I haven't written anything in a few weeks. Ordinarily, this would upset me, my lack of focus and organization and diligence. Normally, I'd be beating myself up about not coming here and honing my craft.
I promised myself nearly six years ago when I began this writing journey that I would write every day for at least an hour.
I kept that promise for a while.
I kept it even when I refused to let myself write the only words that wanted out of my head.
I kept it even when writing was excruciating.
I kept it even when I was attacked for what I wrote.
Until I didn't.
Until life told me that it was okay to take a break, that sometimes I needed the space, that there was as much therapy in not writing sometimes as there is in doing it.
This break, it hasn't bothered me.
Perhaps that is because I'm just in a different place now. I still have those looming goals, the books left unfinished. I'll be trying to make my way back to them soon. I stopped working on them over a year ago for much the same reason that I stopped going to therapy (at the behest of my therapist, mind you). The reason?
It was too emotionally draining to keep doing it.
I needed to focus on my health and my happiness, and I needed to not revisit the places from where those stories came for a while.
Instead, I focused on the blog. On photography. On other things. I made new commitments to writing for others.
I did all that until the newest member of my family arrived and changed things even more. That's the funny thing about children. They all change everything. Each and every one of them.
Yes, the mechanics of parenting get easier. The skill set involved is well honed in my house. The addition of a newborn didn't require me to learn new things per se, but it required me to learn him.
He is as unique and special and different as they all are. He's changed the dynamics of every relationship in the house. His needs and his wants are different than any of the rest of us.
Their interactions, the ones between him and the rest of the kids, between him and my husband, all vastly different than anything we've ever experienced before.
Even my interactions with him feel different.
You would think that having done this as many times as we have, there wouldn't be much change.
I thought there wouldn't be this much change.
I was wrong.
One of the great many things he has changed is my relationship towards writing. I don't get much time to even touch the computer these days. When I do have time, I'm usually unloading all the thoughts that have been backing up in my brain for however long since I was last able to let them out. To me, it comes across as messy and disorganized.
But I don't have time to edit, so I don't.
That used to bother me.
It doesn't so much anymore.
I'm at this place in life where I'm really just that comfortable in my own skin, in this persona of mine. This is me, take me or leave me, imperfections and all.
One of the reasons that I've been content not to write lately is that I'm spending a lot of time in my head. Every so often, the past rears up on its hind legs and reminds me that it is there. I have so many things to contend with, so many different types of issues, it gets to be overwhelming.
The PTSD, it comes frequently. This time of year is hard for me in that department because it holds so many days of relevance. I'm in a much, much better place with it all these days. The memories aren't as vivid. The nightmares haven't come back. The insomnia, for the most part, stays away. The triggers, though, they are there, even if they aren't as crippling and disabling as they once were.
The PPD, it lingers. It's nothing compared to what I battled before, but it's there. Every so often the intrusive thoughts sneak in. They leave almost as fast as they come though, and I've not obsessed about them at all...which is something for which I am so very grateful.
My anxiety isn't so bad, though there is a piece of it mixing in with the PPD. The irrational fears that I know are irrational but haunt me anyway. I know they aren't something that I should be occupying my energy with, I do. The thing about anxiety though (as with any mental health condition), the thing that people who don't struggle don't understand, is that it's not rational.
It's not rational.
I know that.
It doesn't matter, it happens anyway.
I can't just not worry about things. I'm not built that way. If I could just wish it away, just stop doing it, don't you think I would?
Hell, that could be said about a lot of things in my life.
I haven't written since before Christmas. It was probably better that I didn't. The few times that I tapped into my emotions over the holidays, I retreated into my personal cave and stayed there a while.
I miss my parents. I miss them in ways that I never anticipated.
I envy those who still have parents. I envy those who still have grandparents. I hate that I envy them. I want to tell them to value this time instead of complaining, instead of whining about how hard the holidays are dealing with them. I want to tell them to make amends, to make compromises, to forgive, to let the past go. I want to tell them that it's okay to set firm boundaries if necessary to protect themselves, but not to let go of the love. I want to, but I don't.
I don't want to impose my experience on others. So I don't.
I just miss my parents. Quietly.
I miss so much about the way that my life once was.
I try though, I try so hard not to stay there, in the past. Because I can't. I have to live right now.
And right now, I don't have time for this very often.
Somewhere out there, my father is proud of me for recognizing that I can't do everything and for setting my priorities up so that the present is the most important, the main focus. All he ever wanted was for me to live in the present.
I just wish I had learned that lesson before he was gone.
A few days ago, one of my older children was teasing me for taking so many pictures of the baby. I know why I do it.
I do it because I want to capture this time as much as I can. I know it won't last long. I know that PPD can mess with my memories, so I am trying to catalogue them just in case. Document them.
Because I have to.
On top of that, I know he is my last.
I have said that before, but this time I know for sure.
And I know that no matter how tired or worn out or exhausted I may be, that I will miss this.
As a result, I might not be around here as much. When I am, my words might not make sense. The little time I get to write might be best spent on my books, so that's where I might be.
Or I might just be spending the day staring at him, my last baby.
And I am okay with that.
I hope you are too.
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