Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Coming Out of the Dark

Most of us in life have been hit pretty hard in the gut at times.  I am no different. Sometimes things happen to make our perspectives change about people, their intentions, and motives. Life is one experience after another.  The last two years have been the best and worst of my almost 50 years on this planet.  I have dealt with egocentric, arrogant and self-serving people who wear masks to get what they want.  I have worked with people that are so insecure about their own existence and let their envy and jealousy of others take space up in their brains, which eventually leads to them being unhappy and unproductive, then turning on you to be your worst enemy.  These combinations of people are what make life extremely difficult to navigate, especially if you are a people pleaser like me. I allowed these type of people all of my life prevent me from being who I was suppose to be. I can now say within the last few months of my life, I now understand that your calling is way more important than pleasing those who really don't give a shit or are the "right fighters" in this world.  They would rather be right than work towards a common goal.

This has all played out during a tough time in my own personal life.  There have been days I would go so deep into the darkness that the words of those who critique your life, personality and your drive seriously wanted me to slit my own wrists.  All my life I have been searching for affirmation, the acceptance that what I was doing was "good".  It is daunting.  My childhood was not a good one mentally or emotionally, yet I had almost every material thing I could ask for. It led to who I am today. I struggled to please the ones who were supposed to love me the most. I knew they loved me the best they could only because of how they were taught.  I never measured up to the expectations of what they thought I was supposed to be. However, it made me into the fighter I am today.  The downside, it allowed me to have high expectations of others, and they couldn't meet them either, causing me stress and frustration. To top it all off,  I struggled through school having to deal with multiple learning disabilities.  I was called dumb, lazy, stupid and for lack of words felt like I was the most unworthy person who walked the planet. I was mocked sitting in the "special classes". Funny, people laugh when I tell them I couldn't even get a date in high school. I was expected to sit pretty and keep my mouth shut. 

After the last few months, years I hit rock bottom.  The lowest and most devastated I could ever feel.  My rock bottom almost caused me to lose the one thing I love the most, my family and my children, my life.  The dark depression I was experiencing made me escape into fantasy land and working overtime to avoid the emptiness I felt.  It was incredibly lonely at times.  God was nowhere to be found, the one thing I had always depended on to get me through.  I lost faith. I lost myself.  The one thing that woke me up was the calling I had to continue what I had started.  It is a still small voice that whispered.  "I am here! Look up at me and know that I am here".  I glimmer of light.  To be honest, the thoughts of ending the life I knew was real.  I woke up. I had forgotten God had a plan for my life regardless of those who come against you. The depression had consumed me to believe that I was no longer needed here. Yet it allowed me to see what is essential and most importantly WHO is critical and that I am important.  The other no longer matters. This is God's plan, His work and no person can destroy what He has planned.  I am just coming out of the dark, trying not to allow those who are good at sucking you back in affect me.  Baby steps.  Every day I must choose to keep going and focus on loving myself, which does not come naturally to me. It is a commitment mentally, just as I had committed to work out four times a week for the last 5 years to keep my physical body in shape.  It is now time to keep the mental and emotional self in shape. I now need to grow a thick skin. Sometimes it takes a swift kick in the gut to get you to come out of the dark to find the light again.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Lighter Side

Funny, as I have just gone through another nervous breakdown and took about 2 days to only gain partial sanity back.  I was reflecting today about the things I have learned throughout this journey. I will share with you the things both good, bad and royal pet peeves that I have experienced throughout this journey.  First, I want to start by saying; the worst phrase any other person that has not gone through this before is, "That God doesn't give you what you can't handle"!  I CALL BS ALL OVER THAT!  That is the most absurd and ridiculous statement anyone could say to a parent of a child with special needs.

I mean seriously, you think He gave us this life to make us "handle it?"  Dear God People! Get your head out of your ass!  Any person that goes through a hard time has to either cope & deal with it or just go off into the deep end.  Seriously!
I mean really?  What am I gonna do?  Just be "happy and strap my ass in for the ride?" Come on?  No, we live just like anyone else.  We may have more breakdowns than most, but that doesn't mean we are stronger than the next guy out there.  As you can see, that is my biggest pet peeve.

I have learned more about life and people in it and their real motives behind why they do what they do.  It's quite sad in fact that you have people who are aiming for the same goal, yet sabotage the efforts you put forth because of their own self-serving attitudes.   Yes, those people will be in my book. Don't worry. I keep all the written documentation to prove otherwise. It's quite surprising what people actually put in a written word that they think will never see the light of day.  To them, I say; thanks for the new material!

But on to the lighter side.  I have learned many things in these last 10 years that I never once anticipated.

#1 Nervous breakdowns are regular occurrences. No way of getting around that, they just happen. I seriously should buy stock in Kleenex and wine.

#2 A therapist is an absolute necessity, no way getting around it because they understand more than your friends and/or spouse, plus they are sworn to confidentiality and can't go talk shit behind your back like some of the other people you realized really weren't your friends, to begin with.  Ummm?  Maybe I should have everyone sign an NDA and sign a "real friend" contract before disclosing any useful information that they could take and write a book for themselves. However,  I do have a few close friends who I trust with my life, but then I got dirt on them too.  ;)

#3 Marriage entirely is non-existent, and sex. Yes, we live together, but the lack of time building a relationship is put on the back burner due to the fact you are either getting over the nervous breakdown or just dealing with all the other needs in the family. Most of the time we walk by each other and say "hey, you get the mail today?"

#4 I learned there are more Cabernet and Blended Wines in the world I have not yet tried. HEB here in Texas has a selection that I could honestly spend hours in.. So, is it wrong that the grocery store manager knows you by your first name in a city of 8 million people? Ok. I am jesting people..kinda.

#5 I never ever need to go to school again.  I know more about the human brain than most Ph.D.'s.  Ok, well maybe not that much, but enough to get people to question if I am.  I just expect an honorary doctorate from somewhere before I die.  It's a bucket list item.  I learned you don't need letters behind your name to prove your worth.

#6 I need to get paid much more than I do for the things I do.  Yes, I said it.  Being a teacher for 23 years, it made me realize that we are worth more than they give.  That this is true for those, who lead nonprofits as well.  The old adage, you get what you pay for.  If you have all the volunteers, then they won't do a job like its a "real job." Well, not me, but others.  This is my calling. I did for nothing for over 3 years. Thing is others expect to work when they want to or not at all. You pay people, you will have better quality work and program outcomes. Part of it is understanding and having the right people backing you to get the mission done. Funny thing about that too is people just can up and walk away from the mission and their commitment, that's ok.  But for me to walk away, absolutely no way!!  Surprisingly to think a couple wanted me gone through this whole process. Funny, neither of those people did shit to help the cause either. Those backstories will go in the book as well. Wonder who would have stepped up and taken on the projects and programs and done the exact job I am doing now? Then never measure up to their own responsibilities. I have NO respect for you! That's when I learned people can kiss my ass!  By the way, next time you see me come to say "Hi"! Some may even say it's unprofessional to bring up. I call it being transparent.

#7 Your future is dismal if you have no support.  In my case, the family has just gone on with their own lives rarely calling to check in or even to come by to say hi.  Very disappointing!  So I learned to stop expecting things out of people because you won't be disappointed when they don't do what you want.  Consider it a gift when they do come around.  I learned I need to depend on myself. I continue to chug through, and on bad days you see it through every minute hoping that the next day will be better.

#8 Social media is a farce! No matter what.  Anything you post is going to offend someone.  Me to You.. Get over it!  I usually tell them to suck my big toe.  I will not change who I am for you or anyone else.  It also has become a necessary evil.  Great free advertising and a tool to drive depression that shows everyone in the world your life is excellent.  PLEASE!  Your life sucks behind the scenes just like everybody else..LOL! No one walks around with no problems.  EVERYBODY HAS PROBLEMS, especially us families raising kids with special needs. Keep scrolling if you don't like what you see. If you judge me based on what I post, then you aren't my real friend, and we don't need to be connected.

#9 There is NEVER enough money.  No matter how hard you work, there is always something.  But, there is still enough left for wine!

#10 Who said leaders had to act differently than the average joe?  We are people, we shop, we raise families, we have marriage problems, get divorced, separated, have financial issues. You name it we experience it.  Leaders aren't perfect.  But I learned that the world expects you to be "different" when you are facing the public. My dilemma,  I don't really care what the public thinks of me.  As long as I am doing the job I was hired to do and am performing at a rate that is not backward, then people can't say much.  Pick me apart... I bet I could find many skeletons in closets of those who are so ready to judge that would make your hair curl and skin crawl.  Being a leader doesn't mean you never fall or fail, it means getting back up to complete the tasks at hand the very best way you know how.

In closing, things always come home to roost.  Never underestimate a person that has a calling and doing their damndest to help those in need.  When you can match up efforts with the person whos kicking ass, then and only then do you have the right to criticize anything. Its then on you to do your best to carry the same load.  These are the truths I live.  If people have an issue with me being real, then that's your problem to bear.  Not mine.