Thursday, July 8, 2010

hi!  it's been awhile!
(and the pics i'm posting on here have NOTHING to do with the topic i'm going to discuss, but i just had to post these beautiful babes.  the children of a dear friend of mine.)
so, anyway, transform.
that's the only word i can think of to use right now for this.
when i was in college (funny, i just posted about our trip 'back to college' a few weeks ago,)
anyway. . .when i was in college,
i hit a wall.
depressed over a break-up, a relationship i completely THREW my whole self in to, totally lost in my own little world, no idea what i wanted to be, WHERE i was i supposed to be, no ability to focus, i can't trust anyone, WOE is me!  
then met brian in the midst of it all (not knowing this was my future husband i was dating,)
just totally overwhelmed, WAY too contemplative for a 19-year-old.
oh, i was having fun still. . .drinking, hanging out with friends, etc.
but there were a lot of crappy days mixed in there. . .skipping class because i didn't care, holding on to a love i thought was real & true,
making trips home more weekends than not, instead of soaking up the college life.
wanting more than anything, my old bed & a hug from mom.
it was a big, fat, ditch of a rut i was in.
i don't think it lasted long.  but when i was in it, i couldn't visualize being out of it.
per my mom's suggestion, i went to 'talk' to someone.
i felt a little embarrassed & ashamed (which is funny, because no one knew about any of this,)
but i DID need someone.
an unbiased individual, a 'professional, who would just listen & help steer me down the right path.
i did it, reluctantly.
but by luck of the draw or fate, which ever you believe, 
i found this amazing woman.
a counselor on campus.
i'll never forget her.
she would probably never remember me.  she saw DOZENS of troubled college kids daily.
i was just another face in the crowd.
but she was my sounding board for months.
she allowed me to let the tears fly!  she listened.  she hugged.  she reminded me that this was no big deal.  that i would get through these feelings of hopelessness & sadness.
that i needed to focus on ME.
not that guy, not this guy.
just ME.
she truly helped me find myself.
she said to me, 'liz?  the work you're doing now. . .this spiritual/emotional transformation, is a blessing.  most people don't start to do this work until they're in their 40's & 50's!'
a 'quarterlife crisis,' if you will, is what i was experiencing.
and when i say that now, i think, my GOD.  how self-absorbed.  self-centered i was.  
still am a little.  :)
but that's how college kids are.  protected in the bubble of 'college life,' where they're 'separated' from mom & dad, but the tie hasn't been cut yet.
there's always that safety net to fall back on.
i don't think college prepared me at all for the real world.
and i don't think it does, in general.  but it's still a blast.
and if you're lucky, like i was, you 'find yourself' there.
i had a little help.  AND felt better, thinking, 'great!  i'm doing all the work now!  so i'll be set!'
i remember concluding my last session with her.
a much different woman than when i had started.
and i moved forward in to the big scary world with confidence, a better relationship (future husband,) trust & excitement.
i've done all the work!  now i can relax & live my life!
heh!  how naive.  :)
dorothy didn't tell me about getting married.
and she CERTAINLY didn't tell me about having children.
and why would she. . .that didn't pertain to my situation at the time.
but i was never told having children would TRANSFORM who you were.
change the way you saw life.
changed the way you LIVED life.
i remember leaving the hospital after we had jack.
it was like being SMACKED in the forehead.  (has anyone ever done that to you?  with the palm of their hand?  it's quite hysterical & shocking at the same time.)
but that's what it felt like.
the world looked COMPLETELY different.
the grass was greener, the sun was obnoxiously bright, sounds were amplified.
the drive home was slow.
i was instantly filled with fear & overwhelming angst, now having this little baby to protect forever.
but it was so beautiful, at the same time.
and little did i know, in those moments, when my life was transformed, that on top of that 
i would slowly 'die unto thyself.'  (my husband always says that.)
yes, it sounds awful, but it's true.  you do.
when you have children, you lose a little bit of yourself.  life isn't about you anymore, i hate to say it.
it's about them.  and that's the way it should be, especially while they're young.
but as the years pass, the children keep coming :), they grow, you nurture, you give them all you can,
you start to fade a little.
i know, this sounds so depressing, but it's the truth for a lot of people.
i know some really smart women/moms.  
who have made it a HABIT to take care of themselves over the years.
making time for themselves, spiritually, emotionally, physically.
and even better if you start from day one.  the day (or the day after, you do have to settle in a little,) you bring that baby home.
you have to.
i didn't.
i became totally wrapped up in my little ones' life.
and i loved it, so no fault of my own.  it's just what i did & all i knew.
and also how i'm wired.
but again, that 'woman-that-thought-she-had-it-all-figured-out,' 
the fearless, optimistic, enthusiastic girl, 
hasn't been 'tending to the garden.'  
the garden that is my well-being, my emotional & spiritual health.
(ok.  this may be WAY over your heads now.  :)
and WAY to lame & hokey for you.
you don't have to understand this.
but recently, i've been shown, that the way i've been doing things, the way i've been thinking, the way i've been living, has been LESS than ideal, for any woman.
no, no, i'm not doing drugs, drinking myself silly every night, beating the children, binging on hostess cupcakes when the kids are napping,
i'll just say, i've been living in this state of fear for let's say, um,
well, since the birth of my first son.
and i'm a mom.  you know what i'm talking about.
mom's fear.  that's our job.  that's how we DO our job.
nagging, protecting, pushing, feeding, loving, nurturing.
and gosh, us young moms?  we're not even in to the thick of it yet!
we haven't hit the teenage years!  the college years!  where your daughter is trying to 'find herself' & is home crying every weekend!  how annoying!
but this is what i'm saying.
if you don't do the 'maintenance' throughout the process, which you NEED to do,
well, the end result won't be pretty.
i think i made mention in a past post, of how i know some older moms, or have heard stories of 'veteran' moms, who are completely off their rocker!
but they are, because they are moms.
they've done this for a lifetime.
motherhood has completey transformed then.  
the obsessive worrying, thinking, planning, predicting, rewires your brain over time. 
(not to mention the physical & hormonal changes we undergo as we age.)
and you just go with it.
so, i'm learning, you have to do a lot of work along the way.
things pop up into life that show you, 
'hey lady!  you're not who you think you are!  you're not that college girl anymore!
and you DEFINITELY don't know everything.  BACK TO WORK!'
so, i'm back to work.  
i was getting a little too cocky.
just because you (for the most part,) like yourself, are confident, are strong, doesn't mean you're done doing the work.
because (the point i'm getting to,) is that we're constantly changing, evolving.
with each child brought in to our life, each life experience, each job, each friend, each loss, each joy. . .
you're changed.
and of course this doesn't happen over night.
but without the 'maintenance,' the work, the moving forward despite,
a storm can sweep in through the night, when you're fast asleep & not expecting it,
the weather guy was predicting a quiet evening.
and oh crap!  there you are.
woken out of a dead sleep.  running frantically.  shutting all the windows & slamming all the doors.  
trying to stop the downpour that is of COURSE angled straight through the screens, 
in through every window 
rather than staight down in a peaceful drizzle.
and you're left sitting, breath heavy.
where the hell did that come from?  
i wasn't expecting that!
and then you move forward, cleaning up the mess.
knowing that behind the clouds, behind & above the storm,
there is ALWAYS blue skies & sunshine waiting.
you just need to open your eyes & do a little clean up.



gabbygrace said...

Ahhhh Liz, such a wise, insightful, inspirational friend, so blessed to have you! :)

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