14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

9
Mar

Five Minute Friday - tired

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on tired.
Go.

I have MS.
I was diagnosed when I was 23 and yesterday was my 16 year anniversary of getting the call that confirmed my fears.
It has been 16 years.
I can't even say they have been long years
because we have been "lucky".
We caught it early
we got on meds right away
I have setbacks here and there but all in all, we are so "lucky".
Fatigue is my biggest challenge, I am so damn tired.
Mom tired.
CEO tired.
Starting a business tired.
Having a disease that makes me tired tired.

Yesterday was also International Women's Day, is that a coincidence?
A day to celebrate our strength, our grit, our determination.
So let me start by saying I wasn't "lucky".
This is my year of different so let me say, I am good at this.
I fight this.
I battle this.
I look at it in the mirror every day and I tell it to go to hell.
I caught it early because I knew something was wrong.
I advocated for me when they told me nothing was wrong.
I fought for all the tests.
I called every day to find out if there was a cancellation for the MRI, I refused to wait the 5-month time frame.
I got on meds early because I didn't mess around.
People were good to me and opened doors for me because I connect with those that I care about, and people wanted to help me.
I cried in his face telling him I can't do needles anymore, he looked at me and reminded me that I'm strong.
I took the meds every day. I fought and battled all the side effects.
I had the flu every week for three solid years not because I was lucky, but because I was strong.
I had bruises all over my arms and legs for 2 years not because I was lucky, but because I was strong.
I had 2-hour treatments once a month not because I was lucky, but because I was strong.
I lost my hair for 9 months not because I was lucky, but because I was strong.
I did get tired of it, I did want to quit, but I kept going, not because I was lucky, but because I was strong.
I fight fatigue, a tired I cannot explain, not because I am lucky, but because I am strong.
It isn't a silent disease to me, I look at it, I worry about it, I connect symptoms and I battle on.

I did what so many women do, I told tired that it doesn't have a chance here today and I womaned up!

18
Dec

Tired

Around my 8th month of pregnancy, for both kids, sleeping was getting 30 minutes at a time because both of my kids decided pressing directly on my bladder was good fun.
I remember that last month and thinking that newborns can't even be this bad.
And, thank goodness I was right, because you both came out knowing that our family had a love affair with sleep and you fell right in.

But as you grew, and the more sleep we all got,
the more and more my mind, my body, everything actually hurts from exhaustion.

I think it starts with all the feelings that come along with raising tiny humans
and then you add all of the concerns
and as you both continue to grow so do my feelings and those concerns.

I don't remember moms talking about this amount of exhaustion.
Every book, every mother I talked about the experience, all of the advice I got about cherish each day and you'll miss every stage,
no one ever said,
listen to me, the second you are able to actually sleep through the night is when every part of you wants to cry because you are so tired, you feel like you can't do it anymore.

But somehow we all manage to find the strength to wake up at 1am because someone is sick
or find love and patience somewhere to ride out a storm
or find love and patience somewhere to watch you tantrum
or find love and more patience somewhere else to always be able to love you.
Because that too takes energy,
the one thing we are lacking at this time.

Because this level of exhaustion has a way of killing your joy
and your ability to feel love.
This level of exhaustion takes away your patience and your ability to remember how small they are,
how little they know
how much they need you during the storm.
And god, this level of exhaustion pushes love out of your heart.
And still, we find a way to keep going.
Keeping putting our arms around you and we keep pulling you in.
When, if we are being a little honest with ourselves, we would be better off to go away,
and scream into the storm, you are not taking me with you!
I can't be a part of this right now and I just want a time out too!
But we find this never ending energy, for you.
And that is because we don't get a time out.
We are allowed a day off from you or this.
And it isn't that we didn't know that going into this journey,
it's just that we didn't realize how much of us would be this so very tired.

But, what if we did allow ourselves that time out?
What if for once instead of leaning in to the storm, we just walked away,
took 10 minutes in our own blanket fort and found an ounce more of us.
A clear thought so that our words can be gentle.
A clear mind so that our arms extend out to bring you in, not push you away.
What if we all allowed ourselves to say, of course we will always love you,
but that never meant I had to lose me in the process.

Little ones, you don't even know this, but my love for you is so intense it keeps me up.
You don't even realize this but, my worry for you, like my love is never ending.
And that can make for one tired mom.
But she promises to find moments of quiet,
so that she can be the person you set out to find.
Your tired mom promises to sit in that quiet, pull it over her like a warm blanket so she can find the energy for you and her.

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