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Growth and Fear

I am pretty sure I am becoming wiser with my age. The realization finally hit, I cannot do it all. I have said these words repeatedly and even spoken of the impossibility of anyone being able to "do it all," but I don't think the heaviness of the truth within those words went fully appreciated. They were words before that would just echo through the house as I frantically jumped from one task or one kid to another, but those words never stopped me from trying to do it all. Those words did not slow me down. 

This past August, all three of my children started a new school year, and for the first time, all three of them had a full day of school. We did not have any more preschool or kindergarten kids home half or more of the day. This was the beginning of my first experience in thirteen years of being able to do what I needed to do without interruption and for me to start writing again on a consistent basis. 

I imagined, I would have a lot of time freely available, but truth be told, there is not much free or downtime. I am almost always working on various small writing projects or on the rewrites and editing process of my first novel. I run a house with 5 people, 2 cats (who are much like having 2 toddlers mucking about), and a dog (acting as my shadow). There is always something to be done, and for the first time in my life, I wouldn't want things any other way.

Getting time to move at my pace and to pick up what I love to do put life a bit more into perspective for me. It made me aware of all I previously took upon myself, and it allowed me to just be. I felt a little lost at first, but the overall result was a level of self-healing and growth. 

I am healthier than I've been in a while. As someone who openly admits to suffering from PTSD, major depressive disorder, and anxiety with panic disorder, that is HUGE! Granted, I nearly feel the need for a sedative or a glass of wine by the time I get my kids off to school in the mornings(I am not trying to be funny, I am quite serious.), but after they leave, I can breathe and do things at my pace. Thirteen years is a long time to be without time alone especially for a known introvert. I need that recharge. Time to recharge, helps me be a better person on evenings and on weekends. It's been good for us all.

I was not a monster before, don't get me wrong. I didn't turn into a she-hulk or anything, but I struggled a lot more. I always tried to be strong and put together, but was not successful at it to the degree I wanted to be (are any of us really?) I used to consider myself weak for not being in control. I used to scold myself for not being a seemingly always put together, Mary Poppins sort of mom (I don't think they have things entirely together within the confines of their own homes either, truth be told.). I prided myself on perfection to the point anything less than perfect on my part was unacceptable, and it made my mental health deteriorate further over the years. It made me believe I couldn't be a strong parent, or I was not the example of a strong woman to my daughter.

None of those things were true. I realize that now. Granted, it doesn't make mornings easier with three strong-willed kids bopping about, full of energy and never the picture of compliance (How they possess energy in mass quantity the morning, I will never know.). It does tell me how strong I was for those thirteen years of having one, two, or three children with me while trying to do it all. It tells me I value my self-worth enough to not shut down or close off in my time alone. I am living by taking up my love of expression in the written word and pursuing it with a passion. I may not always be perfect at things, and I may not always be grammatically correct (though I do try). I am pushing the fear of imperfection and judgment down and I am proving to myself and showing my children their mother is capable of reaching new heights.

My children and my husband have always been proud of me, but since I started taking up something I love so much once again, I see them sharing in my success. I see them proud of any and all accomplishments I achieve. They see a new fire burning from within me and perhaps a spark of life that was not there prior to.

We don't always carry the same amount or kind of baggage, but we all carry it, and I am so blessed to walk through each day with my best friend and love of my life. On my more anxious or not so good days, he will be a superstar and lift whatever he can off my shoulders, all the while telling me how awesome I am. I am only sorry I wasn't always accepting of his help, because of that damned "do it all" mentality I sported, while telling people I was incapable in my most frayed and frazzled moments. I immediately jumped to the conclusion I was not strong enough or I was not put together. I spent a lot of time spiraling down instead of letting him lift me up.

Expressing myself through written words is therapeutic and potentiated a healing process for me as well. Making up stories and telling them through short stories or books, is a prized getaway. It has made me more whole when everyone is home. It has made me more present for them when we are all together. I live in uncontrolled and sometimes controlled chaos, that comes with three very busy, loud, amazing, talented, and wonderful kiddos. 

Now, I am able to more mentally keep up more than ever before, but I didn't get stronger. That is the whole point of putting this all down into words. I realized the strength I already had from starting this new journey. I realized those hollow words I spoke for so many years are a solid, factual, and more importantly, an acceptable truth. I can't do everything. I never could. I never will be able to, and I am not a failure for it.   I am strong. I was stronger than I ever gave myself credit to take on all that I did (by no fault but my own) and come out the other side. I damaged myself and ended up not being the wife or mother I wanted to be. The end product resulted in a constant state of being overburdened and overwhelmed.  I am wiser now.

Presently, fear is my biggest personal hurdle to overcome. I am terrified of publishing something on my blog that isn't perfect (and I am aware a lot of my blog is composed of imperfect ramblings from an imperfect being). I worry that the new series I started on a web-based publishing platform will not be good enough for subscribers. I wonder if things I tweet or put out on social media are constantly being judged for grammatical error and quality content (or lack thereof). While realistically I know that most don't likely give a damn and few will likely read the content, I still care. Writing is my art and I want to perfect my art one day. 

I can't do that by sitting by idly. I have to pursue my art, be vulnerable to my art in expressing and composing it. I cannot let fear of imperfection leave me without words and expression. I am perfectly imperfect but improving every day with every word. I will continue to polish my skills and rely on a good agent, editor, and publisher at some point (when I am ready). I am pushing forward through any and all doubts. I am putting myself out there and I will make mistakes. Everything I publish may not be great. Greatness will never be achieved without a constant push forward and without getting out of my comfort zone. I know fear is the biggest hurdle to success and I plan on looking fear dead on and beating it down.

Time will tell how that all works out for me. I have hopes and dreams of good things to come, but no matter what comes, I will know it took a whole hell of a lot of strength to get there (along with a lot of perseverance). 

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