I have just completed the last chapter of my dissertation. And I did it during and immediately following one of the biggest, messiest crises of my life. I’m telling you, my Holy Homeboy ain’t stunting on your “Woe is me, my life sucks,” kind of moments—he’s there to help you
It is the only explanation for my ability to function during the last two weeks, much less finish up with the major writing. Truth be told, I just want to lay in my bed for a few extra weeks hours, which will occur tomorrow what with another DC area snowstorm scheduled to start at O-dark-30 tomorrow morning. #sickofwinter
So, here’s my recap of this week’s life lessons and observations.
Hard times don’t last, but tough people do (with lots of help). Cliché, right? It’s true. Hope and I are settling back into our routine after a dramatic two week episode that saw the need for mental health interventions, a belligerent social worker who kept suggesting that I broke the kid, fall outs with Grammy that managed to include the word “failure,” tears, more tears, stress eating, full on emotional meltdowns, phone calls, texts, instant messages from kind friends who dragged my emo butt through the muck and mire back to sanity, and one special person who managed to strap me to the couch for a day of rest on an emotional island. Somewhere along the way I pushed out a few work projects and got this dissertation draft done. I think I can really do this.
Resilience is a blessing. As much as trauma is long lasting and contagious, our ability to bounce back from “stuff” is nothing short of amazing. I had to do some really, crazy, “never thought I’d be here, but here I am” stuff during the last two weeks. Hope experienced some schnitt that I wish wasn’t necessary on the path to jelling our little family. I thought she would punish me (she still might); I thought I would lose her. I thought about every possible catastrophic outcome. And yet, in the end, here we are sitting watching some stupid kid movie on Netflix, soaking up some together time. Occasionally, she gets up to just give me a hug. I didn’t know if we would have this a week ago, but here we are. Oh, I know that we will have drama in the future, but we will survive. We will prevail. We will be happy.
Some people really are just bullies. Never in my life would I have imagined picking up a phone call from Hope’s social worker to hear her just yelling into the phone, upset about all that was going on. Where do they do that? Does that strategy work? WTH!!??!!
After getting a couple of those calls when the woman had been updated with all the available information on the status of our crisis, I finally had to just check her. You know, the kind of check that comes in quiet but informs your adversary that you ain’t here for their foolishness one more got-dern minute. I gathered her up quick and got us on the same page. I know she was trying to do her job, and apparently some folks just accept her behavior as being passionate about the kids. Um, no. You can be passionate without steamrolling over people. No ma’am, you can just stop that madness right, damn now. #nothavingit #trymeonemoginandsee
Your capacity feels tiny, but it really is limitless. There were moments when I wondered whether I could do any of this. There were moments when I felt just paralyzed by what felt like a lot of emotional chaos. There were things that had to be done, calls to make, emails to follow up on, specialists to chase down, social workers to call. I went to work. I stayed up late writing. I was and am exhausted. And somehow I just kept going. At least once an hour I thought I should just stop. I doubted myself. I doubted my commitment to Hope. I raged at God; wasn’t it supposed to be a little easier than this? Just a little? Did you really have to flex and show me you could save us? #ialreadybelieveddang
And yet every day, I got up and I did as much as I could. I muddled through it. Some moments were prettier than others and there are now stacks of papers and crap that I will consider stabbing someone if they dare touch said stack or move it. I don’t know how I managed, but I did. I’m too tired to think I’m a superhero, but damn if I don’t feel like I should go buy a t-shirt with a cape. Once I get some rest, I might go climb the Himalayas or something, you know because apparently I can. When tested, you can do so much more than you thought.
Everyone’s life is messy. A year or two ago, I came across an article on Yahoo about how Facebook was making people depressed because they were comparing their lives against all the happy faced pictures that all their friends were posting on Facebook.
Well, really, who’s going to post all the crap pics? You know the one where your eyes are closed, the selfie you took after you wedged yourself in that outfit in the dressing room, the vacation picture that seemed innocent enough until some a-hole in your group posted it tagged you and now you feel like a killer whale in a bathing suit? Yeah, those pics.
Our public lives are carefully crafted, and while it looks great, it’s a big farce. Everyone has at least one hot buttered mess that they are wrestling with on the daily. As I shared the details of the recent drama, lovely people in my inner circle confided their stuff too. On some level, misery does love company, but only because it can be humanizing, validating, and well, in a moment of brutal honesty, you feel some hope that someone’s mess may sound as bad or worse than yours. Sometimes it just helpful to know that you aren’t struggling alone. Everyone has it bad.
Sometimes you need drugs. Yeah, sometimes I’d love a nice herbal or to just pray my way through stuff, but sometimes you just need drugs. And it’s ok to make the choice and damn the people who shame you and tell you that your kid needs to take karate or that you just need to exercise more. They don’t know schnitt about what you’re experiencing.
New drugs were introduced into our lives recently. I was worried; I still worry. I don’t want Hope on drugs forever and ever, but a week and a half in, I can see that this drug will provide us with the headspace to work on emotional coping skills and adjustment struggles. The social worker gave me hell about this particular drug, but you know what, she’s never actually lived with Hope. In a shared living environment, I’m seeing what Hope really struggles with and I’m working to get her what she needs to ensure her long term success. Mama knows. This short term relationship with drugs is a good thing for us and again, if you disagree, just move it along.
It’s late and I’m exhausted. And well, I just finished writing my dissertation, ok? This is it for tonight. I’m hopeful and optimistic that we will continue to heal and grow. We survived because we’re survivors.