Who Am I? Starting 2023 Recognizing that I am NOT Who I Was
So, I have entered into the new year wondering many things. I have gotten to a point where I need to admit when I cannot do something. I was NEVER that person before losing Adeline. I was able to do it all. I was a leader and I loved being a part of things and taking the rein to make things work. Now, I am not that person. I am realizing that while I one thrived as a queen bee, I am now a worker bee and that is where I will be able to thrive moving forward. I am not sure that I will ever be able to handle the stresses that come with normal life, let alone being in charge of things and doing the things that I used to. It has been a VERY hard realization and one that has led me to wonder, "Who am I?"
(As I look at this picture, I am sobbing...I mourn the days that are long passed and the days that I got to be mom on earth to Adeline. I miss my baby girl so much and would give anything to be back here on that church in the living room with my littlest love sharing life. I know that all too often we long for what we don't have and we don't realize that what we have is everything that we need to be happy. I miss those free feelings of happiness, happiness without force and happiness without the sorrow to follow that my girl is not here with me.)
I always identified myself by how I was giving back to my community and what I was doing for others. I always was involved in many organizations and took pride in being a part of so many teams, offering so much to those around me. However, I am learning that I no longer have to offer what I once did. I just do not have the energy to be able to do it all. I would wonder if age had affected this but I know that the reality is that I have heartbreak that is beyond measure and with that heartbreak there is a lot of energy lost just keeping it together to try and function as a human, let alone not try to hide the tears or the pain that is constantly felt. I don't want to be sad all of the time around my friends and family, but I am struggling more with happiness as we approach more days without our little girl here with us.
It has been 744 days since I last got to hug and kiss my little girl. I can't believe that ill has been so long. I can't believe that my heart has continued to beat and that I have continued to live without her. I felt like I was going to die on that day with her and in reality I have to admit that I did. I realize that physically I am still here on this earth, but I am not the human that I was before losing Adeline. I have to admit that now. I am not the person that I was before this tragedy took over our lives and defines us. I need to be gentler with myself and I need to make me and my well being a priority instead of only focussing on others and having an obsession with doing good in a way to honor Adeline. I know that the best way that I can honor her is to be healthy and reconnect with myself and continue to try and focus on where I am best needed and what activities give me the most joy.
I have stepped down from being the Board Chair at Soulside Healing Arts. The entire board is filled with wonderful humans and Soulside has the most beautiful mission. I loved everyone that I met through this amazing opportunity, but I have to admit that I am not what they need. They need someone who is more of a leader than this new me is. I guess I have to take "leader" off of my list of personality traits. I am just not a leader anymore and that is okay. The world doesn't need another person to be a leader who does not have those skills and natural abilities and while I once did, I need to be honest with myself and those around me that I no longer am. I am hopeful that with stepping down from this position that I can be better with my position within Illini Moms. I have to admit that I have felt overwhelmed with the executive position that I have given. After I complete my year commitment, I know that I will no longer apply or accept these types of executive positions, at least not in the foreseeable future. I need to focus on just being a member and happily volunteering within the organizations where I best fit.
I also have to admit that my yoga and meditation practice has wained. While it is something that makes me feel better, there is a part of me that is scared to feel better...scared to heal as if healing will somehow change the past and change my love for Adeline. I know that this is not the case, but I am so scared that if I am happy that others will not realize that I am still so broken. So, I have to admit that I run from happiness all of the time. I know that yoga and meditation make things better, so therefore I have seen myself abandon my teacher training, run from my personal practice, never start with a public practice (even though I hold a 10 class pass and have for the past 6 months), and hide in the shadows of the thing that scares me the most....healing. I know that I should not be this way. Logically I know that Adeline would want for me to be happy and that she would want for me to find peace, but I also don't want to feel happy in a world where she isn't with me. I don't want to feel happy in a world where my girl is gone. Until I can get to a place where my mental health is better (and perhaps that starts with taking better care of my physical health, exercising, eating healthier...honestly, I don't know!), I don't think that I can get into a space where I welcome yoga and meditation back into my life.
Seasonal depression is a real struggle for me. It has been for many many years. I have always had the winter blues, but the winter blues compounded with grief, with Adeline's birthdays that we have to celebrate while she is in Heaven, with Adeline's angelversary, and the holidays that are spent without her...it feels like seasonal depression has a new hold on me in ways that I don't know how to explain. Don't worry though, I am still fighting and I am trying to be the best me and mom that I can be. I just don't know what the best version of this me is. I am here though and committed to finding the path that will get us there.
So, what does 2023 hold for me now that I am admitting that I am a new me. There are some lofty goals that I have and I am sure that I will not accomplish them all, but I am working towards them.
Each day I have a goal to journal, read, and exercise in some way (I have a few different options at this point until I am ready to jump back into yoga and meditation.)
I need to find a full time position. I have inquired about one mental health position if I do not land in a teaching role by the start of the next school year.
I will adjunct. While I was supposed to start with adjunction this spring, it looks like it is going to be fall. This makes me really happy to be honest. I hadn't felt ready this month to take on something else while I was job hunting and while I was dealing with the board positions that I have now.
I will volunteer with a few organizations that I believe in...Soulside Healing Arts, NAACP, and League of Women Voters, but I once my term as an executive is over with Illini Moms, I will simply be a board member there too!I will no longer seek out leadership positions within these spaces. I will continue to volunteer and serve others, but as a worker bee (reserving the queen bee role for someone else).
I will give myself space to grieve and space to learn about who I am.
I will work to get back in line with my spiritual practices.
I will work to focus on the three kids still with me rather than being so focussed on the one that I lost (while still focussing on the one that I lost if that makes sense).
I will work on my morning work curriculum and will try to get it published.
I have to admit when I struggle or when I have failed. This has been a new thing for me because there was never anything that I could not do if I put my mind to it in the past. I have to understand that this me is gone. I don't know that I will ever see that version of me again and that is okay. I have to learn to be gentle with myself and to not hold myself to unattainable standards that I wouldn't hold others to. I need to just expect from me what I would expect from a friend or family member (and it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near what I would expect from me!).