8/15/15

5 years. That’s how long this blog has existed, in one form or another. That’s also how long I’ve been a mother, how long Leo has been alive. It’s hard to fathom. The twists and turns and loops we have traveled in those years boggle the mind. (Yes, my mind IS easily boggled, thank you smartass in the back, sit down and shuddup. I have a point, let me get to it.) Somewhere along the way, I got overwhelmed and stopped posting here. I never stopped writing, my “drafts” folder is overflowing with partially finished, half edited entries, like my own personal pseudo – blog. Or diary. Or trash can…I just stopped hitting the “publish” button. I stopped because of time, because of embarrassment and depression and worry about what “they” thought, and because I thought what I had to say was too trite and lame to inflict on the hapless  internet at large. But then today something happened. I realized, as I watched my 5 year old run through the grass and splash into the lake with absolutely no fear, when a year ago he wouldn’t even go more than ankle deep into ANY body of water (including a bathtub), that even through my dysfunction and mess and staggering failed attempts at adulthood, I’ve gotten somewhere. I’ve managed to help a tiny human grow for 5 years – as of two years ago, not one, but TWO tiny humans have grown with my help, as a matter of fact! I like where I’m going, and I’m ready to talk about “it”. I’m ready to be me, over here in my little messy corner, in all my weird, crazy glory. So here’s to a new year, and (another) fresh start.

Hello, my name is Skye. 5 years ago today, my life changed forever, and it was the scariest, most amazing and harrowing experience of my life. And I’d do it all over again. Stick around and I’ll fill in the gaps my most recent disappearing act left in this rambling mess of blog. Or not. because you know, that’s how I roll on here.

Peace and Love ❤ Skye

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Thank You, Leo

I haven’t gotten much right in my life. I was not an easy child, and although I do know I was loved, I have always been impulsive and precocious, quick to jump in to trouble. School was a horrific experience for me. I was smart, but not at all good at being smart in the ways that brought praise and good grades. I drove more than one teacher to distraction, and failed more than one class. When my teachers started talking about colleges I rolled my eyes, as I considered the combination of my inability to function or cope in an academic environment and the fact that in my family, college simply wasn’t an option. I was also a bully magnet – that annoying, loud mouthed kid who didn’t even have ONE similarly irritating friend to their name. And I’m not the kind of person who can take rejection, disdain and insults in stride. The end result being, by the time I made it to my teen years, I was a screwed up mess of self- loathing and raw angst. We all know how that fares when one is female and moderately cute. I went from being a bully magnet to being a bad boy magnet. My parent’s hair turned white overnight, and my self – esteem, already in tatters, completely fell apart. I fled to Guatemala at 18, got sick, came home, worked a bit, fled to the Dominican Republic, and got sick and came “home” again. Two years later, I was getting married. No where along the way have I had a successful “career”, made it to college or even managed to sort of make up for my history of preemptive failure – at least in my own eyes. And then, in November of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. Whether I was ready or not, whether I was capable or not, a baby WAS coming to live with us, and as completely lost and terrified as I was, I knew, for the first time in my life, that I couldn’t back out. My biggest fear was – and still is – that I would fail miserably. The jury is still out on whether or not I have – but I do know one thing. IF I fail, it won’t be from lack of effort. It won’t be because I gave up before I even started, or because I was too overwhelmed to see things through. Being a Mama is the FIRST thing I’ve done in my life that has unequivocally NOT been a failed attempt. Leo and his brave Daddy are my anchors. I can’t even begin to appreciate them enough. And Motherhood has changed me in every way conceivable. Being Leo’s Mama took me down my path to where I am now – firmly in my “crunchy”, Montessori teaching, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural parenting niche. He’s shown me that I do indeed have strength that I NEVER imagined, and his love and faith heals me daily.

Validate Me

Recently, via a questionable Facebook post and the intervention of – well, let’s just call  it the universe and leave it  at that –  it was brought to my attention that I am constantly in search of  – *gasp* – VALIDATION. Initially, the realization mostly concerned my need for my parenting practices and choices to be validated. I can easily explain that phenomenon,  simply by alluding to the battles I have unwittingly sparked, beginning during my pregnancy when I announced my decision to use cloth diapers, breastfeed *as long as the baby wanted* and allow the child to sleep close to us. Once Leo made his appearance, the battles, and the criticism escalated, until I suffered from such a terrible case of “defensive crunchy Mama-ism” that I became one of *those* horrible, judgmental “natural” sancti-Mommies. And then – reality beat the crud out of me and left me confused,  humbled and desperately seeking – validation. Ok, so that all makes sense, right? Well, it does. And it’s TRUE. But as I mulled things over, another, extremely difficult to swallow realization made it’s way into my conscious and has refused to make an exit. In therapy, over the past few months, my lovely counselor has introduced the concept to me of a “frozen need” that is causing me to partake in an endless round of unrealistic expectations, desperate hope, self – sabotage and ultimately, crushing sadness and depression. Until now, WHAT form that “need” took alluded me. Until last night at about 2am. In the ultimate “duoh” moment, it finally all fit together. I spent  my childhood attempting to reach  high –  and when I say high, I mean, REALLY high – expectations, and surrounded by endless demands and very few moments of true acceptance. I’ve never “fit in”. Anywhere. I consistently find myself in one sided, demanding relationships, and I am ALWAYS desperately trying to “prove” my RIGHT to be treated as an equal – to any and everybody. I vividly remember telling someone that I felt like a “second rate human” as a child, and I honestly, ALWAYS feel that I should put others ahead of myself, to an extreme that leaves me broken, exhausted and barely functional. See where this is going? The “Aha moment” of my desperate need for acceptance and validation has brought me to a place of semi-peace, in this moment anyway. I’m not 100% sure where this will lead me, but every small understanding, no matter how tiny, at least lets me know I’m getting somewhere.  I am slowly beginning to make sense to myself, and ultimately, to be in control of what I DO with these needs and thoughts I’m carrying around.

Toddlerese

Now that I’m feeling a bit better, Leo and I have been having SO much fun. Things have been happening around here too, BIG things. Things that I’m afraid to talk about, because they don’t feel quite real just yet. I’ll have to keep you all in suspense a little while longer – and before you ask, no. I’m not pregnant. Anyway, back to Leo and I and the fun. We’ve planted a raised bed veggie and herb garden, that Leo is (mostly) helping with and not destroying (too badly). We have been painting a good bit (the fun, on canvas kind, not the home decorating kind –  although that needs to happen soon too), we’ve been doing an AWESOMELY fun kids yoga DVD in the morning,  AND – we’ve been talking. Now, Leo and I, we’ve talked non-stop to each other since the day we met. What’s really cool about our conversations here lately, is that we have actually been speaking the same language. I heard the phrase “Toddlerese” the other day, and I loved it. It’s perfect. Leo and I speak Toddlerese to each other, and I have actually caught myself THINKING in this imaginative, inventive language. For example – the other day, Leo picked up one of his Daddy’s duffels, stuck a few of his favorite toys inside, parked himself in front of the door (completely naked) and informed me “buh-bye Daddy Wheeoo GO!” which translates into English as”I want to go see my daddy at the fire station. NOW!” You see how this is fun… The best part is that every day there are more words, and more fun experiences to teach us more fun words. Two days ago the word was “apple”. We now have two fruit varieties in our world – Nanoos (bananas) and Ap-puls. We have two vehicles  – all motorized, wheeled contrivances are either “wheeo’s” or “choo-choo’s”. Don’t even TRY to inform him that our family car isn’t actually a “wheeoo” but is in reality, a “car”. He won’t stand for such nonsense. Our family car is a fire truck, pure and simple. The same applies to colors – ALL colors are “lalo” (yellow). I got him to say “bu” ONCE, after which he giggle, handed me the cobalt  paint and said – “no! LALO!” And that was that. We also have cows, puppies, and beebee’s in our wonderful little world. We really like puppies and beebees. I now have so very many monikers, it’s a wonder I can keep up with them all. “Mi- mi” is used when I am in his good graces, usually when there are snacks involved. “Mama” is for times of sleepiness, despair or “ouchees”. And “Mom-Mom” is used when he is in a big hurry and there is business to attend – or when I have failed to attend to him immediately. Which is currently the name I am having shouted in my ear as his favorite Eric Carle farm animal book is repeatedly shoved into my lap. And that is that. Off I go to “moo” “baa” and bray with the barnyard gang in my wonderful toddler world.

The Truth About Marriage

By nature, when my illness isn’t in control, I’m a bubbly, fairly hyper, often loud, mushy, goofball. I LOVE to laugh. I knit and craft and dance without music. I paint and create collages, read wonderful books and write little stories for Leo. We spend as much time outdoors as possible, we garden and cook and giggle, and I find the time to blog. I don’t have the energy to blog when I’m sick. And I realized that there was a possibility, since I so seldom write when I’m less than well (at least before yesterday’s post anyway) that people could think that I live in a rose-tinted bubble – or, if they’ve heard me mention that I struggle with depression,  think that I’m trying to paint this “perfect” picture my life here – OR think that I exaggerate my illness. So I’m going to try some more of my new honesty here. I love my son. I love my husband. I have a good life, and except for my battle with whatever it is that’s screwy in my brain, I have been very, very blessed. But guess what? Sometimes it’s all I can do to make it though the day with Leo. Sometimes I just want OUT. My marriage isn’t perfect. Sometimes its pure bliss. Much of the time it’s comfortable, safe and contented. Other times… it’s hell. Our marriage has had it’s fair share of bumps and bruises. It’s a work in progress. And there a days when it feels like there’s only one person in the marriage trying or even willing to try to work on it. I know FireDaddy has felt that way, and I have too. Often. Seriously – who, in a committed relationship HASN’T?!  If you’re raising your hand and smugly patting yourself on the back – go you. You have the secrets to life figured out. Now please go away. I need to feel normal here, thank you very much. See, the main problem I’ve finally concluded, is simply that FireDaddy and I have radically different emotional styles.  We both think that the other isn’t “trying” because they’re not doing what we’re doing to make the marriage work. Let me explain – I’m all about trying to understand people.  I like to get into people’s heads and connect with them.  Yeah, I’m THAT girlfriend. I need, through lots of intense conversations, deep revelations and “sharing”, to figure out what makes you tick. And I need you to put in the work to “get” me too. It’s how I feel understood, and ultimately, loved. Those crazy intense conversations are how I’ve bonded with my closest friends. They were the “make it or break it” test for any and all boyfriends. FireDaddy on the other hand, hears the word “discuss” and he runs, screaming. I’m a bit of a research junkie too, and in an effort to figure out what’s happening up in my brain, I’ve become a bit of a psychological dilettante. Which, of course, is the second thing on the list of things that drive FireDaddy screaming off of a cliff. (Oh – wait. The screaming off of a cliff thing is me, after he’s strong and sliently shut me down with his deep dark he-man cave of silence… my bad) See – FireDaddy is a tough, firefighting “man’s man”. He’s all about privacy, working really, really hard, putting on a brave face, toughing it out and beating the odds. And keeping the conversation on emotionally neutral topics. Like his truck, or cheesy jokes. Or the garden. He’s a doer, not a talker. And at 11:00 pm at night, he’s going to go to SLEEP, thank you very much, his wacky, emotional wife’s intentions to continue rambling on be damned. And when I’m doing good, this is all okay. It’s part and parcel of HIM, who I love so dearly. Some of these things are even qualities I find extremely impressive and sexy, even. I have to chuckle, as  he snores through my psychological dissection of some random event or person, and then I realize how lucky I am to have him, seeing as how I’d talk all night if he didn’t fall asleep on me. But when I’m NOT well? Ye gads. FireDaddy falling asleep on me – or not wanting to “go there” with me is tantamount to lobbing a grenade in my general direction. It probably won’t kill me, but when the dust settles, I’m going to be one PISSED OFF Mama. I don’t honestly know where I’m going with all this, I just realized that haven’t got a point to make – well, except for this:  I don’t  think there are”good” marriages and “bad” marriages. Just ones where the people are willing to hang in there and ones where they can’t, for a million different reasons . Perfect marriages? Pure myth. Happy marriages? TOTALLY possible. But not easy, and not immediate. And when you hit those horrible bumps, as hurtful and awful as they can be, if your partner sticks by you, puts up with the yelling (or stony silence) and still holds your hand –  that’s the moment when,  despite all of their flaws and all of your flaws,  you have to know it’s love. Pure and simple.

By the way – Happy Anniversary honey! Better late than never, right?

Diagnosis Needed

Lately, as I get Leo ready for bed,  wash the dishes, or drive to work at the Gallery, I’ve been writing blog posts in my head. You haven’t read them, because they aren’t about breastfeeding, or cloth diapers, or even directly about parenting.  They belong on another blog I’ve considered starting, an anonymous, possibly not even published blog.  A not very PC, probably not very clean, “scary” blog. It doesn’t exist yet, and I’m not sure it ever will. I’m going to try something else first. I’m going to  un-censor myself here. I’m challenging myself to stop editing my posts as much, and to allow more of my truth into what I write. I’m scared, I’m unsure if this is the right decision, but I’m currently on a rocky part of my life journey, and I need the therapy inherent in blogging, STAT. While I’ll still somewhat write for the “public”, I’ll first and foremost be writing for me. This has the potential to blow up in my face, and I’ll try to accept that, if it does. So folks, if you don’t want to read about my anger, my mental illness, my loves, my flaws and  frustrations, my heartbreaks and what I really, truly think about things – stop reading. Now. “Unfriend” me on Facebook, stop following this blog. It’s okay. I’ll probably get my feelings hurt, yes, but I’d rather rip the band-aid off right now. I can’t hide anymore. I’d rather be alone.

I recently discovered that I’m NOT bi-polar (also known as manic-depressive), which is what I was diagnosed as at 18, and it completely unhinged me. I took bi-polar medications for years, based on that diagnosis,  I forgave myself, judged myself, explained myself, all based on that diagnosis. I defined myself by that diagnosis. And then it turned out it was wrong. Now my therapist has yet to give me a new diagnosis, and that too has  unhinged me. How can I explain my quirks and eccentricities, my negative actions and reactions, my flakiness, my difficulty being “normal” if I don’t have a diagnosis to point to? HOW CAN I HAVE FRIENDS WITHOUT THAT DIAGNOSIS? It’s deeply embarrassing to me, the fact that I care so intensely  “what people really think” of me. It’s even more humiliating to me that there is something so broken in my brain that I cannot hide it and solider on like everyone else. It’s why I NEVER call anyone except my parents or husband when I’m finally so sick I can’t pretend anymore. It’s why my marriage has had more than it’s fair share of shaky moments. It’s why I REFUSE to cry in public. EVER. I don’t cry in front of my therapist, rarely in front of friends, and even in front of my immediate family, if I can’t control my tears, I am ashamed. I’m embarrassed of being “sick”. I’m afraid people don’t believe me, and I’m afraid that they do. I tell almost everyone I meet, pretty early in,  that I have depression or a “mental illness”, just to forestall the inevitable revelation. And I have a very hard time having, being, and keeping friends. I LOVE people, I love having friendships, there seriously isn’t an anti-social bone in my body, but it exhausts me. The sheer effort of trying to interact normally, of trying to be a “good” friend, not upset anyone, keep the person happy –  with me, or just happy in general,  the constant picking up  of nuances, innuendos, hints as to what the person REALLY thinks of me, drains me to the point that I finally retreat into my house and hide. Sometimes, if the person has enough patience, enough love that they can wait it out, I come back. I apologize, because I REALLY don’t mean to, I hate abandoning them, but always, always, I worry. Do they really understand, or do they hate me? Am I forever labeled a selfish, unbalanced, unlovable, high-needs, high maintenance  “user”? And so the cycle continues. Sometimes, for some insane reason, people stick with me through the cycles. Most of the time, I end up burying the friendship. Sometimes, the demise of the friendship turns out to have been a good thing. Usually, I hate myself for abandoning the person, no matter how unbalanced, unwell or unfair the relationship really was. The cycle has helped me become a doormat – not that I wasn’t already pre-programmed to be one – but this lifelong cycle has intensified my passive tendencies to the point of CONSTANTLY apologizing – for myself and for things beyond my control,  of being afraid to disagree, even a little bit,  of bending over backwards for people until I can bend no more,  feeling like I can never do enough for them – and then of “flaking” out, disappearing,  or simply shutting down to avoid the conflict I am convinced will inevitably follow my no longer being able to “help” or be the giver in the relationship. And if the person themselves decide that they no longer “need” me, I am rejected, wounded beyond belief, left to retreat into my pain, never to be heard from again. Co-Dependency at it’s finest folks, with a little Borderline Personality sprinkled in for kicks (See – gotta put that possible diagnosis out there, to try to explain myself). I’m fully aware of the dysfunction of my patterns, I’m highly aware of how my habits and cycles damage me and those around me – I just don’t know how to change. I try, every single day, as hard as I can, to fight it. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in a mud pit miles long, digging myself a grave of good intentions and unbelievable, unnecessary  pain – and still, my ridiculous, co-dependent cycle continues.

 

I am convinced that I NEED a diagnosis. Just to prove to myself and everyone around me that I’m really not a bad person, that I’m not evil or selfish or doing what I do on purpose. How’s that for truth?