The past few days have thoroughly tested me, over and over again. Not falling into old ways of thinking and old patterns has been, at times, a hell of a struggle.
I had a moment the other night when it felt like everything I was trying to do for myself lately was for nothing. I have spent a lot of time over the past several years feeling as if I am constantly fighting an uphill battle with my family, one in which I generally lose. There have been a lot of empty words in the past, words that never seem to have any sincerity behind them. Sometimes it feels like I spend most of my time fighting to be heard, to be recognized, to be valued, to be appreciated. Since getting out of the Army and being a stay-at-home mom, I have learned that it is very easy for your family to forget you as a person. It is like I have become something less than human. They have gotten used to me being always available, always doing the things that I do. They get wrapped up in their own lives and forget that I, too, have a life of my own, with dreams, thoughts, and needs of my own, My health has become an issue, especially over the last couple of years, and sometimes it seems as if none of them have even noticed that. I have a lot of resentment built up, something I am dealing with and trying to get past. But there are times when it isn't easy. The other night was one of those nights. It came after a day of having to constantly ask/nag for help, over and over again. Nobody was listening and it got to be too much. Nothing I said made a damn bit of difference, and it grated on me. I have given my "family is about being there for each other" speech about a billion times, right along with the "sometimes we all have to pitch in and help" speech, and it got to be too much. Same crap as always and it made me feel like my fight for myself was pointless and worthless. So, in that moment, I gave up.
BUT I didn't give up on me. I gave up on the argument. It was going nowhere and it didn't really seem to matter what I said about anything at that moment. So I opted to take care of me instead. I turned on my heel and went to bed. That is not generally me, but it was necessary. And it was probably the right thing to do because all the screaming and yelling and crying in the world wouldn't have helped. I don't know if I necessarily solved anything, but I kept if from going crazy out of control.
Today was a day of stress, too. Here we are, just days from moving, and our truck decides to have issues. We leave at dawn on the 29th and we have a pretty full schedule between now and then and it chooses now to have issues. I am on the verge of losing my mind as it is. There are two parts that need replacing. One is about $86 and the other around $800. Did I mention we are days from driving from New York to Arizona, by way of Montana? With 3 kids, 3 animals and dragging the other car on a trailer. A trailer that will cost us about $1000 up front. And technically homeless. We won't know until we get there about the availability of housing so there is the possibility that we will have to get an apartment and all the costs of that, too. So my stress level skyrocketed. There are times when I feel as if I live under a perpetual cloud of darkness. It sometimes seems as if we just can't get a real break, that the other shoe is just moments away from dropping on my head. Today was that day.
There was a moment in which I felt like I was going to explode. It seemed to be yet another example of the dropping shoe, another example of the black cloud overhead. But it passed in a nanosecond because I knew it would serve no purpose. It wouldn't change the reality of the situation. Me being crazy stressed and upset wouldn't fix a damn thing. So I breathed, just breathed, for a long, somewhat awkward moment. My friend Jenne and her husband Devon were here, saying goodbye, when Corey came home from his car guy's house with the news. Their presence was serendipitous. Devon is a car guy himself and knows how to fix it for far less, completely safe, and will work until we get to Arizona and can order the $800 part without fear of running out of money mid-move. So tomorrow, Devon and Jenne are coming back and Devon shall help Corey. And I will get another chance to see my beautiful friend one last time before I leave! And there will be crying!!
There have been lessons learned with all of this. In all of my stress, there have been moments when I almost felt like I was cheating on myself. Yes, I know how weird that sounds! But it is true. Trying to change and be more positive is fabulous, but it is also possible to get too focused on that, which I tend to do. I forget to give myself permission to feel even the bad things, and then feel guilty about it when I do. But it is okay to feel these things; they are a part of life. What matters is what you do with the stress, how you handle it.
Stress is not something I have ever necessarily handled badly, at least to the outside world. I can handle just about anything that is thrown my way, and take care of just about anything. I am efficient, strong, and capable. I can always be counted on to take care of business. That is what everyone around me sees. What they don't see is what that stress is doing to me inside. And that's where it's different this time. Am I still stressed? Absolutely. But I am not consumed by it. I am able to see the positive, and actually believe in it. That is new and different and makes a world of difference!
Just breathe… Tomorrow is a new day!