Here’s my current truth: I’m sitting here in my empty house having a really good ugly-cry because I’ve had one of those days. I’m exhausted and recovering after an unexpected trip. My kids have been extra needy this week. I’m spinning my wheels at work. I had a less than pleasant Facebook encounter this morning with someone I only recently met, but very much respect. I’m mulling over this more than anything. Does she think I’m stupid and uneducated and maybe she hates me? Today at 3 p.m. – a Friday afternoon, mind you – my boss quietly called me into a conference room meeting. Just me and him. Let me tell you how hard I was sweating that one. “Should I go ahead and pack up my stuff?” were the words running through my head as I stood up and followed him downstairs. It turned out completely better than OK, but being off my anxiety meds kicked my self-hate-talk and panic into full gear. When I picked up the girls this afternoon, I got to hear about the worst parts of my oldest. Her tantrums still at 5 years old. Her pee accident this morning all over everything. Her inability to be second in anything. I took them to my mom’s house after that for what I hoped to be a pleasant visit. NOPE. The oldest freaked out over something trivial. Full on, stop a train SCREAM. I told her that if she did it again, we were leaving. She did it again. So we left with the baby covered in cheese popcorn dust and M&M candy coloring and red Kool-Aid and both of them throwing a fit over leaving. And now, to top off this less-than-stellar-day (but still a little stellar), the girls have decided that they prefer their father over me. You’re welcome for carrying you both a combined total of like almost 20 months in my body. And pushing you out of said body. And breastfeeding you both for a combined total of 31 months (and counting) with the same body. You are welcome. I still love you. It’s been a great day.
I am off my anxiety medicine. I struggle. I have days worse than this. But I came off the medicine for my own reasons, and I’m dealing with it in my own ways the best I can.
I do a lot of yoga. I’m in teacher training to get my certification, so some of this yoga is required work – like a college course. But a lot of it is at unexpected times. When I thought I was getting fired this afternoon, I was shaking and sweating and trying to not cry and trying to not let my voice shake as hard as my body and then I remembered the breathing techniques I learned during my meditation and pranayama class. And it helped. As I took control of my breath, I took control of my body. I took control of the situation. Which turned out to be not bad. So my anxiety was for nothing. I got myself worked up over nothing. I wasted my precious energy over NOTHING. It’s laughable. But it’s how my anxiety works.
I also try to see the beauty in things when I can. The way my 17-month-old rolls her eyes in baby-bliss when she latches onto me to nurse. When my 5-year-old won’t stop climbing on me and I’m about to lose my mind, but then she snuggles in and falls asleep on me. The kindness of a coworker sharing her snacks or someone holding a door open for me when my hands are full. The peace blessing during Mass when people seem to genuinely wish each other real peace. The world isn’t so ugly.
When the yoga and the beauty-seeing don’t work, I retreat to my bath with a glass of wine and a book that isn’t always written by Dr. Seuss. Mostly, the combination of wine and a sauna-hot bath help me, but reading the words of others help me, too. I prefer fiction. I think I prefer getting lost in a life that isn’t mine and isn’t real. But sometimes, I like nonfiction, too. I like getting lost in lives that are real. I like reading the truth of real people. Or the truth that they’re willing to share. Or their version of the truth. Sometimes, it’s nice to just hear the truth – whatever version that might be. It’s a nice affirmation that the ugly-cry parts of my life aren’t singular to me. We all have them. It’s ok.
But sometimes, everything just gets the best of me and I ugly-cry over my MacBook while the girls run errands with their dad and the house is quiet. That is my truth. And that’s ok, too.