I turned 39 this month. There’s nothing that makes you quite as reflective as realizing you’re about to leave your thirties and can’t even remember how you ended up here. At some point I went from newly married and owning my own business to mom with two kids.
Of course there has been SO MUCH in between, and I wish I could say my life had started before I was married, because I had some really big goals before I met my now husband, but I met him when I was 19, married by 23…I wasn’t even fully developed as a human being and had no business getting married, but that’s how it went. My life became about his, I tried to hold on to who I was, but along the way got swept up and then totally lost myself in motherhood.
I don’t regret losing myself in motherhood, it has been the greatest joy of my life, but there are times that I do feel foolish, that I feel like I have ruined any chance of myself becoming who I had imagined all those years before.
When I see women that have chosen childcare (I recognize this is not always a choice) in order to keep their careers growing, I feel bad about myself. I feel like I let myself down. Getting to be home with my girls no matter the sacrifices (of self, career, and financial) I have had to make to do it, or how overwhelming it can be to be the one who provides most of their everything, that mental load can feel so crushing, but whenever I pull back I am so so grateful to be here. I know that I won’t regret all these years we had together, all that time, all those moments…I have not missed a single moment and how nuts that is, ha, like I have a permanent eye twitch, but I really do feel that way about it all…grateful.
But in that gratitude I can acknowledge the loss as well, the loss of self, drive, and even that youthful hope.
I had soooo much hope as a young person. I didn’t come from a happy home or even a generous one, but I still picked myself up with desired dreams. I do wish I had been braver, and pursued them more, but I was held back by my own doubts, and the persistent doubts from my family. I was raised in a small Christian bubble and every time I tried to push myself further I was told how I couldn’t, have a plan B, and there’s no money.
I worked and paid for everything, by the time I was 18 I had been working nonstop for 4 years and never saw any of that money, then right into college to which I worked to pay for my education, and carried a full load but eventually burned myself out.
I dropped out of college, got married, and opened my own store on credit card debt and loans, to which I paid back after selling my store. But I got lost along the way…I tried despite my circumstances to make something that I could be proud of…but now I don’t know. Maybe I pushed it all too soon too fast…desperate to feel my edges against this earth.
I can honestly say that I don’t know who I am anymore. There’s been these stages of myself, but this current one feels like the motions of needs, everyone else’s needs, and by the end of the day, I’m too tired to even guide myself through it, so I don’t. I just get up and do it all again.
I feel sad, but also joy…a steady beat of one into the other. Gratitude in itself is both through love and loss, and I suppose that’s where I am.
I have learned a lot, and I can say that my anger that use to beat wildly inside me has subsided into a more forgiving heart. I have started trying to also forgive myself and offer myself grace when I feel like a failure. I try not to dwell in the space of my mind that wants to push me further into self loathing because though, I have grown in twisted comfort there, I know it is not where I belong. I try to feel what I see behind the eyes of my kids about myself, because it is there that I know unconditional love exists.
I am in love with my husband, who still believes in me. We have never stopped rooting for each other, no matter how much we’ve had to do alone, maybe we are stronger for it, though granted very very tired.
I don’t even know how I am supposed to end this because I really don’t have an horizon to share. I am as I am right now, and through this pandemic and into another year, I know that it is enough to just be here.