Today I just want to vent a little. For the past several years I have been trying to do big things and open doors for myself to new opportunities. I have gone to trainings, received degrees, taken on more responsibility, let others know what I want and everything else positive that would set me up for success. The issue is that every door that has been closed has stayed closed. I have received so many rejection emails (none in regards to my writing) that it would make the average person give up. But, now it is year six and still no bite. I am getting antsy because bills are piling up, I have children to take care of, and the income is not meeting the demand. I am working multiple jobs where I am so tired that I just cannot bring myself to write.
Well, no longer! What I have been doing is following an agenda that is not aligned with my passion and purpose. As a single parent, I am thinking about affording college, daycare, rent, utilities, groceries, car, etc. The epiphany has come to me many times before but has rung more clear today than it ever has. Follow my passion. Follow my purpose. And at least if I still continue to struggle, I will be a lot happier knowing that I tried and did something I loved.
I am by no means a quitter. But, I am wearing myself thin. I rarely have time with my children trying to make enough to support them and I am still coming up short. I am writer and motivator. I want to help other single parents and write for a living. I want to help society as a whole by those means. Whether or not it becomes lucrative is of no concern to me. I want to live with no regrets.
I regret the amount of time that I have already lost away from my children. I regret running myself into the ground and not focusing on my health and multiple sclerosis trying to take on extra assignments that aren’t recognized nor appreciated. It is time to live for me and my family.
I hear a lot of my friends questioning their purpose and current situations. I hear a lot of regret. I guess the question we end up asking ourselves or should ask ourselves is “what legacy do I want to leave behind?”
Yesterday morning I woke up with what seemed like the weight of the world on my chest. I couldn’t breathe because I felt utterly lonely and scared. This could have been brought on by the nightmare I had that night but needless to say it rocked my world for some hours. I had to calm myself down and realize that it is impossible to be lonely when you have two children. I started to think about how I might grow old without a companion. That’s what it was that was plaguing me! I was alone,without a companion. It took me some time to work through these feelings as anxiety set in and then very slowly receded. I started thinking about my readers who at some point have or will feel the same way. What advice can I offer and remember I am not board certified. Here is what I came up with:
1. This feeling is temporary even if it may come and go in spurts.
2. Do not let a dream/nightmare/false reality keep you in a place of continuous despair.
3. Find “fullness” in yourself.
4. Make yourself happy.
5. Remember that when you leave this earth, you want your kids to know that you were the best parent that you could be and not that you were always depressed because they weren’t enough and you didn’t plan your life this way.
6. Plans are laughable because life is just a bunch of random circumstances (don’t agree, respond to this post)
7. Do what you love and continue to do it until it wrings every drop of loneliness out of you.
8. Know that this too shall pass and we never know what the future holds.
9. Don’t give up on yourself because your kids haven’t given up on you.
10. Be there for you!!!
I feel a lot better now because I decided that this feeling will not get the best of me. I will parent and write and create and parent and write and create because that is what cures my anxiety. What does it for you? How do you tackle these moments?
I would like to think that I can do all things and that I can be everything to my children as a single parent, but I am a realist. I realize that there may be certain needs that must be met that I may not be able to meet. As a single parent or a just a parent for that matter, it is important to not short change ourselves or our kids trying to be supermom and superdad. Sometimes we must employ the help of others. We must create the village*.
I realized this earlier this week as I waited for my daughter to finish volleyball camp. As I was standing there, I observed other girls from all different backgrounds receiving instruction, lessons, skills, and support. The coach was building a team in front of me. If there was a girl there who wanted to belong to something, she was definitely going to belong to this team. I watched my daughter’s face shift from focused (on what the coach was saying) to joyous when she was able to high-five a team member or score a point. This moment I could not provide her with on my own.
There is a huge gap between my children, my daughter is 12 and my son is 21 months. She has pretty much been an only child until he was born. I have constantly been busy working and going to school to provide for her and I have to admit, I missed out on a lot. But, when I was off from work and not in class, I took her to museums, plays at the library, outdoor festivals, etc. I tried my hardest on a mediocre salary. But, there are things that I could not provide. I am not ashamed to say that I utilize my village*. I put her in cotillion because I want her to be refined and conduct herself as a young lady should. I let her participate in any sport that she wanted to, to include gymnastics, tae kwon do, cheerleading, soccer, and volleyball. She needed the team and the discipline and friendships that are included. I let her participate in the play for which she was so awesome, I had to step back and soak it all in. She received applause after applause and it seemed as though everyone in the audience stopped her afterward and told her how wonderful she was. She needed that, they all need that. Of course they receive the accolades from us because we are always there but, it is special when it comes from complete strangers who do not owe you anything.
I encourage you to take advantage of any opportunity to build your village because our kids need that. Don’t go it alone. If you look hard enough, there is always someone there willing to help.
*It takes a village to raise a child. – African Proverb