My last post sort of spun me, not going to lie. I sat with the note from my daughter for quite a while before I decided to share. I didn’t know what to expect. I was, in a large part, very worried about how I’d be judged and I’m sure I was judged by many.
The day I posted it, I almost deleted it, but then a special mama reached to me to say thank you…and then another….and another….and I realized how important it is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to share in a real way. I don’t mean we expose our dirty laundry 24/7. That’s not vulnerability any more than never showing our shortcomings. I mean sharing something because maybe, just maybe another mama is struggling too, and allowing ourselves to be exposed like that could help them (and is) feel less alone.
It’s humbling, to say the least.
It’s utterly terrifying for me, not going to lie. I tend to share often on social media, but still with a lot of restraint. Basically, if you only know me via social media, you’ll never really know me and if I’m honest, I think that’s how it should be. I don’t think people who have never met me in person should know me as well as people who live in my house, or are related to me.
I’m just saying.
What do you think?
I think in the last couple of years, when I first realized that I was depressed, I also realized I was over-sharing in an effort to connect – to anyone. While I was happily married, I felt incredibly lonely outside of that marriage and I was a new mom, in a new city, navigating a new life as a SAHM. I hurt inside. I felt so desperately lonely that I latched on to anyone who would smile in my direction.
It wasn’t healthy.
Online, I craved attention so much that I posted more often than I care to admit. I divulged private information that should have remained precious and private. I think there is a lot of power in privacy – something we’re lacking in this Webbed world we live in.
For a long time, the “connection” via the Internet rubbed my psyche like sandpaper and I rebelled against it, deleted accounts and swore I’d one day throw my cell phone against a wall or roll over it with my car and never purchase another one.
I stepped away from social media and began to evaluate my life – and what I wanted from my life.
I learned that social media and Internet connections aren’t all that bad, if we use them responsibly and in moderation. I think it’s when we see things people post online and begin to feel like we actually know them or when online connections are our only connections, that it becomes unhealthy.
Through all of the books I’ve been reading this year, I’ve learned that my struggles are not new and unlike what they try to tell us in today’s world, the struggles aren’t new at all. Loneliness is as prevalent today as it was in the 1600s. I think we just talk about it more and it’s spread all over the Internet more. Violence is as prevalent today as it was in the 1800s, but because the news focuses on that for ratings, it seems more problematic than in the past. While today, people use automatic weapons and bombs, back then they used rifles and dynamite.
I think the world is whatever we choose to focus on and we must watch our thoughts so that our world reflects back to us whatever we want to see.
I don’t watch the news to check on the health of the world around me.
I don’t follow politics to seek truth.
I don’t believe everything I see.
I believe nothing I hear.
This helps me navigate this world with a more discerning eye.
Having a heap of self-confidence and intention in my life helps as well.
Trying New Things
Read any personal development book and they’ll all tell you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Believe me, I read enough of those books during my depressed years for all of us and while I think they can be helpful, I also think they have the underling tone of: You are flawed and here’s how you need to change to make yourself better.
To that, I say: fuck off.
I think it’s good to try new things. I tend to dive into things, like I jump into a pool to avoid the shock of the cold water. When I try something new, I practically drown myself in it and learn as much as I possibly can. I live and breathe it – not for a week, not for a month, but more like for a year or more. Then I step back and wait for a long while to decide what, if anything that I learned is truly relevant to my life and my personal values.
This behavior makes me seem fickle to some, especially to those who don’t actually know me, and I’m sure it makes me seem unreliable to my past network marketing connections who may have thought I was their gold mine, but I’m not fickle and I’m not unreliable unless you’re trying to build a million-dollar business off of me.
I just learn best through immersion.
I used to be a Beachbody coach and I dove headlong into that and used the programs, followed the nutrition, was super active in groups, and really enjoyed doing something that I felt helped others. I enjoyed it, but there came a time when I found myself posting a lot of bikini pics, and considering participating in physique competitions that I realized I lost myself somewhere.
So I stopped.
I stopped all of it and stepped way back for a couple of years.
Now, I use Beachbody OnDemand, I do my own nutrition – not perfect – hell, I ate four donuts the other day – and I have a goal to workout four days a week. I am not a Beachbody Coach and have zero desire to be one.
This is what I took from my amazing experience years ago and this is what works for me.
Later, I craved a more natural, self-love philosophy that was less focused on the physical – I began doing yoga every single day. I began using essential oils every single day and enrolled as a Wellness Advocate with doTERRA. I was active in the groups. I read tons of books. I made blends and soaps and lotions, and led classes. It was all great until I found I was bored out of my mind. There is only so much you can say about lavender, without feeling ridiculously redundant. With the yoga, I found I was pushing myself too far. Headstands are great, but they hurt my neck and well, the change in perspective didn’t really do much for me. Also, one doesn’t have to actually practice yoga to be a Yogi.
So, I stepped way back and realized that while I love sharing about oils and I use them every single day, I really don’t want to build a business based around essential oils. While I like yoga, it’s not my favorite way to move my body and it didn’t help me heal in any way – and, for the record, sometimes when I see super thin, toned women walking down the street, my first question is often – yoga or heroin? Practicing yoga doesn’t equate health. Obsessions run rampant in all things.
Balance is key.
And it’s a challenge, especially as we are bombarded daily with “shoulds” for a so-called healthy life. Which brings me to the ridiculously impossible “toxin-free” movement, which I was an active player in for a while.
Then one day, I looked at my daughter’s clothes and how dingy they looked and I walked my ass to the store and bought regular Tide and some Shout.
For a full year, I stepped away from the notion that I needed to make my home chemical free. I let go of the obsession and decided again, that if anything I learned was meant to be in my life, I’ll discover it.
I am still very much interested in doing what I can to reduce my footprint, so I made the choice to take small steps. I started by reusing glass jars – you know, from pasta sauce and such – and plastic containers from cottage cheese and yogurt, etc. I didn’t make a big deal about it, just did it and tried to be consistent with it. From there, I looked at other ways we could easily reduce our plastic dependence, so we have ditched toilet paper that’s wrapped in plastic and replaced it with toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap and we’ve purchased toothpaste from Bite Toothpaste Bits so we don’t have to throw away plastic toothpaste tubes anymore.
Ladies, I’ve also reduced my use of tampons by using the Flex Cup. I’ll admit, it was a pain in the ass trying to get the hang of it and I almost tossed the thing in the trash, but I can honestly say that I like it. I still use tampons (though I switched to organic) the first couple of days, but then I use the cup. Again, every little bit helps.
I have a compost pile in my garden. I use paper bags or no bags when possible. I’m sewing reusable shopping totes and hoping I won’t forget them when I do shop. I shop second hand a lot.
Little, totally do-able things that add up. I’m not looking to get a pat on the back, or a gold medal or thousands of followers for living a “naturally healthy life.” I’m just a mom trying my best.
What I’ve learned the hard way over the years is this: In all we do, whether it’s parenting, shopping, eating, connecting, or relaxing, we must do it intentionally and accept that we cannot (and should not) be everything to everyone, nor can we do anything perfectly. We can let go of these limiting notions and embrace the truth: We do our best with what we have and as long as we aren’t harming anyone, we’re okay. If we discover that our actions are harming ourself or others, we can work to make small changes in our lives to propel ourselves forward based on our personal values.
I’m not sure, but I think it’s a good healthy balance.
Pics of some of the fun we’ve had since the last post: