This is the “then”

Hello again, world.

It has been a while… I have been busy, honest, and I know I say that every time. I have actually been pretty sick on/off since before Christmas with colds, dealing with antibiotic side effects, allergies, bronchitis. You know it is sad when you go to the doctor because you cannot sleep because you cannot stop coughing and your ribs hurt, and the antibiotic they prescribe to prevent pneumonia because you really are that sick, makes your ribs hurt from tendonitis (of your ribs!). Who knew that could even happen?! And since January first it has been all study, all the time preparing for the vet tech national exam. . . But then, last night I was editing the boyfriend’s resume and realized that I really miss writing just for the sake of saying something. I miss just sitting down and pouring my mind and heart out on this keyboard, if that is not already obvious.

There is just a lot going on that I am not sure how to process. It feels a bit like doing math in my head… which everyone should know is not a skill I possess, college degree or not. I am trying my best to get my RVT this year. Forgiving myself for not making that more of a priority sooner, when it would have been easier. Because some days it does feel like any time in my recent history would have been easier than right now to be studying for one of two $300, four hour long tests needed to get my RVT. Know better, do better, I suppose. I am honestly committed. I even gave up Facebook in its entirety for the month of February, maybe even until after the national exam in April. Super serious, yo. I miss my moms on there.

Then yesterday, I had to delete a bunch of old emails. Something about switching to a new phone has the memory on my iCloud spazzing out, asking for more space, so I decided it was time for some stuff to go. A lot of stuff. In the middle of my shift + delete spree, I found the inspiration photo for my second tattoo. A little surprising to see how different the real thing turned out. And it reminded me that reality can be so much better than your dreams. Sometimes. At the same time I found a couple hundred old emails between the ex-husband and me, and that was hard. I had forgotten not only that they were still filed away, but that I had saved so many in the first place. Do not bother asking why, I no longer have any idea. The topics of the emails were so broad and the dates went way back into our forever ago time. The boyfriend could sense a change in my mood and I let him know I was snooping into my past, shared a couple important bits with him and continued deleting. I am just so over feeling any bad about the divorce.

So this year things will be different on December 31, I can say that for certain, but when exactly between now and then things will change is a mystery. I am already debt free – having just recently made the final payment on my car – and that is one goal I set for myself checked off the list. I am studying my brain cells away, barely giving myself time to breathe it feels. I am contemplating a move to a different city somewhere along the way. And I will write, nonsensical posts like this on occasion, complete with run-on sentences because that is the way my mind works when I am flustered. Because some day I will think about these days living in a cramped apartment overlooking a busy street with a different mindset and like so many times before, will wonder what I was feeling “then.”

This is the then we will reminisce.

As always before,

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The Mommy Trenches

Babies. The boyfriend and I have discussed babies a lot lately. Let me just clarify, I am not pregnant. And thank God for that. Still, as good a time as any to hash out if/when we are married, how many kid(s) we would like to have. It is one of those things you ought to have figured out before you say “I do,” otherwise there might be trouble later. So I guess you could say we have been talking about marriage too, but that is beside the point today.

The boyfriend has been very clear that he would like at least one more chitlen, maybe two. At the minimum.

And I am leaning much more towards one to two kids. I always said two, two years apart…but that was before I met the hurricane, before I found myself divorced, starting my adult life all over again. So really now, really just one kid, like one and done, as in, I am already so done having babies, I think.. And that answer leaves a lot to be desired in the boyfriend’s opinion.

I do not know what to say to him. The further I get from those early days in the trenches, the more clear they become. So, honey, hindsight is twenty/twenty and I am not sure I could willingly go back there. I cannot even read my posts from around that time, not that I probably wrote a whole lot. I know I wrote those monthly baby updates… but did I mention that one week I got four – literally four, one hour “blocks” of sleep – in an entire week? And he was up at least three times a night 99% of the first year, despite every imaginable trick to get him to sleep better. We tried everything, read.every.book. He always had to be held, and he was always so discontent, and he always cried. Then I cried with the worry and guilt that if SIDS took him one night, he would die having never been happy. So deep in the trenches.

Looking back I am almost certain I was depressed. This all screams depression with a bit of post-traumatic stress. Depressed because my then-husband deployed when I was pregnant and did not return until our child was five months old. Depressed because I did not have my village. Depressed because my dreams of motherhood were crushed by a baby who spent a majority of the first year of life crying. And I am not talking the “nyah-nyah” nasally, baby cry (and I know you know what that sounds like), but a full out scream from day one. I have videos to prove it. It was not colic. At least that would have been predictable, at least that would have ended.

I probably sound horrible. I am not looking forward to proofing this post because I know this is definitely not what moms are supposed to say about motherhood, about their children. But my experience with new motherhood was hard. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and the first year edition) let me down. I know, and am grateful, that my experience is not typical. That alone gives me hope that if I did decide to dive into the trenches for a second baby that I would earn my escape much faster than sometime around the second birthday. I feel I am just now finding a new normal, just now navigating my life with some sort of grace. Diving back in, any time soon, would be the very definition of insanity.

But then… then I think about who I want around my dinner table in ten years. And even after writing my heart out on this screen, after thinking and talking about this for weeks, I see more than just the hurricane and the hopefully then-husband sitting with me. I see at least one more tiny human… at least one more. So who knows. I am really not sold on the idea, but do not count me out just yet. There could be another year of adorable monthly baby photoshoots to look forward to, some day.

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The Whole is Greater

I’ve struggled with my self image since I was eight. From the moment I realized I was much larger than other girls my age. And while I can look back and know that I was lazy and lonely and often chose snacking over playing outside, it is still one of those hindsight is 20/20 situations. It doesn’t do much good now. No good, really.

I grew up fat. I started high school overweight and ended it just barely having turned a corner on a healthier lifestyle. Seven years have passed and the journey to find balance has been my own personal hell. I have worshipped the scale to the point of being scary-skinny. I did not see it then, but I can look back at pictures around that time and do not understand how I ever got that small. Surely, not me, not the big girl. I have been up, putting on holiday pounds and then some. Falling back into bad habits when life feels like it will consume me; making far too many unhealthy choices in a row to somehow change how out of control everything felt, ironically, being out of control of myself. And back down again when I finally, finally catch myself and realize that food does not equal happiness. It doesn’t make me less lonely. It doesn’t ever fill the hole.

My sister asked a couple weeks ago if I ever felt there was a hole inside of me that I couldn’t fill, no matter how hard I tried. I told her that I didn’t think so, that usually if my heart is searching for something, it’s looking for God.. but I’ll need to amend my answer with her. Of course there are the times doubt and criticism sneak in. Of course there are cracks in the facade we all put on to make it through daily life when your heart and soul are so vulnerable you can’t bear to have them exposed. It’s a symptom of something greater. A red flag that I am beginning to put more value on certain parts of myself than the whole. That I am letting the things that are imperfect about me overrule the things that are amazing about me. I am not saying we are all perfect just the way we are, because I am sure I am not the only one who could almost always use a good dose of change. A good dose of truth and evolution. But…

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This is me. I am impossibly tall. I have small boobs and ugly feet. I have wild, long hair and a heart filled with so much empathy I feel things with other people as if their experience somehow belongs to me. I’m old and I am new at the same time. Faults and fears and stretch marks aside, I am strong. Not because I have to be, but because I want to be. I am not perfect and that is okay. I cannot waste my time worried about how someone might judge me, because I know they will, and it is not any of my business. The people who are meant to be in my life will be there. And if others find my faults displeasing or conclude that I am not good enough, that is okay too. At the very least, everyone was honest.

 

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle 

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