(heh heh heh)
In all seriousness, by Friday exhaustion consumes me. Last night, I had great plans. I was going to write, journal, meditate with some crystals, and possibly actually watch TV for once. Naturally, after the kids went to bed around 9:30/10, I got myself comfortable on the couch and conked out. I woke up around 1AM confused and disappointed.
I’ve been more exhausted than usual lately, and I’ve found it infuriating. I have heard that Lithium does this to people, so I’ve accepted it as just getting used to new medication. (As an aside, if you are struggling with bipolar, I am experiencing positive results with Lithium + Prozac, although my dosage needs to be fixed, please talk to your doctor, not an itchy assed woman, though)
Being a single mom is like juggling three cats that have been set on fire while coated in oil. At the same time, there is something freeing about this point in my life. The word authenticity rings in my ear. A friend said, “I cannot imagine working through this while raising three kids.” She told me she admired me, and I started crying quietly to myself. How is it such strong, beautiful women could admire me? I realized the truth is simple, I don’t pretend that everything is OK anymore, but I also don’t focus on the bad shit. Life is a bitch, and so are we.
When I was married, I was a Stepford Wife. I had a huge plastic smile super glued on my face while inside my soul festered and rotted. I was exhausted all of the time then, but I would ignore my body and keep going. I lived my life for everyone else; I think most parents do that, especially moms. Asking for help was akin to a crime, to me. It was the ultimate weakness. I was never medicated, but anxiety, depression, and suicidality haunted me all of my life. I hated myself to perfection, and levied some extra hatred for always falling short of my own impossible standards.
The loneliness of my existence still haunts me. To know me then, you would have said I was superwoman. I was the mom on Facebook that made other Moms feel like shit about themselves. “How does she work so much, have a clean house, AND take the kids to xyz?” My ex was along for my ride; he did not have a say, as I was breadwinner, career woman, mother. I am bullheaded and ambitious. You did not say no to me, and I would not admit weakness. Even now, I struggle with the concept of asking for help. This directly contradicts the fact that I want to help other people. In honesty, though, I know that I can help no one if I cannot help myself. That acceptance is the most difficult bridge I have had to cross.
It seems like most of us forget this simple truth. When you are on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to place your oxygen mask on your face first. ACOA/AA/NA all tell members, “You cannot fill from an empty pitcher.”
As I began exploring my own interests and hobbies, I realized such a simple truth that eluded me. I can teach my kids more by being a whole, authentic person then by being only ____’s mom. Similarly, I can learn more from my children, by allowing their innate wisdom to send me back in time to my childhood. My kids have all started writing stories and poetry, they are obsessed with music, and they all talk about butts a lot…
When I was younger, I collected crystals constantly. I feel a deep connection with them, as I do with the earth in general. I love sitting in the grass meditating, feeling my own heartbeat connect with the pulsing of the earth. When I watch the birds fly, I imagine myself joining them in the skies to dance in the clouds. As my meditation has begun strengthening, I wanted to connect with crystals as part of my connection with Mother Earth. My daughter was SO EXCITED about them. She begged me to get her some. My childhood and adulthood came together beautifully, snuggling with my daughter and connecting over crystals.
The coolest thing, to me, is that at 7, I am pushing my daughter outside of the box. She is in first grade at a Catholic school, yet her mommy identifies as pan-theist, hippie, zen, MFer. I want that for them, because I want them to CHOOSE their beliefs, not blindly obey me. I want them to question me! When we say prayers before dinner, the kids say their blessing “Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts…” and we join hands at the end, say “God’s will be Done, Namaste!” I see three badasses being raised to be completely accepting and loving of all. If that comes to fruition, and I raise three loving adults who have no concept of judging others; I have succeeded as a Mother.
You know why I am grateful that I am struggling? How thrilled I am to have gone down the rabbit hole again, as it were? Not only did the extreme darkness of manic psychosis force me to find my own light and authenticity, embrace myself for strengths and weaknesses, and focus completely on healing and acceptance, but I connected such a simple truth – I am not just my kids’ mom, because I am re-parenting myself. Please, do not for a second think I am casting any aspersion to my parents. If you had read my writing a few months ago, you would have seen a very angry side of me, and I have deleted all of it, because anger only serves to destroy. I’ve finally rid myself of the useless feeling of anger.
My parents sacrificed so much in the name of giving me a better childhood. Anger obfuscated reality. I do not need anyone’s approval or even love, because I am mine. When I went into the mental hospital again, I read another book on Buddhism, and it had spoken about compassion. It said to embrace compassion is to imagine the pain of your mother birthing you, her mother birthing her, and you birthing your own child. Then take that pain, and feel the pain of parents watching their child burn in the fires. I saw the life of being MY parents through my eyes. They’ve always known I struggled, but they were clueless to help me. I felt their worry and pain, and I felt my ex’s worry and pain. I was the girl who set herself on fire. I am the Phoenix who never burned.
With that perspective, my heart exploded and I began sobbing. I have a very distorted view, in that, I either think solely of me or solely of everyone else. I am either master of my destiny or victim. As I sobbed, I realized that my pain and suffering is shared by all who love me and their pain and suffering is shared by me. As I said with wounds yesterday, pain is a universal truth and language. All of us suffer in many ways, but we all are given the choice to transcend, contribute, or distribute.
With the beauty of the Buddha, I meditated on my heart, extending my love to my family, my friends, strangers, and the whole world. It was in those life altering moments, sitting in a mental hospital, I felt the truth of unconditional love. I felt the embrace of peace, and the kiss of hope. I know, very deeply, that my journey is very long, but I smile as I tell you, I look forward to every step forward, and every stumble down. I will never fall too far again, because I have finally seen how much love surrounds all of us. Happiness, joy, and peace are as readily available as the air you breathe; it’s just a matter of authentically loving yourself.
I will talk more about authenticity/positivity/negativity – please do not for a second think I’m going to sit here and try to tell you that I fart rainbows and unicorns. Besides, I told you, my butt is out of gas.
Authentic is real, not gilded. Namaste.