I had a vision for my life. I remember in high school being asked what I saw in my future. I said, "living alone on the edge of the ocean, playing music for a living". It didn't quite work out like that....a pond instead of an ocean and very much not alone now being the mother of seven. And looking back now, I feel so much sadness in that answer. I do love to be alone. I feel most at peace, most content when I am alone. I love the contemplative part of my life. But the idea that I did not see children in my future brings me sadness because my children are a great source of joy for me.
The same year I was asked that question, I became pregnant at 18 while still in high school and I was shook. I felt like I had failed. That I had let so many people down. That I had ruined my life. Little did I know, it was setting the stage for what I was truly desiring in my life. These little soulmates who came to teach me things about myself I would not have otherwise seen. As grateful as I am now, at the time, it was a struggle. I was top of my class, valedictorian, Glengarry Graduate, recipient of many scholarships with an early acceptance to McGill University for exceptional talent as a saxophone player. The classic overachiever. I had my sights set on a bright future. Being a teen mom....I did not see that coming.
And so the vision for my life changed. I adapted to this new circumstance. I was scared but determined to not have it define me. When the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth ridiculed me for being so irresponsible, it stung. But after the tears, I was resolute. They did not know me. They did not know that I had been responsible...that I was on birth control. But I had taken antibiotics for a kidney infection and it negated my protection. I didn't know. I was never told that piece of information. So I didn't see it coming.
But I knew I wanted that child. And I also knew I wanted that child to have siblings because I came from a large family and loved my brother and sisters so much. So my vision for my life expanded to now include "mother" & "wife" and a house full of noise and laughter and chaos soon followed. And I loved the new vision for my life. I loved the chaos....I could distract myself with the chaos. I could hide from myself in it. I was holding on to so much pain but wasn't looking at it. And then I started to lose myself to it. I started the buckle under the weight of all that I was carrying. And I started to crumble. I did not see that coming.
I had always been so strong. Able to handle anything that came my way. Any crisis that life through at me, I handled with grace and determination. And there were a lot of crises. And I soon discovered that I could not handle it all because I was trying to do it alone. And I was trying to do it from a place of disconnection from my true self. I was trying to keep it all together for the kids, for my marriage, for the family. It's what I thought I was supposed to do. Set my own needs aside and live for others. Until I broke. And I did not see that coming.
When you are broken, the light within you starts to seep out and show you things you may not have wanted to see. It bounces off surfaces from different angles. Off the frayed edges of the shattered pieces of you. And you start to see. To really see. Breaking was the beginning of clarity for me. The start of truly seeing what I had allowed my life to become. Acknowledging that I had completely lost myself. For so many reasons, I kept choosing anything but me. I did not matter. Everyone else mattered. But not me. What was that about? That's crazy talk. What is going on here? If my child was saying that to me, it would break my heart. Why did it feel ok for me to say it?
I needed to make serious changes. I needed to start choosing me. To make room for healing and rediscovery of who I actually am. From the inside out. To learn how to care for my self. To truly love myself.
I'm supposed to look after "self"? Self care is a thing? Being selfless is not a good thing?
It's ok to be selfish? Whoa.
I did not see that coming.