Healing in a Hat

When I told my boyfriend this morning that I was going to write a blog about my new hat, I literally laughed out loud. It sounds like such a silly thing, but there’s a big reason behind it.

 

Let me backtrack for a second and explain that on Sunday morning, as the skies were blue and the sun was bright and the day was already heating up towards 70 degrees, we were preparing for a day outside in the sunshine. We stopped at good ol’ Walmart for a few necessities; water, sunscreen, a couple pairs of shorts for The Littles, and sun hats were on our list of needs. As we rushed through each department grabbing the items we were in search of, we ended at the sun hats. I personally would rather have my children’s faces shielded from the sun than to continuously slather them in sunblock, but the big deal for me was deciding what to do for myself. My 13 year old picked a mesh cowboy hat that complimented her personal style and I knew would be worn several times over the next few months of sun. The 5 year old picked a sun visor that matched the hat of one of her favorite people in the whole world—my 13 year old, and the 3 year old picked an adorable black traditional sun hat. I looked at the wall of choices that I’ve seen several times over the years when the weather turns warm, and I was secretly nervous.

 

So many times, I’ve walked by that wall and thought there were many cute choices, but I was too afraid to stop and try any on. Why, you ask? Because like many women in today’s times, I struggle with insecurity. This time, I was stopping because it was a true necessity, but I still worried about judgment. Am I too old to try the cute mesh cowboy hats? Are the big floppy brimmed hats too “old” for me in my early 30’s? Is there something in between that would be seen as more appropriate for my age and weight and looks? Would people judge what they see with me wearing one of these choices? Would younger/skinnier/more attractive women giggle to each other if they walked by while I was trying on hats with my kids? I was flustered at the thought of it all.

 

I realize that to many, it would seem silly to be so worried about picking out a hat, but for me, it’s something I’ve always been really self-conscious about. Lately, I’ve had a hard time in general with self-esteem. I seem to have periods of time that I feel confident and attractive, but then I have other periods of time where I feel fat and ashamed and unattractive. I’ve been struggling greatly with the latter these days. This is in part due to the fact I was recently a victim of Internet bullying. To have another human being put me down and shame me for my looks was a little bit of a hard pill to swallow. To have some woman that I don’t even know decide to single me out, taunt me publicly on social media, and then message my boyfriend about it all and put together a side by side picture of her and I pointing out how she’s thin and “more attractive” was more difficult to deal with than I thought it would be. That had a bigger impact that I thought possible. Every picture I’ve put on social media since, I’ve thought of people like her. I’ve wondered who is judging. I’ve wondered who is looking at it and thinking I’m unattractive and unappealing. I’ve wondered if there are those that think to themselves, “Oh, she’s pretty.” My point is, I’ve spent way too much time worrying over these things.

 

Back to standing in front of the wall of hats…my daughter and my boyfriend made it fun for me to try on different ones. I wanted one that was cute, but more than anything, I wanted one that greatly served the purpose I was looking for—to shade my face from the sun I would spend my entire afternoon standing in. As I picked up different styles and colors to try, I relaxed a lot with my fears of other people seeing me. I realized that to anyone walking by, I would look like every other Walmart patron and that most people wouldn’t even notice, let alone care that I was trying out hats. It was in that moment that I took a leap of faith and said to myself, “F’ what anyone thinks,” and I bought the big, floppy billed hat that I knew would be best for blocking the sun.

 

Looking back now just a day later, I can’t believe that I was really considering sacrificing the safety and comfort of my skin over what people ~might~ think of me. I decided to not care about what other people’s judgments might be. I put that hat on in the parking lot as soon as we left, and I proudly wore it all day long, and guess what? It worked wonderfully and protected my face, ears, and the back of my neck from the sun without the use of sunscreen, and I didn’t catch a single person looking at me funny because of my choice. I’ve decided that I need to take this approach with the rest of my life and all of my insecurities. I refuse to be a victim anymore to the mean people of the world. At the end of the day, while I may not be everyone’s cup of tea physically, that woman that chose to be cruel to me is much more ugly than I could ever be. She’s a special kind of ugly on the inside and no matter what the outside looks like, when you’re that ugly in your heart, you’re ugly everywhere.

 

Oh! And guess what else I did yesterday? I took a picture in my favorite new hat…and I put it on Facebook for the world to see.

Advertisements

I’m a Feeler. <–Sounds Creepy, Doesn’t It?

I am a feeler. Just like the title says. I’m not just intensely emotional, but I’m emotional to the point of wearing my heart on my sleeve and incapable of hiding it. Sounds like it sucks, doesn’t it? Well, often it does.

You know those times you blow someone off, and just hope they get the point? Well, I’m that person that has convinced herself that there could be a million legitimate reasons for why you’re not texting back, and I just continue to believe. I will believe that your dog is lost and your kid is sick and your car broke down. I will believe that your phone has died, that you have no reception, and that you didn’t hear your phone for six hours in a row. In desperate circumstances, I’ll believe that your long lost great uncle is suddenly calling, that your phone got destroyed in a crazy toilet accident, and that you’re suddenly sick with food poisoning (like that makes your phone sick too).

Do you get the point? With people like me, you just have to be honest. People like me will have forever faith in others because we feel so intensely that we couldn’t string someone else along knowing his or her heart is involved, so we assume others can’t either.

With others, I put myself in their shoes far too often. I think of how they are thinking. I think of how they might be feeling. And largely, I think of how they are perceiving me. People like me think that all of you are also people like us too. We are mistaken far too often. We are taken advantage of. We are used for the big hearts we have to offer. We are pained by the little things that you give little thought to. We hurt big. Cry big. Smile big. And feel happy big.

Welcome to a tiny peek into my world, folks. There’s so more much here than your first glance would know I have to offer. But it definitely starts with how much I feel.

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 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…..?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.