But I'll confess that there are still some emotions, some experiences that I do filter out. Sometimes because the stories aren't mine to share, sometimes because I feel that the emotion contained within a written statement or article was a lapse of faith and does not actually reflect the Real of my life in Christ. Today I want to crack the door on a little of both-- and share an excerpt from a post I didn't published this month last year, and share a little victory that is wrapped up in someone else's story.
First, last spring I wrote the following-- less than a year after we pulled up roots for a second time, in the midst of a sense of defeat in my attempt to re-root here in the new place.
Raising children uses you up.
Ok. Maybe not everyone. Maybe this is just me. Maybe I am a little lazier than the average. I find that my creativity, self-discipline, motivation and ambition is all directed toward my kids and keeping our house running as smoothly and possible, so that at the end of the day I flop onto the couch in a daze and I spend the evening pretty much just staring at a page or screen. And let me disillusion you, the book is rarely any great work of literature. Basic pop fiction, at best.
I remember things being different in years past. I remember crafts, writing, music and gardening all being a way to relax and recharge, a refreshing return to adult pursuits after a day of caring for little children. Why is it different now?
Sometimes I look at my hum-drum life and feel a burden of guilt over the waste of my life's potential. Generations of musical talent. Hours of practice. For what? My own sons can't carry a tune. Why don't I sing with them? I don't know. They aren't interested. It would be another thing I would have to carry them through, motivate them, nag them, use what few sparks of creative energy I have to light THEIR fires. And I feel inadequate to the task. Vastly, unattainably inadequate.
As it is, I can barely get through THEIR music/math/language/reading. I finish their school day at 2:30 and what do I have left to spend on myself? Exercise? Hobbies? Music? Art? Well, I have to take care of the household chores, communicate somewhat with the outside world (emails, phone calls, appointments, etc), go pick up Sofi, be her mother for a few brief moments. Run errands? Grocery shop? There's always something. And then dinner. And bedtimes. And barely enough sleep to drag myself out of bed again the next day to start it all over again.
By the time the children are in bed for the night, the thick mental fog shuts down completely over my brain and anything worth doing seems to require a herculean level of effort, mental acuity and creative energy.
After I wrote that, I may have cried a little. I'm pretty sure I did. I didn't have a reason to explain my lethargy and fatigue. I cried again when a new friend here in VA referred to me as her "dear introverted friend" Y'all. I am not an introvert. I was just exhausted. Drained. I started to wonder if it was possible in one's late 30s to suddenly change personalities completely? I felt like maybe I had just used up all but the dregs of my personality-- maybe this is what the dreaded Middle Age was like?
This spring I have felt a return of that old creative energy. I'm no longer vegging on the couch in the evenings (last night J and I went running at 9:30). I'm back in the church choir. I added some "fun stuff" to our history lessons (!!). I started a book club. I painted the hallway and the living room, made some serious headway with all my yard projects, and all that happened in the midst of one of the most stressful (emotionally and physically) seasons of our lives due to some massive upheaval in the lives of some people very dear to us (this is the part that is someone else's story which details I am not at liberty to share). I feel like I've come alive again, the old me is back.
As I look back over that post and remember where I was at that time, I am convinced that while about half of that was just the upheaval of the move, the other half was a further development in my continual saga of hormone dysfunction. If you've never heard of Adrenal Fatigue, google it. Seriously. If you are a mom, or a woman who's life is similarly stressful and demanding, you need to know about this and you need to know how to care for yourself in order to avoid or treat it.
Those of you who follow me on FB know that I found relief in a concoction of herbs and supplements from Plexus Worldwide-- the famous Pink Drink. I will explain in more detail what I'm doing (and the ingredients) in my next post. But suffice it to say for now that I traded that tired, uninspired, "middle-aged" me in for a new, tougher, stronger, healthier, more inspired me; plus I gained a new vision, a new business and a new sense of calling in my life, to boot! I am so thankful that the Lord put this into my life with such perfect timing!