Last year “I lost my shit as an adult.” Living with high stress, anxiety AND having a Type A personality, made life extremely difficult to manage on a daily basis.
Yes, spoiled baby of four, whining.
Seriously, though, it was awful, almost delibitating. My husband of 15 years was deployed, for the second time, during the worst possible time for our family. Furthermore, our kids hadn’t been apart from either of us longer than three weeks; their dad was their universe. And we lived much like the miniature version of the “Brady bunch.”
Not healthy for any of us.
During the deployment, we all four faced numerous struggles. Bullying to the point of physical assault, which resulted in 2 school transfers; weekly therapy; private tutoring for both kids; car accident; emergency appendectomy on a 13th birthday; work scandal for me; and the kicker…my husband was medically retired from the US Army after 17 years of service. Honestly, it was even more for an average active-duty military family during a deployment.
As I struggled to maintain any sort of normalcy for my children, I started to fall apart. My husband was always our rock. He was the one that held ME together, so without him, I failed to hold the rest of us together. I juggled the household and chauffeur duties (barely) but the pieces of our once, very put-together life started crumbling, me along with it.
I felt failure and disappointment everywhere around me; suffocated me. Although I did my best to isolate myself and our situation, it didn’t work, not with the “Brady bunch.” Or work. Or my friends. Instead of the love and support I desperately needed, people began to question my actions. Even my morals and values were up for debate among loved ones.
I knew I needed to do something the day my son found me, with my face buried in tears and dirty laundry. That was winter. I already started writing but it was my wakeup call: get off your ass. My husband wasn’t coming home. My parents already raised their four children. I was the adult, not my helpless children, who were suffering on their own. It was only up to me, no one else was going to save us.
I went out of town, alone. First time ever; I was nervous but not scared; “Mike” prepared us for such things. It was fucking amazing, nothing special, but it didn’t have to be. It was for me. The lake. Hiking. Writing. And some new ink.
The writing was the one thing I had control of and it felt powerful. Free. The ink, too. However, it did not sit well with the strict family I was raised in. Tattoos were always considered “hoosier” or taboo, not for us. It wasn’t my first, but the first wasn’t visible; these new ones were.
Others followed because I finally didn’t care anymore. Every tattoo has a very special meaning to me. More so because each has a story and “Coffee” designed almost all of them, along with my tat artist, Joey. Every weekend getaway meant something, too; my manuscript was completed on those trips. Every road trip was road therapy, one trip where I found Chester; now a place of solitude for me.
After “Compass” reminded of my self-worth, I fucking ran with it and never looked back. Many called me selfish, crazy, whimsical. And maybe it was… all of those things. But, it was also beautiful and absolutely necessary, for me. Not just to be selfish. But, for me as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.
Without that journey of rediscovery, I’d still be in that pile of laundry, doubting myself. Not anymore.
I rediscovered who I was again, just me, Meg. No titles or demands or expectations. And, I fell in love. I was finally happy on my OWN. Not as a “Brady,” or his wife or their mother. But, as Meg, the person. I am so much more, with or without titles. I lost sight of that.
“Carol” lives for those things. Actually, nothing has made my mother happier than being the devoted wife; loving and protective mother; supportive and passionate grandmother. She never wanted anything else in life, except us four kids and those grandbabies. Unfortunately, since I wanted the same amazing childhood for my kids, I fell into my mother’s footsteps.
Well, those are not easy to fill. Impossible, actually. I figured that out somewhere along those 15 years but silenced it, in every attempt to correct it. Perfect myself. The world kept changing. People changed. Time.
But, actually, it was me. Last year, I finally realized I will never be “Carol.” And that’s ok.
I have two wonderful children and we have great relationships. Very open, honest relationships. They’re well-mannered, disciplined good people. My husband and I did that. We raised them right because of how our parents raised us.
I accepted I’m not the same mother as “Carol.” My kids are lucky to have her as a grandma. Her mother was my best friend and grandma; I only wish the same for them.
I never cared what people thought of me before last year, but now I don’t care what family and friends think anymore either. It’s liberating and gratifying. I came at peace with everyone’s personalities in my life with the help of “Mike.” And “Carol” made me realize no one was going anywhere, no matter how many tattoos I got.
At the end of my journey, and the end of every single day, my family still loves me. They may not like me or agree with my choices but they do love me, regardless. Same with my true friends.
And I’m proud to say those same lessons are being passed to my children. Except, I’m pushing for individuality, too.
I’m not easy to like. Maybe not easy to love, either. But, I’m grateful for those I have in my life. Loyal, too. Humbled by my experiences: past and present.
But, I now know I can do this, on my own. It’s others that enrich my journey, add to the experiences, but I’m in control of my own journey. We all are. We’re writing our own story with characters, settings, and plots to enrich it.
For those who I’ve stumbled into along my journey, or to those who play much bigger roles, my sincere thanks. Thank you for allowing me the freedom and selfishness needed to find Meg. Thank you for the love.
Although many of you still don’t understand or accept “the new Meg” or my new path, it’s ok. I accept you and yours with no judgement; just loyalty, acceptance, friendship and love. I’m sorry if I’ve caused pain during my process. However, I like me. I’m truly happy and that’s worth a hell of a lot.
liveYOURjourney one day at a time. Embrace the moments that take your breath away, but let go of the ones that suck the life out of you.
Live for yourself, first, so your loved ones receive the best version of you.