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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I want to laugh like Chewbacca.

I'm watching Chewbacca Mom over and over because I need her today.
I need to find that laughing, giggling, snorting part of me again because I misplaced her.

That happy part of me went into hiding after an my friend, Deprssion showed up and wiped me out.
I need to smile without it feeling insincere and she has my face hurting from smiling so I will keep watching her until I'm exhausted from joy.

My friend showed up a few days ago, unannounced.
There was no email or text to give me a heads usually, she just appears blocking the door to the kitchen or the bathroom or the backyard and says "Oh, hey...I need a place to crash and NEVER have anything to do so... I figured it would be cool to stay for awhile".

At first, I push her away but then I stop.
I question myself and decide that...well...she must be right;
I have no life. 
I'm lonely.

Plus, I should be a good host.
Show poise.
Never grimace so... I don't. 

I invite her in without ever knowing how long she will stay or if she'll actually pay me back in any thoughtful way. 
She walks in, takes off her shoes and says "So? We're still BFF's, right? You love me?"

And as always, I nod and say "Of course, you're the closest thing to a sister that I've ever had.
I love you, Depression. 
You help me feel. 
You help me see what a unlovable wreck, I am.
You wake me up to how terrible everything is...I mean what am I supposed to do? 
Mindlessly enjoy breathing and living when everything is the world is going to shit?
Thanks you, Depression.
Make yourself comfortable and stay for as long as you need."

And so she does.
My friend, my sister..Depression.
Despite knowing that she never makes any sense and her stories are usually convoluted lies that distract me from what's good in my life... I can't seem to shut the door on her, no matter how much I journal about gratitude or smile until I mean it.
There's a morose charm to her that finds its way in.

She takes over my brain, my heart, my mouth and then gleefully pushes all the sore spots until I start paying attention.
I find myself impulsively pressing on the bruises and scratching the old scabs.
I tell myself that they need my attention. 
I'm being so brave by facing all of my ugliness.

I look at all those wounds and I pick at them. 
I let them bleed again. 
I fall into them and list them as if they are a to-do list for misery.

You are too scattered.
Men will always hurt you because you deserve it.
Your mother doesn't love you and it's all your fault.
You son suffers because you are a mess.
You're friends don't really like you.
Nobody actually likes you.
Everyone things your ignorant.
You're not good at your job and everyone knows it.
You're a self absorbed, privileged brat and will never be happy because you're too lazy to choose happiness.
Even your lists are glib and boring.

Huge sighs begin to arise and I begin the conversation " choose happiness, you idiot. Tell Your 'friend' depression to go away. Think happy thoughts and in 90 seconds you'll be fine.
And if you're not it's because you are a lousy yoga teacher.
A fraud. 
You're a fraud.
A soon to be washed up loser with sun damaged skin, bad teeth and messy hair."

And so she stays. 
She hangs out. 
She eats all of my food and leaves me hungry.
She takes up the whole bed and I become sleepless.
She takes over my words and I become mean.
She takes over and I give in.
I fall, I get bloody and angry and my tongue lashes out with fire.
My body sulks but my bones stiffen with a resolve to stay steady with these thoughts of doom and anger and then...she's gone.

She left.
I'm back in the world again.
Living and loving in this house, this body, this mind.
The sky is beautiful, the taste of a piece of fruit is satisfying, my relationship is salvation and I breathe.
But then I pause and wonder when will she be back?

Will she show up after I get harassed on my morning commute by guys in trucks who think I need to hear there hoots and hollers?
Will she show up after I read about the troubles of the world?
Will she show up after the principal calls to tell me that my child needs to be picked up?

Or will she show up like last time because I accidentally washed something red with a bunch of white which made me realize how bad I am at being an adult?

I don't know when she will visit, again.
But I know she will, so I go back to reminding myself how wonderful it is to rest in my sons bed and feel his little hand in mine.
I remind myself to walk slowly so not to get lost in another angry story that screams with a need for attention because I forgot to pause and look at the scenery around me.
I remind myself that now wasn't then and tomorrow isn't here so when my husband says he loves me...I need to hear it, believe it and say it back.
 And I have to remind myself that laughter has always been my best medicine.
So thank you crazy mom with a Star Wars mask for helping me pick up the mess that my friend, Depression left.
It's swept up and in the trash.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

My heart. My child.

To all the mother's in all their forms, I love you.
Each of us has a story that is full of amazing highs and painful lows.
Each one of us have moments in which we question if we are up to the challenge:
Can we raise and nurture and love these people we bring into this world or choose to parent?
Are we enough?
And of course, there are mothers who can't be the parent that their child needs. 
There are many who aren't able to love or open their hearts and their reasons may never be fully understood but they too have a story.

My story is wide open and full.
It's full of pride, sadness, joy, passion, love and doubt.

I doubted that I was up to the challenge of motherhood for most of my life.
I still doubt myself.
Being Atticus's mother has been the most intense practice of my life.
It's been complicated.
There have been many, many, many times in which I found myself crumpling to the floor and believing that I was not strong enough to be the mother that he needs.


He is defiant and impulsive.
He swears like a sailor and bolts like lightening to get where he wants.
He wanders off. 
He runs into streets. 
He steals and sometimes he just has full on meltdowns that have inspired strangers to encourage me to spank him.

But...Atticus is also full of passion or 'spirit', as my polite friends say. 

He is strong and able to stand up for himself.
He thrives on making people laugh. 
He has no fear in trying to connect with anyone he meets.
He is loyal to the people he trusts and his ability to express his love and appreciation is without boundaries.

He is (like all of us) a person wanting to love and be loved.
Some days he does it gracefully and then there are periods where he just can't seem to get it right.
Just like you.
Just like me.

Yesterday, he received an 'official' emotional disability diagnosis from a psychiatrist.

He has what is called: 
Impulse Control Disorder. 
When he gets stressed out; all self control and ability to consider consequences goes out the window.
I have watched him struggle 'to behave' his whole life. 
He is desperate to fit in.
And there have been many, including myself, who have doubted his claims because there are times when he can maintain which is why when he suddenly shifts a few moments later into a frantic and uncontrollable kid. It is confusing for the rest of us to understand.

After dropping him off at school, I spent much of the morning in tears. 
I'm not sure if I was crying out of relief to finally have a diagnosis to work with or if I was mourning the fact that he won't have an easy road ahead of him.
Regardless, I've needed to cry and it seems as if the tears are endless right now.
I've spent so much energy trying to maintain a sense of normalcy but the tears have been hovering at my surface like clouds in the weeks leading up to the monsoon.
And now it's time to cry and cry and scream and then pick myself up because Atticus needs me.

He just started medication and I have no idea if it will actually help. The more I learn and reflect upon very similar difficulties that my oldest brother has had his whole life; the more willing I am to accept that medication may be what he needs.

I'm proud of Atticus.
He has tried so hard to listen and follow directions but as time has gone on he just can't and I want him to have friends.
Kids and parents have shunned him, many times. Not because they are jerks but because it's hard to be with someone who won't listen or can't respect basic physical boundaries.

I can't protect him from teasing and I can't hold his hand and watch his every move but I have to trust that things will get better. They may not be easy but I can't live in this state of fear and pause anymore.

My mind has fallen into too many fits of worry whenever his school calls and I have spent countless days lost in depression and grief. 
I've isolated myself and avoided old friends.
Most of my free time has been devoted to trying to help him, as it should be but I'm finding that my need to retreat and hide has left my body and mind very sick.
I've reached out with desperate pleas for help and advice but I stopped connecting with people in long and meaningful ways for awhile and it's time for me to take care of myself, again, too.

So, my intention is to replace the list of difficulties with new experiences to be grateful for and to recognize how much I already have.

Atticus is amazing. 
He is wicked smart and the most sincere and loving person, I know. 
He is healthy. 
He is funny. 
O.M.G. I love him like no other.

My Zack, he holds the space for me to work through the myriad of emotions that dance their way through our home and relationship every single day. 
He continues to surprise me with his unwavering devotion to our family.

My friends. 
I have always been lucky in friendship. I've found it easy to make them and stay connected and  I am also incredibly lucky to have so many friends who are actually skilled in handling the troubles that we've been facing. They have always given me an open door and I am realizing that I just have to make an effort to see them more.

My own mother and all the other mothers I have are making themselves known and I am reaching out and I need them.
Tomorrow may be our 'holiday' but to all the mothers out there...
I do love you and I'm honored to be part of your tribe.