I have you.

The weight we sometimes lose is often not the version that stares back up at us unforgivably. It isn’t what we put into mouth versus the energy we expend during our next workout. Sometimes it is balled up and crumpled like a piece of paper in a heart beating us down and holding our hearts hostage. Sometimes it is more painful than any other sort of weight that we sweat from our pores.

As I scoured through my Facebook news feed today I came across a blog post. Most of the time I don’t reread shared blog posts on Facebook. But the person who shared it rarely shares something unless it is good. So I clicked it and I skimmed. I saw the words

Grief

Everything doesn’t happen the way it should

Let them go. 

And I skimmed back up to the top and I dove in. Midway through the tears were flowing because the words pierced me. The last year as I have tackled my gravity mass on my body I recognized many of my issues with food were just that…issues. The fear of not having enough, the fear of being seen for who I was, the fear of being who I am meant to be and the bravery of letting it all hang out. The last few years have been incredibly frustrating for me as I tackled my own brain because I literally have surmounted the impossible. But the image in my mirror made me physically sick.

Admitting in February to myself out loud that I wanted to be fat hurt. It hurt because it was my truth. I realized then I didn’t know why or how but that no longer could I be my biggest critic. I spent the last two years of my life being shown grief and so many years before that building up to what I had become and I could not answer why? What made me become this way? Why did it get so out of hand? Why couldn’t it be conquered?

This set me on this path of looking at the hard things and hard parts of relationships that didn’t always work. That is never easy to face, but I knew to get to the other side of this part I had to. I have had some grief in my life and much of it lived out here on my blog. Some of it easier than others….but two years ago things drastically changed.

Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. 

These words come from my dear friend Megan Devine, one of the only writers in the field of loss and trauma I endorse. These words are so poignant because they aim right at the pathetic platitudes our culture has come to embody on a increasingly hopeless level. Losing a child cannot be fixed. Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed. Facing the betrayal of your closest confidante cannot be fixed. 

They can only be carried.

And much of that journey I have made was a solo one. I found myself not surrounded by those that loved me unconditionally or even in kind ways. Instead, I found those that loved me couldn’t love me in the way I needed it and instead of feeling like I was deficit something I needed to realize it was their deficit. Not mine. And honestly that is hard. It is hard especially when it is those who are supposed to love you. The ones that are “your” people.

So if anyone tells you some form of get over it, move on, or rise above, you can let them go.

If anyone avoids you amidst loss, or pretends like it didn’t happen, or disappears from your life, you can let them go.

If anyone tells you that all is not lost, that it happened for a reason, that you’ll become better as a result of your grief, you can let them go.

But your true people are the ones that stand in your silence and aren’t afraid by it, or demand more from you than you can physically give. It isn’t always about having the answers, sometimes it is just as simple as saying, “I don’t have the answers, but I have you.”

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One strong momma. 

 
I know I said life was looking better or less busy. It is. But then it wasn’t. Tragedy struck my school community…some how the statistics came out and touched us. I didn’t know the student. But I see their face. I see it because my students hearts, minds and lives are consumed in it. I didn’t need to know the student because I saw the grief my students were forced to bear. 

My own daughters felt the loss because suddenly the “talk” they have every year has a name and a face. Because they saw me come home from school at night with a heavy heart and puffy eyes. It made me feel compelled to have real and meaningful talks with them. I enjoyed looking at how they saw the world. Their innocence intact but some how altered by the reality that life is hard sometimes and sometimes it sucks. 

And more grief coming. Lives of my students being derailed and I hurt. I hurt because they do and I wonder if I should teach with less of a heart or wonder if I should just check my heart at the door. But in my classroom it maybe my biggest weakness but it is also my greatest strength. I remind them they matter. If they doubt it I make them look me in the eye and I tell them. 

But I realized that my own personal battles in the last two years of coping with my Guy’s TN, brain surgery and my own inner demons was leading me here to this very moment to have these real conversations. The ones that matter. The ones that they need and that I need. 

There is that saying that something along the lines that people will forget what you tell them, but they don’t forget the way you make them feel. I try and live that in my classroom. Had I not gone through the last two years I am not sure I could have had the frank and real conversations I have had the last few weeks. 

It is so hard for me to convince kids (my own or my students) that my assignments are their priority when they are coping with the toughness in life. They need an adult to admit to them that sometimes life sucks and that it is hard. But the moment you decide to keep going is the strongest you will ever be. I know it because I lived it. Strike that…I live it.

I am strong because I fought for me. I fought for my family and by doing that I can be there now. My life is far from perfect or even figured out. But I comfortable in my own skin and with my heart. 

Love wins.

This matters. You matter even when you don’t feel like it. 

To my daughters…to my students…to my friends…to my family…to anyone who reads this. 

This is your grief and I have no right to claim it as my own. The grief I feel is different. Yours is a silent deadly killer. It tells you you don’t matter and there are no better days. It promises relief from a difficult world where you feel so isolated and alone. You cry out in social media, in your actions and want more but more of what you aren’t sure. If you were you would likely ask for it. But in an ironic twist of fate and a game of the mind you aren’t alone but you can’t see it or hear it. Instead you are surrounded by four walls that shout you will never be enough and you are alone. 

“In 2013 CDC, stated that everyday in the United States 104 people die from suicide. In most of those cases there were clear cut signs or symptoms of depression.” 

And I grieve for you and your loss of an innocence that is fleeting fast the closer you move toward adulthood. I grieve that you can’t stay in that innocent place forever in a place where you are my daughter/mother/brother/student and we had those innocent moments of inside jokes and happy times. 

Twice in my life I have felt that lost and that alone. I looked out and saw faces and smiles and I even smiled back but inside I was anything but happy. I grabbed for people to save me in hopes they would convince me I mattered. Truthfully, that moment never came. 

There was no pill to fix this, there was no knight in shining armor, there was no pretending it didn’t exist. There was my voice crying to be heard and it needed to be heard in a safe place. 

One without a fear of judgment or maliciousness. Just someone on the other end that heard me and helped me to look in the mirror and find and see myself. It sounds so simple but the 2nd time it took almost 2 years.

The process seems so simple but it is anything but. The only way to the other side is through it. I wanted to avoid it all. I knew what was on the other side. But that meant not acknowledging my pain. And despite my best efforts that never worked. 

Depression is an emotion that demands to be felt in all it’s truly ugly glory. Each of those words an antithesis of the other because in such pain there is beauty because each of us in that moment are stripped down to our bare souls and we decide to do the hard stuff in feeling and that is survive. 

Surviving when it feels like the world tells you don’t. When your own mind tells you don’t. But you make a deal with yourself for another second, another minute, another hour or another day. 

It is trusting in yourself in absolute darkness that you will eventually see the light. It is faith where honestly it feels like there isn’t any. 

More than anything is the person on the other end of your text that waits, or the man/woman that rests their head beside yours every night. It is for all the would haves, could haves or should haves that keep you up at night. 

When it feels impossible read my words and push those walls down. Don’t just push them down. Burn them down…light fire to your hope and my hope that there is something better even though we can’t see it, feel it or will it. 

It’s existence is real it just has to be uncovered. It is honestly letting love win and moving out of our own way to let it because eventually what happens is the fire burns bright and we are stronger for the fight. 

Let love win. 

Is that the fog lifting?

Oh my goodness…almost a full quarter in and I think I can exist beyond surviving in school and my daily life. I am actually keeping up on my grad work instead of being three steps behind it which is amazing. Now if only I could manage to get my house in order. Our new schedule at home is wrecking havoc on my home. I am consistently behind on laundry. The cooking has been a shared task and I have been trying to have my girls do more of that with help from my guy. But the mess is real. We haven’t quite gotten a routine worked out for that. It doesn’t help that we are getting ready for the musical now. Which I love all the prep and what happens when the kids participate in it. But my family for sure is in suvival mode where a clean and organized home is concerned. 

I added a grade level this year which has thrown me off. I have about 40 freshman for English, all the 11th graders for dual credit English. In the 9th grade we are in the heat of reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak which I love teaching and the kids mostly love reading. In the 11th grade they are practicing writing a rhetorical analysis and we just finished reading The Crucible. I also half the 11th graders this semester for  dual credit speech and the other half next semester for speech. Right now they are working on advocacy speeches. Then my 10-12th grade elective,Mass Media, is working on making podcasts. We listened to Limetown as a primer. I am so excited by the things they are doing and cannot wait to hear what they created. 

And Kpuff and I are almost graduates of Insanity Max 30. We did miss a few, but we didn’t miss exercise. It just ended up we couldn’t workout together. I am not sure what is next. I like insanity max but it isn’t my favorite. I still like T25 the most and I really like when we switched it up. But doing anything that tough at the beginning of the school year was probably some of the issue. But it kept me focused. I have been waivering between gaining and losing 1 pound. I have been lifting weights and the part we are in in insanity focuses on body weight training. So I think it is normal. My eating is good. My inches are going down in right places and up in right places. 

I have 5-7 pounds till my first goal. I imagine when we switch things up a bit I will probably lose it. I am not worried about it honestly though. It will happen. I am very happy where I am. I am not necessarily happy with the extra skin though. Not sure what I am willing to do about it though. But I feel like it is ridiculous in my tummy area and then second my arms. I hear the surgery is extremely painful and I am not sure I am ready to do something that drastic. So I own it and claim it for myself. 

And by that the fog is lifting. Slowly…..