Hard Times, Harder Fight

This last week has been one of the hardest I have endured in a long time. As I have been fighting hard to make my life better, it seems that for every step forward I take, I am knocked back two. While I’m working hard to keep making forward progress, this last week made me feel like what little light I had going on at the end of the tunnel had been snuffed out.

I have written over and over again about hope, positivity, and choosing to focus on the good in life. I struggled this week though for a variety of reasons. It was like life needed to knock me on my butt, and once I was there, the blows just kept coming.

I got a new full time job. Yay, right?! Wrong. For one, I’m not thrilled to be back to living the two job life. Working 6 to 7 days a week is exhausting. It pretty much takes away any kind of personal life I can have and makes it seem like I just live to work. Two jobs is temporary though, so I can get over that. For the first time in my life though, I’m now in a factory job. The work is hard, the days are long, the rules are extremely strict, and my position is outside in the elements all day. Coming into winter now makes me cringe at the thought of having to spend 40+ hours outside in it each week. I was devastated when I realized my position assignment for this. It was definitely not what I had wanted.

On top of the work stuff, it seems that my entire personal life decided to fall apart at the same time too. While I don’t want to go into much detail because it’s not just my privacy at stake, but many others too, I can say that this week was nothing short of a shitshow. Every single day, life was throwing punches that were pummeling my heart. I cried, I screamed, I yelled, and then I cried some more. I even had a full on meltdown. Let’s just say that life was not kind to me over the last several days. I had several moments where I felt like this is all just too hard, and I wanted to throw in the towel. Exhaustion, adjusting to major new life changes, getting my feelings hurt deeply, dealing with parenting rebellious teenagers, and more all at once was enough to leave me crying like a little baby every single day. It was just an incredibly hard week.

As I’ve been thinking about all of this the last couple of days though, I am reminded of one thing. I can’t change a lot about my life circumstances right now. The one thing I can control though is my attitude. I have a choice in whether or not I crumple to the ground and let my entire world fall apart. I have a choice in whether or not I want to start this new job with a positive outlook. I have a choice in whether or not I want to wallow in miserable self-pity or if I pull myself up by the bootstraps and push forward with a smile on my face.

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It is okay to have those occasional meltdowns, especially when life is throwing the amount of crazy curveballs it has been throwing me lately. It is okay to cry and scream and lose it. Go ahead and meltdown. But then, when you’ve cried it all out, dry your eyes, wash your face, and then get back up! If life is going to throw punches, then throw some punches of your own back! You own your life, you own your reactions and choices, and you own your behavior. Focus on what you can change, and let go of what you cannot. These were the big lessons I was reminded of this week.

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And lastly, if you are struggling to the point that you are considering suicide, please reach out. There are many resources available and you are not alone. Your life is worth living.

Hang in there, my friends. Life is all about seasons and if you are going through an incredibly hard season right now, take comfort in knowing that a good one is coming soon.

Much love,
Moonshine Niki

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Where Are My Happy Memories?

Two days ago, my therapist gave me a writing assignment (bless her heart, she already knows me so well). Here’s the thing though, for the last two days, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what I’m going to write.

I’m supposed to write about something positive or happy memories. She explained that for those that suffer from PTSD, our brains become hardwired to always see negative first and that focusing on the positive helps to redirect the brain. It didn’t seem like a big deal when she said it, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I totally get it. Every time I think of something happy or positive memories, I immediately associate it with something else bad. Every positive moment cancelled out in my brain by the negative. I think about events with my kids and immediately, my brain is telling me, “You can’t write about that, you haven’t been a very good mom.” I thought about memories of my dad (my step dad) when I was young, like him teaching me how to drive or playing one-on-one basketball like we used to do, and my brain responds, “You shouldn’t favor your dad, you are a bad daughter for not being closer to your mom,” or, “How can you write about your dad when your relationship is virtually non-existent now?” It’s hard enough to come up with a positive thing to write about here at all, but even worse my mind is telling me constantly that I’m somehow bad for it.

While trying to think of what the hell I’m going to write, all I’ve done is cry and put myself down and think of what a failure I’ve been. This is exactly why I went and got signed up for therapy in the first place. I know logically that the negative thoughts are lies from the years of pain and brokenness and trauma, but feeling differently is definitely going to take some work. So, for now, I’ll keep on trying to figure out, where are my happy memories?

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*Image origin unknown*

Onward and Upward, Baby!

When I sit down to write, I normally have a specific topic and some kind of outline I intend to follow. Every once in a while though, my heart is just full and the only clear path I have is to just actually open the computer and let my fingers go. Today is the latter.

Heartbreak…. Man, oh man, heartbreak. It’s something we all are familiar with, but it’s one of those things that unless you are in the thick of it, it’s easy to forget how difficult it can be. Sadly, for this, I’m also currently experiencing the latter. In. The. Thick. Of. It. The crazy thing about this heartbreak though is that it’s a complex mix of emotions. More complex than I have ever experienced before. I didn’t initiate it, but I should have. Things weren’t right and we both knew it. I’m a sap though and loyal to a freakin’ fault, so out of love, I kept trying.

While he initiated it, even while it stung and hurt and part of me didn’t want it, I still knew it was the right thing. What I did not realize was how much it still would hurt. So what do I do now? My financial situation is up in the air and I need to come up with a plan, and quickly. In fact, everything is up in the air, and it is terrifying. I hate the way it feels, stress constantly tearing my stomach up, nights spent tossing and turning and not being able to sleep deeply for long, and being exhausted, but sleep not easily coming either. I did not want to be here again! And even more than that, I didn’t want my kids to be here again.

So here we are, having a brand new start again. Once again, I’m trying to figure out what will probably end up being a second job, and figuring out what our new normal is. The one thing I know for sure though is that I want to be okay by myself. In fact, I want to be happy by myself. I don’t want to live my life looking forward to the someday when I will inevitably meet someone new. I’ve been on a journey of self-love for a little bit now, and I definitely intend to keep that up.

I am worthy of love, self-respect, happiness, stability, and a good life, even if it is alone. These are my current goals. I know we are going to be okay. So for me and my almost grown babies, it’s upward and onward, baby!

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Healing Hurts

I’ve been thinking a lot about deep hurts lately. The kind that cut deep into one’s soul and make one’s heart bleed for a long time. These hurts…these hurts that steal one’s breath, these hurts that cause body shaking, soul quaking sobbing crying…these hurts, I’m familiar with.

Today, I told someone about a memory of my oldest and youngest child together. It is probably my only clear and specific memory of these two children together since my youngest’s life was stolen from us way too early. The memory is a fond one, but after I mentioned it, I felt a familiar and yet horrible pain that I wish my heart had never known. The pain of grief…the kind of grief that you could never know unless you are a parent that has held your dead child.

It doesn’t matter how long has passed, there will forever be moments where intense grief sneaks up and squeezes my heart so hard it feels like I won’t be able to catch my breath again. Now, admittedly, these moments are rare now (thank God), but they happen at random and will happen forever. I can talk about my daughter without crying, and I do this frequently, but there are just those times where it is painful again like back at the beginning when she was first gone.

I’m certain that today’s pain was a byproduct of other intense hurts I’ve been feeling lately. It’s like having a fresh scab that gets bumped. While that bump wasn’t much, the wound is fresh, so it bleeds easily. That is my heart these days. I can only handle so much before I’m bleeding all over the place, and lately, baby, I’m bleeding.

I get told frequently in life that I am strong, and this is true. I continue to wake up each day with a smile and fresh hope, but it doesn’t make what I endure any easier. In fact, I don’t even know anymore that this is necessarily a good thing. It just is what it is. I personally don’t feel like it’s anything that I have a choice in—it’s just who I am.

So lately, while so much is searing my heart, while I continue to wake each day filled with hope, while each day something hurts deeply and I smile anyway, please know that doesn’t mean any of it is easy. I’m human and I hurt. Like so many others out there, I’m just trying to get through life. I’m trying to not just survive, but thrive. I have no choice but to believe that while there is so much that hurts today, there can be so much that feels amazing tomorrow. It is in this hope that I find healing. A healing that lets me keep going. So in the midst of pain tonight, I smile knowing that once again, I will be up in the morning with the world’s biggest hopes, and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow the hurts will be healed.

My Sunshine Is Coming

I have been so incredibly busy. I have 3 teenagers, 2 jobs, and 1 very hectic life. I’m constantly on the go and when I do have downtime, all I want to do is get into my cozy clothes and hangout on my couch. One thing I greatly miss about having more time though is writing, of course.

I went back and re-read a blog yesterday that I’d written a couple months ago and the yearning in my heart to write was so overwhelming. I have had tons of blog ideas lately, but just haven’t been able to get them out. I sometimes start, but then get sidetracked or overwhelmed with other things. Reading that blog though, I needed it. I needed it to fan the flames inside of me. I needed to be set back on track. While I still don’t think I have time today to bang out anything spectacular, it was important to me that I sit down and at least write a couple hundred words about anything in general.

I’m treading water in this current storm as fast and hard as I can. Lately, I’m working 7 days a week and still barely keeping my face out of the water. My kids miss me and I miss them. Sometimes I get bogged down with memories of my old life and it feels hard. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I full on body shaking, soul quaking sob. But each and every day, I get back up with a heart full of hope and a soul full of determination. Each day, I get ready and get the kids to the bus stop and go to work. Each day, I battle exhaustion and chronic pain and I do what I have to do. I’m strong. I get told that a lot, and it is true. But the thing is, I don’t have a choice. I can’t not pay my bills. I can’t not feed my children. I can’t not go to work. So I trudge on.

I’ve been on a few dates lately and have conflicted emotions about this. It’s nice to be reminded that I am a woman and desired, but I also don’t want to waste time. I’m not looking for random hook-ups or someone to just kill time with. I’m also unwilling to settle and know that I deserve a hell of a man. I deserve someone who has just as much drive in life as I do. I deserve loyalty and dedication. I deserve tenderness and sweetness. I deserve intelligence and thoughtfulness. And finding a man in today’s times with all of this is well, sadly, a hard feat. I don’t hold out much hope that some man is going to swoop in and sweep me off my feet and make it so that my life isn’t so lonely and hard, but let’s face it, I’m a hopeless romantic. I do have a giant faith that my “forever” is somewhere out there and will someday present himself. I just don’t think it’ll be any time soon, and that’s okay.

For now, most of my focus and energy goes into just surviving each day. I’m just trying to maintain. I know that life can’t be like this forever and it won’t be. I also know that some of the brightest days happen after a storm. So for the time being, I’m patiently enduring the rain knowing my sunshine is coming.

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*Photo from Google*

My Child, I Would Die For You

There is nothing on this earth like a mother’s love. It is strong. It is fierce. It is unbreakable. A mother’s love can make a calm woman rage, a safe woman get into a dangerous situation, and a passive woman become aggressive. This is something I’ve known since the first moment I laid eyes on my precious firstborn and it was solidified when I noticed the hospital had somehow burned the back of his scalp. I’m a non-violent, loving, tender woman—until it comes to my children’s well-being being threatened.

I have a child that has been a handful for his entire life. As an infant, he cried constantly and no amount of rocking, shushing, feeding, burping, or changing could soothe him. By the time he was a toddler, he had meltdowns that could blow anyone away with his ferocity. By the time he was entering kindergarten, we knew that he was different and would likely always require tender care in parenting. We’ve had our ups and downs, but he has mellowed out a lot and is figuring out his way in this world as a teenager now. He is sensitive to many things though, such as how he perceives others to perceive him. He gets upset easily and has a hard time handling “big emotions.” This causes problems sometimes, but I never give up hope that he will figure out how to manage it by the time he’s entering adulthood. But the other day I had a moment that truly reminded me of how intense a mother’s love is.

As my son was upset about something small, he went out to the front of the house to cool off. He’s very good about removing himself from situations he knows will cause a blowup. I happened to be with a friend at a local thrift shop when it began, but when I arrived back home, he was sitting leaned up against one of my vehicles parked on the street. I was concerned, both for his safety sitting on the road and for his emotional well-being in general. Because of him sitting against the van, I stood near him on the street as I tried to coax out of him what he was feeling. Then what happened next seemed like slow motion.

I glanced up as a car passed us and I watched the driver turning to look at us over his left shoulder. This caused a chain reaction. It made him veer slightly to the left as an oncoming car came around the corner. The man veering made the oncoming car turn wide to the right as she was making a left turn onto my street. I immediately could see her laughing and looking at her passenger—and NOT seeing my baby sitting right in her path. Now mind you, I live in a small town in a residential neighborhood. I live in an area where you can’t speed and you have to pay close attention because on any given day at any time, someone’s small child could go running into the street after a ball or a pet could go darting out. This young woman though clearly was not paying attention. As my son sat oblivious on the asphalt, I saw her coming right for him. There was zero time to think logically and going off of instinct, I screamed out at the same time as I moved towards him with my arms outstretched. In my panic, I just wanted her to see me and so I was running forwards towards a car coming straight for us. I was standing over him and leaning my arms out as if I could protect him from her car by shielding him. She heard me and I made eye contact with her as she then swerved back to the left to miss us. I was so angry that she wasn’t paying attention and I was angry that my son didn’t realize he was putting his own safety at risk. It was several seconds later that I realized—I just stepped in front of a moving vehicle without thinking rationally to protect my child! I just risked my life to save his! In that scary moment though where I didn’t know if she was going to look up in time, there was no real thinking, I just was willing to do whatever it took to save my child.

At the end of the day, it’s not like she narrowly missed us by inches (she was several feet away still when she saw us) so it was nothing harrowing. But it was eye opening for me and for my son who also realized what I had risked to help him. The worst case scenario that we avoided was for her to hit us both. I didn’t think about that risk when I did it though.

Even the best behaved teenagers can be hard to raise and be a handful. But as moms, we keep up the good fight and continue to parent even through the ugly moments. There’s nothing in the world those teenagers can do that would make us go, “Nope, never mind, I don’t want to be a mom anymore; I don’t love that kid anymore.” And in the hard moments where we feel our child is in danger or he or she is being wronged, well…like a meme I just recently saw on Facebook said; I solemnly swear I’ll be a classy mommy…until you mess with my kids. Then I swear I’ll be the biggest, redneck, ass whoopin’ mama you’ll ever meet! And this is true. Believe it.

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