Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rocks In My Backpack

Wow.  I started writing as a way to work through some of my grief, and I think every time I start to take some positive steps forward, something always throws me back.  Usually violently.
I talk a lot about my religious beliefs, but those are things that I have had to work on, and continue to work on every day.  I can believe something so strongly, and then when my life gets tossed back into the blender, it's as if I come stumbling away, shaking my head and wondering what in the world is going on.  I have to reset and try to take the things I know and give myself a new starting point.  It's annoying, really.

I have never had a high self esteem.  I wish that I did.  I just thought it was humility when you brushed off a compliment.  I thought it was bragging if you liked something about yourself.  I thought in order to try to be a better person you had to know that you were nothing in the first place.  Now I know none of that is true, and I would hate if my daughter felt those things about herself.
For a long time, I felt like many of my efforts fell flat.  I didn't ever really put myself or my talents "out there" for fear of failure.  I couldn't ever seem to catch up, I couldn't keep up with the Joneses or even with myself.  I suffered from depression.  If anybody has ever had depression, you know how inadequate you feel, and how getting up in the morning feels like such a chore, because you already know how the day is going to end.  Not many points on your scoreboard.
Because of this, I tried to overcompensate.  I wanted my kids to be extra awesome so it looked like I knew what I was doing.  I hammered home points or lectures I felt were necessary, I came down hard on them, but then backed away because I didn't want to "damage" them by having to face harsh consequences.  I am a really good threatener.  When my kids would act out, rebel, lie, or anything like that, I would take it personally.  "They had no reason to do that... I don't run a prison here, so why would they do that to me?"  I felt like it was more evidence that I wasn't parenting up to snuff.  So I became more relaxed.  Didn't force homework.  If they said they didn't have any, they didn't have any.  You weren't were you said where you were going to be?  Ok, well, when you get home, you better think long and hard about why it upsets me and never do that again.  You don't feel like doing something?  Ok, I understand.  I wouldn't want to do it when I was your age either, so I'll do it for you.
Talk about setting yourself (and your kids) up for failure!
Now, one thing I have learned is that when you don't feel good about yourself, people can sniff it out like bad garbage.  And they are usually willing to keep perpetuating those lies, because it takes the guilt off of themselves.  I felt the need to prove my worth even more, even if I was just trying to convince myself of it.  I tried to be kinder, more forgiving, relax some of my moral beliefs, and what ended up happening was me getting walked all over and I still took the blame.  I was growing resentful of everybody, because I felt like every decision was being criticized, and I could never win.  If I had a multiple choice, I always picked the wrong one!  And believe me, I was hearing it.  Once decision would disappoint someone, but the same decision would disappoint someone else for another reason.  I was living way too much for everybody else, and now I know the term as "codependence."  Bring on the psycho-babble!
I became really good at being a victim.  I felt like my life was happening TO me, instead of me being a willing participant.  There were a lot of things that happened way beyond my control, things that slowly crept in and before I knew it, I was wondering how in the world it had happened, furthering my hopeless thoughts.

Last year, after what has seemed like a hellacious few years, I decided I had so many good things in my life, that I didn't want to dwell in the past, but I didn't know how NOT to.  I knelt again.  I went to a lady that helped me in so many ways.  She brought very vividly to my mind my role in my unhappiness.  She didn't do it out of anger or frustration, but out of a very willing spirit to help and uplift.
A talk came to my mind from John Bytheway called ""What's In Your Backpack?"  I imagined myself following people around, picking the rocks out of their packs in an effort to lessen their burdens, but I was tossing them into my own.  Someone was angry?  I stuffed one in my pack.  Someone carried guilt?  I stuffed a rock. Every insult hurled my way, I was picking up another stone and adding it to my heavy load. I was so weighed down and was upset at God for making me suffer so much, but then I imagined Him looking at me, saying, "You're the one picking them up."  He had given me and everyone else a way to deal with our heartaches, but I wasn't letting Him help me shoulder my own trials and I had become angry at HIM.  Visually taking the rocks out of my pack and putting them at His feet was a lot harder than you would think, but the relief I found after doing so was empowering!  I started to view Him differently and also the people around me.  I started to view ME differently.

I have had 3 children that have had serious medical issues at some point.  I have spent more time in hospitals than I ever care to spend.  I hold together pretty well, and then one day, I lose all hope and all progress.  The past week for me has been trying, mentally and spiritually.  Sitting down to write this today helped me to remember what direction I'm headed after being in the blender.  I'm stressed out, worrying about bills, about homework that didn't get turned in, the funky smell in the house I can't find, the crafts I'm supposed to get done, about the 30 pounds I want to lose, about Christmas, about how I feel like I'm getting steady once again
and December 5 is closing in on me fast, about watching another child struggle for his life in front of my eyes, about being his nurse, and about the guilt I feel that people are bringing my family dinner but I'm terribly relieved to not have to cook... just to name a few.
  I'm realizing that I've started to weigh myself down with these things and I'm frustrated that I can't run like I want to, so I'm going to unload my pack and start over, ready to hike again tomorrow!


  1. Amber, you are amazing!!!! Your family has been in our prayers. Heavenly Father is there and loves you so much. Thank you for being a friend.

  2. Thank you, Michelle :) you have no idea how blessed I am to have good people like you in my life!