The steady theme of 2017 for me was plug. Plug away. Plug in. Unplug. Keep on plugging. It was a year of doing the same thing, over and again. A year of unplugging from things that hindered the goals I have for me and my family. A year of doing hard things, and doing those hard things during hard times, all the while tending to the necessary things of life.
It was exhausting. It is still exhausting.
I am currently living in a window of time between doing really hard things, and only doing the ordinary things. Cleaning the house, doing laundry, making meals, herding children, and posting funny memes every so often.
And it is like I do not know what to do with myself in my quiet hours.
There is nothing I have to do. I can just be.
And, that is the hardest thing.
Well, it used to be the hardest thing. Shame was once so entwined in my life that it would be difficult to discern Heidi from that dirty, constant current of guilt. I was not even sure what I was guilty of, but it must have been pretty bad for me to just *know* all the time that there was something hideous and wrong about me.
I took the blame for everything, and everyone.
My mom’s failed relationships. My relatives’ rejection of me. Angry customers at work. Frustrated managers. The paint job on my car peeling. Friends that grew distant. That little pudge of fat in my underarm.
I took on the load for things that could not have been my fault. Like the manufacturer’s defect on my car’s paint. My genetics that determine that my body needs a little extra cushioning around my arms.
I took on the load for things that could be blamed on me, but that no one in their right mind would shame me for, like my mother’s relationships. Or my relatives that just could not figure out how to accept me, while disliking my parent(s).
Then, there are things that just happen in the cycles of life. Relationships are not static, and that is normal, and not a situation that is cause for shame. People get angry when they are hurt or scared, and sometimes, they take that out on strangers. Again, not a reason for shame.
Yet, I felt it. And, when I did not feel it, I immediately felt guilty for not feeling ashamed.
My childhood was not my fault. The way others behave is not my fault.
The way I handle myself, though, is my responsibility.
When I first started running, it was a race between me and anger, or sadness, or memories, or depression itself. As though I thought if I could just run far enough, and hard enough, that I could outrun those things that hurt me, and that if I could outrun them, then they would be conquered, and left behind me.
I have a shocking revelation: there is no outrunning the things that go on in one’s mind. Gather yourself before continuing reading, because I know that was a hard hitting piece of information.
Now, I run because I want to. And, when I run, I make those negative suckers run right along with me, until they are either out of breath, or there is a new perspective that allows me to breathe, and not compete with my own brain.
And, after three and a half years since first admitting I have depression, I finally hear myself saying things like, “you are amazing, Heidi.” I tell myself that I did a good job parking. I congratulate myself when completing a task. I hear Tim Gunn saying, in my voice, to “make it work” when I realize that I am out of an ingredient when making dinner.
Because, guys, I am a bad mamma jamma. The things I have lived through, endured, and even thrived under all culminate to this truth: I am a force that shame can no longer reckon with, and win.
I plug away when things are hard, and still somehow have enough energy to care for other little and big humans. I unplug when I do not want to, because I know that I only have so much energy that can be generated. And I do both without shame.
My dear friend, you are amazing. You are a storm of purpose and passion, and I am so proud of you. You can, and already do, things that no one else can accomplish. When you feel shame, you have permission to question it: where it originated, why it is there, when it appeared, how it showed up, and who it is from. If that is not something you are comfortable doing on your own, might I suggest finding someone to walk through that process with you, whether it be a therapist, friend, pastor, or gas station attendant? Sometimes we just need to hear ourselves, without judgment or someone attempting to fix us, for us to be able to heal and move forward.
Keep plugging in and unplugging. You are one bad mamma jamma, and I am thrilled to do life on this earth with you.
Scriptures that I pondered while writing this post:
I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28
Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I would love to hear your story, or to receive your feedback.