Monday, November 21, 2011

Essay Winner!!! I realize that I have NOT blogged in FOREVER!!! I've been way busy!! I'm now working fulltime downtown and the commute is less than desirable but at least I have a job and benefits. I didn't know that I would so desperately need them but the Lord knew what was going to happen and knew that these were blessings we needed right now. They haven't been easy. Working is no easy task and working and being a single mom doing it all alone is an even more difficult task. I have help from family, but asking for help is often hard. You start to feel as if you are now burdening others when it was your choice to do this alone. Anyway...enough of that for now. I was reminded of an essay that I wrote on a friend's blog two years ago. It was for a contest and you had to write about what inspires you in any areas of your life. I actually won first place! Now, granted only two of us entered and a bunch of the others didn't dare because they didn't think their stuff was interesting enough, but still...I won some cool prizes! So, here is my essay:

I used to be the girl that had no self esteem. I was the girl that literally thought she was worthless and figured everyone else thought so too. I felt so hopeless and I pushed away many beneficial opportunities in my life simply because of fear and self loathing. I let it control my life. Unfortunately, girls with no self esteem sometimes end up in very bad situations. I realize that I was young, naive and made one very costly decision. I didn’t do things to hurt myself on purpose, but I did things that put everyone else first. I married young, worked hard to get some schooling in and worked even harder to get my husband on through to medical school. My husband’s education became the priority above mine. It was a very typical situation, but in my case, proved a bad investment! During medical school and residency, I did odd jobs to help us get through and I stayed home with my children. My husband was gone all day and all evening. He would leave in the morning and come home for one hour to go on a run and then back to school till it closed at midnight. I used to complain that I always had the baby to take care and never had time to exercise. He made sure to always get his run in, even at the expense of spending time with us. I had never resented it before, but it was at that time I resented his running and the fact that he could still do something for himself. We sacrificed a lot during those years in hopes for a brighter future. And, somehow, through all those years, I became lost. I realized later that my life was on hold. For six years, we had to fulfill his dream. At the time, I was prepared for that, but I now know that things didn’t work out as planned. (If only I had a crystal ball on that one!) I fell into the typical role that women fall into. I was no longer me...but everyone else’s “someone”. I was a mother, a wife, a primary secretary, a student’s spouse,
a daughter, a sister, a friend. I was nothing and did nothing for myself. I put everyone else ahead of myself. I now realize that this is so typical of women and mothers. So many of us do this to ourselves. And, I understand why. After many years of living like this, I finally realized that what I was doing was not working for me or for any of us. It didn’t happen in a profound or sudden way, but when it finally happened, it was a huge “A-ha” moment. About nine years ago, I knew things weren’t right with my life and my marriage. I blamed residency, moving, stress, hormones, anything I could think of to explain things. I tried to fix myself and I reached out to many people for help, but nothing changed. I made it through a few more years and things became horribly worse during my marriage. I was one of those girls who took on way too much, never said “no” and stressed a lot. I suffered from chronic tension headaches, but I never
had any serious health problems. For that, I felt grateful. But, I also took it for granted. One day, I literally woke up in extreme pain. I knew something was wrong. After enduring the symptoms for months, I went to a doctor and received an answer to those symptoms. I knew at that moment that my life was making me sick! My life...the way I was living...was possibly going to kill me! That wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Life is about living and doing everything possible to stay alive. Not living your life in a way that shortens it. So, I made some quick decisions regarding my lifestyle and diet. I started eating better and started exercising. I started reading self-help books and attended therapy. To the doctor and nurses surprise, the symptoms went away and they went away quickly. But, I still had a disease that could turn into something worse and I had to be careful. I counted it both a blessing and a wake-up call. My life got better in some ways, but other things wouldn’t change. As I became more healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally, I realized how terribly toxic my life actually was. I also realized that my children needed a strong and healthy mother to help them through this life. I was headed down a path that could not accomplish that. In time and after much effort and tears, I ended my 16 year marriage. It was awful and horrible and somehow completely necessary. I walked away from all our dreams and hard work. I had many family members and friends who supported me through everything and I couldn’t have done it without them. One of my best friends was a huge support and helped me realize that I needed to take care of me and then I could take care of everyone else. (You know the old oxygen on the airplane concept? You put your oxygen on first and then you put the child’s oxygen on.) She helped me exercise, run, eat better and be a better mother.
She was a rock for me and someone I depended on emotionally as well. She let me talk, she listened and she gave great advice. She helped me get to a place where I could be a better person. And then about four months ago, out of the blue, she betrayed me. I was crushed and shocked and didn’t know what to do. I was always one of those people that didn’t have a lot of drive to exercise. I would do a little here and a little there but, I just couldn’t make myself do it on my own. I lost a huge part of my cheering section that day with regard to exercise and parenting. I felt lost and unsure of what would happen to me. But, I realized that this was a test for me. A test as to why I was exercising and who I was doing it for. I could have easily stopped exercising, because I no longer had a partner pushing me or depending on me to do it. I was tempted to quit and sometimes I still am. But, I remember that I am doing this for ME and for my children. I am fighting my own body’s will to provide me with a disease. I am fighting to stay alive and fighting to be a mother to my children. I am fighting to be a better person. Exercise helps me with that fight. It helps me physically and mentally. It keeps me healthy and happy. I worked hard on myself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically and became the person I was always meant to be. It wasn’t easy and I wish that I could have started life this way. Life would have been different for me and my children. If I had started out feeling better about myself and realizing how great I really am and the potential I had, I could have created a better life for us. But, for some reason, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go through hell and back to recognize the person I am. I am the healthiest I have been in a very long time. I feel great and love who I am! I am trying to teach my children while they are young to take care of
themselves. To eat right, exercise, laugh, play and be strong. Life has been tough for them, but they are learning to come through it with strength and pride. It’s not the path I would have chosen for any of us, but I love where my life is going now! Even though I am an unemployed single mom of three beautiful children. We live with family and have no home of our own. We drive an old beat up car and we struggle at times. But...we are all healthy, happy and we love each other and THAT is what really matters! I am not a proponent of divorce, but I know that we need to be healthy and happy as women and mothers. We need to do what it takes to get there. We need to work hard and try everything possible before we take a plunge into the throws of divorce. Single parenting is not easy and there are consequences. Oftentimes, when we repair ourselves, our lives and marriages are also repaired. But, if anyone feels the hopelessness and worthlessness that I felt, I say to you this...YOU are worth something. YOU can change your life. YOU can be happy. YOU can be the person you have always wanted to be. YOU have to do the work to change your life, but once you do, you will never want to go back. If I can do it, ANYONE can!