This was me last week.
I know it’s a little odd to take a picture of yourself while crying, but for some reason I wanted to capture the moment.
I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to hold back my tears. I never wanted to be vulnerable or expose my hurt – that was absolutely terrifying to me. So, in turn, I often sacrificed my own needs. And over time, they got pretty squished down – down to the depths of ‘you think you’ve buried us but we will most definitely come back to bite you one day’.
Now, thankfully, my emotions spill over and flow, like a river that’s found a brand new path. And yes, it can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly liberating.
But voicing my needs has been slow to change. The trick is that, now, as a full time Mom, when my needs are stifled – which is pretty much all the time – it can get quite complicated and triggering.
I took this picture after I got back from my attempted doctor’s appointment. My mom drove 45 mins to look after the kids so I could go. There was a mistake made and while I was in the waiting room they told me I would unfortunately have to reschedule. ….the river started to flow.
It was a mixture of things, but mainly it was the fact that this wasn’t even something I wanted to do, and yet to do the things I don’t even want to do requires not only my time but also – what feels like – the pressure to use one of my limited lifelines, like I’m suddenly playing a game of who wants to be a millionaire against my will. And I know that’s not the case, I really do, but for me to ask for help I need it to be worth it, and a cancelled doctor’s appointment is no longer worth it.
I immediately felt guilty that my mom had come all this way, I felt angry that my time did not seem to be valued, and I felt annoyed that even for the things I don’t want to do, it all still requires this complicated, finely tuned, orchestrated plan.
But it turns out that this sadness, the one I just happened to capture, really helped me.
But to be honest, I think that’s always the way it is. The big storms just seem to bring so much clarity.
Yesterday I got a call from that same doctor’s office – the day before my rescheduled appointment – notifying me that unfortunately due to circumstances outside of their control I would have to reschedule, yet again – ha! Don’t worry, I’ve already been on it, I’ve got an appointment booked at a completely different office and I left a super nice google review.
My mom was already planning to come but my brain gravitated toward the idea that it was technically no longer worth it. I didn’t have anything I needed to go do, I didn’t have any errands I needed to run, and I didn’t have any plans. But I still desperately needed something.
And you can say its easy, “just make time for yourself”, “don’t feel guilty”, “you have to take care of yourself first”, and “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, and that’s all well and good, but we all know it’s a lot more fucking complicated than that.
Thankfully, in that particular moment, I was able to find the simplicity a little sooner. And I was able to grab my younger self by the hand and voice what we needed. And it was hard. Not because there was any way my mom would say no – she would jump over the moon for me and I’m very grateful for that – but because of the labyrinth, on top of the corn maze, on top of the jumbled up mess of puzzles pieces that is the history, and inner workings, and complicated-ness of a moms brain.
But, in that moment I was able to shift my perspective a little bit and see the bigger picture. I was able to see all the other things that cannot even be contained in the phrase “worth it”, because they mean so much more.
So, through tears, I asked my mom to come anyways. I told her I wanted to be upstairs while she was downstairs with the kids, and I was simply going to write (this post) and watch some Brené Brown, mixed with a little Michael J Fox from some of my most favourite scenes from the Back to the Future trilogy….and that was it. There would be no expectations for what I would or wouldn’t do, and I would just let my needs be whatever they needed to be, until they shaped and shifted and were no longer needs at all, but simply just satisfied and fulfilled feelings. And it was freeing…exceptionally freeing.
And so “worth it”.
So to all the other moms out there who are currently trying to navigate their own individual labyrinth/corn maze/jumbled up puzzle piece mess of past, present and future emotional luggage and history, good luck to you – I hope you find your way sometimes…at least sometimes. Because there is no specific phrase, or advice, or recipe that anyone can say or give that will make it any less complicated for you. But just know that sometimes, at least sometimes, you will likely, and most definitely, find your way through.
Heading back downstairs.