I have an (unpopular) opinion

I have an (unpopular) opinion

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Disclaimer: I am not here to come for anyone’s lifestyle. And I’m definitely not here to offend anyone who may not agree with what I am saying here. But I also have a feeling that some of these things need to be said, and I don’t think this is the last time I’ll be talking about this subject. So, haters gonna hate.

I have an unpopular opinion. It has been rattling around in the back of my mind for weeks now… approximately the same time a certain book (which will go unnamed but it has to do with washing your face. Subtle enough?) came into my possession. I started reading (well, listening) to it in the car, and I was immediately struck with this thought.

“I am so sick of personal development books”.

It isn’t about the author. It’s not even really about the book’s content. Honestly, the book itself is fine. The same things could be said about x number of other woman-targeted self-development, “be your best self” books.

It’s just that I’ve heard it before. I’ve read it before. I’ve been told it before. And I GET IT. It’s okay to not be like the other moms. It’s okay to talk about things like sex in the context of Christianity. It’s okay to be your own person and live your own life.

I’m not here to bash that one book. But I’m here to talk to a group of women that I believe exists. And I think this group of women is feeling really out casted right now. Because the way culture is going tells us that it’s okay to not have it all together (as long as you’re working on getting it together). And it’s totally fine to not be your kid’s classroom mom (but only because you have a busy career you’re pursuing instead). And it’s definitely okay to be in a messy bun and Pjs when your husband gets home (but only because you have been busy all day cleaning baseboards and folding endless loads of laundry and you’re just so selfless you haven’t had a chance to shower). Basically, it’s okay to not be okay… but like, you need to have a very clear plan of how you will someday be okay, and that needs to be tracked, color coded, and shared with your 5 accountability partners.

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So… what about the rest of us? What about those of us who don’t want to be classroom mom because we just, don’t want to? What about those of us who don’t have it together because our season of life doesn’t look like having it together, and we aren’t really sure when we will have it “together” so stop asking us? What if we are still in our PJs when our husband gets home because Pjs are effin’ comfortable, Karen, and I don’t need another explanation.

My calendar is not planned out by the half hour. My 5-year plan includes a lot of “maybes” and “it would be cool ifs”. My dreams are big and lofty and I don’t have a goal poster to chart my progress.

But just because I don’t have my shit together, doesn’t mean I don’t have my shit together. No, my kindle isn’t chock full of parenting and self-help books. No, I don’t do yoga to try to find my higher self. Yes, I am cool with not knowing exactly where I’ll be in a year. Being “bone weary” doesn’t sound like an accomplishment to me. It sounds like a sentence. And working myself to my maximum potential 24/7, 365 is not my idea of living a full and fulfilling life.

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Instead, I live my life based on God’s calendar. I don’t write my plans in ink, because I know at any moment God might say “yeah something’s come up”. My dreams are big and lofty because God delivered them to me that way, and I know they will come to fruition when He says they should. I can’t track God’s plan for my life on a poster or with an oversized thermometer. My measure of success changes with every season. And when I think about what I want to be remembered by, it has less to do with what I did and more to do with who I was.

If you are reading this and thinking “she’s just saying this because she’s always been a dandelion puff”, well- ACTUALLY. I spent 3 years in the heart of personal development and “be your best self” land. I lived and breathed self-help books. I listened to inspirational podcasts in my damn sleep and I even color coded my freakin’ calendar. I scheduled the shit out of my day. And I saw a lot of women thrive that way. And that was awesome.

But it didn’t work for me. In fact, it made my soul weary. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Like my goals weren’t big enough. Like the second I told someone “I’m okay just staying where I am”, they would look at me and say “she’s a quitter”. And in fact, when I left that world, that’s what a lot of people said. That’s okay. They aren’t dandelion puffs. We can’t all be this way (that would be a shit show).

But there are more of us out there. More women who are reading these books about maximizing your potential and adding hours to the day and waking up EARLIER to do MORE, and veiling it behind words like “powerhouse” and “#bossbabe”. As if the only way to be a #bossbabe is to go to bed exhausted every night. To take yourself to 0 at the end of every day.

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But I want you to know- Girl, it’s okay if you don’t “wash your face” (and I mean that figuratively, because I am very much about that skincare life). It’s okay if right now you just aren’t sure where you’re going. Or if you’re perfectly fine just being you. You don’t have to buy every self-help book just because all the other women are buying it. You don’t have to constantly want to be better than you were yesterday, but not as good as you’ll be tomorrow. You are you. And there are more of you (us) out there, living life one day at a time and waiting for the wind to take us on our next adventure. We are important too. We are not weeds, we are wildflowers and we make the world more fun.

God is speaking to me about all this, and as He does, I want to share it with you. I don’t have any final thoughts or big ideas to wrap this all up with… I am just sharing my heart, wondering if other women are feeling the way I am.

More to come on this, friends.

 

 

A Jelly Sandal Saved My Life

A Jelly Sandal Saved My Life

When I was little I was afraid of storms.
Let me rephrase that. From the age of approximately 7-11, I was terrified of storms. I’m not sure what started the fear, but it stuck around and consumed most of my brain space for those 4ish years.
One afternoon during this season of life, my mom needed to run a few packages into a FedEx store. Instead of hauling myself and my two sisters out of the car just to put us right back in 5 minutes later, she left the car running, locked the doors, and ran in by herself. This was the 90s and Facebook wasn’t invented yet so moms could do things like this without fear of going viral. Looking back, this story would definitely be the kind of stuff mom shamers feed off of.
Anyway. As my mom ran in, a dark cloud starting to make its way across the sky. I, in my current season of constant fear, decided that cloud was definitely going to be THE CLOUD that finally did me in… so I needed to get OUT of the car, go OUTSIDE, and save myself. My logic wasn’t solid.
I unlocked the sliding door of our minivan, slid it open (setting off the car alarm in the process), and went to cross the narrow street between the parking spaces and the storefronts where my mom had gone.
Now before you say “were’t you ever taught to look before crossing the street?”.. please understand. I had been to safety village. I had been to preschool. And kindergarten. And maybe even first grade at this point. I was raised by cautious parents. And YET, I did not look both ways. Instead I darted into the street… and got hit by a mother fluffing car.
I’m not kidding. This is real.
I was lying on the ground, looking at my foot.. which was UNDER THE TIRE OF THE CAR. I think I was more shocked than anything else. I had just been standing up. Now my foot was stuck under a 4 door, silver sedan and an old lady was looking down at me from the drivers seat. I can only imagine she was thinking “well, shit”.
My mom came out, saw what happened, FREAKED THE F OUT, and somehow got me out from under the car. I don’t know what happened to the old lady. I wonder if she still thinks about me. Does she wonder if I walk with a limp now?
If you’re here for a gore-fest where I tell you my foot was broken in every single place, and my skin had been torn off, and I lost 3 toes… SORRY NOT TODAY. Because guess what? I just happened to be rocking some sweet ass 90s jelly sandals that day. You know the ones. Mine were clear (only the OG style for me) with silver flecks in them. And those puppies were not only stylish- they were SHOCK ABSORBENT. Thats right. Those jelly sandals bore enough weight that my foot, which was FULLY UNDER AN ACTUAL LITERAL CAR TIRE, was fine. Scratched up maybe. But fine. My mom probably slapped some neosporin on it a few times a day and we went about our lives. The whole incident was actually kinda of anti-climactic, actually. Maybe I should have milked it more.. maybe I missed an opportunity for a free trip to Disney or something. Whatever the case, life went on and my foot healed and it became an awesome story I can tell at parties now.
As far as the fear of storms goes.. I don’t know when that fear subsided. It was probably once I realized that it was kind of a really stupid fear, since I have literally no control over the weather…. and there is no place I know of that is completely devoid of storms. So, I guess I just, gave it up at some point.
Also, I might have realized that my fear was actually more dangerous than the thing I was afraid of in the first place. By being irrational and running from a perceived threat, I had put myself in more danger than I was in originally.
There’s a life lesson in there. Actually I think there are two.
  1. We often cause ourselves more problems by trying to avoid something that seems scary… but actually probably isn’t nearly as scary as we are perceiving it to be. Maybe if we ditched those fears, and our ridiculous efforts to avoid them, we could spare ourselves from some grief.
  2. Trends save lives. Lean into them. They may not last long, but you never know when a jelly sandal, or a cropped graphic tee, or a pair of mom jeans could save your life.15-3328
Well I lost my job.

Well I lost my job.

On this week’s episode of the Floating Dandelion Puff Diaries..

I lost my job.

To be fair, it was a part time job. And I was barely bringing in 4 figures from it per month. And it wasn’t personal. All in all, it wasn’t a huge deal.

But I liked it. It gave me purpose, it fit my passions, and I thought it was a “God thing”.

But… what the hell even is a God thing? I mean, let’s talk about that. If I believe that God is in and around and through everything in my life… isn’t everything a God thing? The hiring, the firing, the in-between time? I spend most of my life in the in-between time. So, I tend to believe that He is very much in that time. At least, I have encountered Him in that time.

But surely God can’t be in the firing-right-after-we-find-out-our-bills-are-about-to-go-up… can He?

Can He be equal parts there in the this sucks so bad as He is in the this if effin’ awesome?

And if He is, then what the heck, man? You would think you would give us some warning. If you know everything, and you’re in everything, don’t you think you would give us a clue when a wave is about to crash instead of letting us get thrown around and spit back out on the beach?

Am I being dramatic enough?

But really. That’s where I’m at right now. Wondering where God lands in all of this. And wondering if I should be waiting for the next God thing, or if I’m already in it.

The One Where I Talk About Being Suicidal

The One Where I Talk About Being Suicidal

Before I had my first child, I was sure I would be an anxious mother. Given my personality and my history with general anxiety, I thought I would be one of those moms who boils binkies and reads ingredient labels to make sure there isn’t poison in the baby food. To my surprise, after I gave birth I realized that I was not anxious in the slightest. I had heard of moms who sat up at night, staring at their children to make sure they continued to breathe. I thought that would be me, but it wasn’t. I never feared for my kids’ lives and still don’t. If you ask my friends, they will tell you I am a pretty laidback mom. I don’t let them play with fire, but I don’t really care if they eat dirt every once in a while. You get the idea.

What I didn’t expect- what completely caught me off guard and knocked me off my axis- was to be a moody, depressed, emotionally unstable mom. And I certainly didn’t expect to be a suicidal mom.

And yet, in November of 2016, just 6 months after my second baby was born, I found myself in that place. I was unpredictable. My relationships, most notably my marriage, were shaky at best. I was convincing people I was okay, but just barely. I woke up ready to go back to bed, and I went to bed dreading the morning. I was barely keeping my head above water, and I was starting to lose the will to swim anymore. When I asked my husband what he remembers about me during that season, he told me “I knew things were bad when you kept saying ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and I started to believe you”. I remember constantly saying “I’m just done”. And I didn’t mean I was done with the day, or done with the kids, or done with my marriage. It meant I was done. I didn’t have the energy it took to get through the day, and my reserve tank had run completely dry.

Over time, I found myself in a state of complete numbness. The exhaustion gave way to emotional silence. And it was deafening. Imagine living your life in a vacuum, void of any ups or downs; just being stagnant day in and day out. Now imagine doing that, but trying to keep a marriage and two children alive. I could have won one million dollars and been given an all-expense paid trip to any destination of my choosing, and it would have felt like just any other day. One night I sat at dinner with some of my closest friends and told them, “I’m not sad. I’m not angry. I’m just… nothing. I feel nothing. Day in and day out, I feel nothing”.  It was the scariest part of my journey, but unfortunately the worst was yet to come.

One day, after months of trying to survive in my vacuum, I was driving to the YMCA (because someone told me if I just worked out more, I could cure myself. God bless) and a thought popped in my head.

“If this is what I’m going to feel like for the rest of my life, I really hope I die soon”

It passed across my brain like any other thought. It wasn’t dramatic. It was a matter of fact. It was true- I couldn’t imagine living another 60+ years in the state that I was in. And in that moment, I realized: I was suicidal.

I remember being confused; it wasn’t at all like they describe it in the movies. I had no grand plan to jump off a tall building or drive off a cliff. I didn’t have any fantasies of leaving a long suicide note for my friends and family. I didn’t think about my funeral. I just didn’t want to continue to live if this was what my life was going to look like. I hoped I would get terminally ill, or get into an accident. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I definitely wanted to die. Even as I write this, I am acutely aware of how intense that sounds. It’s hard to admit that’s where I was- but it’s true. I lived in this state for months; longer than I care to admit. I was okay with the idea that this might be the thing that took me down. If I ended up dying because I just stopped wanting to live, then so be it. I could feel myself rationalizing my decision; everyone has to die somehow. This just might be the plan for me. Maybe I was never supposed to live for a long time. Everyone will figure it out.

So, how did I get out. That’s the big question. And I wish it was more of an AHA moment than it actually was. The truth is, I just did some research. I had a moment of clarity, and in that moment I googled “post-partum depression” and realized that my symptoms lined up 100%. I couldn’t believe I was reading someone else’s account of her own illness that sounded exactly like my own. I realized I needed help, and fast. I got myself into therapy. I told my friends I was struggling. And I committed to at least trying to feel better. It wasn’t easy, but I had just enough strength left in me, and enough support around me, to push towards recovery.

I am grateful that I sought help, and that the help I found was exactly what I needed. I am thankful that my diagnosis was uncovered and I was able to find a medication that helped pull me out of that pit. But I know that not everyone is as lucky as I was.

Had I not gotten help; had I let my feelings fester and tried to just keep moving forward, I’m not sure where I would be. I can’t picture myself doing anything to end my own life, but I can’t rule it out either. What I can see, is how I could have ended up there. It’s not a big jump from “I hope I get in a car accident” to “I’m going to make it look like an accident”. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get to that point, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

My point in sharing this (it’s definitely not because I just felt like writing about my history of depression and suicidality) is to help others understand the thought process that is so rarely explained. No one successfully completes suicide and survives. And so, we rarely get any insight into what goes through the mind of a suicidal person.

Before experiencing it myself, I would have told you that suicidal people are dramatic, or selfish. I would have judged them harshly and thought “how could you do that to your family”. But now, I would tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. You cannot possibly understand unless you have dealt with it. And I’m not sure I can explain it fully. But my hope is that my story would make the problem feel less out there and more right here.  I want people to know that suicide is not always caused by external forces. It can’t be solved by anti-bullying policies and stricter gun control (although those might help). It’s deeper than that. It is a heart issue- not caused by the sufferer, by any means, but still an issue that lies deeper than we often make it seem. It is about lack of hope for any change.

I’m not convinced we can stop suicide altogether. I think it’ll happen one day, but that has to do with a certain dude (we’ll call him JC) coming back and fixing a whole lotta other stuff that is ugly in this world. Until then, I am just hoping we can find ways to talk about it more, and empower “survivors” to share their stories. If we can’t stop it, the least we can do is try to understand it.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:

If you are feeling this way- or even close to what I’ve described- please know that you are not alone. And please know that, even if it doesn’t feel like it now, it can get better. It will take work, but it will be worth it. I am linking some resources below if you would like to take a step today towards a healthier you. Or, find me on IG @thrivethirtyone and send me a DM. I’m here to chat. You are worth fighting for.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

Talk Space- therapy for all

https://www.talkspace.com/

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

https://afsp.org/

 

also: You can always call your insurance and ask for mental health assistance!