Category Archives: Depression

What the Funk?

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I have been in a downward spiral of a funk for a while now. I haven’t felt like myself. I don’t feel creative. I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I’ve been having writer’s block, bad. I just am not sure what to do.

I wouldn’t call it full-fledged depression. I’ve been there, multiple times. I’ve been medicated, I’ve been in therapy, the works. This is not the same kind of feeling. And maybe it’s just hitting me in a different way.

The holidays started the downward deviation from my “normal” self (although, what REALLY is normal these days?!) I think being away from family is always difficult, but especially during the holidays and special occasions. So, that absolutely comes into play in my present WTF scenario.

Strained relationships, misunderstandings as well as cruel words spoken also play a part in this. I’ve heard all the cliché’s and I’ve probably posted them on my various social media accounts, partially as a reminder that not all days are perfect and not all scenarios in life are played out like they are in the movies.

You know, like the one that says, “Just because you are angry doesn’t give you the right to be cruel.” Anger is one thing, and we all experience that one time or another. But that doesn’t give ANYONE the right to treat someone badly or hurl hurtful sentiments their way. This happened recently.

Or another one that says, “The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.” Just because someone has disrespected me and made snide remarks about my parenting, does not mean I’m a bad parent (even if that is a constant battle I have with myself). When someone makes a jab at me and/or something about me, does not mean that jab is accurate or even truthful. I have to make my own reality and truth. The offending party does not get to determine this about me.

Or finally, this quote, “Never respond to rudeness. When people are rude to you, they reveal who they are, not who you are. Don’t take it personally, be silent.” Again, this one is much easier said than done! It’s hard for me to not take rude comments and remarks personally. It’s difficult to remain silent because my first instinct is to defend myself and show the person how wrong they are. I admittedly need to grow a “thicker skin” so as to not take everything to heart. But that’s so hard when a person like me, with a heart that cares too much, hears insults hurled my way.

So basically my 2017 has not been going in the direction I would like it to go. Honestly, the last part of 2016 leading into 2017 has been pretty much hell. I’ve cried more in the last 3 weeks than I have in a long time. And maybe that’s a good thing because the release of emotions like that can always be cathartic. BUT, it also means that multiple things have caused the tears to flow, easier than they have in previous times.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel so deeply. I wish that I didn’t have a big heart that took things so personally. I wish that I could have a more carefree, caring less attitude, but then that wouldn’t be me. I am the person I am today, because of my heart. It’s not something that’s going to change overnight.

Going forward, I can only be me. I can wake up each morning, resolving to stay true to myself. I can continue to be the caring person that most people know me to be. I can’t live each day trying to please everyone, because that’s only going to end up in a miserable heap of failure. I can only continue to keep on keeping on, and leave the world a slightly better place then the day before. It’s all that I can do. And everyone needs to realize, including myself, that’s all that I can do.

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Now You See Me…..

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For me, in a sea of unknown faces I can hide. I can be alone with my thoughts. My thoughts wander. Realities become blurred. I can sit back and imagine all the possibilities. In this time of pondering, I’m able to reach out and grasp the untouchables. The elite. The hidden. It is then that I realize that even in crowds of people, I see that I’m only a speck, just a blip on the radar of life.

There has to be something that I can grasp, something tangible that I can feel, just like sand flowing through my fingers while sitting on a beach. There’s such a disillusion of what companionship really is. It can be something I can feel. Something I can know. Something that is in my presence. But yet, it’s not there. It’s hiding. It’s distant and I want so much to be able to be there, in constant communication.

I get beat down. I get the wind knocked out of me. Words are so powerful. Thoughts can get you in a place you don’t want to be. You can be lifted up. Or you can be torn down. How am I supposed to handle this? How should I respond when these words and actions are thrown my direction? What am I supposed to do in order to triumph over my demons? The demons that try to send me to my demise. The demons that tell me I am worthless, that I am beneath those around me, that I am just a space filler here on this earth. How can I push those demons off the proverbial cliff of life?

Wise decisions need to be made. When those decisions aren’t made in timely fashion or in the correct mindset, I get bombarded with empty feelings. With thoughts that get me nowhere and leave me hanging over the edge. And yet again, I’m alone. I’m hiding in the sea of unknown faces. Wherever I go, I’m alone. I’m reaching out, only to find a black hole with no end in sight. I’m trying to grasp for just one hand to lift me out, and there’s nothing. No one. Again, I’m alone.

I’m trying to be resilient and push my way through the struggles, but sometimes the struggle is stronger than me. Stronger than my thoughts. Stronger than my heart can handle. What then? What am I supposed to do? I’m lost. I’m alone, with no guidance, no direction. I’m misunderstood. I’m a rebel. I’m a loner. I’m not what you think I am, nor what you want me to be. But what does that matter? I’m me. This is who I am and no amount of pushing or prodding is going to change that. Ever.

So for now, what do I do? What can I grasp to lift me up? Where can I go where I am just more than a blank face in a crowd? Where can I reside where I’m not alone while surrounded by the world? I can only push. Push through the obstacles. Push through the bullies that are standing there mocking me, demeaning me, pushing me away. I’m strong. I have an indescribable amount of strength within me that I just haven’t been able to bring to the surface. It’s in there, I’m confident of that. Now it’s going to be like a treasure hunt to find it.

Follow the map to find it. No. That won’t work with me. There is no set path that I can take. There isn’t a dotted line that I can follow. I have to go by instinct. I must rely on my intuition. I’ll find it. It’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of being patient until the time is right and the unknown is revealed to me. So for now, I just wait and try to see my way through the sea of unknown faces and try to recognize someone, anyone. I just need to find my way.

What a Difference a Day, Er, Two Years Makes

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Two years ago I got something in the mail that I dreaded receiving.
Two years ago, my life as I knew it came to an official end.
Two years ago, everything changed because of one envelope.

Two year ago, my divorce was final.

In the past two years, I have been through so much. I honestly don’t know how I’m still standing and pushing forward. Maybe because that’s the only thing I CAN do. But regardless, my world has been rocked and pushed off its axis. And not only MY life, but that of my children as well.

They’ve been two years filled with hurt.

Two years filled with concern over the well-being of my children and myself in all honesty. There have been many moments filled with self-doubt concerning that.

Two years filled with a constant worry. Worry that I’m not good enough. Worried that this failure will always be who I am. Worried that my children’s lives are irreversibly harmed. Worry that I’m not going to make it on my own, physically, emotionally, financially, and everything in between.

Two years with much confusion and uncertainty. Sometimes uncertainty if I was going to be able to feed my children that week. Occasional confusion about decisions. Oh, who am I kidding? CONSTANT confusion about decisions.

The never-ending “What If’s?”

 

Over the past two years, there have been countless times that I honestly just wanted to curl up in a ball, crawl into bed, and not come out for weeks. Not so much for the physical exhaustion factor, although that played and still plays into that concept big time, but more so just to get away from the madness and hide.

But I couldn’t. I still can’t. Even when the desire to do just that feels overwhelming as if to swallow me up in a tidal wave of solitude, I have responsibilities. I have my boys. I have to be strong for them and pretend to be strong for everyone else.

The past two years have been filled with me telling everyone I was fine, and that I’ll get through the seeming hurdle (said, MOUNTAIN) and that “It was all good” and “I’m OK” and “No Biggie.” Things happen and you just have to learn from your mistakes and decisions, yadda yadda yadda.

But I wasn’t OK. It wasn’t all good. It was a biggie. And honestly, there are still moments I feel like that. But if I admitted that while it was all going on (in my mind), then I was weak. My facade of being the strong, stubborn mother, taking charge, handling whatever problems are hurled my way with grace and the knowledge to knock over a 20-day jeopardy champion. . .. . was just that, a facade. Fake. A Lie. Wrong.

Over the last two years I have seen how truly weak I am. I’ve been burdened down with so many things. Instead of the load being lifted day by day, it seemed to just get heavier and heavier. Sometimes I just cannot cope with even thinking about this let alone live with it.

The last two years have been filled with so many things to think about that I didn’t think would ever come into play in my life. Too many things for me to process. Heck, sometimes it’s too many things for a team of people to process. At times, there was just too much to make sense of. And over the last two years, I wasn’t sure that I could do it. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know if I could. Honestly, there are still times that I’m not sure I can do it.

So much has changed over the last two years.

I’ve dealt with housing changes, from a huge house to a small apartment.

I’ve dealt with car issues beyond comprehension, but still managed to have transportation (by the grace of God and my generous mother).

I have been run through the gamut with learning how to date and be in a relationship again (which is still a work in progress if I’m going to be honest, just ask my boyfriend)!

I have had to see my children be introduced into a new family.  And with that, I’ve had to learn how to adjust my life (to an extent) to another woman in my boys’ life. A step-mother, step-sisters, and an extended family. One that I’m not part of. And I’ve had to learn how to “deal” with that. It’s not been easy, but it’s something I knew would be inevitable when you deal with a divorce.

But I’ve also been able to learn more about myself in the last two years. I’ve been able to work on “finding” myself. It’s not always easy and it’s oftentimes painful, but it’s necessary. There’s no way I can move forward in my life if I’m still dwelling on the past. If I’m still questioning and doubting all my decisions in the past, I’m in a chokehold without hope of release. And I want to be able to breathe freely, and move forward knowing that what is in the past, is the past.

So yes, today might be the “anniversary” of my divorce. It might be the anniversary of the day my world got flipped upside down. It might be the reminder of the day my life changed. But it’s also the day when I knew I wasn’t going to be the same person I was prior to that. And looking back on that, I’m ok with that.

Without all those changes and various paths I’ve taken over the last couple years, I’ve become who I am today. And for the most part, I’m pretty happy with that person. And not only am I happy with the person I’ve become, I’m pretty proud of the person I am today. I’m more than just an “ex-wife”. I’m a new person, filled with the hope of future possibilities. I have a new outlook on so many things in life. I’m excited to see what the next two years brings my way. Yes, two years isn’t a lot in the light of eternity, but so many things can happen in two years.

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Odd Man Out

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Ever feel awkward in your own skin? Feeling odd but you can’t put your finger on it? Like you’re missing something but you have no clue? I feel like this every single day and I’m feeling more and more lost without a map to lead me out! Searching to find my way, my place, my niche’. And I come up empty every single time. Wandering aimlessly through life hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes to me the light isn’t visible. Sometimes the tunnel doesn’t even exist. The train comes barreling down the tracks, unsure of how it’s going to get to the other side.

I don’t fit in. Anywhere. I never really have. Growing up I was always the one that was very outgoing, would talk to anyone, no matter their age, and was overall a very friendly person. Someone who you would imagine had the world on a string and was just full of life and vigor. But I wasn’t.

I was lonely. I was chronically picked on and bullied. I had friends, sure, but never really had a close, personal friend that was my “BFF” to use a very generational term. And this wasn’t how I was just in those “awkward” pre-pubescent years. It was all the time. From kindergarten to present day. I remember getting picked on in kindergarten. I remember my mom having to come to school when I was in 2nd grade to find a way for the kids to stop picking on me. Despite her efforts and the teacher’s efforts, it only got worse.

Summer camp was always a bear. And not to mention it was a CHRISTIAN summer camp. I was still a loner and did my thing. I got along with people, or so I thought, but I still didn’t fit in. I tried, I really did. One year at camp one of the counselors nicknamed me Gabby Abby (hence the name of the blog) because, well, I can talk, a lot. Several of us were making t-shirts in the Arts & Crafts room, and I made one that on the back said “GABBY ABBY”. It was cute and we had our fellow campers sign our shirts. When I went back later that day to pick up the shirt, someone took the paint and painted over the GABBY part of the shirt. My shirt now said “FLABBY ABBY.” I was devastated. Even as an elementary aged child, I was hurt beyond words. Of course, I just laughed it off and painted over it. But I didn’t let them see me crying back in my cabin. No one. No one was going to see me upset by this, because, then they would know they got to me.

Everyone had their cliques in school. In youth group and church, they had their groups they hung out in. I was never in the “popular” crowd. I didn’t play sports. I was a cheerleader, but I think only because they felt bad for me. I didn’t fit in the cheerleading uniform and they had to make one for me specifically. I was the base of the pyramid and had a loud voice, so that was my reasoning why I was on the squad. I wasn’t super spiritual, so I didn’t fit in with the “good kids.” Because I wasn’t the shining star of Christianity, I always seemed to be pushed aside. I never was the girl the guys asked out. I was “one of the guys” so to speak. I had the “cute face” and “great personality.” I was the one the guys went to in order to find out if a certain girl liked them or to find out if they would go out with them.

I was the funny one. I think that some days I still am. My humor was and is my defense mechanism. I would make fun of myself before someone else could. That way, in my warped sense of self, it wouldn’t hurt as much. If I beat someone to the punch line, then it’s not like THEY would be picking on me. And then through that, people “liked” me more because they thought I was funny. Only now do I see that they “liked” me for making fun of myself and it just saved them from having to say the jokes. But if someone beat ME to the punch line, that hurt so bad. It cut like a knife, a very jagged, dull knife.

It’s pretty sad. I have so many memories of my childhood and teen years and growing up. But unfortunately, most of them revolve around the bad things that happened to me. I can remember vividly the bullying. I can remember times and places, situations, even what I was wearing during different instances. But ask me about the fond memories, the happy ones….they are all a hazy, vague memory, one that I’m not sure even really existed.

I don’t fit in when it comes to music. I grew up in a very restricted household. I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio or buy CD’s or such, so even now, close to 40, there are SO many things I have no idea about, and people just look at me like I have 4 heads. I have a hard time making conversation, with anyone. I say something and then kick myself for being so awkward. I try to keep up with the daily headlines and what’s going on in the world, but I still come across as being ignorant. I’m no akin to the “ways of the world” in so many aspects, and that gets to me.

I don’t fit in when it comes to appearances. I’ve always been the big girl. Even when I look back at school pictures in elementary school, I was never really HUGE, but I was always just a little bit bigger, therefore, I wasn’t like all the other girls, and I was picked on for that. I don’t wear name brand clothes, I don’t FIT into most name brand clothes. I never had the money for expensive, popular clothes. I tried too hard to fit in and ended up looking like a clown at times, I’m sure of it. Even now, as an adult, I don’t buy brand name clothes. I shop thrift stores and bargains and use coupons. I don’t look stylish and don’t have the body type to try.

I see people talking about their big circle of friends and how they did this together, or all their kids had play dates together, or they went out on a girls weekend with their besties. You get the point. And then I look back at my life and realize I don’t have any of that. I see all these people getting married and they have a multitude of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I think to myself, “Do I even KNOW that many people, let alone LIKE that many people enough for them to stand up for me if I get married?” The answer to that is a resounding no.

I don’t fit in with most of my family. I’m the black sheep of the family….or I’d like to say that I’m the tie-dyed sheep of the family: much more colorful and interesting. But in all reality, I’m not. I grew up in a super religious family. Church since I was 2, went on Sunday morning, Sunday night and youth group on Wednesday nights. I went to the Christian school affiliated with my church. I went and attended Christian college after that. I did everything I was SUPPOSED to do, but still never fit in. I was still getting made fun of. I was still the loner, the odd man out. But no one realized this about me. I hid it well. I still tend to hide it well.

While in Christian college, something very traumatic happened to me, and it changed me at my core, and I can honestly say I’ve never been the same since. In good and bad ways I’ve changed. But, as always, everyone’s idea of good vs. bad is very subjective, and what I believe to be “good” is vile and heinous to other people. And because of certain things that have happened in my life, and certain roads I’ve taken, I again, do not fit in and I’m the “outcast” and have been shunned.

I have tattoos, my nose is pierced, and I drink alcohol on occasion.
I’ve been divorced.
I live with my boyfriend.
I don’t regularly attend church.
I swear sometimes.

So basically, I’M HUMAN! I’m not perfect and I don’t fit all the qualifications of a good Christian human being. So that gives you the right to shun me and keep your distance from me? You’re perfect in your life endeavors and have always done everything according to God’s will? Yeah, what’s that verse in the Bible? John 8:7 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” There you go. Please, find the sinless, perfect part of your life to judge me with. So I don’t fit into your mold. If that’s the kind of people you will only allow into your life, then I don’t want any part of it.

It hurts not fitting in. It is painful being the odd man/woman out. It’s a struggle that I face daily, a struggle that slaps me in the face on a continual basis and it stings. It hurts knowing that you have been ostracized from people in your life who you thought would always be there for you. It’s painful to see family members push you aside because of their overwhelming archaic beliefs rather than to love their “enemy.”

I don’t fit in to the popular crowd. I don’t look or play the part of the popular crowd.
I don’t fit in to the religious crowd. I’m too damaged and sinful to play the part of the religious crowd.
I don’t fit in to the trendy crowd. I have no clue what their crowd is all about.
I don’t fit in to the beautiful crowd. Because, well, in so many words, I’m not beautiful enough to play the part of the beautiful crowd.

I guess what it all really comes down to, is this. Do I really WANT to fit in? Well, yes and no. Yes, I want to feel like I’m a part of something. I want to feel that I’m accepted and wanted for who I am and all my eclectic ways. I want to have an overwhelming feeling of love and peaceful interaction from all types of people, similar and different to myself. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to think alike and be of the same mind. We don’t have to look alike or come from the same background. Life doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, so many people compartmentalized life and friendships and families into that box. I don’t fit in that box…never have, and God help me, I never will. So in that aspect, not fitting in is probably the best thing for me. Hard in the meanwhile and painful as time passes. But in the end, worth it as my personal identity is not tied to a person or a group or a “type”; my personal identity is exactly that. Personally, ME.

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So You Think Your Life is Rough?

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Lately, I’ve seen so many family and friends go on and on about how “rough” their life is. How they need to take a break and rest from life. How thy don’t know how they can go on, blah blah blah. And while I have found myself saying the same thing, many times more than I’d like to think about, I’ve had to snap myself back into reality and really evaluate what the term “rough” means. It can mean so many things to so many people.

Take for example the married working mom with several children. She works full-time and has to be a mother to her children and keep up her home. She has help at every turn, however, with family helping her all the time, friends offering to babysit so she can go out with her husband on a date night or even a weekend away. She has a partner to help in the cooking and cleaning and child rearing responsibilities as well as to provide an additional income. She has someone to “back her up” on decisions and whatever life throws her way. She’s not alone. But, she often complains how her life is so rough and needs constant breaks to regroup and whatnot. Sure, life is rough in her opinion, and sometimes, it very well can be.

But let’s compare that to another scenario.

A full-time working, single mom with several children. She has no spouse to lean on for the tough times. She can’t find reliable or trustworthy babysitting and has no family in the area to help her out in a bind. She is solely responsible for maintaining her home. She’s the only one that cooks, cleans, does the dishes. She’s the only one filling up the car with gas on a cold, rainy day. She’s the only one paying the bills and living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. She’s the one that goes without all the time so that her children don’t have to. She’s the one that spends whatever “extra” money she might have one given pay period on her children and forgoes getting herself something. Going out with a significant other or friends is a novelty and finding time for herself is constant battle. She often says that her life is rough, but more often than not, most would also say (in my findings) that even though, pardon the expression, “the struggle is real”, it’s worth it.

Which scenario resonates with you more? Which person can you find yourself identifying with on a personal basis?

I will tell you this. I have been BOTH of these women. I have experienced these scenarios, almost to a “T”.  And even though you may read this and say to me, “You don’t know me! You don’t know how bad I have it and how things are just so stressful and such” and you’re right. I don’t know YOU. But I DO know your struggles. All of them.

In my short life of almost 40 years (yikes, I hate typing that out!), I have been through enough to stop anyone in their tracks, in my humble opinion.

  • My parents were divorced when I was 8 and I grew up with my sister and my single mom. I know the struggles of children watching their parents sacrifice everything so that they can have a better life. I know what it’s like to not have Christmas because money just isn’t there. I know what it’s like to have churches bring you food baskets so you can have meals. I get that.
  • I was raped when I was in my 20’s. I had something very traumatizing happen and I’ve been able to move past that and even write about it to work on gaining closure (http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/01/29/breaking-silence-rape-survivors-story/79525890/).
  • I was married for 10 years. I had help from family. I had a big circle of friends who would help on a moments notice. I lived pretty comfortably and didn’t want for much.
  • I’ve dealt with fertility issues. I was told that I might not ever be able to have children. I have suffered a miscarriage, losing twin girls early on in my pregnancy. When I did finally get pregnant, I was considered high risk and was monitored closely.
  • I’ve had to have 21 surgeries in my life. Not because I’m inherently clumsy and inflict these surgeries on myself (mostly lol), but I’ve run the gamut of health issues from since childhood from major hearing and inner ear issues to tumors to infertility and miscarriage to carpal tunnel to an eventual early hysterectomy at 33 years old. I have scars that tell stories you’ll never have to experience, ever.
  • I almost died from an allergic reaction to medication. I was in the hospital 3 days while they tried to stabilize my body and hydrate me enough to be able to function again.
  • I’ve been through a bankruptcy and 2 foreclosed houses. My credit was destroyed and I’ve had to learn the real meaning of money and the implications it carries with it.
  • I’ve been through a divorce. I’ve been through the sting and pain of that life being ripped away from me.
  • I’m now the single mom, struggling to get by some weeks, without much of a social circle and no family in town to back me up. I’ve had negative in the bank, I’ve been taken advantage of, I’ve been hurt time and time again.

And yes, I complain. I have my moments when I just want to run and hide and just give up. I rant and I rave and sometimes harbor bitterness against those that have a “better” life. But then reality slaps me in the face. To some people out there, I am the one with the “better” life. I am the one that really has it good in comparison.

I have a good job and have been with my company 10 years. I have health insurance, albeit not the best, but considering how many surgeries I’ve had to have, I am blessed to have any kind of coverage. My kids have never gone hungry. I may have skipped some meals in the beginning of my struggles, but hey, a few pounds lost is a positive outcome from that. I’ve had my struggles financially due to my bankruptcy and I’ve not been able to afford a new car or get a credit card, but at least I have money in my bank account and can pay my bills. I get a minimal amount of child support, but that’s also more than many parents receive. I’ve learned the value of a dollar and have also been able to instill those lessons in my children. They realize that money is tight and we don’t always get to do the things they want, but they’ve also come to see that what I can give them, I give with my whole heart and they know when I’ve made a sacrifice and have become more appreciative of it.

I don’t get to go out much. I don’t get to have weekends away or trips out of town for a concert or get theater tickets every time I want to. When it’s my days to have my boys, I have my boys. I plan my life around my boys and our crazy schedule and I deal with it. My kids are my miracle babies, my rainbow babies, my world. I miss them when they are with their dad and sneak into their bedroom at times just to smell their pillows so I can get through the rough times. I don’t pass them off to someone any chance I get so that I can do something I want to. There will be time for those things later in life.

Here’s some ways to really put into perspective what is “rough” and what is “selfish”.

You have healthy children, no fertility issues and can get pregnant at the drop of a hat. You flaunt your pregnancies and go on and on  about it. You complain that you have it rough because your feet are swollen and you’re getting uncomfortable in your own skin. Believe me, I’ve been there.

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Your friend, sister, cousin, whomever it may be, is struggling with fertility issues. She’s had multiple miscarriages, has had to stick needles into herself on a daily basis just to have a chance of getting pregnant and still has not been able to get pregnant. The heartache each month that she’s trying to get pregnant and isn’t starts to really wear on her and the constant buzzing of pregnancies around her are a lot to handle.

I’m not saying that you should tiptoe around her and not complain and live your life and be happy about the new life forming inside of you, but know this. When they don’t jump up and down with joy for your announcement, or if they keep to themselves about your news, don’t take it as a move of jealousy. Don’t get upset at them and get angry that they aren’t happy for you. In all honesty, most of them ARE happy for you. They might just need some time to process the hurt they are feeling because it’s not them. Give them space, give them time, let them come to terms with this in their own way. DO NOT get mad at them for their feelings. You have NO idea what they are going through, none. And until you can truly come to their level of both grief and excitement, please do not say that they are wrong.

Also, when you say things have been rough at home, and you need to get away, think twice about that. I am in no way negating your feelings and that you very well may have experienced rough times. Believe me, I get it. But try to look at others and see how your life compares. Look at the single mom or dad who are unable get away ever or have the money to buy many groceries. They haven’t been able to take a vacation in several years due to their financial struggles and responsibilities.  Look at the stay-at-home mom or dad who carry the burden of maintaining the house on their own each and every day. Look at the married couple who struggle financially and live in a state far away from family and can’t get babysitting to even have a date night to reconnect with each other.

You think you have it rough? Maybe you do. But do this next time you are complaining about how hard your life is and how you just need time to get away and rest. Are there family or friends you know that are burned out because of having to live their life a different way than you? Are you taking for granted all the positives you have in your life and just dwelling on the negatives, therefore dwelling on what needs to be “fixed”?

I’ll be honest, I try to hide my struggles a lot of the time. I got my game face on, and you won’t see me complain (much) or very rarely shed a tear. Is it because I’m cold and heartless? Hell no! I’m an emotional wreck just as much as the next person. But I’ve also learned (and am still in the constant state of learning actually) where and when to voice my struggles. I try to step back and visualize how others would perceive my situation. Is it REALLY as bad as I think? Do I honestly have it as rough as I seem to think it is? Probably not. Of course, it doesn’t negate my feelings and I would never want to have someone judge my feelings as they are MY feelings to have. But in all reality, I have it good. My life, in all of it’s good and bad glory, is pretty decent. I have a roof over my head, my bills get paid, I have reliable transportation, I have healthy active children who are the light of my life and love with no boundaries, and I’m happy. Of course, I’m not perfect and It’s human nature to find something negative amidst the positive, but I’m making an active CHOICE to be happy.

My life is rough. My life is hard. My struggles are real and constant. But look at the alternatives. It could be much, much worse, and for that, I’ll take and embrace my “rough” life, any day!

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I Was Bullied by an 8 Year Old

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Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. My self-esteem SUCKS. There, that could be the ending of this note, but it’s just the beginning. Self-esteem has such a wide spectrum of outcomes, it’s hard to even know where it starts and where it ends.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been picked on. Since I was in kindergarten, into elementary school, high school, college, and even into adult life. How insane that I even have to say that I’ve been picked on as an adult. I’m 38 years old, and even now, I’m berated, mocked, made fun of, and made to feel like less of a person. Just last night my 8 year old told me that the kids in his class were telling him how his mom is fat and laughing about it. I just stood there in stunned silence not really sure how to process what I just heard. Is this happening AGAIN?

Now, while I realize that some of that falls on me, and I need to not let things get to me as much and I need to have more control over my circumstances to a point, it doesn’t change the way people act and the words they say. People’s words and actions, no matter how old they are, can cut like a knife. A sharp knife. Where you may not feel the initial pain and cut, but then you realize how deep the cut is, and how much pain it sends ripping through your body. This is what it’s like to be picked on relentlessly, with no regard to feelings or outcomes.

I’ve really been struggling with this whole concept of self-esteem and being self-conscious lately. I’ve become highly aware of it. I’ve become so cognisant of it, that I feel like I’m in a tailspin about it all. There haven’t really been “defining moments” that have brought me to this juncture, I’ve just arrived, fully packed with lots of baggage to bring on this trip. I’ve tried so many times in life to try to dig my way out, only to be pushed back down, with more dirt shoveled on top of me. Buried alive, screaming to get out of there, and I can’t.

So many things I’m unhappy about myself, and so many things in my life that I’m not proud of. The past is the past and I can’t change it. No matter how much I dwell on it and think about it and kick myself for the things I’ve done, I can’t change it. No amount of self-loathing and thinking about it is going to make it any better. But I can’t. I won’t. I constantly think about it and what I could have done differently.

My self-esteem is awful when it comes to physical image. My whole life I have struggled with my weight. Ever since I remember, I was picked on for it, starting in early elementary. My mom even had to go to the school to talk about it with my teacher because the taunting was so bad. Not too much changed over the years. My weight would flucuate, and when I’d lose weight, people would talk to me more, be around me more, I’d have more friends in my life, I’d get attention from guys. But then as soon as my weight fluctuated again, people would go, guys would be scarce, it seemed like everything in my life was conditional. Of course, this was the opposite that we were all taught as children on up. The golden rule. Karma. Anything up that road. Accept others unconditionally. You would still accept your best friend or child if they were overweight or had a learning disability. You will still accept your child if they were going through a rough patch in their life, going through a divorce, or told you they were gay. Why? Because we have an unconditional love for those in our life that are the closest to us. Or at least we should. But unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

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So many people have given me this line. .. “You have a beautiful face, and a great personality, but. . .. ” Yes, my body changes that. “You can change your physical outer shell. .. ” And you know what? You’re right. For the most part I can. I have some medical conditions and medications that I’m taking that make it that much more difficult. And it’s discouraging. It’s frustrating, and I fail over and over because I feel defeated. And those of you that can eat and eat and never gain weight, I hate you. Not really, but I am jealous. I eat a rice cake and it goes right to my hips!

All this to say, think about the words that you say. Think about the person you make fun of or mock. Think about the person that is happy and confident on the outside. They may be struggling to survive on the inside, and the comments and suggestions that you make may be hurting them like you’ll never know. Everyone is different. Everyone has their on struggles. Not one struggle is better or worse than the other. In all reality, we are all broken vessels. We are not what we all seem. We all have things in our lives we can improve on. And we as people should look inwardly before we hurl the hurtful words. Before we judge a person for their outward appearance. They may be fighting a battle that you know nothing about.

I’m fighting a battle each and every day. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually. We all do in some sort. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight over time. Believe me, this is NOT easy. And I still have a ways to go. But reaching any milestone is an amazing thing to me. And with it comes the frustration that people are coming out of the woodwork to “congratulate me” and tell me that I look good. And while those compliments are great and make me feel good and accomplished, I feel like we should be telling people more often what they are doing that encourages you. How they have made you feel good that day. Something good about them, just to make their day. Being sincere about it of course. But I wonder how that is going to make you feel. I wonder the impact that’ll have on you. I wonder what that will do for their self-esteem as well as yours.

“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” -Jodi Picoult

“How would your life be different if…You stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions? Let today be the day…You stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others”
― Steve Maraboli

“Be real. Embrace that you have weakness. Because everyone does. Embrace that your body is not perfect. Because nobody’s is. Embrace that you have things you can’t control. We all have a list of them.”
― Dan Pearce

“Never let the opinion of another affect your opinion of yourself.”
― Teresa Mummert

“Telling yourself you like the way you look is easy. Believing it is an entirely different kettle of whales.”
― Andrew Biss