What happened? Let’s see, my boyfriend’s bestie in the entire universe came over for the weekend. He’s in the National Guard and had drill this weekend, so he was over from Thursday to Monday. He and a bunch of dirty stinky army boys were camped out on my couch for three days with their swearing and their camo and their dirty jokes.
I’m not going to pretend I didn’t have fun. I love our friends and I always have a good time with them. But it kinda side-tracked me from my writing. That was obstacle number one.
I also have three sick kids running around, one of whom eventually got me sick as well. So yay for germ-infested mini humans. So much fun. Obstacle two and three: check!
Between being sick, having company and generally just being a lazy shit, I got very little done last week. I wasn’t able to work out, failed to write anything and barely got my orders for TOPstitches completed. It was kind of a disaster, and it led to me losing my cool on a whole other level.
Yesterday was the pinnacle of it. I’d been irritated and grumpy all week (not realizing why) but I woke up Monday morning, really trying to be in a good mood. I was going to get my kids off to school with smiles on their faces even if it killed me.
Didn’t happen that way.
Long story short, the minions of darkness didn’t follow instructions and got me worked up with all manner of back-talk and sassery. (Yes, I made up that word, but come on, it’s excellent.) Kids were mad, I was mad, my boyfriend was mad because he got woken up early. I came home and our friend needed to be taken home because he didn’t have a car.
Great. I knew exactly who would get stuck with that joyous task. Long story short, it was me, and I had to take my 2-year old with me on an hour-long trip because my boyfriend didn’t feel like watching him. It was not fun. When I came back home, I felt like such a shithead for losing my cool on the kids and my boyfriend that I completely lost it. Crying fits, depression, emotional eating, you name it. I felt like the biggest jerk in the universe.
So at nap time, instead of staying up to work, I chose the sweet oblivion of sleep. I was sick after all, so I felt justified. But I didn’t awaken refreshed and ready to be the good mom I strive to be every day. Nope, still grumpy. Even worse, actually. And my Inner Critic was having a field day.
You’re a worthless, lazy, mean person and you’ll never get your shit together. Just give your kids to your ex-husband. He’d do a better job than you. Your kids will grow up hating you if you keep them. Spare them the therapy bills.
Yeah, she was in full swing, and I, in my weakened state, was eating up every word of it. I wrote something yesterday while she was assaulting me. It was a hate letter to myself. I did it as a way to both try and get to the bottom of what was making me so grumpy and to hopefully let it go – whatever it was.
I won’t post the letter because it’s very private and because it’s very dark. I re-read it once the depression cloud dissipated and yeah . . . I can get pretty dramatic sometimes, let’s just put it that way. In the letter I free-wrote everything I hated about my life. I hated the decisions I’d made in the past, hated that nothing had turned out the way I wanted. And as I wrote, that hate spilled over onto everything in my life – even the stuff I didn’t hate like my kids, my boyfriend, my writing, my business. I realized as I spilled my guts, unfettered, that I had begun to hate and resent everything. For no reason, really. If I had to give one, I’d say it was just because I was mad that nothing had turned out right.
And how silly does that sound?
I was pitching a grown-up hissy fit. A tantrum. Had I been a two-year-old, I’d have been on the floor, hands and feet drumming the tiles, screeching at the top of my lungs.
As an adult, I was just pissy and mean to everyone. Especially myself. Nothing had gone the way I wanted, so I was just going to sabotage myself with hate so nothing could ever go right again.
Once I realized what I was doing, I knew that it made no sense. Just because I made mistakes in the past didn’t mean there was no chance for the future. There is always a second, third, fourth chance for anyone who is willing to do the work to change.
I give my kids hundreds of chances to make good choices. I forgive my boyfriend when he screws up. I forgive my mother when she says hurtful things, my sister when she’s judgy. I forgive and forget with everyone in my life and give them endless chances to change their behavior.
But for myself?
Nah, I’d just thrown in the towel. I’d allowed my past mistakes to ruin my present – and my future. I wasn’t forgiving myself. Nor was I giving myself the second chance I desperately needed to make things right. I was phoning in my own life, rushing it through, hoping blindly that one day things would magically get better.
Unfortunately, I knew deep down that in order to have the life I wanted, in order to make those changes, I needed to get off my ass and WORK.
My boyfriend told me that, actually. After my cry-fest and my hate letter, I opened up to him about how angry and frustrated I was. I was probably looking for him to throw me some pity, but that’s not the kind of man he is. And thank God for that. Stop half-assing everything, Jen. Try. Try hard and put your heart into this, and you’ll succeed. I know you will, and you know it too. When you truly want something, you work until you get it. That’s how you published two books, started two small businesses and accomplished hundreds of other things.
He was right. And the things I thought were stopping me – like my kids and poverty, and my depression – were all in my head. The kids could be worked around, our money problems were generally under control, and I was depressed BECAUSE of the way I was acting.
I was depressing myself. Self-fulfilling prophecy to the max.
I had already worked through all of this a few times, but for some reason it wasn’t sticking. I was still angry and depressed. And I think I discovered a key: writing.
Whenever I start writing, I feel better. Doesn’t matter what it is, really, just so long as I put words to paper.
So I decided then and there that I would schedule writing time into my day. Every day. No matter what, I will write something. Whether it’s a journal, part of the blog, my new book, a short story, a fricking limerick, I will write something.
Because this is the only therapy that works. Exercise helps. Eating healthy helps. No alcohol helps. But nothing changes my mood quite like writing. And I have to cling to that if it works. I have to do it daily and hopefully, it’ll fix whatever broke inside me and made me this angry, mean person I’ve become.
Maybe I can find peace in my own words and stories. Maybe I can be happy again and lead the life I’ve been dreaming of.
Corny sounding, I know, but that’s what I truly want. I want the dream. I want a nice house with nice things inside it that I bought with my own money. I want my kids to have new clothes and toys not second-hand junk from Goodwill. I want them to join sports teams and go to college one day. I want my oldest daughter to get the (very expensive) medical treatment she needs. I want to not just be able to pay my bills, but be able to save money as well. I want to dedicate more money to my businesses and watch them succeed.
I want all of these things so badly it hurts. And the fact that I’m nearly thirty and no closer to those goals than I was when I was 19 . . . well it’s frustrating! It makes me mad!
But I have no one to blame but myself. I have been huddled up in a ball, scared and meek, terrified that if I move, I’ll just make things worse. What I didn’t realize until now is that by NOT moving, by staying where I am now, I am actually making things worse. Things will always be the way they are now if I don’t take action and try to make changes. Not just to myself, but to my whole life.
I have to try, and try with all my heart. No phoning it in. No half-assery. No pity parties.
I’m going to work hard and go to bed every night so exhausted I can scarcely move. . . but proud.