Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Words are kind of my thing.  I have always loved reading them.  I've always been sensitive to harsh ones.  And, I have always clung to the ones that I find beautiful, uplifting, and kind.  There's nothing that lets me know I'm loved like words.  These are all the words that are sitting next to my bed right now that people wrote about me.  Some of them likely don't even know I've hung onto them and read them over and over.

One of the many things I have anxiety about is going places with my children without my husband.  It isn't because of the utter chaos it is going to bring.  That's just how our family does life.  It's because of all the words, the fear of words, and the knowledge that strangers are going to say things to us.  Most of those things are innocuous, although sometimes slightly annoying.  Like when I'm carrying both of the younger children into a store because I can't push Shilo's wheelchair and a cart at the same time and someone says, 'wow, you have your hands full.'  Yes, I literally have my hands full.  Thanks. 
But, often, they are not.  I have been called a whore multiple times because I have children of different races.  People ask things about adoption that aren't appropriate such as, 'why didn't her mom want her?'  Or, people say things like, 'What's wrong with her?' about Shilo.  Or the time a man tried to preach the gospel to me so he could invite me and my colored child to his Bible study for colored people.  He really liked colored people, but didn't tolerate the loudness and foul language they use. Or even seeing someone I know from the past who says, 'you have ANOTHER kid?'  Or, the woman who explained over and over to me one time, 'I just wouldn't be able to love somebody else's kid.  Don't worry, you'll have a kid of your own someday.'   
As a result, before I go out into public places by myself with my kids, I have to talk myself through what to do if others use words that are hurtful.  It might sound silly, but the times I've been affronted, I have been caught off guard, and didn't respond.  So I go through scenarios.  Words.  Responses.  I edit and re-edit them so my children will hear and see that it is okay to not allow people to treat us wrongly, and do it with grace.  I take deep breaths.
When I'm out, I'm so caught up with caring for my kids, 'kind and gentle hands' 'I need you to leave the groceries in the cart' 'you need to tell Shilo no if you don't like her touching you' 'stop chewing on (grossest thing you could ever find) it's not food.'   And, I'm never ready for the words.  Never. 
As much as I want to forget them, as I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, they stick with me.  They embed in my heart. They exacerbate my anxiety.  So much so that I recently realized that I've just stopped going places very often.  It's too much.  It's physically hard to do things with a very active toddler and a child in a wheelchair.  The lifting, carrying, getting the chair in and out, it wears a girl out.  But, not so much so that it might keep me from doing things.
The words though, they have done it.  They have made me not want to go new places, or do new things. They have me avoiding storytimes because of a specific person, and one of the library branches because of someone who works there. That's not okay.  Please think before you judge.  And, if by some chance you make a snap judgment, as we're all prone to do, keep it in your head.  Leave it there.  Feel free to go on believing it if you want.  But, whatever you do, do not say it out loud to the person you're judging. It's your issue.  Not theirs.  I promise you, from experience, they have enough of their own.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My drug of choice.

I took this self vow that I would live more honestly.  If someone said, 'How are you' I would respond honestly.  Most days that means, 'I'm struggling.'  I would tell people I have anxiety.  I would show people our home, even if it's messy.  I don't want it to be for pity.  It's not pitiful.  It's life, and sometimes it's really hard.
This new habit hasn't been without a lot of heartbreak.  Lots of people love the realness.  They appreciate hearing that other people are struggling.  But, some people see the opening of vulnerability as an easy in.  It's not always intentional.  But, when I share my struggles and someone responds with how it's a spiritual deficit, a parenting deficit, a spousal deficit, and just about every other area of my life, it makes one want to retreat.  Don't get me wrong.  I am deficient in all those areas.  I could make you a whole freaking list of where I fall short.  But, my hope in being real isn't to shine light on my sucking at things.  It's to shine light on how everyone feels not good enough.  And, if we can stand together and say, 'yeah, me too' our shortcomings are much less scary.  There's hope that maybe we aren't as big of failures as we sometimes feel.

This week we found out that Asher's scoliosis has gotten worse and we will begin casting to try to straighten his compensatory curve, and prevent his congenital curve from worsening as quickly to prolong surgery.  We found out that he does indeed have a bar opposite his hemi vertebra guaranteeing both that the congenital curve will get worse, and that he will need surgery to correct it at some point.  I LOVE having a definitive.  I hate what it is.
When he is casted he can not take a bath, or be in water.  I'm glad we're starting it going into the winter.  But, the boy loves baths.  The two weeks prior to casting are fall break so we're planning a trip to an indoor water park for a few days (the mid-west in October isn't conducive to outdoor water play).  We like to try to do things to balance and redeem the hard. 

I've been in avoidance mode since the appointment.  Constantly checking facebook (despite the fact that I'm trying to take a break from it), e-mail, reading articles, anything I could find to fill my mind with fluffy things.  I'm not interested in the countdown in my head.
So this evening, as I was making dinner, I wasn't that surprised to find myself fighting tears.  I know where it ends every time.  I don't know why I don't just allow myself to process it, work through it, and move forward.  Everyone in my home would benefit from me changing this habit.  I don't get much done.  I don't spend much time actually focused on my kids.  I just escape.  Distraction is my drug of choice.  It numbs things.  It's free.  Nobody else knows. 

 It, like other drugs, is temporary.  It doesn't actually change reality.  Eventually, I have to lay down in my bed, and all the things are still there, flooding my head.  Vying for my attention.  Preventing me from the escape I'm hoping for.  Just closing my eyes for some hours.  So I turn on mindless television, and fall asleep to that. 
It works for a few days.  But, at some point I'm doing something that demands me to not have a screen in front of me.  And, I lose it.  Fall apart.  I desperately clamor for a way to go back to numb.  But, it's too late.  So I wade in.  It's deep.  Thick.  Hard to make it through.  And, it's all just compounded with all the other shit that was already there.  Perhaps some day I'll be strong enough to just jump in from the beginning.  I'll join all the other brave people getting dirty.  I'm there today.  The people with me are much kinder than those voices that tell me I can escape things.  They remind me that I'm strong, and brave, and I can do hard things.  And, I can be real about how much doing hard things sucks sometimes.  This is one of those times.