A few days ago, I was sitting in a crowded room surround by several of my friends and family. It was a scenario in which you might expect a lot of laughter, good conversation, and contentment. And there was, in abundance actually, for everyone I was with.
Except for me.
I was quiet this particular night. I wasn’t sulking; I wasn’t angry, or even shy. But I was very silent. My silence wasn’t a conscious choice; I try not to be that kind of girl. But it was in this inner quiet moment that it dawned on me: At some point in the past year, I quit living. Obviously, I’m alive but somewhere along this tumultuous hell we’ve been in the last several months, I quit actively participating in my own life.
The epiphany sucked the breath right out of me and I quietly excused myself to the restroom where I locked myself in a stall and wept, mourning what I have allowed to happen to myself. This is not me. When did this happen?
The last two years have been two of the hardest of my life. Last year nearly broke me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. By the time I began to recover from the trauma that was 2010 and began making plans for the next phase of our lives, we got news of Olivia’s 13q Deletion diagnosis. Life became a whole new kind of hard.
The toll of the last two years has affected every single facet of my life. Every. Single. One. I have to acknowledge the enormous amount of blessings that have been poured over us and I acknowledge that the Lord’s hand has been evident in all things, to pretend that the opposite is true would be wrong. But to pretend that I haven’t felt the effects of these trials would be a lie.
It has changed me. In the last several months I haven’t laughed much, I’ve spoken less openly, my temper has been short at best, and my patience has been paper thin. I’ve been consumed with fear, completely weighed down by my worries, my relationships with many of my loved ones have suffered. I have consistently failed to meet my own expectations (which I consider to be completely reasonable and attainable) for my home, my belongings, my creativity, and my loved ones.
This isn’t to say life has been joyless. No, it has been full of good and happy things which somehow made the realization that much worse. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I realized I have recognized and appreciated the small things and the wonderfully unexpected moments in life, I have just not been living those moments. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t see myself, and it scared me. It scared me bad.
I splashed some cool water on my burning cheeks, took a few deep breathes, walked back to my group, and made a decision. This person, this unrecognizable being consumed with unhealthy levels of fear and worry, this weighted, tired exhausted woman….she has got to go.
It’s a process easier said than done. I know. And it will take time. But it’s got to happen. It’s got to. I need me back. My daughter needs me back. My husband needs me back. So in this unflattering self realization, I have decided to change. I have never been so conscious about something like this and aware of the way it clouds my perceptions and my feelings. So, I am done.
I’m not starting over. That’s just counterproductive. I’m just changing my stride and raising the bar for myself.
It seems only fair.