I debated on whether or not I should write about this subject, but then I got into the car to take Bridget to school and Fleetwood Mac started playing on the radio… on a pop station mind you. So, I took it as a sign that today is the perfect day to share this.
You see, when I was a little kid I was pretty dramatic. I secretly wished that I could break an arm or suddenly fall ill so that everyone would feel sorry for me and shower me with attention. Unfortunately for me, I was as healthy as could be and as sturdy as an ox. I’ve only broken one bone and it was while giving birth to my first-born child, an indication of the pain that comes with motherhood. It was my tailbone and you can’t wear a cast on that, so I just had to let it mend with time.
My mother was extremely artistic, she had many talents but her favorite talent was music. My childhood is littered with memories of listening to her sing Fleetwood Mac covers. I found the strumming of her acoustic guitar to be so comforting that many times it lulled me to sleep. As I would drift off I would look at her and think that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was my sun and my moon.
Then one night when I was in the third grade, I woke up to a funny feeling. Something wasn’t right. As I lay in bed the white dots of blurry vision swirled and blinked around me. I just kept staring at the dots until suddenly they came together and I realized that I wasn’t alone. Someone was floating over my bed and looking down on me. It was a woman who was familiar but I didn’t know who she was. She just kept looking at me with a smile on her face that was meant to sooth me, but it didn’t. Once I gathered the courage I bolted from my bed and into my parent’s room. I went to my mother’s side of the bed, as I always did, to tell her I was scared but she wasn’t there. She was in the garage with the car running, she looked like she was sleeping but she wasn’t, she was dead. She had killed herself.
To this day I don’t know if the vision I saw was from the carbon monoxide that was creeping into the house or if it was really what I thought it was, a figure of a woman. If I hadn’t woken up when I did there is a possibility that the rest of my family would have passed with her. But we didn’t.
When I finally went back to school everyone felt sorry for me. Even the meanest teacher in 3rd grade was nice to me. Through that I grew to hate pity. I did all that I could to keep from giving anyone a reason to pity me. Throughout time I built up a wall in an attempt to keep my vulnerability at bay. By doing so I thought I was being strong but I wasn’t being strong, I was hiding. I hid the part of me that was just like my mother, the sun and the moon. There were times that she beamed bright like the sun and other times when she cast a blue lonely glow like the moon.
I only wanted to be the sun, but despite my efforts the moon would find its way into my life. I’ve come to realize that you can’t have one without the other. There will be times that get you down so hard that you think it is impossible to find your way back to the light. During those times you just have to remember that dawn always breaks no matter how long you’ve been lost in the night.
Despite not wanting to be like my mom I’ve discovered that our lives are very similar. We both went back to school to pursue English degrees after having kids. My mother was on the cusp of graduating and was offered a position to teach at the college she attended while she got her master’s degree. But she didn’t make it. She let the darkness swallow her whole.
I’ve gone through the darkness and I’ve finally made it through to another day. The sunshine is bright and the day is full of hope and I’m left feeling sad for my mother who never got to see that.
The lesson I’ve learned is that there is something empowering about finding strength in your vulnerability.
Pretending like you aren’t depressed doesn’t solve the problem. If you are like me you are overweight because it is a reflection of all of the things in your life that are weighing you down on the inside.
It might be fear, anxiety, self-doubt… it doesn’t matter. If you are going to truly have a transformation it has to come from the inside out.
I’ve begun to tear down the wall that I’ve hidden behind for so many years. By doing so I feel scraped open and raw but at the same time I can feel promise peeking over the horizon.