Friday Feels: September

My life lately has been a whirlwind of happenings, with another flare-up of one of my daughter's symptoms coinciding perfectly with another hospitalization with my mom. I've been doing my best to keep up, but sometimes things get to me and I end up dropping the ball - and I hate to see that this time, the ball I dropped was the blogging ball.

Still, I'm trying to straighten things out, but this is real life with chronic illness, single parenting, and mental health symptoms. So this me, continuing to live honestly and openly, sharing my story and my struggles, and allowing my writing here to keep being the therapy I so desperately need. In the meantime, I'm trusting you guys to understand, to back me up, and to keep working toward your own Undaunted life.

I'd like to apologize for any errors in this post in advance as well, as I'm writing this month's Friday Feels on the go. Today I've been to see my mother at the hospital, I've gone to pick up picnic supplies at the grocery store, I've chased Eden down when she wandered off in the grocery store, I've worked to steel myself against the onslaught of anxiety and overstimulation brought on by an evening out as my girls and I venture downtown for a movie, I've chased Eden down repeatedly as her excitement made her totally lose control of herself (even though we've had similar outings a thousand times),and I've shared a late night sandwich with my munchkin while Joey got ready for bed. Now I'm in bed, writing this post from my phone while doing ankle circles, hoping to make an endless entire-leg Charlie-horse go away. I'm waiting for some medication to kick in and take the edge off my back pain, and then, hopefully, I'm off to sleep.

With my mom back in the hospital, my own issues ramping up, mental health struggles worsening, increased medical scrutiny for both of my children, and usual life stuff, you can probably imagine I'm dealing with quite a pile of pent-up feels - and I desperately need as much rest as I can get. So with that, let's see what our random emotion generator sets up for us.

1. Contented:
I live in an amazing city - Knoxville is a great community with loads of resources and activities for families like mine, and I'm happy to report that one of my favorite times of year is finally rolling back around! In the fall and through the winter months, Knoxville comes alive with free festivals and events that are always a blast. For my family, they kick off with Movies on Market Square, a free weekly sit-in put on by the local library and their sponsors. My daughters and I have been to multiple movie screenings, and those sit-in movies are some of my favorite family memories. In fact, I set up the formatting for this post from a blanket in the middle of square, surrounded by the mess of my babes as they shared snacks, played around together, and danced to the pre-movie music. This week's movie was Monster's, Inc., and we had a great time watching it surrounded by new friends (and their adorable puppy).

2. Distant:
Even with such a wide range of emotional provocation, I have felt distant from everything lately. My writing, my friends, my family, my interests. Like I'm there but I'm just a little bit disconnected - there, but separated by a film thin enough to be invisible but thick enough to feel like a barrier. This isn't the first time I've felt this way, either, but this might be the longest it's ever lasted.

Another way to describe the sensation is that my life lately sort of feels like I'm living it underwater - I can move and progress, but everything is slow and weightless in a disjointed way that I find horribly disturbing. Like knowing you can swim, but drowning anyway.

3. Envious:
Some people really seem to have it all together, don't they? The right partner, the right connection with their kids, the right career and qualifications. The right health and weight and pedigree. I've never had those things - never been thin, never been super healthy, never had the right upbringing or lived in the right place. Sometimes I envy the people who have it easy, the people who just seem to have whatever they need, who just seem to fall into the right opportunities, the people for whom everything looks so effortlessly put together.

But then I remind myself that they've paid their dues and that's how they got where they are. And if somehow they haven't paid their dues, the bill is coming.

4. Furious:
Why is there so much judgementalism in a world that tries so hard to seem so tolerant and peaceful and all-loving? How can we pretend we're working toward a better society when we live in such a hyper-sensitive world that certain words and styles and haircuts and even compliments can be deemed hurtful and offensive? The absurdity alone infuriates me.

5. Jubilant:
Despite my sense of lingering despair over the slow pace at which my life is remaking itself, I actually do have frequent moments of uncontainable excitement. As I look around, I see so much evidence of God's provision, so many things working themselves out with perfect timing I could never have imagined. I'm excited about what's coming next in my life in a way I haven't been in years - and I can't wait to share it with you.

6. Melancholy:
With my mental health faltering a little under the stress of everything I've had going on in my personal life, depression has opened the door for melancholy, and I've been battling bouts of loneliness even as I lack the ability to reach out to anyone. I've also fallen back into kicking myself for failing to meet my own standards recently; I'm dreading writing my next quarterly goals because it's going to be a big huge fail report. I did move forward on several of my goals, and I even accomplished a few ... but I just haven't done well at all.

7. Shocked:
I got some news recently that, while totally expected, still rocketed through my heart and shocked me right to the core of my soul. I knew it was coming. Thought I was ready.

My reaction was actually more shocking than the news itself, honestly. I'm still processing this news, working through it, seeking ways to cope. Still, I'm walking through it almost as if I'm in a fog.

8. Stubborn:
Stubborn runs in my blood, handed down to me from grandmothers who survived unspeakable abuses, from my mother whose story is a magnificent tale of human resiliency, from my father who taught me the strength to let go, and from the combination of traits that make me at once amazing and impossible. Yes, I am stubborn.

But in some circles, stubborn is just another word for persistent.

9. Timid:
I'm realizing lately that one of the places I'm most timid is in prayer. I've spent good portions of my life being told what I'm not good enough for, what I don't deserve, what I haven't earned, and all the ways I am not worthy of various things. Over the years, various comments from certain people (particularly ones with opinions I highly valued, like the lifelong friend who outright told me they didn't believe I would ever amount to anything) have created an incredibly solid pile of insecurities that I sometimes feel like I'm suffocating under.

And it hurts my prayer life. I'm afraid to pray for big things, afraid to ask for what I really want in life, because God is ... amazing. He's strong and powerful and majestic and incredible and I'm just ... me. Slow and plain and flawed and unremarkable in so many ways, easy to discard and walk away from and forget about.

But I'm learning to fight against this, to talk to God as a friend, a love, and a mentor. I'm learning to recognize more fully that He made me on purpose, for a purpose, and that He doesn't make mistakes. And with that, I'm learning to call Him out, to seek His grace - not because I deserve it or I've earned it or I'm special, but just because He loves me even when I don't deserve it and I can't possibly earn it and I'm never going to be even close to special enough.

10. Torn:
So many things are tearing at me lately. Situations where, on the one hand, THIS - but on the other hand, THAT. Interactions where doing or saying can have irrevocable consequences - but so can NOT doing and NOT saying. Simple things tear at me these days, too: whether I really need to go grocery shopping yet, whether I really need to get dressed, whether I really want to go out.

If I was a quilt, I'd be the most pitiful jumble of shredded fabric ever to be woven.

But then, if I was a pot, I hope I'd be the kind that's cracked just enough to let the light shine through.

What have you been feeling lately?

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