Author Archives: Beautifully Polarized

About Beautifully Polarized

Life is ever changing. God is working in me more everyday. He has blessed me with a husband who is my best friend in every aspect of life, and three children who teach me about life and love everyday. He has blessed me further with friends who help me get through the rough days, and laugh with me on the good days. And, I believe He gave me the best mom a girl could ask for. He has also given me trials so that I can grow into the person He intended me to be. Walking with Him makes life in this world bearable.

Grief

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I’m all in my feelings today.  The grief has begun to set in, and quite honestly, I’m a mess at the moment.  I’m having a moment of the ‘It’s not fairs.’  The ‘I don’t want tos’ and the ‘I shouldn’t have tos’ are along for the ride, as well.  Basically, I’m delightful.

I went to the store a few days ago and started picking out cards for various people.  You know, goodbye cards.  Goodbye cards.  How do you say goodbye to a life that you’ve lived for eight years?  I mean, that may not seem like a long time to you, but to me that may as well be an eternity.  In my entire life, I hadn’t lived in any one home for eight years, until here.  In my adult life, I hadn’t lived in any city longer than three and a half years, until here.  This is home to me.  And now I’m buying goodbye cards.

And my heart is breaking.  I’m not sure I can handle it.

I had lunch with a friend today.  It was so nice.  It was comfortable.  Familiar.  There was none of that get-to-know-you stuff that makes my social anxiety want to rear its ugly head.  There was no need for small talk to fill the awkwardness of new relationship.  It was just me and my friend, relaxing together with our feet in the sand.  Ah, beach life.  How I will miss it.

My son will be staying here to go to college.  He is moving out at the end of this month to live with a friend for the summer until he moves into his dorm.  That means that in 13 days my middle child will no longer be living at home.  Oh, how I will miss him.

Today, I signed up to be in involved in something at our new church in Houston.  I’m sure it’s because I was already sad and grieving today, but it hit me that I will once again be the new person.  I will be starting all over with making new friends and finding my place in my new life.  This is something that I’ve learned to do, and I’ve learned to do it well, but can I tell you a secret?  It scares me to my core.  I have really bad social anxiety.  I just know how to do things even though I’m scared or nervous.  I do them anyway.  I put a smile on my face, and I do them anyway.  I’m almost always glad I did, but it’s still hard.

It hit me a few days ago that all of these big changes and goodbyes are all coming at the same time.  We will leave military life, our home, our friends, and our son in Florida, and move to Texas.  Just a few days later, we will take our daughter back to school, and will suddenly be down to one child.  For a few weeks, we will essentially be homeless.  In a matter of days, our lives will have drastically changed.

Part of me feels like maybe I’m having a bit of a pity party for myself, but the other part of me is looking at the big picture and cutting myself some slack.  There is a lot going on in my life right now.  A lot of change is occurring all at once.  Lots of goodbyes.  Lots of chapters ending.  Lots of grief.  I’m just giving myself some space to feel it.

In the midst of all of this, though, God has provided for us every step of the way.  We sold our house in record time.  We each have jobs to go to.  We will have a new home to go to quickly after we arrive.  There could really be so much more stress related to this move, but God has relieved so much of that for us.  We are truly blessed.  So, as much as I know I have to walk through the grief of this move, I keep reminding myself that God must have something really special waiting for us to do in Houston.  He has really paved the way.  I’m excited to see what He has in store!

I’m Not Ready

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I’m not sure what it was about today, but today was the day.  It was the day that it hit me.  It’s likely that we won’t be back at church yet before it’s time for us to move.  Do you know what that means?  That means we won’t get to say our goodbyes to so many people.  It means we may have had all of our ‘lasts’ and didn’t even know it.  It means the hugs and farewells that I’ve been planning for who knows how long may never happen.

And I’m not ready for that.

I’m not ready to accept that a huge part of this chapter of my life has already come to a close and I didn’t even recognize it.  It just quietly passed without so much as a nod in its direction.  That’s not how it was supposed to be.  Not at all.  Not. At. All.

No more classes.  No more shake-n-bakes.  No more rehearsals.  No more sound checks.  No more singing with the praise.  My praise team.  Ah.  My people.  This is where it really hurts.

Something happens when you sing with a group of people.  You form a bond that you can’t really describe.  You know what I’m talking about if you’ve been part of a singing group.  These people become a second family in a sense.  They become special.  These people are special.  I’ve been singing with some of them for nearly eight years.  That’s a long time – longer than I’ve sung with any other group.  And I didn’t even get a chance to tell them goodbye, much less sing with them one last time.  And my heart is breaking just a little bit.  Ok, maybe a lot.

There will be so many people and things that I will have to say goodbye to.  I will shed many tears.  Alright, many more tears.  I’ve already shed a few.  But this one particular group of people will be harder to say goodbye to than most anything else.

When we went into this whole social distancing thing however many weeks ago, we still had about three months before it would be time for us to go.  It wasn’t time to start saying goodbye yet.  I took it for granted that we would be back up and running before it was time for us to pack up and leave town.  Now it looks like that may not be the case.  Now it looks like we may have missed our chance to say goodbye.  But I wasn’t ready then.  I’m not ready now.  I still have seven weeks, well almost.  I should still be able to put off goodbyes for another few weeks.  But it’s all messed up.

I don’t want to close this chapter of my life without saying a proper goodbye.  I want another opportunity to see my people.  I want us to be together and do the thing we do – praise Jesus.  That’s what we do.  That’s how I want our goodbye to be.  That’s how it should be when the time comes.  Not now.  Not like this.

Because I’m not ready.

Bad Mom

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I adore my children.  I really do.  We have had a lot of fun spending time together during this whole time of stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, quarantine, or whatever you want to call it.  We have played games and watched movies and cooked meals and done projects.  We’ve had fun!

But I gotta be honest, this distance learning at home thing is not for me.

I simply don’t have the patience.  Or the brain power.  Or the desire.  Or the energy.  Or the patience.  Did I already say that one?  I mean, I have my own things to do and think about.  Somedays, I can barely manage myself, much less make sure my child is staying on task with all of his daily assignments.  And let’s just be real – my son can be a major jerk when it comes time for school work.  No thank you.  Not interested in taking part in that.

Does this make me a bad mom?  I’ve really wrestled with this because it feels like I’m a bad mom.  It feels like I should be able to manage this with ease.  It feels like I should be happy to do this.  But I can’t and I’m not.

The truth is, this doesn’t make me a bad mom.  It makes me an honest mom.  It makes me a normal mom.  It makes me a mom who is good at some things and not good at others.  I happen to not be equipped to be my child’s teacher.  We homeschooled for a year when they were younger.  We learned way back then that sending them to school was the best option for us.  So why have I been beating myself up now because I’m struggling to deal with school at home?

Good question.

There are plenty of things that I’m good at.  I’m going to try hard to focus on those things rather than focus on the things that I don’t do well.  I will continue to do my best with this school at home thing because it’s necessary right now.  And because I care.  Of course I care.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t help at all.  I wouldn’t make sure any of the schooling was accomplished.  But I can only do what I can do, and that has to be enough for now.  As long as I’m doing my best, I can be proud of myself.  I can feel like a good mom.

As for the rest?  Well, I’m learning to ask for help.  In our house, we have three other people who are capable of helping with the youngster.  And they do.  We also still have access to teachers who are able to help.  In fact, this morning my son has a video conference set up with one of them.  I decided to let her help him rather than having a fight with him over fractions.  Winning!

Parenting isn’t all fun and games.  Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.  For me, this schooling thing is one of them.  It’s a big relief to allow myself to admit that I don’t like this and that I’m not so good at it.  Pretending like I’ve had it all together and am loving this particular phase of parenting isn’t helping me or anyone else.  We’ll get through it, hopefully with some sanity still intact.  And with a little luck, we might even have a few laughs along the way.

Donuts

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It was five AM and I was in the kitchen attempting to make homemade donuts.  I had found a recipe to make them in the air fryer, you know, so they would be healthy.  Whatever.  You see where this is going right?  This was clearly hypomania happening.  By 5:30, I was in the car on my way to the store for whole milk.

It didn’t last very long.  Not even the whole day.  In the days leading up to it, I had been severely depressed.  The kind of depressed where I would cry intermittently throughout the day, or I would hardly be able to get out of bed.  I was barely functioning, at least on the inside.  On the outside, things looked pretty normal, as they usually do.  I’m pretty good at hiding it by now.  But on the inside?  I felt like I was surely dying a slow death.

So I had the depressed days, and then I had the manic day, or part of it anyway.  After that, came the day of rage.  Something that shouldn’t have been a very big deal caused me to completely come unglued.  I lost it.  And the worst part is that I lost it with one of my children.  I’m not proud.  I’m embarrassed, to be honest.  I’m sad about it, too.

I’m sad that I don’t have a larger capacity to handle things when they don’t go just as they are supposed to go.  When things get slightly off-kilter, I many times unravel.  Then I go into my routine of the ‘I shoulds.’  I should be able to handle this.  I should be stronger than this.  I should be better by now…You get the idea.  I preach to my clients about the ‘I should’ trap, yet I do it myself.  I know better.

But I think more than being sad, I’m just tired.  I’m tired of the ups and downs.  I’m tired of feeling fine and then BAM it all changes in a flash.  Suddenly, I’m in some alternate mood state that completely takes over and I’m helpless to do anything about it.  I’m trapped inside it, using every ounce of restraint I have to keep it confined inside of me.  Sometimes the rest of the day is gone.  I don’t recover.  Other times, I do recover, but it can take hours before I feel ok again.

I have realized, though, that I have an immense amount of self-control.  My ability to contain these wild emotions is unbelievable.  Sometimes I let them out, but that’s only when I know it’s safe.  Usually, though, I keep them under wraps, even from my family.  I feel like I have to.  It’s better for everyone.  Well, it’s better for everyone else.  I don’t think it’s good for me to keep it all bottled up, though.  It keeps me tense and anxious.  I need to find a better way to release all of this pent up emotion that I carry around.  It isn’t fair to unleash it on unsuspecting bystanders.  I understand that.  But I can’t harbor it forever, either.

I don’t have the answer yet.  Maybe someday I will.

Now, about those donuts.  Well, they never happened.  The dough never rose because the yeast was dead.  So disappointing.

I Will Be Undignified

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I have something to say, and I hope you will stick around and listen.  I know it’s a topic that no one likes to talk about, but it’s important, and shouldn’t be ignored.  Suicide.

I’m working on writing my book, and so I have been combing through old blogs that I’ve written.  I have been absolutely heartbroken to read some of them because they were written from such a place of sorrow.  The woman who wrote those pieces was desperately suicidal.  She was hopeless and broken.

I am overwhelmed with emotion tonight as I contemplate how different things are for me now.  No longer am I in such a devastating place.  No longer do I wish for the end like she did.  I still struggle, and life is still difficult living with mental illness, but it isn’t like it was.

I feel so humbled because I know it was God who brought me out of it.  I know it was He who surrounded me with people who loved me and helped me through it.  It was He who took me in His arms and protected me from myself, time and time again.  Without Him, who knows?

What I do know is that I have been given a gift.  I have been given life renewed, and it is not something that I take for granted.  It is not something I intend to waste.  God saved me for a purpose, and I believe that purpose is to use my story to help others who are on a similar journey.  When I read the words I have written, I realize that I can speak to those who are hurting so desperately.  I can sit with them in their darkest moments and hold them close until the pain subsides.

Will it be hard?  Without a doubt.  Will it be worth it?  Absolutely.  Has God given me a difficult task?  I think so, but to whom much is given, much is required.  How much more could I be given than life itself?  How could I take all the pain and sorrow I have felt and lock it away so that no one can see the beauty in the life that is on the other end of it?  How could I rob God of that glory?  I can’t.

So, even though it’s undignified to talk about it, I will.  And even though it means I will have to be braver than I have ever been, and I will have to bare my darkest secrets, I will.  If it helps one scared young girl know she’s not alone, it’s worth it.  If one lonely mom makes it another day, it’s worth it.  Just one, and it’s worth it.

There are several blogs that I have kept locked behind passwords for a while, but I have now made them public.  They are at the top of my blog list.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to read them.  Share them.  If you know someone who is hurting, please send them my way.  I want to help.  I will share my story with them.  I will make sure they know they are loved, and they are not alone.

Thanks for reading.

It’s Not For Me

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I must be in a mood today because I normally wouldn’t be so blunt as to say what I’m about to say.  I normally would just smile sweetly as I stifle whatever crazy emotion it is that I’m trying to hide.  But right now I am going to tell you the truth.

I do those things for you.  I do them for your comfort, not mine.  I keep calm and behave like a ‘normal’ person so that you aren’t uncomfortable when I’m around.  Let’s face it.  You wouldn’t know what to do with me if I was acting erratic.  You wouldn’t know what to do if I was crying hysterically or bouncing all over the room.  My guess is you would do one of two things.  You would either disappear, or you would decide that I needed some help, because God forbid that I behave in such a way.  Heaven help us if anyone steps outside the box and misbehaves.

So, to save you from that discomfort, I conform.  I hide my discomfort.  I hide my tears.  I hide my energy.  I fake smiles and laughs for you.  I feign interest in conversations when the last thing I want is to be talking to you.  And it isn’t because I don’t like you, because I do.  We are friends, and I adore you.  I really do.

It’s just that my moods don’t always care about when it’s time to socialize and when it’s not.  My moods dictate how I feel a lot of the time, and I’m constantly battling them.  It’s exhausting, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to do it anymore.  In fact, most of the time I don’t have the energy.  At least, I don’t feel like I do.  But somehow, I find just enough within me to hold myself together so that you don’t know what’s going on inside of me.  I do this because I care about you.  I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.  I don’t want you to be scared of me, either.

So I pretend.

I’m actually a really good actress, if you think about it.  I walk around on my own stage most of the time.  If you pay really close attention, you’ll see me slip up, though.  You’ll see through the cracks in my performance.  So, if you really want to see the real me, pay closer attention.  I’m in there, hiding behind the smiles, laughs, head nods, and ‘I’m doing fine’ lies that I tell you.  If you catch me in a vulnerable moment, I may even let you in just a little bit.  Who knows.

But mostly, I will protect you and keep you comfortable.

The Way

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Lately I’ve been questioning a little bit if I’m really on the right path.  I do this from time to time because it seems like maybe things aren’t going the way they should be.  I wonder if I’ve missed something along the way.  Well, things haven’t just been falling into place recently, so I have found myself in a place of doubt and confusion.

I have really been praying that God would prosper my career, that He would bring clients my way. It appeared in the last few days that things were really starting to move in the right direction. I was getting referrals, and previous clients began to call, wanting to come in again. I was seeing God’s work. I was seeing His faithfulness. But then, it seemed as if things began to unravel. Referrals didn’t lead to appointments. Calls and texts began to come in, each one with another cancellation. By week’s end, I had only held two appointments.

Two.

How can I function like this? How can I run a business when I’m only working with clients for two hours a week? I can’t. And what in the world is God doing? I asked for more, and he took away? I was so confused. So upset. Beside myself, really.

I know I’m supposed to be doing this. I know I’m supposed to be helping people. I know this. I haven’t gone through everything I’ve gone through, and fought my way back from the depths of hell to get where I am, just to fail. No. That’s not the answer.

So, what? What, God? What is Your plan? I know You have one. And I need to hear from You. I’m lost and I don’t know where to go from here. These are the questions I cried out to Him in a weak moment.

He immediately began to answer, first by telling me He would provide a way for the road ahead. He always provides a way for His will to be done. Why then, do I get anxious? This little reminder was enough to calm my spirit.

Quickly after, God provides something else to lift my spirits. This time, it was a note from a friend. She wrote about my transparency in my diagnosis and struggles with mental illness. She wrote of how I inspired her. I needed to hear those words in that exact moment, which is why I believe God had me find that message just then, even though it had been written for me in mid-December. I think God works this way at times. He withholds things until the timing is just right. I’ve experienced Him doing this with me countless times. It’s just part of His perfection.

I was not prepared for the next thing that happened. It was later in the day when I opened my FB messenger to find a message from an old friend. This was a message that was nothing shy of heart breaking as she revealed how mental illness has touched her family. She then went on to tell me how my openness with my own journey has helped her. Though this is not the first time I have received a message like this, today there was a deeper meaning with it. Today, God was really talking loudly through this friend of mine. Today, He was showing me that this is my path. This is the road He is paving for me. This is the way He will make for me to help others.

I have felt for a long time that using my story is part of what I’m supposed to do, but I think God may be telling me that it IS what I’m supposed to do. I still don’t know what that looks like. I still don’t know what that will entail, but I trust that He does. I trust that He has already made the way, and He will show me when the time is right.

Exhale

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When you’re depressed, it feels like life follows you around with a perpetual dark, stormy cloud above your head.  It feels like the sun will never shine again, and nothing will ever be happy.  Even when the sun is shining and birds are chirping, you can’t see or hear these things because the cloud overshadows everything else.  It filters everything, so all you see are shades of grey, and all you hear are dull, muted sounds.  No wonder you can’t seem to escape the depression you’re in.

But then, like magic, one day the dark cloud lifts, and you can see in color again.  You can see the sunshine, hear the birds chirp, smell the flowers.  You can appreciate all the things that everyone else seems to have been seeing all along.  You can live again.  You can breathe again.  But do you dare?  Or do you hold your breath, afraid that if you breathe too hard it will all be blown away with one exhale?

Wow.  I know that feeling.  It’s like walking on eggshells.  If you tread lightly, maybe they won’t break.  One little crack could send your whole world spiraling out of control again.  One exhale could send the sunshine away, and bring the storm cloud back.

That’s how we tend to live, isn’t it?  Afraid of when the bad times will hit again, and never really enjoying the good times.  But what if we didn’t?  What if we just decided to live in the moment, and savor every last second of the good times?  Even if they only last but a short while.  Isn’t it worth having a few moments of peace and joy, rather than more moments of anxiety waiting for the worst?  I think so.

So today, I’ve decided to laugh.  I’ve decided to listen to music that makes me feel good.  I’ve decided to allow myself to feel confident and happy.  Maybe I will crash and burn in an hour, or tomorrow, or the next day.  I don’t know.  But I want to know that I had a few moments of lightness, free from the darkness.  I want to know that I lived free from depression and anxiety in the moments that were given to me.  So I will.  And today, at least right now, it feels great!  It’s raining outside today, but I don’t even care.  It still feels bright and cheery.  I still feel happy.  And I’m letting later worry about itself because I’m enjoying these moments right now.

So here’s to you and the next time the cloud lifts.  May you be able to relish the moments you have to enjoy life.  Enjoy taking in deep breaths, and don’t forget to exhale.