Thinking about, what others are thinking, about me.

I’ve been restricting my social media for close to 8 months.  It’s been most helpful to me, especially when my panic attacks were at their very worst, to be selective about what I allow into my mental space.  Unfortunately, that has included a lot of social interaction.

That said, I am still visible through posts on the Babe’s IG or other family members’ posts.  Because of this, I often wonder what things people say when they see me smiling or otherwise appearing “normal” on the pages of others.  Do they assume that I’m “fine” and just being standoffish?  Or worse, do they believe that now that I have a kid, I’m focusing so much on him that I’ve kind of “got the goody and gone”?  Do they think I’ve abandoned my infertility flock, in exchange for the “bliss” of parenthood?  I hope they don’t.  But I know they do.

Infertility was so very much a battle because it is a disease that debilitates you from the inside.  Your heart and mind battle with one another at all hours of the day and keep you bound in this inner turmoil that affects your outer attitude.  But no one can see it.  You’re fighting for your life, and nobody knows how hard.  It’s one of the many invisible ailments that humans often suffer from.  Now that I’m supposedly on the other side, I’ve been placed in yet another one.

Depression isn’t always dark rooms and tears.  (though I’ve had my share of those also). Instead, depression can be smiling in photographs while battling obsessive and intrusive thoughts.  It can be nailing everything at work, while fighting through panic attacks in your car at lunch.  It can be experiencing pure elation at the thought of your infant, while also experiencing sheer terror at every turn.

Depression doesn’t look like people think it does, and so they don’t respond to you the way you hope they will.

So I’ve tried to be as honest and direct as I possibly can with people while I’m on this journey to recovery.  When they ask why I’m not on Facebook, I tell them the truth. When they invite me out, I try to give a real reason for my not going out.  When someone asks me how I’m feeling, I give them more than they bargained for.  And I don’t apologize for it.

But that doesn’t stop me from wondering obsessing about whether or not that’s enough to keep from hurting, offending, or upsetting those I love or like.

Sigh.

Feelings, amirite?

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Everybody Ain’t Able…

everybody-aint-able

I hate phrases like, “in this climate” but that’s what I gotta use.

In this climate, it can be extremely difficult to control what gets in.  Into our newsfeeds and personal spaces.  Into our thoughts, and onto our personal playlists.  Add to that people’s insatiable need to “SHARE” all of their feelings and thoughts, as well as every Buzzfeed list or salacious headline they can think of, and it can be a 24 hour battle to keep from retreating into a dark closet and humming to oneself.

I wish people understood that everything THEY can handle, isn’t what others can.
What you can joke about, because you’ve already digested it, can be choking for others.

When the world is going crazy, I tend to retreat.  I never had a word for it before, but it’s apparently been a part of my  (attn: buzzword) “Self-Care” regimen to find ways to distract myself and soothe my discomfort by overdosing on comedy and reality competition shows.  Also with wine.  Lots of wine.

As a new mother, however, I’ve found that where I want to shut down, there’s a small person with no concept of these anxieties who will want to eat and play and be a brat regardless.  He does not give me the luxury of checking out.  He has repeatedly saved me from myself from the very moment I knew he was coming.

I want so much for him.  I want him to be happy and strong, kindhearted and genuine.  I want him to grow to become successful by his own standards, and care for others with a pure heart.  I want him to have a wonderful life. And having gone through IVF to get him here, I feel an insurmountable responsibility to get that for him.  To make him happy, and to feel that I have not done this beautiful soul a grand disservice by creating him.

So in this climate, there’s that stupid phrase again, where people are so riled up, and there’s terror at every turn, and the world seems to want us all scared to move two steps near or from one another, I struggle with motherhood.  I struggle with my responsibility to continue to smile and mark his every milestone, while simultaneously being confused and scared and unsure.  I wonder how my mother, and so many mothers before her faced the reality of the world they’ve brought children into, while also smiling and loving us.

When I look into my son’s eyes, I feel rocked to my core with all the weight that’s been assigned to him before he even knows it.  Being black in America.  Being a black MALE in America.  Being a black male in an America where you have to explain why #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean other lives don’t.  Being a black male in an America where you have to explain #BlackLivesMatter AND why Donald Trump is NOT presidential in any sense of the word.  But I digress.  I feel so very guilty for bringing him here.  I want to scoop him into my arms and just return him to the safety of my heart.  But I can’t.  I have to teach him how to not only exist in this world, but to THRIVE in it.  And I have no idea how to do it.

I’m working hard at self-care.  I’m also working hard at “looking for the helpers” as Mister Rogers taught me to do.  I’m working hard at finding HOPE and instilling it in others.

I’m working hard because it helps me look the babe in his face and not fall apart.  Because I owe it to him, after moving Heaven and Earth it felt like to make him, to continue to build the world that he’s going to inherit.  He deserves everything I can give to him.  Everything I can find in the world for him.

And I guess I’ve said all that to say this,

Everybody ain’t able to jump headfirst into these volatile conversations right now, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t working our butts off. We’ve got a village to build and leaders to inspire.

Stay encouraged, family.

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