Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hard Things

I am watching her shine. She is smiling and conversing and sparkling and shaking hands. She knows all the right words, all the grown-up things. She is confident, connected. She flows from one topic to the next, effortlessly and flawlessly, as though she was made for this moment. As though adult conversations and freshly cleaned hair and unchipped nails are all she has ever known.

She is so alive, and I feel so, so small beside her.

Me. I have done my best to style my hair despite the many months that have passed since trimming it or touching-up overgrown roots. I am trying to keep up with who's who, but my mind is so used to bouncing from laundry to snacks to screams to laundry again that extended adult conversations are testing my intellectual endurance. I feel like a fake, a fraud, lost in this world of grown-up things.

The truth is, I have spent the past two years home with three young children, one of whom spent much of his days screaming. In anger. In fear. In confusion. None of it, or all of it, I do not know. But screaming for hours a day - hating life, hating home, hating me.

I have spent the past two years unlearning all I thought I knew about adoption and fairytale endings and forever families, and relearning the realities of traumatized children and post adoption depression. I have spent the past two years reminding myself that I can do hard things, reminding myself I am a good mom, reminding myself this won't last forever. I have spent the past two years trying, desperately, to believe.

I have watched myself sinking in guilt, searching for answers, desperate for hope. I have gone to support groups. I have taken medication. I have attended therapy. I have slept a lot.

And now I'm here, at this grown-up event, with grown-up conversations and fresh hairstyles, taking a step back toward to life. Taking a step back toward being awake and alive again. It feels so good to be out - to have lipstick and perfume and hope. And yet, I do not recognize myself. I have forgotten how to talk to grown-ups. I feel irrelevant and alone in a room full of people. I feel small. So, so small.

I endure that evening, and confide in my shining friend about how it felt to be in her presence and feel so disconnected from myself and from the world. I cry and cry, and she listens. I tell her I am ready to take my life back.

Slowly, I do. Not perfectly. Not immediately. Not in one fell swoop, but little by little by little. 

I start to find myself again. 

I start by committing to giving myself one sacred hour a morning just for me - no interruptions, no excuses, no agenda. This immediately becomes my holy hour and my saving grace. This is where I start to write again and unload all the months of anger and guilt and sadness that have built up since adopting our son and putting the rest of my life on hold. This is where I slow down enough to listen to my own heartbeat and hear the sound of my breath - in and out, in and out. This is where I sink into a regular yoga practice and start to unearth what my soul is saying to me through mediation and silence. This is heaven on earth - this one precious hour where I get to follow my heart's desires and set the intention of how I will show up each day.

Little by little, I find my way back to self-care, to occasionally dressing up, to feeling at home talking to grown-ups again. I find my way to life-changing leadership trainings and to making new friends and to owning my power in the world. I find my way to hope, to confidence and to joy. 

Little by little, I find my way back to myself.

And today, still, when I inevitably get lost or forget where I am going, when the to do's are too many and I lose sight of what it means to be alive, I know that my sacred morning hour is waiting to help guide me back. I know there I will reconnect with the truth that there is always hope, that there is always a new day and a fresh start and that I am a powerful, joyful presence in this world. I know I can find my back to the truth. I know I am alive. I am real. I am relevant. 

And I am so, so grateful.

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