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I have been wanting to write more on a regular basis. Not that I have anything important to say, but writing is therapeutic to me. It helps clear my head, calm my heart, and gives me a sense of accomplishment. But lately, it’s been next to impossible to write. Between the hundreds of tasks that keep me running from sunup to sundown, and the utter exhaustion that comes from that constant running, I’ve found it hard to find the time, energy or inspiration to write. So I’ve been walking around with an ache to create something raw and beautiful, and falling asleep at night with a head full of half written paragraphs and potential essay ideas. Then tonight, while half asleep on the couch, I got on Facebook and saw that my very favorite writer, Glennon Doyle, posted a blog that started with the sentence “YOU! YES! You are the one! Please write.”

I don’t think I can get a clearer sign than that.

So here I am…the boy is in bed (to be determined if he’s actually sleeping like he’s supposed to be), the man is at pool league and I’m alone with a computer and my thoughts. And Glennon’s encouragement echoing in my ears….which is weird because I’ve never actually heard her voice before, but whatever. The point is, I already feel a little bit more like myself, just after writing these few, nonsensical lines. The physical act of transmitting my thoughts to screen/paper revitalizes me and centers me. I’ve made so many excuses lately to NOT write, but have missed it every single day. That’s just dumb. I have been directed by my doctor to work ardently on stress relief and taking a few minutes a day just for me. As any mother knows, that is almost a ridiculous request. But, I’ve been thinking about it a lot since leaving her office last week (more on that later), and I really do need to do the things that bring me peace. For the sake of my health, my relationship and my child. Nobody wants to be around a grumpy, pooped out, frazzled mess. And that’s what I’ve become lately. I am the type of person that throws myself 110% into everything I do. 110% to my work. 110% to my boyfriend. 110% to my child. 110% to our apartment. I’m happy doing that. I love Baby G, C and the kids in my class, so I never once think “God I’m working too hard for them. It’s so not worth it.” Because to me, it is abso-damn-lutely worth it! But that leaves me completely depleted at the end of the day, with no energy or time to spare to work on refilling my tank. So I became that grumpy, pooped out, frazzled hot mess that nobody wanted to be around. Hell, I didn’t even want to be around me. So after FINALLY getting some medical answers, after years of being told I was “fine” and knowing I wasn’t, I feel like I have an incentive to treat myself kindly. Which is really stupid if you think about it. Why should anyone need an incentive to be nice to ourselves? We deserve nice. And even if you are surrounded by the kindest, lovingest people on the planet (like I am), all their love and devotion will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes if all you hear is your own self doubt, and all you see is your short-comings.  We need to be kind and gentle to ourselves so we can be kinder, gentler to the others around us.

So I am making a pledge to myself, starting tonight, that I will do things just for me on a more regular basis. I will write, even if there is no valid point to the writing. Just. Write. I will take long, aromatic baths (that one will have to wait until it gets cooler though). I will keep my nails pretty, and buy more jewelry. I will try to sneak out of the house and just sit in a cafe alone, while the man and the man-cub enjoy each other’s company. I will work just as hard on myself as I do on everything else in my life. Because, frankly, I can’t afford not to. My life is the fullest and happiest it has ever been and I cannot throw that away. My health is on a very precarious edge right now, but i can reverse it if I try. I don’t want to be broken, sick and alone by the time I’m 30. I want to be successful, happy and loved. I have been given extraordinary blessings, and I will not take those for granted. So, I write.

I recently underwent a slew of blood and saliva testing to get to the bottom of my chronic health issues. When my mother came out in June, I had been sick for 3 weeks with basically everything you could think of…ear/headaches, sinus congestion, cough, excruciating sore throat, utter exhaustion, conjuctivitis etc. She dragged me to a naturopathic doctor, paid out of pocket (I’m still uninsured…yay), and sat listening as I unraveled ten years of ill health to Dr. W. For the first time in, oh forever, my ailments did not fall on deaf ears. She listened, she questioned, and she agreed–something is not right. So she sent me home with 3 or 4 bottles of vitamins and lab orders for a dozen or so tests. I went in last week to go over the results and finally was told that yes, there IS an issue and you are in fact, NOT a hypochondriac who needs to exercise more. I have adrenal fatigue, causing my body to produce pretty much no cortisol. She said my cortisol levels are “flatlined.” They basically don’t exist. My adrenal glands (on top of the kidneys that produce 50 or more hormones) have been so overworked for so long that they basically just said “NOPE.” and quit producing cortisol. This has caused my immune system to go completely beserk and attack things it shouldn’t (which is why I have terrible allergies year round) but ignore things it should protect me against (like common colds and pink eye). Low cortisol also explains why I am too tired to even get off the couch most days, why my anxiety level is through the roof, why I can’t sleep etc. There also seems to be some “autoimmune activity” going on, but that could be just because there is no cortisol present. And since my immune system doesn’t know what the f!@* it’s doing right now, my digestive system is being completely ignored, leading to my chronic stomach issues.

So. Good news is, my thyroid is ok (for now), which was a HUGE concern given my symptoms and family health history (thanks Ma). Bad news is, that I have completely stressed my body to the point of quitting, and now have to take a bazillion supplements/vitamins several times a day to get back in working order. I am on hydrocortisone twice a day to start, 8000 IU of Vitamin D, a vitamin B6 and a B12complex, and I have to take a digestive supplement before every meal to help my stomach absorb the vital nutrients from my food. I am hoping with all of this, and with stress coping mechanisms, I will be able to restore my body before it fully turns on itself and I get an autoimmune disease. While it’s kind of scary to know how bad things are inside my body right now, it’s also a HUGE relief to know that it’s not as bad as it could be. And that I have a valid reason to be so goddamn exhausted. I’m not just being overdramatic or a hypochondriac, but there is something actually going on to cause all of these symptoms. I didn’t just get an antidepressant thrown at me, and a lecture about eating right and sleeping well. I got a doctor who found the ROOT of the problem, and is starting from the ground up. What a breath of fresh air, ya know?

Unfortunately, Baby Bee doesn’t understand adrenal fatigue. He understands going a hundred different directions at a hundred miles an hour and mommy better keep up but why aren’t you holding me and do wanna play what was that noisy mommy I have to potty I firsty(thirsty) I need star blankie but I DONT WANT TO GO TO BED.

I was literally craaawwwlllliiiinnnnggg behind him tonight, trying desperately to show interest in whatever he wanted to do but so drained I couldn’t stand upright. We had a really rough weekend and I was hoping my undivided attention would kind of take the edge off and calm him down. But it was next to impossible to keep up with him. All I could think was “Ok 30 more minutes until I can put him in the tub. 20! Ok screw it, he’s taking a long one tonight.” 

Life is good here. But it’s hard. Impossibly hard sometimes. But it makes the good so much better. Like my hero, Glennon says, life is brutal. Life is beautiful. It’s BRUTIFUL.

Fail

Fail

Today has been a fail of epic proportions. A parenting fail. A girlfriend fail. A life fail. It just hasn’t gone well, for anybody, all day. You know it’s bad when I’m looking FORWARD to work tomorrow. I’m mostly looking forward to dropping my son into someone else’s arms and letting them deal with him for a day. I don’t know if that makes me a bad mommy, or not, but I’m being honest here. Three day weekends are a no go for this family. Three days out of our ordinary routine just completely throws Baby Bee out of whack and he goes spinning out of control. I can’t keep him entertained for more than five seconds, can’t keep him off my apron strings (so to speak), can’t keep him out of cupboards and closets and shelves, and most importantly can’t stop his incessant WHINING. Oh my god the whining.

So much whining.

He is doing fantastic with sleeping through the night, potty training (I’m almost ready to call him fully diaper free!) and is even starting to eat a little more. But we just can’t seem to get him out of the whining phase. Most likely he never will, as I am most known in my family as a whiner. But Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I don’t think my or C’s nerves can take much more!! It’s just non stop, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep…and when you are home together for 3 straight days, it’s just too much. I walked out today. Slipped on my flip flops, told C I was going for a walk around the block and just walked out of the apartment. My hair was a piled mess on top of my head, my face was makeup-less and my sundress was dirty but I didn’t give a flying rat’s behind. I had to get out before I exploded.

Our apartment is on the second floor with no A/C since apparently it’s against the religion up here to have air conditioning. It gets hot, and it gets stagnant and it lasts from about 8 am to 9-10 pm. Add heavy air, frustrated energy buzzing off two tense adults, and the constant energy/chattering/whining of a three year old and KA-BLOOEY you’ve got a perfect storm of FAIL. C spent most of the day holed up in the bedroom, I wandered around the apartment partly trying to find something to do and partly trying to keep my shit together while Baby Bee alternated between following me around talking and throwing massive tantrums in his room.

I felt like no matter which way I turned, no matter what I did or said, I was failing. I was failing to entertain my child, failing to keep My Love happy and failing to be calm, cool, and collected. I was none of those things today, and it does not feel good to admit. I have been at this mommy-thing now for three years and one month…you’d THINK I’d have some inkling of what the hell I’m doing. But I don’t. Good Lord, I don’t. Every day brings a new set of challenges that I feel ill equipped to handle. Every new milestone comes with a hurdle I’m not sure I can navigate safely. At every step I’m plagued with a dozen self doubts. We get through one roadblock, only to see 3 more in our path. Take this potty training fiasco, for example.

For a year, I’ve struggled with Baby Bee to get him excited and confident enough to start going potty in the toilet. He refused. Flat out refused. Then one night, he comes to us with underwear in hand and says “Mommy, I wanna wear underwears.” I told him he could wear those once he started pottying and pooping in the toilet. He stared at them for a minute and said “ok.” 5 minutes later he comes to me, grabbing his crotch and saying he has to go potty. So we go to the bathroom, and good lord almighty he goes in the toilet!!! He peed three more times that night, woke up dry, and peed as soon as he woke up the next morning. He spent all weekend dry and even pooped in the toilet the next day! He requested to wear underwear to school last week, and only had one accident all week! I still put a diaper on him during bed/naptimes but he has stayed dry all but once or twice. Like he literally decided OVER NIGHT “oh yeah, I totally got this!” He even figured out the aiming thing right away, so I thought the hardest thing was done. Oh no. Oh no no no. For one, he feels the need to show off this skill every 5 minutes. And most of the time he wants an audience. So not only do I have to explain to him that not everyone is going to want to see him go pee or poop (even though we are so very proud of him), but I have to go with him almost every time because the few times I didn’t he tried to flush a whole roll of toilet paper down the toilet (his first attempt and wiping his own butt), or totally missed the toilet and peed all over the rim/floor, or used half a dispenser of soap for his entire upper body. So now we have to discuss proper toilet paper usage, when to use the seat and when to not, when it’s appropriate to run around “makey” (BB’s word for naked) and when it’s not. Then I started thinking about inappropriate touches, and stranger danger and OH MY GOD THE LIST NEVER ENDS!!! HOW AM I EVER GOING TO HELP HIM SURVIVE HIS CHILDHOOD!?! HOW WILL I SURVIVE HIS CHILDHOOD!?!

My biggest fear is that I’m failing. And failing so bad there will be no saving him. Is it my fault that he’s so whiny? My fault that he’s so worried about everything all the time? My fault he can’t be more than 5 feet away from me without breaking out into a severe case of separation anxiety? Probably. After all, mother’s are to blame for everything right? The first two and half years of Baby Bee

s life were a living hell…for us both. Dark, uncertain, stressful times that I’m still not ready to go into detail about. Until I met C, I was alone with the massive responsibility of raising a beautiful child. I did the best I could, with what I had and gave all my heart and soul. But now I’m wondering if my best still wasn’t, isn’t, enough. I’m wondering if screwed up those fundamental years of his life so much by being shattered and terrified and unknowingly passed those fears and doubts and insecurities on to him. Will he be scared of the world like I was when he was born? Will he trust the wrong people?

I hope that I will be a good example for my Baby Bee one day, an example of a human who screws up daily, but always apologizes and tries to start fresh with the new day. Out of everything, I hope he learns that from me: to admit when you’re wrong and start over, every day.