The first week of January, 2017, is done. I’m not quite sure how I feel about things. Hopefully by writing today, it will filter the murky waters. The last couple months have really put an exclamation point on the ‘bittersweetness’ that was 2016 for me and my family. The last two months have been pretty damn eventful and I have miraculously made it through it all without any chemical assistances…well, that’s not entirely true, the amount of coffee I have consumed probably rivals that of a cutthroat Wall Street devil.
I have turned a very sober 38, begun a stressful but exciting new endeavor at work that may or may not end in a leadership position and received an amazing and humbling award for putting people first from my co-workers and the companies administration. These last two months also had me dealing with a teenager that decided to re-acquaint himself with the law….twice….mere days after his last probation ended. I am not sure I have securely fastened my seat belt and pulled the safety bar to the necessary snugness for this emotional roller coaster of guilt, happiness, gratitude, fear, confidence, self-doubt, hope, dread, yadda, yadda, yadda, I am currently riding. I feel like I am coming off the seat and hovering a bit too high every once and a while, making the impact that comes when I am dragged down more dramatic and painful. There have been a number of times through these latest trials that I have felt myself losing grip, and the fear of falling out of this coaster is palpable. I have had to stop myself countless times to remind myself to breathe and have a conversation with my anxiety, guilt and fear. I read this thing on Buzzfeed that was a list of ways to be happier in 2017. One idea was to ‘name your negative thoughts and then call them out on their bullshit.’ The suggested name was ‘Jerry,’ as in, the Jerry/Larry/Gary Gergich character from ‘Parks and Recreation,’ (a series I have watched at least 7 times over.) I kind of love this idea and may implement it. Though, I empathized with poor, picked on Jerry, so I may name mine Carl, or, more appropriate, Coral. This is a Walking Dead reference that some of you may get. Coral has been messing things up and being sort of a twit for a few seasons now so I feel like that name works. I am going to do this and see if it helps. Get ready for some serious ‘talking to’s’ Coral.
As I constantly work to keep my little flame lit in this dark, drafty room that is my mind, I am striving to focus on all the good that have come out of this past year. My relationship with my oldest, though it is strained right now, would undoubtably be near shambles had I been finding my words with him at the bottom of a glass. I am grateful for the cool, clear head. Well, as cool and clear as this head gets. My relationships with friends and family have strengthened in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined they would. I am so grateful for all of those who have given me their energy, love, support, and listening ears. Dave and I are stronger than ever and from my perspective, I am closer to my youngest than I ever have been before. These are the thoughts that help guard that light against the cold breeze of self-doubt that strives to extinguish it. These are the thoughts that keep my hope and desire to move forward, burning. Gratitude continues to be my most powerful weapon and I would be an incredible fool not to use it. I will stay grateful for what I have learned and how I have grown. Trying to stay on top of the ‘should have, could have, it would have’ quicksand is proving to be, at times, an all consuming struggle. I have started flicking myself again any time one of those thoughts pops up, changing my focus from what I should have done, to what I learned from doing things the way I did. Should I have locked my child away in the basement for a month at his first, second or third infraction? Maybe. But did I? No. So, I’m working on taking what I see in hindsight and applying that to how I cross each of these bridges moving forward. That is literally, all I can do at this point. I guess it’s all any of us can do at any point in our lives. This roller coaster is truly a strange one. In some ways, right now I feel more like a failure as a mother than I ever have before. At the exact same time, in other ways, I feel more connected and successful in my parenting. I know I have said this before, but the ups and downs are so strong right now, it’s hard to hang on.
My hope is that when this coaster tries to throw me, I can take a moment, focus, tighten the straps my gratitude has created, secure the bar hindsight has forged and stay to enjoy the highs and lows. Keeping in mind the power of perspective. It won’t always be this hard. Lessons will be learned and all of us will grow, collectively, and be better for it.
I send to all who are reading this, my love, my gratitude and an energy of optimism that I hope aids in your day to day coasters. Know that you are not alone, that your feelings are valid and that you can make it to the end. I have faith in us.
Love and hugs!