I want to make something incredibly clear. When I am perceived to be doing well at something, whether it’s a new business venture, or publishing my own books… do not feel jealous.
I do well in projects when I am struggling the most with my mental health. I don’t know why, but it’s true! I think, when I feel like an utter failure in every aspect of my life, I channel all that negative energy into a “project.” Being an aspie, I can really laser focus on something and it makes me quite good at reaching goals. But at what cost?
The house is a constant battle – uphill. I feel like as soon as I am about halfway to the top, my knees buckle and I fall tumbling down again like Jack and Jill. The laundry, the dishes, the hoovering, the sorting, the food prep, the dusting, changing the bedding, making sure everyone has a clean towel. It’s the most unrewarding, thankless job I have. And as I am unable to have everything finished and just go into gentle maintenance mode, I go to bed every night feeling like a failure.
This is such a hot topic. Everyone seems intent on talking about what diet they’re on, how many pounds they lost this week, what foods they’ve declared war on. And I’m over here walking two miles a day and countering it with a donut. The weight thing is stupid. I’m all for improvement and sharing success and failures with getting to your best health. But why should it be entertaining or necessary to keep talking about it? I’m sick of being made to feel bad for not being a size 8. It is a daily battle to fight those demons that say I’m fat and to love and accept who I am today while making little changes to my daily routine to help me be better tomorrow.
Around Christmastime, I decided to break my Gluten Free diet and I have struggled to get back onto it. Thing is, I was starting to get away with not avoiding gluten. And I missed proper bread, and donuts, and McDonald’s…and did I mention donuts? I’ve struggled to get back onto the diet but in the past couple of days, my neck has swollen up so bad that I have woken up in the night feeling like I couldn’t swallow and that I was being – gently – choked. I also have a persistent headache, stomach pain and a general sense of malaise. It doesn’t help that I have to do my first long-distance solo drive tomorrow and I am mentally freaking out about it. So, I’m a total mess.
The headstone to my father’s grave was fitted a couple of days ago. Seeing it ripped off a bandaid and all that raw grief is spilling out again. And while I was driving down the road listening to the radio, a sense of panic overwhelmed me as I realised that shortly after my father passed away, my grandad died.
He died. I went to the funeral and burial but… it’s only now, over a year later that I have started to process the truth. He died. They both died.
Every now and then I hear a country song on the radio and I’m reminded that less than 4 months ago, my father in law passed away. Then my grandfather in law. My children lost four close members of their family within one year.
I’m not coping with that.
I am homeschooling the kids, but as of late I’ve only been able to keep up with their clubs and reading. The children are still hurting from our more recent traumas, and I feel every day a total failure at doing the “school” thing at home. I mean, they’re learning to code, create animation, build worlds on Minecraft and their vocabulary has developed. They in themselves seem happier and confident. But I feel like if I’m not sat with them learning with books and doing projects 12 hours a day, then I’m a failure. It also doesn’t help that non-homeschoolers can be so judgemental. You ever wonder why homeschoolers are so defensive? It’s because they are bombarded with passive-aggressive comments like:
“I could never take on that huge responsibility,”
“You homeschool? Wow, you’re mad. I like my children to be able to socialise with other kids their own age.”
“I just feel school offers so much more,”
Ever heard the phrase, “Penny for your thoughts?” How about I give you a tenner to keep them to yourself.
Sometimes I feel so inspired, so close to God and I recognise the beautiful signs that angels are watching over me and my family. Then there are times I feel that my prayers fall down and never make it to heaven, that I am surrounded by darkness and the angels are on vacation. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, but I think during times of grief and trial, and with all the emotions that come with it, it’s like a wall it up and the good vibes and promptings can’t get through. Did Christ not say in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”
Perhaps, it is important for us to feel alone. We are promised that we never have to be alone, but what if it still feels that way? I love the poem, “Footprints,”
Poetry speaks to me on a level like no other. Just reading those words, “It was then that I carried you,” stirs within me and softens my heart.
I am leaning on faith that I am not alone. That death is a temporary separation between this life and the next. I have to believe that there is some sort of plan for me. That I’m not just destined to stagger through life making mistakes and forging relationships only to disappear like a wisp into the air, never to exist again.
And when life feels so impossible, and the constant feeling of “You didn’t do enough,” is all-consuming, I have to have faith that I am enough. What I do tomorrow might be more than what I did today, but for now, what I’ve achieved is enough.
Today is bittersweet. Even more so than the launch day of my debut novel. I suppose the harsh reality has hit home, that I am writing and publishing – doing the things I longed to do as a child. I am finally making bold steps to becoming a better writer and sharing my journey with the world.
But Dad isn’t here to see it.
If Dad was here, he would get a bottle of something fizzy and celebrate the achievement. He would be so supportive and positive. He would be proud.
And for now, I just have to hold onto the hope and belief, because he’s not here to give me a hug and tell me this is great. I don’t get to talk to him about the journey. What’s going well, what’s not going well. And all that’s in-between.
The irony is, if my father hadn’t died, I would never have written: “Love Me, Sweetie.” So much of my grief and longing has contributed to its story. I am proud of it. I am humbled by it. I hope others will be inspired and uplifted from it.
But today, I will take it easy. Play with the kids. Maybe order something yummy for dinner, and quietly remember who I did all of this for.