Category Archives: Just Me

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Over the last few days, even weeks, I have been trying toย find who I am.

When I was in high school I was goth/punk.ย  I had friends, I had a social life.ย  I went to concerts.ย  I went to movies.ย  I had a boyfriend.

Once I entered my 20s, I settled down and had babies.ย  When that first marriage didn’t work, I dated around.ย  I didn’t know who I was anymore at that point.ย  My social life got flushed down the toilet when I gave birth to my first baby.ย  I didn’t go out and do anything anymore.ย  I stayed home with my kids and did what I could to give them a good upbringing myself rather than have a child care provider raise them.ย  I didn’t even go out or do anything, as family wouldn’t even keep an eye on the kiddos long enough for me to do anything.

Once I reached my 30s, I found a guy who would be my 2nd husband, and my boys were old enough to leave alone while I worked.ย  I found identity in my work and marriage.ย  I was a wife, a mom, and a veterinary assistant, which I LOVED.ย  I gained a couple friends so I had more social interaction again, and became slightly wider known and respected in my community.

Then due to physical limits from a slowly progressing disability, I lost my job at the vet clinic.ย  Then my husband left me.ย  I ended up dating someone who should never have been anything more than an old friend, and abuse ensued.ย  I lost a lot of my identity again.ย  I pushed away friends and family.ย  I neglected the emotional needs of my children.ย  I neglected all of my own needs.

When I finally snapped out of that pit of despair I found the love of my life, Jarrod.ย  He threw me a rope, so to speak, and pulled me out of that pit.ย  We got married, had surgery to be able to expand our family, and had our baby.ย  The older boys are teenagers now, and my husband’s daughters are also teenagers.ย  The boys and girls had very different upbringings, and clash with each other.ย  The rules the boys were raised with were very different than what the girls were accustomed to when they moved in, so things got lessened and a lot of slack was made for everyone to adjust to the new arrangement.

Now, 2 years later, its IMPOSSIBLE to tighten up rules to fit everyone.ย  We have tried and tried, and no one follows any rules.ย  Our house is a lawless wasteland.ย  No chores get done by kids ever, no matter what punishments or rewards, so if I want this house remotely tidy or sanitary, I have to do it myself.ย  Being a stay at home mom again, you’d think I have all the time in the world to get the house at least somewhat tidy.ย  But no, my baby is extremely demanding of my time and energy.ย  Most days I’m lucky to be able to feed myself supper, let alone scrub a toilet or mop a floor.

So since I had our baby, I’m having a crisis of identity again.ย  I’m a wife.ย  I’m a mom.ย  And that’s where it ends.ย  And I have a hard time even calling myself those two things…

To me, being a wife is being able to be my husband’s companion.ย  To talk to him, support him, enjoy time together with him (and him reciprocating those sentiments), and being a team when it comes to parenting and all the big and little decisions in life.ย  But instead, I feel like it has become an odd partnership, where he works and busts his ass for this family, and I’m at home not accomplishing anything that needs done, while the kids do whatever they want, whenever they want and I cannot keep up or enforce any sort of order.ย  When he comes home from work he is annoyed by kids’ behaviors.ย  When we do get a chance to talk, rather than text, its mostly made up of he and I both venting about our frustrations, and not really having much else to say because frustrations aren’t exactly conversation fuel. Also, by the time he gets home from work in the evening, I may have just laid down the baby and he will likely wake up and need put back to sleep 10,000 more times before I give up and just go to bed for the night.ย  Therefore leaving no time for us to just relax and watch a TV show, talk, or anything else married couples do in their time alone.

To me, being a mom means understanding the needs of the children and doing everything I can to meet those needs within reason, teaching the older kids life skills that will help them survive and thrive on their own such as cleaning, cooking, money management, appropriate social interactions… but this is where I’m failing miserably.ย  Every single one of the children who live in our home have serious issues with several of these things.ย  None of them follow rules.ย  None of them are motivated to do well in school.ย  None of them have any inkling of what should be a priority.ย  They have zero respect for adults, especially Jarrod or me.ย  And they do pretty much whatever in the fuck they feel like, all of the time.ย  The baby is just a baby, so I can’t be upset with him… but he is very needy.ย  A “Velcro” baby if you will.ย  He wants to be held, and when he is on the floor or somewhere playing, he wants me nearby and giving him attention still.ย  In the evenings, he gets fussy because he doesn’t nap during the day and doesn’t typically sleep well at night.ย  So I cannot make supper most nights due to trying to console a fussy and very overtired baby that fights sleep like it is the worst thing in the world. So the older kids end up fending for themselves for supper.

So yes I’m a mom, and I’m a wife, but I don’t feel like I’m doing well at those two things.ย  And that’s all I’ve got.ย  I don’t have any control over my household or my life.ย  I don’t have me time anymore.ย  I don’t get to watch TV.ย  I don’t get to watch movies.ย  I don’t get to listen to music.ย  I don’t get to go for a walk.ย  I don’t get to hang out with friends.ย  I don’t get to pursue any interests, passions, education or career.ย  If I did, this household would fall further and further down this spiral of chaos.ย  The only reason I even had time to sit down and type this is because I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I got pissed, screamed, stomped to my bedroom and slammed the door, like the teenagers do.ย  Honestly, due to all the difficulty with everything I attempt right now, I’m feeling like a failure as a human.

And while I’m going on about all this other shit, I might just throw in there that when I got pregnant, supportive people came out of the woodwork.ย  Family, friends… everyone was so happy and couldn’t wait to meet the baby and play with him.ย  And when he was born a few people showed up at the hospital.ย  But since then?ย  Nothing.ย  Literally even those I was closest to just vanished.ย  So yeah, I can’t even turn to anyone for emotional/moral support.ย  Jarrod and I are really on our own.

So, what is this blog post going to accomplish?ย  Is it going to make the teens or anyone at all give a shit about anything?ย  Is it going to make the house clean?ย  Is it going to make the baby sleep?ย  Is it going to make me feel better about myself as a parent, wife, or human?ย  Nope.ย  There is no point really.ย  So if you made it this far, I’m surprised.ย  Sorry to say, there’s no point to any of this.ย  It’s just one big long ramble of a woman with a missing identity, purpose in life, and support system.

10 Years of Lessons

10 years has passed.

On June 14th, 2009, my boyfriend Jason died. I was making breakfast for my kiddos, and I heard thumping in the hall. I went around the corner to see him collapse and die. A massive heart attack at age 34. Far too young. I was 28, and my boys were very young. We all saw it happen.

I crumbled. I truly believed at that point in time that he was the love of my life. And in the months and years following, I always believed that my one and only chance at true love died with him. Not only that, but I didnโ€™t trust life anymore. I was terrified of losing my kids and others I held dear. A burning anxiety plagued me for years.

I decided that to honor Jasonโ€™s memory, and to be the best mom for my boys, I needed to get my shit together. I attended psychotherapy, took meds, and eventually even worked up to working a full time job again. It took years, but I was able to mend myself and become a whole person again.

Once I was finally happy with my station in life and my capabilities to provide for my family, I met the TRUE love of my life, Jarrod. Heโ€™s the only one to ever make me feel the way I do.

Jason was important to me. He taught me a lot in life, and taught me volumes in death. And after 10 years I can finally say I understand the purpose of everything and how it fits for me. The whole experience made me love deeper, cherish stronger, and appreciate so very much more, the people and experiences I have now. I will be forever grateful for those lessons. After all this time I feel like Iโ€™ve finally turned the page.

Infection

Well, I just got bad news. In September I had a breast reduction. Today I was diagnosed with an extremely rare โ€œatypical myobacteria infectionโ€ of my right breast. Itโ€™s a SERIOUS infection that takes many months of treatment, possible surgery, and heavy antibiotics that are not fetus-friendly. I am under orders to NOT get pregnant. After my husband and I just spent a collective $10,000 for our Reversal surgeries, not to mention all the emotion, planning, excitement, etc. Just to be told NOPE for an undefined amount of time, and my biological clock ticking away (Iโ€™ll be 38 soon). I feel so hurt, angry, frustrated with my body and rotten luck. No pictures due to it being my breast.

Grateful

Pretty much my whole life I’ve wanted to get out of my hometown. But that’s normal, right? As a kid/teen you think you’re going to grow up and spread your wings, leave the nest, and make a life for yourself elsewhere. “Anywhere but here!” That has been my mindset for as long as I can remember. My mom moved us to this town when I was 5, and we were poor. We lived in a terrible apartment complex, full of other low-income families. I don’t know why, but for some reason I always felt like I was above the people I lived amongst. Not to be offensive to anyone, but I truly did have more potential than the majority of them. I’m more intelligent, capable. But my station in life, the lifestyle I was surrounded by, had an effect on my motivation. My drive for better. Growing up in poverty, surrounded by addicts and losers definitely doesn’t help anyone reach their potential. Well… it didn’t help ME, anyway. We lived in those apartments for over 7 years. My best friend from that period of time has since struggled with addictions her whole life. Some of my other friends from then have been in trouble with the law, in and out of jail, and have lost their kids, even lost their lives. I’m telling you, it was a bad way to live. I don’t know how I turned out differently, but I am so very thankful I did.

When I was 12, my mom got married and we moved to a much smaller town where our house was out in the country. I hated it. We had gotten out of my hometown, but in my opinion it was worse. I had no friends, and the community was so small, and our life had been so poor up until that point, that there was no way I was going to fit in or be accepted by anyone in my age group. Over time, I found a couple other outcasts to hang out with, but overall, those were probly some of the worst years of my youth.

When I was 16, there was some stuff going on at home I was not okay with, and I moved in with my dad in a bigger town, closer to Des Moines. Immediately I was happier. I found a crowd immediately. I had friends, things to do, opportunities, and teachers who recognized my potential rather than just my differences. I was able to set my own path. I could have done anything. But I didn’t. After high school I wanted to take a year off, then pursue art college. But during that year off, I fell back into the state from the environment in which I had been raised. No motivation. I hopped from dead-end job to dead-end job. I had a couple failed relationships. My friends fell away into their own lives. And I stagnated.

I ended up going back to my mom’s at age 20, and back to my hometown at 21. And I’ve been here ever since, with several more attempts at leaving. I got married to the wrong man. I had babies. He and I tried to move to North Carolina, just to get set up and basically robbed by the landlord we had agreed to rent from. I had to have my mom send me money so we could make it back home. I tried not only once, but twice to live near my newly-found biological father in Arkansas. But he was worse news than the place where I grew up. Drug addicted and abusive to his family. So right back home.

I got a divorce. I lost friends and even a boyfriend to accidents and health issues. I had a few small, short-lived jobs. I had several failed relationships, including a second failed marriage. Thankfully, I never fell into any addictions, but after all that I had been through I had severe social anxiety, clinical depression, I was unhealthy and overweight, and had such a low self-esteem and self-worth that I considered suicide often. I felt like my kids would be better off without my influence. I couldn’t keep a job due to my mental issues. I was poor and on welfare. I had fallen into the hole I never should have fallen into. I was better than that. I’m more intelligent than that.

Then, though for the wrong reasons, I was inspired to change. I started seeing a therapist often. I started telling her all of my fears and anxieties, all of my negative thoughts and self-worth issues. She helped me change my self-talk into more positive things. She helped me realize that though some of my fears were rational, they were improbable and that I needed to focus on more positive things in my life. I got a very small, part-time kennel cleaning job on weekends at a vet clinic, working alone (no co-workers). That job, over time, turned into working with the Veterinarian on Saturdays only, which then turned into a little more and a little more. Until finally though gradual comfort with my environment and intense therapy, I was able to keep a full-time job. That boosted my self-esteem, which enabled me to start a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. And everything has been uphill from there.

A couple of years ago, my ex and I were able to take the kids on a family vacation to Florida for our first trip to see the ocean. I absolutely fell in LOVE, from the bottom of my soul, with the ocean. And since then I have been on a path to get there. Back into the mindset of “getting out of here.” It’s true, I still don’t like this town that I’ve been living in all these years. One might argue that the things I don’t like in this town will be in any town. That is partially true. However, all the negative memories I have here, such as the apartments where I grew up, the people I’ve lost, the bad memories from failed relationships and friendships, the heartache and anxiety…. it’s all still here for me. I’ve been elsewhere, if even for brief periods of time, where I didn’t have those things in my shadow all the time. So I know it can be better for me elsewhere.

But….

If I had left all of the times I’d had the opportunity, if I’d gone to North Carolina and stayed, or Arkansas and stayed, or Florida and stayed. Or even if I’d just stayed closer to Des Moines…. I wouldn’t have what I have now.

Today, I am married to the man of my dreams. Today, I have 3 amazing sons, and 3 amazing step-daughters, who I love very much. And we are planning to have more babies soon! Today, I am working full-time (more or less) and helping to support this family. My husband and I together have financial stability. Today, my health is great, my weight is stable, I no longer need therapy, and I’m certainly not suicidal. Sure, I have my bad days where I still struggle with the fact that I’m still in this damn town. But honestly, when it comes right down to the bottom of it all, I am thankful that I am still here. If I hadn’t stayed here, I would have nothing that I have today. And maybe someday, once the kids are grown, my husband and I can move somewhere else together. Because I’d never want to go anywhere without him. But as much as I have hated this town, it IS my home. It has taken me over 30 years to accept that, but there it is. Newton, Iowa is my home. It is the home to my mom, my family, and my currently very happy life. And for that, finally, I am grateful.