2017, I made it to you. Barely. But, I made it. I've seen so many people reflect on their previous year and their hopes and dreams for the coming year. Some were sad, some were awesome, some were over the top and some were just OK. I've been thinking about my year all day. 2016 started very rough as I had to leave my family and surrender myself to a treatment facility for my Anxiety and Depression that took over my life. January 29, 2016 was the actual day I gave up…or so I thought. I actually wasn't giving up at all by getting treatment, I was really rising up but I just didn't know it. If you think about it, this means that 2015 sucked quite a lot too because I spent the latter half of that year in tears hidden in my bed. So, to put it mildly- shit has been hard! For too long.
Here is what I do know: I know that I've changed. Thats it, thats all I know.
I got lost. Somewhere along my journey I either forgot who I was or I fell into a place where I became what I thought I should be. We all know that I am no stranger to treatment centers having been admitted at least 20 times for an Eating Disorder from the ages of 12-23. But, this treatment was for something completely different. Sometimes I think it was actually treatment for all the treatment. My reasons for being there were completely different yet entirely the same. What I mean is, I wasn't starving myself in terms of nutrition but I think I may have been starving my soul. My true self. Me, as I am meant to be. Both are equally destructive and harmful. I know this may sound confusing but let me just spew my thoughts and see if it makes sense to both you reading- and to myself.
I was always a worrier and always a pleaser. I did the things I was supposed to do. I did what was asked of me, I wasn't argumentative, I got good grades, I went to college, I worked in the family business. What is interesting is that I did all these things while starving myself nearly to death. I wasn't going to take out any frustrations or struggles on anyone else so I did it to myself. The ironic part is that it hurt a lot of people. Not their physical body like mine, but emotional torture and fear. So, as I was being this perfect girl who fell into line, I was also rebelling like hell in the only way I knew how. I was actually being me but sort of in an undercover way. Years went on and I bought my first house and I got married and had the children I'd always dreamed of…exactly two years apart - just as the plan was to be. My pregnancies were complicated and then there was the experience of almost losing my son. I coped with those struggles by focusing on my kids. All the heartache and pain was for someone other than me, so I was able to put myself completely aside and focus on my family.
Several more years went on and I created a charity to give back, I continued to work and upgrade my home every few years. I busied my self with the kids and signed them up for any and all activities possible. Anything to push all focus off of me. This worked. Super well, in fact. For a long time. But, guess what? You cannot hide from yourself forever. I've written before that I heard that pain demands to be felt and this is exactly what I mean. You see, all those things that I really felt inside my soul: all those thoughts that were darker than they should be, and all the fear of being who I really am- they eventually fought their way out. And, there I was. Still me.
A few years ago I started realizing that I actually didn't want to work in the family business. I realized that it was a position that allowed me to be an involved parent and to not miss school parties and allowed me to be home when they were sick. It gave me the time off when all of my pregnancies went crazy and I never had to fear losing my job. It was good financial security and it was everything that maybe everyone else would dream of. I heard for years how "lucky" I was and how I "had it made." I listened to all that and did actually know I was very fortunate however, it didn't make me happy. I questioned my judgement that if I was "lucky" enough to have this "perfect" scenario and I wasn't happy with it- then something must be wrong with me. I'm screwed up or I'm ungrateful. All negatives pointing to me when in reality- it simply just wasn't my dream. It wasn't the career I thought up and started from the ground up and built and nurtured to its success. It was my Mom's. And, she's wildly successful and I admire her greatly…but that doesn't mean that I had to be a part of it. I just didn't know that last part.
The reason I tell the story about my job is because I think those feelings of questioning my own judgement and trusting my true self started when I realized that I didn't like my job. Quitting that job was an incredibly challenging situation for me. It was about to be the first bold move I made…that was maybe going to go against what was expected of me. It was the first big move I made for me.
When I look at 2015 and 2016, I actually lost a lot. I lost my sense of safety and security and I mean that in every possible way you can imagine. I lost trust in everything and everyone and most of the people did nothing to lose it. I became a recluse and pulled myself away from most situations. I had so much going on internally that I simply couldn't take pressure from any other person or place. I needed to kind of ride things out and see if I could become me again. Actually me, not the "me" everyone knew. I've learned a lot through therapy over the years and I think the combination of the therapists I worked with in Arizona and my current therapist- I've been a whole lot more "me" lately. Everyone thinks I have this tough girl attitude and rough exterior and maybe I do. However, I believe its more of a shield of self preservation. Of protecting what I think and what I want and not allowing anyone to decide for me or to make expectations that maybe I don't even want to meet. I'm protecting myself from losing myself. Again.
I've come a long way in 2016 and I've got so much further to go. I need to let go of so much and I need to hold onto a lot at the same time. Its a complicated and messy picture and I am positive I'll very sloppily move my way through. Here is the best part. I actually have some goals. I have plans. I have things that I want to make happen. Interests I want to fulfill. Plans that are made up of things that make me happy. Not the fall in line and do what I should plans, but things Lindsay wants to do. Its been a long time since I have cared enough to want to make plans and goals and this year I did it all in my head without even realizing it. My friends, thats a win.
My goals aren't classic like to- "Be more successful Be a better Mom. Be better at a specific sport or hobby." My actual goal is to not lose me- and that single goal will allow all the others to happen.
2017 will be bumpy and to be fair, Im always a little scared. I'm ok with it. Im in a much better place than I've been in years and I am looking forward to seeing what roads I travel next. I'm going to try very hard to trust myself. Praise the Lord, there is hope!
"The Comeback Is Always Stronger Than The Setback." I believe.