All I know

It seems like I only ever come here to post lately, when I need help. When I’m heavy and struggling. When I need people. And I’m sorry for that. I hate people to feel like they NEED to respond or reply, but honestly? It’s so hard for me to reach out for that reason exactly. I never want anyone to feel burdened by me or heavy. Ever. Regardless, I still need people.

For many years, I felt heavy and neglected. My husband worked a stressful, demanding job, 12-13 hour days where I wouldn’t hear from him. Where he would potentially be in dangerous situations, dealing with awful situations. I mean, I still remember the 1am phone call that he had been punched in the face and I was to meet him at the hospital. It was one of the most terrifying and life-altering moments that I’ve ever had, followed by facial reconstructive surgery two weeks later. He attended school full time in a prestigious, yet again, demanding program. There was no time left for us. For me. For a while – that was okay. I worked too. I missed my family but couldn’t reach out without hearing, “chin up!” I missed him. I missed us.

After we got married, I became a full time housewife for a couple years and for a while, that was okay too. We fought as I begged him to spend time with me. To take a semester off. As I noticed the changes in him the longer he worked a job where he had to shut off his feelings. As he denied the changes and blamed me. I cooked because I loved it. I provided. My heart on a plate because that was what I could do. I could show my love and care in carefully constructed meals. I could provide some love at lunch time for him, even if I wasn’t there. I worked out. I obsessed about food. I lost weight. I put too much value in my appearance. I dreamed of what I wanted to do with my life but couldn’t yet.

When we moved to New York, it was tumultuous. If I am completely honest, we were openly talking separation before we both decided to put TWO FEET IN and make it work. Even now, I admit that when we fight, I worry that we’re still there despite making big leaps and taking great steps. The move shook things up and settled the all the same. I somehow, by the grace of…who knows, finally took steps to enter in a career that I’d felt absolutely compelled to be in for years. Finally.

The pieces started falling into place after I took the training. I got another job. I was accepted into a collective of amazing doulas with mentorship. I started taking clients. I got promoted to office manager. My office grew and grew and I got a raise. I found an amazing childbirth educator and she started referring me fabulous clients.

And here I am.

I am emptier than empty. I’m still charging very low rates due to my membership in this group. I am running all over, answering multiple emails from multiple accounts daily, all hours. I feel like I can recharge a little bit, but then each interaction takes more than I was able to recharge. I keep talking about it and talking about it – but I don’t know how to change it. I can’t figure out what I can possibly drop as the sole earner right now. I am useless when I get home and that certainly doesn’t help my relationship no matter how badly I wish it could be different.

I love giving to people. Supporting my clients feels so good. I get to see new life. I get to cut cords. I get to tell people how much I really do believe in them, that they CAN do this. I get to watch people become pain free and live their lives healthier. I truly, in my heart LOVE helping people so, so much. But…I just don’t know how I am finding the energy to keep giving. It’s all coming at a cost that I quickly am becoming unable to pay.

Pressing the publish button is really difficult for this post. I feel like I am just whining and people are rolling their eyes but…this is really hard. It’s just so, so hard to love what you do but still feel completely worn out and exhausted by it all.

I don’t have answers on how to fix it and you don’t have to respond.

It’s just all really heavy right now and all I know is to talk about it.

Tired.

Have you ever felt so tired inside and out that you just wanted to cry but…couldn’t? 

It’s not depression. I’m not depressed. I get out of bed. I go through with my day. I find enjoyment in small things. I just feel…exhausted.

This isn’t news either, I realize. I’m working a 40-hour a week job in which I see an average of 35 patients a day, I commute 40 minutes by public transit each way, I’m taking a class every Sunday for three hours and I am actively interviewing, meeting with clients and attending births at all hours. Even as I write this, I feel guilty saying that this is ‘busy’ since I’m not shuttling kids around all day. Still, I feel so busy and just tired.

I’m doing such awesome things though you guys. I am seeing BABIES BORN. I’m watching moms become moms and dads become dads. I get to see dads go from disinterested or unsure to, “HOLY CRAP!? That’s my SON!” then racing to cut the cord.  I talk to loving nurses and doctors who very clearly want the best for my clients, regardless of what they’d do.  I get to help women see how amazingly capable they are and see them fall in love within seconds. It’s so ridiculously wonderful and by far some of the best moments of my work.

The flip side to that is…I see a lot of not so fun stuff.  I am having trouble walking away from each birth after seeing care providers disrespect my clients, knowing it didn’t have to be like that. Hearing someone say, “Well you’re ONLY three centimeters…” and then walk out of the room. Seeing them perform vaginal exams without even asking before penetration. I see family members trying so hard to convince their daughters to just, ‘take the drugs’ and ‘why do you want to suffer?’  I see a lack of lactation support in hospitals, a lack of true, unbiased childbirth education, I see a lot of scared women who are not being helped by their friends’ horror stories of how awful their labor was, how tired they were after their baby was born, how badly it will hurt and how their life is over.

So. Naturally. Sometimes, the bad outweighs the good. I can’t seem to step away from each birth and feel like I really helped. Instead, I walk away feeling like it could have been different and I couldn’t help MORE.  This is primarily why I suspect I’ll be applying to Midwifery School in the next couple years. Once I get some other things settled – I really think it’s the only way for me to really change the system. As a mentor of mine said, at least if I were their care provider, I’d know that they were treated with respect and would be heard.  I at least would know that someone believed in their bodies. 

What I am finding is that…I am struggling to open up. I’m struggling with all of this inside. The good, the bad and the ugly – all wrapped up inside.  I sat in a circle of amazing doulas last night, listening to birth stories. Some were so beautiful and wonderful, while others were absolutely tragic.  I was so proud to listen to these beautiful women tell the stories they’d been a part of and was blessed to support them. Even through all of this – I felt alone. I felt like I didn’t belong and didn’t fit in. I found myself wanting to share but not being able to figure out WHY I wanted to share. I just wanted to talk. As a particularly hard memory from my last birth popped up, someone I didn’t know well looked me in the eye and said, “You know, if you need one of us to cover you for even an hour during a birth, so you can take care of yourself, you need to do it.”

In that moment, I wanted to go off and talk to her. There was something about this person’s energy and spirit that I just…felt safe with. I had felt so alone that night, in the midst of all this love, but in that moment I just felt like I needed to cling to her.  Instead, I gave her a hug before I left and made a note to email her a thank you today.  I cried when I left the workshop because I felt like I didn’t know how to make deep, meaningful friendships. The kind where I don’t feel guilty calling them and needing them. I NEVER feel bad when someone needs me, but…it’s different. It’s me. I’m too much for anyone.

So. I’m struggling with just being emotionally tired. Exhausted. Worn out. I can’t stop being a doula, taking classes or reading about birth because it really feels like who I am inside. I can’t stop working the paying job even though it’s crazy because I make decent money for us and they love me there. I love my patients. I’m not quite sure where to go.

I just am finding it hard to reach out and say I need a hug – without some REASON for needing to talk and hug. Just because isn’t enough for me. I had no idea I struggled so hard with being vulnerable but apparently I do.  I worry too intensely about what someone will think of me, will my thoughts be crazy or too spinny. I don’t even contact my own mentor that gets PAID to help me because…I just don’t know what to do. What to say. Why we are meeting.  Then it makes me anxious.

I came home early from work today at 3pm and crashed. For 2 hours. I’ve been weepy ever since but I think it will pass. 

I’m just really tired y’all.  Thanks for keeping this space open for me.  

What’s the Plan?

It’s been a while since I posted anything about what I’ve been eating (or planning to eat) so I figured I’d give you all and update!

It really has been quite the transition from basically being a homemaker to working not only nearly full time, but also an unpredictable and odd schedule. I’ll be honest, it’s sucked. Some nights I get home at 9pm or later. Some days I leave the house at 6am. It’s kind of all over the place and I’ve really struggled to figure out not only what to eat, but how and when to eat. Mix in trying to get back into some sort of fitness routine and well…like I said before, you parents are amazing. Multitaskers to the MAX and I am so impressed.

That said, I’ve been really trying hard to eat at least 4 times a day. Breakfast, a shake, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast has generally been a couple of scrambled eggs with a piece of toast. I’ve experimented with having loaded oatmeal but it just doesn’t hold me like eggs do. Oh, and coffee. I love my coffee. I don’t feel like a zombie without it, but I really just love the smell, taste and the ritual of coffee.

Lunch has been a bit harder since on most days, I start work at 2pm. Often I’ll sip on my smoothie for a couple hours, then go to my lunch around 4pm. Different types of ‘loaded’ salads have been great. Romaine, edamame, almonds and cabbage with carrot-ginger-miso dressing. Spinach with feta, cranberries, almonds and chickpeas with a balsamic or orange vinaigrette. Kale with black beans, tomatoes, baked yams, corn and bbq tofu with a homemade tofu ranch. They are filling and have really worked!

But. I’m getting bored. What do you do for lunch?

Dinners are the hardest thing. I’m so used to cooking at night. I love it. I love the time spent making nutritious food but getting home after 8pm just…doesn’t work. So I’ve had to really be better about meal planning and preparing recipes that my husband can help with so that I don’t turn into a hypoglycemia-monster when I get home at 8:30pm.

SO! Without further rambling – here is the plan for this week:

What’s on your menu? Do you have any favorite fast-and-furious meals that you can toss together in an instant? 

Daily Prompt: Captive’s Choice

I feel like I’m barely here these days. I really want to be here. Seriously.

I loved November when I wrote almost every day. It felt good. It felt like I shared a lot and it wasn’t just all the moaning and whining that I tend to do. I felt like maybe people read and didn’t immediately roll their eyes with my drama.

Then I got a job and the holidays happened and I’m not sure I recovered. So I figured I’d give WordPress’ Daily Prompts a shot to see if I could get back into the swing of things.  What could it hurt?

Hah. Well. Today’s prompt is:

Daily Prompt: Captive’s Choice

You’ve been kidnapped and given a choice: would you rather be stranded on an island, dropped into an unknown forest, or locked in a strange building?

The answer to this is NEITHER. I would like NEITHER OF THESE THINGS PLEASE.

Really. What an awful prompt! Both of these situations are insanely anxiety causing for me. I really did try to give this a shot. I sat and tried to calm my inner hyperventilation response and think critically about which I’d prefer.

I mean, being dumped on an island might be kind of cool. There’d be beach and hopefully palm trees. (Unless it’s Long Island, then I just don’t really want to get dumped there.)  It might be warm and tropical and feel like a vacation at first. There might be coconuts and fruits or other fun things I could eat. Thing is? There might also be RESTLESS NATIVES that like heads on sticks. There could also be crazy new carnivorous animal species that would like to gnaw on my massive thigh. What if I got dehydrated or couldn’t start a fire, Survivor style? What if there was some sort of disease-carrying bug?

So, no remote island drop-off, please and thank you.

The second option – who the hell would ever want to be locked in some strange building? It’d be all cement-y and cold. It would probably smell like sweat, or paint, or dirt. For some reason I keep picturing myself in a never ending stairwell of fire doors that don’t open. (Perhaps that’s because I asked if there were stairs I could use at work and was told no – only exiting stairs with locking fire doors last week.)  There could be offices with mini-fridges in them which would be fun, but maybe not. If it’s anything like other offices I’ve been in, they get all gross and grimey and I probably wouldn’t want the food anyway.  Then I picture cubicles of death and a missing stapler a la Office Space.  Or maybe it’d be more like an episode of Burn Notice, when you’re locked in a building and there are people outside waiting to save you? That’d be way cooler. I mean, as long as Michael and Fiona were coming to rescue you anyway. Right? Like that’s ever happening.

So. No strange building. Nope.

Oh look, the prompt did get me to write about how awful it was.  Funny how that works. Either way, I’ll do my best to not get locked in any strange buildings or find myself on Gilligan’s Island anytime soon. It might be tough.

Would you have a preference if pressed? Stranded on an island or locked in a strange building? It’s CAPTIVE’S CHOICE!

ALSO – is there something you want to know about? A topic that I’m familiar with? How I do my hair? Who my ‘list’ is comprised of? Something about me? Please – tell me what to write about!