Laziness or Self-care?

However, I realized that I am not being lazy, I am taking care of myself.

I am the type of person who enjoys making and baking things from scratch. I prefer making my own laundry detergent and I normally make sure I always have homemade sandwich bread. These past few weeks I have bought bread. These past few weeks I have eaten less vegetables because I would buy them and then not prepare them. The heads of lettuce sat until I had to throw them out. The green beans grew mold until they became one. It is disgusting and embarrassing, but it is reality, it is my reality.

Depression is something that I fight with on a regular basis. Sometimes I can feel it coming on and sometimes it takes me by surprise. I had felt it coming on but I didn’t account how bad it would be with all the changes in my life. My husband has been away at a training during the week, I quit a job that was tearing me apart, I started a new job with a new daily schedule and have been dealing with everyday challenges as well. This bout of depression hit me hard.

Throughout my life I have been known as a happy and cheerful person. I have dealt with depression since I was in my early teens but didn’t want anyone to know. I would cry in my room or just lay in silence and not understand why I couldn’t feel anything. I hurt myself but no one knew for almost two years. Even when it came out, it wasn’t something I talked about. My parents knew and a few friends but I didn’t really talk about my feeling or lack of feelings. When I walked out of my house I put a smile on. I helped others and listened to their problems. I was goofy and laughed throughout the day. It was never fake though. I truly do have a joy where I am able to push through. It was hard work to push through the day and when I came home I took it out on my family and myself. I would lock myself in my room and demand to be left alone.

When I was across country in college I had a blast and was involved in a lot. Then a bout of depression hit and I had to push myself to keep going and stay involved. I would go back to my room at the end of the day and curl up in a ball under my blankets. I would wake up in the morning and feel like I was surrounded in darkness. It took everything in me to get up. I eventually became too tired of pushing and missed classes here and there. As I was battling my own darkness I was assigned a paper in Psych class about something I dealt with as a child, and was having issues with the relationship I was in. I broke. I tried to write the paper but as I would read and watch documentaries for my paper, I would cry and relive my trauma. As my relationship chipped away at me, I sank farther into the darkness and stopped getting out of bed. The best thing happened to me; my funds dried up and the college told me that I had to leave.

I came home and smiled as I worked at retail job. I went to my church and smiled as everyone said that they were happy I was home. I lied when they asked if I had a good college experience. I would go home and close myself in my room and cry. I felt empty. Eventually the darkness went away and I was “myself” again. I felt all the feels. I laughed and smiled and cried when needed. My life was clear and I felt good. I knew that depression was something that would come back again and something I needed to deal with.

I made sure I took care of myself. I ate well and took daily walks. I lost a good amount of weight, but more than that, I loved myself even on the lazy days. I felt close to God. I was social with friends and was kind to my family. I was also always prepared for the darkness. The darkness did come but I pushed through and was able to take care of myself. I would smile during the day and would come home and do yoga and talk with God. Somewhere along the way I lost my routine.

My husband is amazingly supportive and pushes me to take care of myself. He reminds me to read my Bible and to do yoga if I feel that would help. I have ignored him the past few months on these things. I have been so emotionally exhausted that I didn’t take care of myself on normal days so when the darkness hit this time, I just went under and it over took me. My husband would come home and be overwhelmed by the mess I had not dealt with but encouraged me and made me feel loved. When he calls during the week and ask what I did with my day he congratulates me if my accomplishment is taking a shower. When he came home this weekend I was getting dressed and realized that my pants were tighter. The darkness was starting to lift and I was thinking about the past few weeks. I realized how I had eaten and was disappointed. I had worked so hard for so long and now I felt like I had ruined it in just 2 months of being in darkness. I decided not to get down on myself.

As I sat on my couch with the darkness separating just enough to give me light to think, I decided to spend money. I realized that I am not at a place yet to make everything by scratch. When I make things from scratch there are more dishes to do. When there are dishes and I am tired, I get overwhelmed. If the darkness is looming, it is harder for me to fight it off if I am tired and overwhelmed. I know that I need to get my health back on track. I looked in the fridge and realized that I only had snap peas for fresh veggies and they were almost gone. I went to the store and got a bag of pre-made salad with the fixings. It was almost $5. To me, that is ridiculous and never would I have paid that in the past. I would have told myself that I am being lazy. However, I realized that I am not being lazy, I am taking care of myself.

Depression hits people in different ways and at different times. There is no right way for someone to deal with their battle. Self-care looks different for others. Some people take a bath with candles, some people get their nails done, and some of us buy a bag of salad so we can eat healthy but deal with our emotions and brain chemicals. If you are battling depression, find your personal way to push through. As long as you are not harming yourself or others then it is okay to do what you need to do. Go on a walk, watch a movie, buy something that is overpriced that will make your life a bit more manageable.

I am looking forward to the darkness fully lifting so I can handle making everything from scratch. Until then, I will be spending money on pre-made salads and frozen veggies. If it ever gets so dark I will try to be willing to buy pre-cut fruit too. This my life and battle, I am going to embrace it and continue to push through.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My husband asked me the adult version of this classic question, “What is your dream job?” And I burst into tears.

What do you want to be when you grow up? As a young child I always answered with enthusiasm, “A babysitter, a Dairy Queen worker and a pooper scooper!” I thought I was hilarious. As I got older my answer was a missionary and mom. My husband asked me the adult version of this classic question, “What is your dream job?” And I burst into tears.

This past year I have been doing childcare in my home and loved it. However, childcare does not pay much. I loved the kids so it was worth it. A few weeks ago, one of the dads decided that they wanted to be a stay at home daddy. I’m excited for the family but that was a third of my income. The next week another kid got accepted to a learning center that she had been on a list for. I push for the kids I work with to get into more of a school setting with more kids so I was very happy for them. Of course, that meant more of my income. I had a decision to make, continue with childcare or find another job.

I prayed about the choices in front of me and discussed with my husband pros and cons. I had been turned down for a job from the elementary school when I realized that I usually get what I want. Things don’t necessarily come easy for me but I am really good at interviews and all of the jobs I have applied for I have been qualified for. I was crushed and confused. My husband thought it was hilarious. Not the fact that I didn’t get the job but the fact that God is testing me. He said that he thinks God is humbling me and growing me. That is when he asked what my dream job is, the job that will make me happy and feel satisfied. The question that hurt my soul and caused tears to flow from my eyes.

I have wanted to be a children’s missionary since I was eight. As a partner with my husband, he has to be called too if that is something we are going to give our lives to. I believe one day God will open the doors to the mission field, whether it be overseas or in the USA, whether it be in four years or 40, I know He will use me. Right now though, I want to be a mom.

I am so sick of people asking me when we are going to have kids. There have been many tears over a negative test. I want to wake up at a ridiculous hour to pray over my family and get ready for the day before anyone gets up, teach patterns with legos, teach manners in imaginative play, go over colors while on a hike, teach a love for books and the library, teach math while preparing dinner and go on adventures when my husband has a day off. I want to be a stay at home mommy. I don’t have kids. And our finances won’t allow that quite yet. I just need a job to pay the bills. I started thinking more about my husband’s question though.

Children won’t be in my house all the time even if I am a mom, so what do I want to do? In the dead of night don’t we all let our imaginations run wild and think about life if we did “such and such?” I always think about writing. I have so many kid’s stories running through my head. I don’t just think about the stories though. I think about how they will impact kids. How will this particular story encourage, teach or comfort a child going through this situation? If I write, I may fail.

I do not like failure. I like succeeding. I like winning. I am competitive. If I write I also have to face things head on. I have a lot of partial writings that I stopped because they were too personal and I had to think too much. When I write sometimes words just flow on to paper and when I read it I am shocked that I expressed myself about things that I thought buried long ago. I won’t die if I fail. I won’t die if I face the hidden secrets and thoughts in my soul. I will become stronger. I will grow spiritually, mentally and as a writer. Those are good things. I guess I don’t have any good excuses.

I have to get a “real” job to pay off debt to hopefully be a stay at home mama but I am going to write. My Charming said something the other day that has changed my perspective on everything in life. I don’t remember why it came up but he said, “Your writing might save a life. You may never know they read it because there will be no likes or shares but it may save their life.” (My man is incredible y’all!) I believe that God gives us all gifts and abilities and that we should do everything to the best of our ability and with all our strength. I am going to write.

If you stay up night thinking and dreaming of what you want to do with your life, do it. You may not be able to make a career out of it right away but if it makes you happy, pursue it! Don’t wake up one morning and regret that you didn’t try the one thing you have dreamed of for so long.

My Life vs. Our Life

I need to take care of myself, so I can better love my husband….

When you get married, normally you like the person. At least in modern, western countries, we tend to marry someone because we love them. When you love someone, you usually want to spend time with them. At the end of the day all I want is to hang out with my husband. Whether we go for a walk, play cards or binge watch a show, I want to be with him.

My husband and I have very different ideas on how an evening should look. When my husband is ready for bed, he just goes upstairs and gets into bed. He usually scrolls through Facebook for a bit and talks but then he just flips over when he is ready and goes to sleep. I like to take my time and relax my mind and body. I like to take care of my hygiene, maybe some yoga depending on my mood, write for a few minutes and then read until I am ready to lay down. I tend to be more rested than him, even though he can go to sleep much faster than me.

I have mentioned before that our schedules have been very different this year. We are now on the same schedule and go to bed at the same time most nights. This past year I have not had a good night routine. I hang out and then realize that I have lost track of time and my husband is ready for bed, so I go from my brain being engaged to laying in darkness. On the nights my husband stays up later, I usually stay up an hour later. I can’t do it anymore. I need to take care of myself, so I can better love my husband. I have been very tired and extremely cranky. He doesn’t want to hang out with that side of me. I don’t want to hang out with that side of me.

Taking care of myself is a lot more than just sleep and “me time.” I need to take care of myself spiritually and physically as well. A few months ago my Charming decided that we were going to get gym memberships. I was hesitant because of money and because we had done this before and not used it. I like working out in the front room and not having to get in the car. I enjoy jumping into MY shower after a workout or since I am already sweaty, go on a cleaning spree. I have had a lot of issues with my knee and ankle, causing me to have to rest it and not use a lot of gym equipment. In turn, Charming decides to hang out at home with me. I prefer working out in the morning, and he prefers working out in the dead of night. I also recently found out that he prefers the gym fairly empty, I never knew that because our gym in our previous town was always empty. As much as he likes working out in the evening, he is usually worn out from work. I don’t remember the last time we went to the gym together.

I was dwelling on the fact that I haven’t worked out in awhile and frustrated. I was frustrated with myself for not just getting it done and I was frustrated with Charming because I wanted him to be my inspiration, cheerleader and workout buddy. It is not fair for me to put my failures on him when we never agreed that was part of our relationship. I see couples on social media working out together, taking pictures with their healthy food and the before and after pictures and get jealous. Here is the thing though, I don’t like talking at the gym. When I am on the elliptical I want to zone out to my music or think about my podcast. When I am lifting weights, it is nice to have some encouragement but usually I want to just focus on what my body is doing and pushing myself further. I haven’t been working out because I have been waiting for him, but I need to work out for me. This is my part of my journey, not our journey. We are not the Instagram couple that take the perfect pictures. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to support me on my personal journey though.

I have such a wonderful marriage. There is not a lot of pictures of us because we are too busy living life. When Charming notices a change in my body he congratulates me. When I eat healthy, he tells me I am doing a great job. When I have overworked my body, he tells me that I need to relax and remember to rest. When I am in a depression he tells me to take a walk, and he bugs me until I get out of the house because he knows I won’t otherwise. When I am feeling down he holds me and ask me if I have prayed about it. We probably watch more tv than some, but we pause A LOT to have conversations or randomly jump in the car for a drive, play cards or go for a walk. He will never do yoga with me and I will never play the video games he likes. He will never read the same book I like to discuss it, just like there are some shows I refuse to watch with him. He annoys me with some of his jokes and I annoy him with my singing. On his days off he doesn’t want to go anywhere, on my days off I want to sit in a coffee shop.

I have decided that I need to actively make time to go exercise by myself and keep the night routine best for  me rather than passively living my life. I will live my life to the fullest. I will also live our life to the fullest. I will spend time with my Charming when he comes home and actively love him and continuously get to know him better for the next 50 plus years. Even though I have a few things in my life that I will do for me, my favorite thing will always be collapsing in his arms binge watching a show while feeling his love and strength, knowing he will support me no matter what I decide to do.

#metoo (it REALLY happened)

#metoo

Anyone who has been on social media this week has most likely seen #metoo. Women and some men have been posting the hashtag if they have been sexually harassed or abused to bring awareness to the issue. The first time I saw the status I got sick to my stomach. Should I write the status and bring awareness to hopefully protect someone in the future? But then I will be making myself vulnerable, very vulnerable…. The thoughts swarmed through my mind.

A few days went by and every time I saw #metoo my heart broke. My head spun. My stomach flipped. The world needs to realize that women are being hurt, physically and mentally. I was afraid that if I wrote the status someone would ask for the details. I was afraid that people would think I wasn’t qualified to work with their children. I was afraid that people in my past might see it and verbally and emotionally attack me. I was scared. However, I was more scared for my sisters, the young girls in my life, my future daughters, my future nieces, the future of humanity. I knew that I needed to speak out. I wasn’t sure how to do that.

I sat outside playing with the kids but in the back of my head I was trying to figure out how to express my heart… and my hurt. I didn’t want to just write #metoo. I wanted to help someone. So, I wrote…

 

Childhood

She said no
He said shhh
It’s okay
Nothing “really” happened
Next time
Come here
No
But it’s okay
No no no
Shhh. Okay. Never mind.
Nothing “really” happened
Years passed and the nightmares became more intense
Shhh. It’s okay.
Trapped.
Doubt.
People love him.
People say I’m okay.
I’m okay.
The nightmares don’t stop.
Being held in place
An unwanted embrace
Legs and torso caressed
But nothing “really” happened
Shhh, it’s okay
You’re being dramatic
But the nightmares
But the sick feeling when I see him
The fear
Nothing “really” happened

High school
Jokes
Crude, disgusting jokes
Directed unwanted sex jokes
Stop following me
Aw, you’re fine
It’s just a joke

Leave her alone
Oh, you want me then
Don’t touch me
He runs up and grabs my breast
He runs up and slaps my butt
Stop. Don’t touch me
I slap, I hit
He thinks it’s a game
Everyone says it just high school and laughs
Nothing “really” happened

College

Hey, I like you
I like you too
A kiss dodged
One, two, three times
He’s just a guy
Nothing “really” happened
Sit with me
Okay
Wait, no!
It’s only skin and it’s only a back
It’s my skin, it’s my back
Fine
Silence
Nothing “really” happened
Everyone loves him
I must have been dramatic

 

He was a jerk
I would never do that
Okay, here’s my heart
Wait, no!
Oh sorry. I’m a guy… my past… not my fault
Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.
Nothing “really” happened
Besides… I must be dramatic
Please stop.
Tears. Tears. Tears.
Oh sorry. I’m a guy…. my past… not my fault
Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.
Nothing “really” happened
Besides…. You are being dramatic.
You are being dramatic.
You are being sensitive.
Sorry. Didn’t mean to.
Nothing “really” happened.

 

My life

Nothing ever “really” happened to me
Shhh, it’s okay
Others have been hurt more
Others have had something “really” happen
Nightmares.
Darkness.
Fear.
Shh, it’s okay.
Boys will be boys.
That always happens.
Just high school.
If you speak out, you are dramatic.
Nothing “really” happened.

 

Vow

My darling girls and women alike
Talk to me
I will listen
I will encourage you
I will understand your pain
Something “really” happened
Nothing “really” happened
No, no.
It REALLY happened.

 

My darling boys and men alike
You have the ability to make us feel safe
Do so
I will teach boys in my life to love
I will teach boys to respect space
I will teach boys that if you have to say nothing “really” happened….
It REALLY happened

 

What can we do to change this world that we live in? Women, we need stand up and start changing this world. Men, we are very strong women, but we need your help in this. Here are a few things that I have been thinking about that may help slowly heal our world.

  1. Speak out. Even if you can only manage to tell your best friend, do it.
  2. Report it. Talk to the HR department at your work, tell a teacher, tell a parent, and if you need, call the police. I know that media has shown horrible police, but I promise, there are some great ones who will fight for you.
  3. Speak up. If you see someone being harassed, stop it or report it. If a demeaning joke is told around you, set the person straight.
  4. Love. Love the women and girls around you. Love the men and boys around you. Show girls a pure love so that when they enter a relationship, it is one full of love. Show boys love so that when they enter a relationship they will know how to truly be loving.
  5.  Respect. It doesn’t sound hard but apparently respect is hard for too many people in this world. Respect others. Plain and simple.

I wish I could change the world. I can’t. Perhaps I can encourage someone through my words. Maybe a young man who has only seen disrespect shown to women will have clarity of how women should be treated. As our voices come together and rise, humanity will begin to heal.

If you have been abused and need to talk to someone please reach out and call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673 (HOPE) or visit online.rainn.org