Hi, It's me. Did you think I had left you forever? Maybe. I thought about it to be honest but the pull to return is too strong. I miss it. I miss the friendships, the comments, the interaction with readers who feel connected to me. I miss you.
I had to take some time away though. I was in a bad place. I set off to correct a few thoughts and to find my way. I wasn't happy but I was happy. Does that make sense? What is being happy anyways? I found I was walking in a shell of a body. My mind was numb and I was going through the motions. I don't believe I was depressed but maybe I was. I felt happy most of the time just empty.
I felt I had ran this huge race and crossed the finished line only to discover , "why did I run at all." You may have felt this too about me as you read some of my last entries here on the blog. I tried to push through and find out what was holding me back. Why did I have these feelings of numbness? Why couldn't I feel joy like everyone else? Was I broken?
So many questions.
Looking back I think there are several reasons for my dip in mood and happiness. I won't spend a great deal of time analyzing them but will touch on a few that I think have contributed to my downward spiral. I have talked about leaving the Mormon Church before. This was a huge transition for our family. Six years later and we are just now starting to feel normal again. What ever that means but we find ourselves identifying with that word more and more these days. Secondly, having Finnley was a blessing but it has also been very difficult. Kids are work and when you are forty-eight with a two year old, it seems like a mole hill becomes Mount Everest. Tired and worn out only begin to describe my state of being over the last three years. Finally, my mind was a huge bowl of Jello. Staying home resonated with me with my first two kids. These last two little girls are getting a different Mom. I felt guilty about that. I didn't want to stay home anymore. I wanted to get out and do something for myself. The guilt of feeling this way was burdensome.
So, yeah, I went through some shit.
The good news is I took control of my own happiness and I feel so much better. Let me back up for a minute. We moved to Oregon in June 2015 and finally moved into our new home in August 2015. This was a transitional time for our family. Drake left home after graduating from high school, Rye stayed with us, Isabella was 8, and Finnley was on the verge of crossing the "terrible two's" bridge. Cory and I were not in a good place and yet, we were buying a home. What the hell was wrong with us? We were in motion and couldn't seem to get off the train long enough to repair ourselves, let alone, a relationship. We hit a cross road. Two weeks into our new home we said the words "divorce" and "separation". What had driven us to this point? It was scary and honestly hurt so deeply. The hurt of losing my best friend is what gave us the strength to fix what was troubling our marriage. I couldn't imagine living without him but at that moment all I wanted to do was run away. I was so tired. Tired of fighting, negotiating, being homeless (we lived with my sister until our house was closed), dealing with a two year old who felt the need to remind me of why she would be our last-daily, and trying to figure out "what the fuck I wanted to be when I grow up".
Forty-eight and still trying to find myself. It's funny--now.
This has a happy ending. We figured out a reason to stay together and keep the love alive. To be truthful it had nothing to do with love. We still loved each other very much. It was out of this love that we felt the need to let each other go. If we were not making the other person happy why should we be so selfish as to not let them go to find the happiness that we each deserved. We talked about seeing a therapist and opted to try our hand at doing some self care first. I found two books that, in my opinion, saved our marriage. They are The Five Love Languages and The Seven Priniciples for Making Marriage Work. Both of these books are excellent and opened up our eyes to a ton of ideas of how to improve our foundation. We had the bones of a good house it just needed a face lift and and update. We needed some new furniture...my feeble attempt at humor!
I'm so glad we made it. Cory is an amazing father and husband. What I learned along the way is that what I thought were his problems were actually mine. I was unhappy with myself and projecting this into the lives of those around me. I forgot that I was in charge of my own happiness; not someone else. We worked through our issues and found a rekindled appreciation for each other. We recognized that at this stage of our life it is important for us to do things separate from each other and to grow as individuals. We had forgotten how to fill our own cups. Kids, moving, buying a new house, family, leaving a church, new jobs, and on and on....had over taken our lives. We stopped living the good life and found ourselves drowning in a pool of ankle deep water.
Once we were on track again I had to look deep within myself and decide a few things. In January of this year I returned to school for the first time in 29 years. It was scary taking those first steps to get admitted, take a placement test, find classes, set up financial aid, and then finally attend. This single act of kindness that I allowed myself has been life changing.
My cup is full for now. I work daily on keeping what's inside me flowing.
Returning to school has allowed me to grow personally. I have found a new drive and direction. I feel alive. My only regret is that I did not do this sooner. I won't spend anytime beating myself over that decision and move forward with my goals and aspirations.
The amazing thing is my family is okay. By going to school, our schedule has changed a bit, but I can do both. I am learning that I can take some time for me, give to my kids, be with my husband, and juggle. I should have joined a circus act because, honestly, I can do more than I thought was possible. I doubted my abilities, and it threw me into a tail spin. Thankfully, with a lot of soul searching and self-love, I was able to pull out and stay the course.
I found me.
Why am I sharing all of this? Well, because it's who I am. These moments are not unique to just me. This is life. These types of events are happening everyday to families, to mothers, and to women. We feel at times empty. We struggle to find balance. We try to be everything to everyone and leave ourselves in the dust. It happens. Shit happens.
I have learned a great deal about finding a community that elevates who you are and hope to become. This is an important part of building and retaining my happiness. I feel the road was long and rough at times but these past five years were all worth it. The home we have created is beautiful. We love living at the beach. Our marriage is solid. Our kids bring us joy.
I am happy. Happiness does not equate to perfection. It means that I am able to swing back and forth between the highs and the lows with out hitting rock bottom. We spend a lot of time at the beach. Our whole family feels a connection to the waves, the wind, the sand, and the smell of salty air. If I felt lost before I feel found now. I am home.
This means change. Change for my blog. I have tried and struggled to do the whole food thing. My own eating habits change constantly as we are still trying to figure out what is going on with my auto-immune system. I have recently had all the allergy testing done AGAIN. I have been told that I have a very sensitive immune system and that I need to visit a rheumatologist and we need to start looking at a possible Lupus diagnosis. I'm not ready for that so am trying to control my symptoms with diet. I am back to a strict vegan diet. It is the only things that keep the inflammation, redness, foggy brain, aches and pains at bay. It's hard. I am frustrated. I have felt so alone with this journey and at rock bottom on some days. I am pulling the plug on my food only blogging format. It is too depressing because I am so limited in what I can eat and prepare. I feel the fun I experienced of cooking and creating is gone. I started to pull away last year because of my frustration and this year I made the decision to do something different. When I felt the spark return, while at the beach, which I had originally felt with cooking, I knew the beach was my way to keep writing and to stay connected.
Change is good.
I love the beach and all that it offers. Through my Instagram account I am finding that others feel the same way I do. So I am trying to re-brand myself into a lifestyle blog. I hope to share lots of beach things as well as some food recipes. The ocean is my happy place and I feel compelled to share this joy with others. The beach is a sanctuary and it is here that I have found a connection like no other place that we have lived. It might be the coolness of the air and water to my firey personality or the constant beauty that I am surrounded by. Whatever it is, I will never let go.
These are a few things that I have been thinking about writing in several blog updates, and, well, it all came out in one post. I just regurgitated my last year with its highs and lows for the world to see and dissect. Oh well. Life happens and we either sink or swim.
Thankfully, I am turning into a great swimmer.
A few images from my Instagram account below in a collage. I would love to see you visit me over on Instagram. I share daily updates there. I will try to write weekly on my blog. I am still on Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon. I have some great Pinterest boards too. My second semester is ending today and I will have a lighter load this summer. I am hoping this gives me the chance to write again. I love writing. I love the beach. I'm pretty sure I can weave a tale or two combining my two loves.
Have a joyful day!