So, I have a confession. Now it's not a juicy, blackmail, rumor worthy "can you believe she said/ did that?!" type of confession, so don't get too excited. However, it's something that's hard for me to admit and since I'm on this life mission to be real, transparent, and hopeful, who better to share this with than you! So here it goes, I hope you're paying attention, and promise not to judge me. Ahem (I literally just cleared my throat):
I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing... in life, with this blog, as a wife, as a mom, as an OT, none of it! I'm just some kind of lost at the moment.
Whew! There. I said it! Do I feel better? Meh, maybe a little. Hopefully, by the end of this post, I'll feel like a million bucks from this literary release. I just know that I've never been good at admitting when I'm wrong and when I'm in over my head (or need help). Now, these are TERRIBLE character traits to have, I know, and I'd like to think that a few of my other qualities balance out these not-so-good ones (and the others that I'm sure will be exposed along this journey). But I can acknowledge that even at the "boring" age of 36, I still have a few things to work on. Let me shed some light on what I'm saying?
So when I was about 9, maybe 10 years old, my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Many people who know me, know this fact so I'll try not to bore you with too much of the madness. Believe it or not, I actually remember my mother's very first public "episode". We were walking down a long hall of a Turkish hotel when she suddenly stopped walking, better yet, she couldn't walk. The image is still very real in my mind. Her body, stood there, stuck and weak as she softly repeated, "I can't", as my then step-father and myself tried to encourage her. I remember thinking she was messing around but deep down inside, the younger me knew that something was wrong. At the time, none of us knew what was really going on. But as time passed, as with the Secondary Progressive type of MS, my mother gradually became more and more "stuck". Soon, after a formal diagnosis (via a second opinion may I add), a secretive, cowardly divorce, about three moves, and years of working until she just couldn't work anymore, my Momma had to accept her reality- she needed help. My mother suffered from years of falls, a serious plague of tremors, and loads of other ugly MS-related symptoms and co-morbidities. Momma eventually got to a point where she was dependent with most of her daily self-care tasks. Over time, I watched my mother go from this vibrant, stylish, caring, independent, church-2-to-3-times-a-week type of woman, to a woman who had nothing to look forward to but her daily round of television shows and her once-a-week 2-piece thigh meal from KFC. Over time, I watched my Momma go from strutting with confidence to literally using every walking/mobility aid known to man- a cane, to a walker, to a rollator, to a manual wheelchair, and then on to two different power chairs (I must say that her last wheelchair was the Tesla of all wheelchairs... at least at that time). Over time, I watched my Momma go from waking up early every morning to make sure her eyes coordinated with the hues of her outfit, her lips were laced with her favorite burgundy-fuchsia lipstick, and her aroma screamed Estée Lauder's Beautiful, to needing assistance to simply wash her face. The progression of the disease was slow and agonizing. But you know, in the midst of it all, my mother stayed true to herself as much as she could. She never lost her spark, she remained thoughtful, maintained her gentle nature, and still had a touch of bossy (she too had a touch of OCD). And even though she gradually lost control over her life, she remained humble all the way to "The End” of her story.
Meanwhile, during all of this, I in turn gradually gained control over her life all while trying to figure out mine. You see, Momma's symptoms and decline began to spike while I was still in high school. So by the time I made it to college, I pretty much manned everything. I was responsible for booking her appointments, making sure she got to her appointments, managing her medications, administering her injection every other day, making sure she ate, making sure she was bathed and dressed, helping her to her bedside commode, and taking her to the hair/ nail salons (she had to remain fly!). I did all of this, as her primary caregiver because I had to- I was her one and only (child). I mean, who wouldn't? She was my mother. She was my world. Now mind you, I did all of this while obtaining my Master’s degree, working, and trying to have as much of a personal life as I possibly could. I would later go on to buy a house, work 3 jobs after graduating and passing my boards, and I tried my damnedest to make sure we were as financially sound as we possibly could be (well, as much as an overwhelmed, trying-to-figure-out-life 20-something could). So after a while, I eventually thought I was crushing this game called life. I was generally happy, healthy, and finally a decent paid professional. My mother seemed comfortable and content with her new reality too (she wasn’t one to complain). We were good! Yeah, I had moments when I lost my shit (thank God for his grace and mercy and friends who can overlook your "crazy"). And of course, there were a few I-just- can't-live- without-him turned what-the-hell-was-I- thinking relationships that distracted me. But all in all, I felt in control and honestly, no-one could tell me anything. I was a rare find, ahead of the game, and more mature than most of my peers. So I thought.
Now let's fast forward. If you were to ask me right now, at this very moment, if I have life figured out, I'd laugh in your face. It's safe to say that I didn't have life figured out then, and I damn sure don't have it figured out now. However, I am definitely in a better position than I was 10 or some odd years ago- spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically (for the most part). But you know what’s crazy? I have been on a constant journey to figure "it" out and every time I think I have a fraction of my life sorted, another wrecking ball comes and knocks me off balance. When I think about my story and all that has happened over the years, I get pretty salty (don't forget, I am an emotional one). I get salty at how unfair life can be. I get salty when I have no say in what happens in/with my life (common traits of individuals who struggle with relinquishing control, OCD tendencies, and all those related nuances). Oh, and I especially get salty at those who boast about knowing who they are and having it all figured out (you know, like that 20-something year old me) simply because those folks are typically just as "lost" and confused with life as I am (denial is real!). Life is meant to be a dynamic journey, with things constantly changing, thus causing us as human beings to constantly change. They go hand in hand. You can't tell me you are the same person you were just 3 years ago. For some of us, we aren’t the same person we were 3 days ago. Being stuck is required. Being stuck is a pre-requisite for growth and learning. Being stuck is… a part of the plan. Yes, we may be able to complete the Meyer-Briggs personality test and discover our character traits, but what happens when the unknown comes and shakes things up a bit? Trust me, in the moment of crisis, the results of that personality test mean absolutely nothing. Or what about when the unimaginable comes and takes your breath away?! How charismatic you are can be minuscule compared to the bigger picture. Regardless of who you are, you will get stuck, at least once in life.
I've been punched in the gut by life so many times, I sometimes don't know if I'm coming or going. Some may argue that it's all a matter of choice, and to those people, I urge them to contact me because I'd love to chat about life and "choices". Yes, some things in life we have complete control over. And yes, some things in life are about choices (e.g. getting married, moving across the ocean to a foreign country, having a baby- kind of, quitting a job, having one too many Bulleit and Ginger Ales, the list goes on). But there are definitely times when you have absolutely no control at all. I know very well why I'm currently stuck in life. This time around, it's a combination of choice and the unknown. I didn't anticipate a 2+ year career hiatus after choosing to move to London to be with the love of my life. I didn't anticipate having to rediscover myself after we decided to grow our family. And I certainly didn't anticipate my 3-month old falling ill and needing to stay in the hospital for four months. Yet, it's during out-of-control times like these, when you have no idea what you're doing or what you're going to do, that leave you in dismay. When you're feeling discouraged, stuck, and maybe even hopeless, you have to be patient with yourself. Trust that this is the life that God/the universe (however you choose to view it) has ordained for you. Just take some time to stop, breathe, cry, pray, hide, sing, write, meditate, jog, speak over yourself... whatever it is you need to do to get your life back on track. I do however don’t recommend that you choose shopping, or eating for that matter, as your outlet. Those are costly outlets (again, I am speaking from experience). Overall, just promise that if you happen to get “stuck” with life, “stuck” won’t be where you stay (paraphrased quote from my old-souled bestie).
So as I close, exactly what I thought would happen, happened... I feel a whole helluva lot better! Can we say public journaling?! Now, did I tear up writing this post, not exactly. But I did maintain this energizing smile with a glimmer of hopefulness the entire time. I was also reminded that:
1) I am the one and only daughter (well, more like child) of the strongest woman I've ever known. Even though she may have been stuck and not in control for years, she was still very much strong, brave, and beautiful. I even like to think she took control over her life in the end. Because of my Momma, I am who I am today. I will forever be grateful and thankful that God chose her for me.
2) Life happens and will continue to happen. My roles have changed and will continue to change. My purpose is changing and that too is sure to change again. I may be stuck now and I'll probably be stuck again in years to come and you know what, that's perfectly fine. Being stuck, being uncomfortable, and having absolutely no idea what you're doing, can only lead to growth and great things... if you let it of course. And...
3) This blogging bit is fun! Guess who's feeling "unstuck" and like a million bucks?!
Until next time, beautiful people!