table was coming and that we could finally eat together as a family. I was excited to know my new country CD had arrived and was looking forward to just relaxing and being with my loves. I left out how my happiness and good spirits came to a screeching halt when the grown up tantrums began. My answers pleased her though and I was relieved when the focus was off of me and on to the next person at the table. My heart was being squeezed. It is hard to hide my pain from my children. It’s hard to feel that pain period.

I feel intense pressure to make everything okay all the time. I fear letting down my babies after I’ve already put them through so much in life. My bright, caring, beautiful children are depending on me for their stability and yet I can’t seem to keep it all together. It is the weight of the entire world on my shoulders as I smile through the hurt at them.

I sat there contemplating all that is my life currently…

Are we going to end? Are we going to survive? Am I fighting the inevitable? It’s the pong that goes on in my mind daily lately. When is it worth fighting for? When is it worth giving up? Am I lying to myself?

The country music continues with George Strait and I feel some relief when the mood relaxes at the table and the kids talk happily amongst themselves.

I think it’s going to be okay, I tell myself…

♪”…And if you’ll buy that, I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.”♪

Back to Where I Began From

I’ve had a love of writing for almost as long as I’ve know how to. Journaling, poetry, and essays have kept me sane. It only makes sense for me to start my first blog. Whether anyone reads it or not, I feel an overwhelming need to purge my soul by putting my written words out into the universe.

But where do I begin? How do I choose what to write about? What is currently on my heart…..?

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I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. I always knew I would have children. What I did not know was how I would have so many, so young.

In 1999, at 15 years old, I struggled with my self-esteem. I struggled with knowing who I was and what my place was in the world. I was lonely, hurting, and confused. Of course, I knew a baby would just fix all of that for me. Even with that insane desire, I was shocked when the woman entered the Planned Parenting office room at the end of that September day and said my test was positive. She must have thought I was crazy because I have a face that cannot lie and my emotions are always clearly written in my expressions. She must have known I was happy about this result.

I left with some pamphlets and booklets and proof of pregnancy in hand. I’m sure I was beaming. I didn’t think about how I didn’t even live at home (since I’d been kicked out several weeks prior). I didn’t think about how my teacher that I was living with would react. I didn’t think about how in that one instant, my entire life, my path, my future, my everything was suddenly altered. All I thought about was the little life growing inside of me and how more than anything, I wanted to be a good mommy to my baby. I just didn’t know yet how hard that would be.

So two weeks before my 16th birthday, I announced to those around me that I was with child and that no matter what anyone said or did, I was keeping it. I dreamed of baby names, cute baby clothes, and snuggling a delicious smelling newborn that was all mine. What I did NOT think about was everything beyond that. I didn’t think about school struggles. I didn’t think about puberty. I didn’t think about teenage attitude and defiance. I didn’t think about those things, but I am now living smack dab in the middle of them anyway.

I worry about my son. I worry that I set my child (and other children) up for hard lives of their own because of my own choices. They have lived through poverty and very young parents that didn’t know what they were doing. They have seen their father abuse their mother, and they have seen their father under the influence of a variety of drugs and alcohol. They have endured horrific circumstances that I’m not yet ready to write about. They have endured their parents’ divorce, moving, and starting life over from scratch.

Until now, we made do with what we had and my children have been fairly well adjusted and happy souls. Then enters puberty and extreme hormones. My son, C, has made troubles for himself. Failing in school, becoming violent at home, ending up court involved, and taking off after school and doing who knows what for hours on end when he’s supposed to be home. It’s hard to deal with as a parent. I cry. I try to talk to him about his choices now can affect his entire life. I continue to push him to follow the rules and to do his school work, but ultimately, I have no control over his choices. So I worry, I stress, and I grieve. I feel extreme guilt over how my choices impacted his life. I fear for where he is headed. I hurt for what I learned too little too late and cannot fix. I cry hot tears into my pillow and lay awake for hours at night thinking of where I have gone wrong and how badly I wish I could go back in time and change it.

For those that say they wouldn’t change anything in the past in life because it makes one who he or she is today, I call bullshit. There is so much that I would change if I could. Because now, my heart aches Every. Single. Day.