The other day I fell into a sinkhole. Again.
You know the kind of sinkhole I’m talking about - the metaphorical kind. The kind that opens up and drags you under, disrupting your life - usually without warning.
This same stupid sinkhole has plagued me for years now. Each time it gets patched up, the fix only lasts for a short while before it becomes dangerous again.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the sinkhole.
I’ve learned what causes sinkholes and how you can try to decrease your chances of encountering them.
I’ve learned how to add supports and reinforcements to reduce the risk of falling into the sinkhole.
I’ve learned to make the sinkhole more stable so that I could more safely move near it.
I’ve learned how to calmly drag myself out of the sinkhole each time it swallows me whole.
I’ve learned to minimize the toll the sinkhole has on my life.
I’ve learned to normalize sinkholes - afterall, we all hit sinkholes sometimes.
But, the other day I fell in it again. My reinforcements hadn’t worked, minimizing it hadn’t worked, normalizing it hadn’t worked. Nothing had worked.
There I was again - inside the sinkhole. I was powerless and defeated - again.
When people tried to help me out of the sinkhole, I yelled at them to go away, or I ignored them, or I begged for them to tell me it was ok to be a mess because I was back in the effing sinkhole again.
And then my child fell in behind me.
Of course he did.
It was only a matter of time before this happened. Afterall, he’s watched me and this sinkhole for most of his life. If I couldn’t avoid it then how could I expect him to avoid it.
That’s when it hit me.
I needed to be done with this sinkhole.
Like, completely done.
I’ve tried everything to keep the sinkhole from being a looming force in my life. Everything except one thing. I have never decided to stop letting the sinkhole be in my life.
I COULD make the one choice I hadn’t yet given myself permission to make.
There are always other routes we can take to get where we need to go.
Maybe those routes will take us longer to get where we are going.
Maybe those routes won’t make sense to those people who have never fallen into the sinkhole or who can’t imagine that particular sinkhole being so bad.
Maybe we’ll be judged harshly and criticized for my decision to take a new route.
But, the truth in life is that there will always be criticism. There will always be people who don’t understand us. There will always be people who disagree with us.
There will always be sinkholes.
When the sinkholes become too big, too scary, and too damaging we CAN take away their power in our life.
We CAN stop allowing them to dictate how our journey goes.
We CAN stop allowing them to wreak havoc in our life.
It was time to do it.
So, together my child and I pulled ourselves out of the sinkhole and decided to drive away.
One last time.
We didn’t look back.
It’s your struggle bus captain checking in again.
This week I am 4 weeks post surgery and when the doctor told me the hormones would be awful for up to 4-8 weeks, he wasn’t lying.
Yesterday I had a mini panic attack because the football stadium seats felt too steep and I was afraid I would topple to my death.
Then I cried because my freshman’s football coach sent a text for everyone to meet for dinner and it felt so nice to see something so normal.
And then an hour later I was filled with so much rage that I wanted to find a total stranger that was trolling online and give her a piece of my mind.
Then I ate chocolate.
And cried some more.
And picked a fight with my husband.
And cried about what a terrible person I am and how my face is full of acne.
How many of you can relate to days like that?
The truth is - days like this can happen to all of us - even without crazy hormones.
Whenever we start to listen to all the negative thoughts in our head, it’s easy for all our good self-care practices to simply fade away.
They really don’t do us any good.
So, anyways, I’m here to say that sometimes some days and some weeks just don’t go the way you want them.
It’s ok. Let yourself feel your feelings.
Sometimes it’s really ok to cry and eat the chocolate and fantasize about what you want to say to the internet trolls.
But then take time to center yourself.
Remember who you are at your core.
Keep moving forward because you deserve the life you want.
And on the really hard days, don’t forget to pick your head up and look around. You aren’t the only one on the struggle bus.
There’s lots of us here with you - reach out when you need support.
To the mama who didn’t get to have a normal childhood,
I see you.
I see your daily pain as you move through the journey of parenthood, realizing over and over again just how much you were mistreated and abused by your own caregivers.
Your heart breaks almost daily for all the things you missed or had taken away from you during what was supposed to be your childhood.
YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS:
You didn’t deserve any of the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment that happened to you.
None of it.
It was the job of your caregivers to keep you safe, make you feel loved, and allow you to be a child.
They failed you.
You didn’t fail.
None of it was your fault.
You need to believe this - in your core.
And now look at you - making the decision every day that the cycle of abuse will stop with you.
Every day you make the active choice to give your children and yourself a better life.
Each time you tell your children that you love them so they don’t go to sleep at night wondering what they have to do to earn your love - you continue to break the cycle.
Each time your child feels safe coming to you for advice after they have made a mistake instead of cowering in fear - you continue to break the cycle.
Each time you spend time with your children at their sporting events, extracurricular activities, or just snuggling on the sofa, reminding them that you not only love them but you LIKE them too - you continue to break the cycle.
Each time you apologize and take ownership for your mistakes as a parent and clarify that your child is not responsible for your emotional well-being - you continue to break the cycle.
Each time you set a boundary and protect your child from people that do not respect them or cannot be trusted - you continue to break the cycle.
Each time you seek support for yourself so that you can be a better version of yourself - you continue to break the cycle.
I see your efforts and I know that the work you are doing is hard.
You are tired.
You doubt yourself.
You fight daily to prevent those negative thoughts and messages from your own childhood from coming to the surface.
Keep going. Keep moving forward, building the life your children so deserve - the life you never got to have as a child.
But be sure to also take time to think about all the ways your children will never have to experience what you experienced.
Take time to be proud of the parent that you have chosen to be.
Your children are lucky to have you as their mama.
Love yourself just as fiercely as you love your children.
You deserve it.
You are worthy of love and compassion - especially from yourself.
Now, more than ever, we all need a little support to help get us through the rough spots. With all the pressures of life, it can be a challenge to find time to not only take care of yourself but also to truly understand who you even are anymore.