I’ve taken a “break”, as it were, from writing because I thought it wasn’t worth it while my body was healing from numerous surgeries and doctor’s appointments, on top of being a wife and mother. If that weren’t enough, I’ve recently felt the pang of loss with 2 (of four overall) recent miscarriages. I might not ever be physically well enough to have children again and while I love Abby with my whole heart, we had all hoped to add to our Team of Awesome. It hasn’t been an easy road but it has been far easier to cope with having Sam and Abby with me. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my family in general, my church family at Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, and my beloved friends. Maybe one day, when the rest of my physical ailments clear up, I’ll be able to entertain childbearing but in lieu of that, there are many other options for children (adoption being a huge interest of mine).
When I sit down at my computer and write what is in my head and my heart, it is far more healing than any medication they could give me but I just stopped because the wounds were too fresh both physically and emotionally. I would feel guilty for not writing and then try and have nothing to say but still feel a million thoughts and emotions rattling in my head, screaming for release. Now, I feel ready. I sit at my computer, have thrown on noise-cancelling headphones with my “inspiration mix”, drowned out the world, and I’m writing what I need to write. Sometimes I’ll publish it and sometimes I will not but ultimately getting it out is the worthier part. Lately, I haven’t even written anything I didn’t intend to publish because I thought it wouldn’t help. Depression from loss, being bedridden, ill, and in pain crept over me like a sticky oil and it started to consume me. I can no longer be silent. Sure, I’ve written some Facebook diatribes and Twitter rants every once in awhile as the situation arose but when I say “writing”, I mean in a published, polished, and semi-professional way. I’m actually banned from Twitter right now because I deigned to tell someone off in a colorful (but not abusive) fashion. The “time out” has been great because it’s given me more free time to be a little more introspective as opposed to time-wasting in the murky depths of arguing with complete strangers over stupid stuff like CW angst-ridden shows I don’t even watch. In all seriousness, that guy was being a dick to one of my friends.
When I write, I don’t have to answer to anyone or anything, save the truth (and even that is within the scope of my own ethics, both generally and journalistically speaking). No one reads my work – not even most of my family – but I’ve stopped letting that bother me. I’ll probably never get hired as a writer anywhere; I’ve come to peace with that while I’ve been lying in bed, feeling the worst pain I’ve ever experienced – even more than having a horse land on my stomach with its whole weight. One day, amidst one of these pain-bouts, it kind of dawned upon me that life is short. You’d think that that realization would have struck me when I almost died in the aforementioned horse accident but if you’ve ever met me, you know I’m notoriously stubborn.
What really hit me as the “come to Jesus” moment outside of lying in bed, feeling sorry for myself and absolutely depressed beyond all reason, was a series of conversations with my older sister, Leah. I went home to Kentucky with Abby for Christmas and saw my parents, my sister, my nephews, my in-laws, and friends. While it was a fun and relaxing visit, I sat down and had some pretty intense talks one-on-one with Leah. She and I famously do not agree on many things, so much so that I think they should have sold ring-side seats to our fights in high school (a prestigious boarding school). Likewise, had my parents marketed our epic battles, they’d probably have been able to put us both through college twice easily. Now that we’re both older and have children, we’ve calmed down but this Christmas was quite different in that we, even with our profound different views on everything under the sun, realized that we have far more in common than we imagined. Namely, we both love our kids, both have the same ethics and morals generally speaking, and are both smart. She’s probably one of the brightest people I know and I don’t have to agree with her to say that; it is a fact that I’m quite proud of, actually. No one wants to crow about their dumbass sibling so I’m glad mine is intelligent.
I won’t impart the whole of our conversation because a lot of it is very personal but what ultimately came from it was my sister’s assertion I should jump-start my healing by doing what I love to do not because I hoped to derive a career from it but because I truly loved to do it. I had assumed that when I interviewed Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook and James Mangold for a contest I won through CinemaBlend, it was some sort of sign that that was what I should be concentrating my efforts on. I wouldn’t be given such an opportunity if I wasn’t destined for it, right? Wrong. I set up this blog in the hopes that someone, anyone, might think I was worth a shit in a prosaic way and validate the many years I had spent writing by providing me with a paycheck. It’s taken about a year or more of some hard life lessons to realize that my self-worth is not derived from anyone but mySELF (heady concept, I know). I had been tying so much of my self-worth into my earning potential. I would only pursue hobbies and interests if I thought I could provide for my family with it. Sam has, many times, told me that I could stay at home, heal physically and mentally, and still be contributing far more than if I had a 9-5 job. He said the amount of money I save us from not having a job dwarfs what I could possibly earn (because child care is outrageously expensive – not because he thinks wouldn’t be able to find a good-paying job). Childcare, even with a school-aged child, would be imperative because he is gone two weeks of the month and most jobs go well past Abby’s dismissal time at school. Them’s the breaks, guys – and you adapt to life’s challenges. But, as I am want to do, I didn’t listen to Sam. I can hear him now saying, “It’s a terrible burden, always being right.” I really, really, REALLY loathe telling him he’s right…
Leah suggested a book that might help me and, the next day, purchased said book for me. The book is good; I will most likely write about it later when I fully finish it, re-read it, and absorb its message in its entirety. The other gift she gave me, besides the free advice and sisterly support, was a small heart stone with a simple message written upon it, which was the same advice she gave me the night prior: “Do more of what makes your heart happy.” It might not happen overnight and it certainly didn’t happen immediately after she gifted me these things, tangible and intangible, but I have that stone right above my bed to read every morning as a reminder.
As of this writing, I’m reading more books to understand my life and my place in the world (as well as for entertainment because, hey, you need to have a break), writing again, quilting as a meditative practice, going to all my doctor’s appointments and trying my best every day to do and be the best that I can be for myself and my family. One day I’ll get cleared to start working out again and hopefully be able to do it less in a military style where I’m doing more harm to my body than good. Occasionally I’ll write some political stuff because it actually interests me even if it makes me a bit angry sometimes. Sometimes I’ll write about my family and sometimes I’ll write about non-profits and veterans. It depends. I’m done confining myself to a box and starting to see the beauty in having more vague plans as opposed to planning every day to the minute.
Until next time, when it behooves me to publish again…
P.S. Big thank you to my sister, Leah. I love you, LeeBee.