0

Scars

There is a song that I have heard countless times on the radio. I have sung the lyrics, reciting line for line as the melody waves and crests over me. It is a natural habit, once I recognize the first few seconds of the song beginning, to sing along. I have been doing so since the first time I heard it.

The song is called Scars, by the band Papa Roach. Their style of music is not something I typically listen to, but I have always enjoyed this particular song, because I have always liked the message I thought it portrayed.

Have you ever listened to a song, even sung the words into the air, and realized you didn’t really know what it meant at all?

There is a particular verse in this song.

“I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut. My weakness is that I care too much. The scars remind us, that the past is real. I tear my heart open, just to feel.”

In this short line, the band illustrates the struggle of someone like myself.

Someone who feels so deeply, and often because of how passionately we love, finds themselves being hurt.

After all, when you carry the weight of the world, attempting to solve problems that are not yours because of how strongly you care for others, it’s impossible to not feel an enormous weight when you realize that you cannot make everyone happy.

For a majority of my adult life, I have struggled with my self worth, questioning my presence as a whole and feeling as if my value was measured not by how I felt about myself, but by how others viewed me. Circumstances within my past forced me to feel as if I did not deserve love in comparison to others, and to feel as if no one values you enough to remain within your life is an extremely lonely feeling.

For this reason, I believe I compensated, feeling as if I had to solve the problems of those I loved, because I knew what it felt like to be lonely, and I did not want others to feel the pain I had become accustomed too. When I grew close to someone, I cared for and even loved some of these individuals so fiercely, but I found that in doing so, I was often left feeling disappointed.

In my attempt to make others feel happy, I was sacrificing my own joy.

As the song said, my weakness was that I cared too much.

I will find myself, when reading status updates of others on social networks that have a concerning nature to them, immediately wanting to message the person who posted them, wanting to make things right. If I can make everyone happy, then things will be better.

But they won’t.

I have come to the realization that there are times when the best thing to do for someone, including myself, is to give someone or a situation space.

I am a faithful person and I truly believe that He has a plan for our lives, an outline by which our story unfolds. This is not to say that we lack self choice. We can certainly make decisions as to what will make us happy, but ultimately, I think our lives will be determined by the plan God has for us.

And sometimes, the only way that we can make another person happy is by leaving them to determine their own happiness. We can care; of course we are not abandoning them. But we cannot make others happy who do not want to feel happiness in that moment, or even in a particular season of their lives.

As one of the characters in my son’s favorite movie states, “we cannot make someone feel anything.”

I will continue to be the person I have grown to be, shaped by my faith and by my circumstances. I will continue to love intensely and feel deeply, the scars of my past an armor against the potential hurts of my future.

I will feel, but I will not do so at the expense of my happiness. I will support, but I will give space.

As the song states,

The scars remind us that the past is real. 

I look forward to the joys of the future.

 

0

Goodbyes

While each goodbye is uniquely difficult in the circumstances that lead two people to part, I truly believe that the most difficult type of goodbye is the one you never expected you would have to say.

In my path to becoming the person I feel the most comfortable being, the person that I want for my children to remember, I have encountered many people.

Some of these individuals have served as lessons, reminders of who I do not want to become, or on the other hand, examples of who I may wish to emulate a personality trait of..their kind heart, listening ear, friendly nature for example.

Others have served as a reason. A reason to say goodbye. A reason to understand that pain is a much a portion of life’s journey as joy, and that sometimes, in order to become better versions of ourselves, we must leave these people behind, for the greater good of everyone involved.

I had to say another goodbye today.

I know that along my path to my best self, this choice is for the best. This person, who was a large part of my adult life, though their presence minimal, their overall presence expected, is now a person I will have to file in the chapters of my past, another “friend” who is not a part of my journey any longer.

I think that at times of change, including the change of one’s self, other people can become uncomfortable, and for this reason,  not knowing how to react, people assume it is better to withdraw. Rather than work to maintain a friendship and discover the new aspects of this old friend, people think it is better to stop trying.

I wonder, if at times like these, the friendship was really ever that important to them.

But these are things I don’t dwell on. In becoming who I want to be, in living with a peaceful mind, I know that I must let go. Not every aspect of life is expected to be understood all of the time, and that is the beauty of life. Not everything has a plan, and while I will miss this friendship, I know it wasn’t meant to last.

Life goes on, and I’m content in the fact that I alone am my own friend, carrying myself from one destination to the next..picking up characters in my story along the way.

bea01ee7269206cea58877b49a17ad58

0

You are not your mess

There are times when I am consumed with the activities of the day, constantly flitting from one task to another, that when I come to a complete stop I look around and think to myself, “Gosh, look at this mess.” As I type this, there are currently folded clothes waiting to be put in to their respective drawers, crumbs on the table from breakfast, and a large root beer spill on the kitchen floor. In these moments, I think to myself that I must be failing as a mother and as a person, as I am surrounded by the mess, looking like one myself. I am the mess, and I cannot escape it.

But as I pause, and take further inspection of my surroundings, my hair in a messy ponytail and not having showered yet, determined to accomplish all of my items for the day while making sure my children are happy, I realize that I am not a failure. These are signs of life.

If I look beyond that spill on the floor, the droplets of liquid turning in to rivers on the tile, creating a sticky sheen over the surface, I can see the little boy who made the mess, taking another step forward in his independence. I see a toddler yearning for more freedom, two hands unsteadily clutching a cup, and watching as the contents tumbled, his eyebrows furrowed in worry. As I kneel to console him, I see the apprehension leave his face, and no longer is he worried about the spill, but entertained by the puddle growing larger.

As I glance at the piles of clothes folded and those yet to be tended too, I see the clothes that we are fortunate enough to own, and the utilities that are so graciously paid for us by my in laws so that we may have the water to wash them. I see these clothes that drape us as we carry ourselves from one destination to the next, turning the chapters of our lives in the different outfits we wear.

The dishes that wait in the sink to be cleaned serve as reminders that we are blessed with the ability to be fed every day, and are testaments to the hard work that my husband does to support his family, for which we are forever grateful.

Together, these factors resemble a mess, a state of disorder. Yet separately, these slices of the framework of our lives show me just how lucky we are, and that I am not this mess..my mess. Or really, a mess at all.

Of course, I do have a certain standard of cleanliness I like to maintain, and I know that the disorder of my house will not stay this way for long. The clothing will be put away, the dishes cleaned. I will eventually shower.

But at the end of day, as I look back on this setting, on my life, I can find joy in these moments, and beauty in the chaos. f1f08a43792328e0740b8ed083979dbd

 

15

Why this stay at home mom doesn’t “work”

We do not have a traditional 9 to 5 position. There are no plaques with our names emblazoned on them. We do not have mandated lunch breaks nor opportunities to go to the restroom on our own.

Rather, we have moments caught in time in the hectic nature of our day, slices of our lives where we can find a brief moment to mindlessly check Facebook or attempt to eat a snack before our children request our attention.

Being a mother, for me, is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I will be honest. Prior to having children, I was very selfish and very self centered. If my needs were not met, whether it be by ridiculous clothing or other purchases that would briefly satisfy and then bore me, I would immediately move on to the next thing, with utter disregard for how my actions affected others.

After my first son was born, I was very quickly propelled in to the world of motherhood, and what it meant to care for someone other than myself. Now, instead of thinking about what I would waste my money on next, I was thinking about the ways that I could best parent my child, including making sure he had nice clothing, interactive and educational toys to play with, and comfort in the moments when he was sad or uncomfortable.

Becoming a mother changed my entire perspective on my life, and my sole mission was to ensure that my children were happy and well provided for. I was also blessed with an incredible husband, a wonderful provider who allowed me to act as a stay at home parent for a brief time. However, as life so often does, monetary expenses called me back to the work force, where I would work a 40 hour per week position to make sure my children were loved and well cared for.

Yet, at the end of these long days, as I dropped in to the nearest chair in utter exhaustion, my children asking for my attention and energy that I no longer had, I knew that it was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be with my children, and for nearly two years I fought the struggle of my head versus my heart as I watched their faces fall a little less each day at drop off, leaving them alone for 8 hours while they grew before someone else’s eyes.

As fate would have it, or life rather, last year I became very ill, and the extent of my medical issues forced me to choose between my career and my children.  I was concerned, as I’m sure everyone likely would be, about how this choice would affect our financial status and overall flow of income. However, as my husband assured me, we would be okay. He wanted me to be happy, and what brought me the greatest joy, more than anything else in life other than our marriage, was being a mom and being with my children.

For this reason, I am now beyond blessed to be on this journey of stay at home motherhood for a second time. I am blessed because I know that so many others would like to be in my position and are unable to do so. I myself, was the woman on the other side looking in, the working mother at one point, and I believe they make the ultimate sacrifice. It is so difficult to miss moments, and full portions of your children’s lives when work calls you away, but you have to work to provide for your family. It is the ultimate and most beautiful sacrifice and I applaud all working mothers.

Stay at home mothers are my heroes as well. Each day, we provide our full selves in to making sure that our children are fed, played with, well cared for and become productive adults. We balance motherhood and our households, and all too often, we feel the mom guilt, whether it lie in the fact that we are not bringing in an additional income, or wondering if our reaction to a situation or event during the day permanently scarred our children.

Yes, my children, like many others, often test my patience, and know how to stretch their boundaries. I still crave those few minutes and even hours of alone time at the end of the day, but for a mom who for so long was away from her children and missed out on those pivotal moments in her boys’ lives, I wouldn’t consider what I do work. I am just loving my boys, and that to me, isn’t a job at all.12191871_494146820763890_7196711488962849796_n.jpg

0

What dreams are made of

Certainly we have heard of the technical aspects regarding dreams.  Dreams have been described as the collection of our subconscious thoughts, those pieces of information we gather during the day that on the grand scale of our lives become categorized away, only presenting themselves when we are restfully asleep.  And so, dreams become merely explanations, easily dismissed as a collection of thoughts that really mean..well, nothing.

But when does a dream become less a collection of thoughts, and more a message from God?

I suppose, in part, that the way in which we determine whether a dream is just a “dream” or is a calling depends on our faith base. Our foundation for determining what happens to us likely classifies our dreams as well.

This morning, I woke up from an incredibly vivid dream, and felt unsettled, yet at the same time, oddly comforted by what my dream had involved.  In one particular portion, the words, “Live by His will, and understand His grace” were revealed to me. Surely that was not just a collection of my thoughts, right? I do pray daily, and multiple times per day, so His words and teachings are definitely on my mind..but a message like this just felt….

BIGGER.

Have you ever had an experience that occurred, and after you were left in awe by it, unable to explain how you felt, other than to say that you were moved?

This dream felt that way.

It felt so big, and so real that to describe it in any other way would be to do it a disservice. It was so unsettling, in fact, that to even speak of it would feel as if I were jinxing what I was told would be set to happen.

So for now I wonder.

At what point does a dream become something more?

c883e3ee9b6fbf41f09fb29398fe0114.jpg

2

I am not his secretary

I love my husband very much, and as his wife I enjoy doing things for him that help to ease the burden of his day. Whether this be preparing his favorite dinner, allowing him to relax after a particularly grueling day, or even purchasing an item I know he enjoys eating on an impromptu run to the store, I enjoy doing these things for my husband, because he is not only the father of our children but my partner in life.

However, there is one thing that I have found to be an annoyance in our marriage, and it does not stem from him at all. In fact, it doesn’t affect our marriage at all, and yet, it does.

Confused? I am too, to an extent.

My husband and I have known one another for the better part of our twenties. During this time, we have both established lasting friendships, and many of his friends are my friends. I know their likes, dislikes and romantic partners. I have been to their weddings, met their girlfriends over dinner or drinks. As partners, we not only share a mutual love for each other..we share the same group.

On several occasions I have found myself in a position..and perhaps you have too. A position where I am asked a question, or a comment is made to me, about my husband, one which is likely intended for his ears..but I am expected to pass it along to him.

I understand the logic behind this. I certainly do. After all, we are married, and who sees him most often? Of course, me. But at the same time, in a world driven by technological advances that allow us to speak to each other through live video chat, without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes, for example, I suppose I don’t understand why these people cannot speak to him directly.

I know this may sound negative, and that is certainly not my intention. I do love my husband’s friends and I treat them with the same level of respect that I would expect from my husband if the roles were reversed. However, I find myself wondering, when I receive another instant message or even a text message from a mutual friend stating, “Can you let your husband know,” a minor sense of annoyance creeping in. The reason for the annoyance is stemmed in the fact that these people are purposely avoiding contacting him, and going through myself instead.

I suppose I may be making more of these occurrences that need be. However, if you are not a family member who cannot get ahold of my husband, and have a legitimate concern regarding the nature of our family, I do not understand the need to treat me a buffer of sorts. I am certain that I likely speak for others when I state that no one is comfortable with being placed in the middle of situations where they clearly do not belong.

So friends, I ask, and I extend these words not only to our close friends, but to anyone who finds themselves in the same position, whether the buffer or the friend putting another person in the middle…please consider who you speak with before you ask.

Because of course, when you call…I hope you want to talk to me…and are not just leaving a message for the secretary. 1d7cc8caf4498348c09cb3a9bd411227

0

It’s not scary..when you turn the light on

Red. White. Blue. Brown, gray and orange. Articles of clothing carefully landed in their designated piles as I evaluated how I could condense these items in to smaller loads, carefully making certain to avoid placing a red item in the white pile. As I meticulously unloaded the laundry baskets before me, I heard two high pitched shrieks intensifying in volume as they neared me. My boys love to scream when playing, and while other parents would instantly rush to their children’s sides, I knew by the nature of these shrieks that my sons were engaging in another high volume game.

I was certainly surprised when my two little boys, pint sized versions of my husband and myself respectively, stood before me, their blonde hair sparkling with perspiration and their hazel eyes wide with fear. As my toddler glanced at his brother, words tumbled from my six year old like a faucet that had been turned on too rapidly, a series of letters falling from his lips in to my ears.

“The bathroom mirror is SCARY” he whispered, his brother nodding in affirmation. My toddler pointed to the bathroom directly across the hallway from our laundry room, within my viewing distance. The light in the bathroom was currently off, casting the area in shadows and from a child’s perspective, paralyzing fear.

I knelt to be at equal height with my boys, gazing in to each of their faces intently as I asked, my voice softened to soothe their anxiety, “What’s so scary about it bud?”

In complete seriousness, my six year old looked at me and stated, “There are monsters. It’s scary, and it’s dark, and it looks like that creepy movie.” He didn’t remember which movie had inspired him to be terrified of dark spaces, but he was convinced that our bathroom was now the subject of that scary movie.

I looked at him, and then his brother, both overcome by the fear that the darkness had inspired, and then grabbed each of their hands. We stood, and I brought them to the bathroom, feeling as their bodies noticeably trembled through their hands. I let go for a moment, moving the light switch to an on position and we watched as light flooded the room. ” See guys? There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s not scary, when the light is on.” I then pointed out the many objects that could take on a different form when shadowed, and the boys nodded, their bodies easing as we discussed how light can alter our perception.

I think sometimes, that even as adults, we are transformed in to the children of our past, paralyzed by the fear of new situations and terrified of the darkness. Perhaps an event within our life has caused us to become negative, and we have become so engulfed in the dark feelings that this event produces that we forget to turn on the light. We see the objects of our lives masked in the shadows of disappointment, or stress, or negativity, and we forget that in the light of day, these very same objects take on a different form.

Life does not come equipped with a manual, or a clear destination. We are constantly finding our way through our journey, facing disappointment and other obstacles as we write the story of our lives. But on these travels, if we stop for too long to dwell on the ways in which life did not go as planned, we can be terrified, like my children, stopped by the fear of the unknown.

I urge you friends, to focus on those positive aspects of your life that make the negative portions more dim. Whenever the fear overwhelms you, friend, don’t forget to turn on the light.

It’s not as scary there.

fe3beed03d166e8c0267c2d1efcd2a07.jpg