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The cursor blinks on this white blank space. My mind and heart know exactly what I want to write – in idea. But what words to start with?
2015 marked 10 years since 2005. Which may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me. In 2005 I turned 18. I graduated high school. I left home. I had my heart broken in big ways and had my faith completely undermined. I became an adult.
But becoming an adult isn’t something that just happens overnight when you turn 18 or leave home. Much like the preschool years or adolescence, it’s an arduous process that takes years. Years of pushing boundaries, making discoveries, shedding layers, making mistakes, hurting, changing, and growing.
It wasn’t just this “becoming a grownup” stuff that overwhelmed me. I got thrust into the deep end.
In the last 10 years I’ve dealt with a miscarriage, being completely on my own for a year, back to back year-long deployments, difficult birth, postpartum depression, three cross-country moves, and the mental illness and struggle of those closest to me.
I’ve written this list before on this blog…so you’re probably tired of hearing it.
I’m not trying to write a sob story. But these have been some tumultuous years, y’all.
I tremble to write this, but there’s a teensy weensy part of me that has taken a deep breath and whispered…
“I’ve finally arrived.”
Not that I have everything figured out. But rather that for the first time I feel like I can breathe. I’m comfortable in my own skin – at least a lot of the time. I’ve spent the last 10 years just trying to SURVIVE and now I’m ready to move onto something that looks a little less like an episode of The Walking Dead and more like… I don’t know. Just less that.
I’m tired of being stuck.
For a long time, the only way I could see to not be stuck was to move backward, and that was just not gonna happen.
A few weeks ago, Russ and I sat down with my video archives and watched videos from when we first got married. It made us happy-sad. “You were so cute and fun…” he said. “We used to have so much fun together. I miss that.”
“Yeah, but I was such a little girl there. I’m not that person anymore. I can’t go back to being that,” I reply with melancholy.
“But you’re still you. That’s still a part of who you are,” he insists.
He tells me this:
“I want to start enjoying our life again. And I want you to embrace your inner cuteness.”
I’m not sure how to do this, but it makes sense.
It all makes sense.
We make sense, in spite of what we go through on a daily basis. He drives me nuts, but I keep falling for him.
That night was a turning point for us I think. It’s not like we went renewing our vows or anything, but it was a renewal just the same.
Counseling this year has been great. Just so great. We have really made strides in putting behind us a lot of unhealthy communication practices that had become hallmark traits of our marriage. We are learning how to be honest and direct. Open. To say exactly what we mean.
We are making more time for each other. (Even if we are interrupted by children every 5 minutes.)
Two years ago I wasn’t sure how I could keep loving him. But I’m not scared anymore. I’m just happy to be building life and love with him.
It’s all coming together. All at the right time. How we’ve gotten therapists who are a good fit for every member of our family just as he’s gotten a raise at work and now we have a church and faith is starting to make more sense and medications are working and…it’s all just making sense.
I’m breathing it in. Enjoying these moments.
Elizabeth Esther is one of my favorite bloggers. She has touched my life profoundly and been someone online who has affected my life more than probably any other writer (save my besties). She’s gone through similar crap and, while she and I have come to some very different conclusions on a lot of topics, the paths we have walked have been similar and fallen along a similar timeline. She wrote this on her blog recently…
I’ve spent the last seven years of my life deconstructing my past… It’s been hard work.
The last seven years of intense writing and blogging and speaking about fundamentalism, religion, faith, finding my out of abusive relationships….all of it had utterly exhausted me.
I needed a break.
It is time for me to move on.
It is time for me to be human again.
Here in my corner of the world, we are focused on recovery. We are focused on building connections.
I am done deconstructing.
I am ready to enjoy my life.
I am giving myself permission to be happy and enjoy my life.
She said it better than I ever could have.
So as we move forward into 2016, I’m ready to move forward.
I’m ready to grow.
I don’t know what that’s gonna look like. And that’s exciting.
I have some pretty lofty, idealistic goals for the year. Things I want to accomplish. Things like losing 30 pounds, going back to school, writing a book proposal, and adopting something that looks remotely like a decent sense of style.
But more than that I want to grow…ever so gently.
I tend to not be very gentle with myself. I’m getting better at that. But I need to keep that in mind, as I grow…gently.
In my marriage, I want to continue finding renewal.
In my mothering, I want to cultivate love for my children. I’ll be frank. I’m really struggling with my eldest. Whether it’s his age, a stage, his struggles, or what…I spend far too much time just managing and not enough time truly loving, and I’m not really sure how to fix that. But I need to try.
With God, I want to keep moving forward from a place of love and faith. Gently. In grace.
Personally, I want to find those parts of me that I’ve lost along the way. The parts that have taken a back seat to stress or pain.
I want to look back and remember all of the people that I used to be – to see if maybe they need rediscovered while I move forward.