Last spring I was suffering through a string of bad circumstances, as we all do from one time or the other in our lives. If it wasn't finances, or one of the kids being sick, it was me waking up with another daylong migraine that led to a weeklong migraine. Things are much better now. I figured out the migraines were for the most part a culprit of aspartame in a health drink that I thought would 'fix' the headaches, but was in fact causing them. Turns out, people like me who are prone to pain are especially sensitive to fake sweeteners. I'm not sure how I got through some of those days last spring. Waking up with a pounding head, vomiting, then getting the kids dressed and off to school literally had me in a dark cloud. When I look back at some of the writing I did at the time, I'm embarrassed by all the typos and missing words. But at least I was trying. And I was trying—with every ounce of my being.
When summer came around I was feeling so much better. One thing I've learned is that things may be terrible, but terrible never lasts too long. Everything is transitional, so if you wait a little while another phase will come along to replace the current one, be it bad or good. I am, despite some of my fatalistic ways, an optimist at heart. I really am. Every morning I wake up renewed and ready for the best to happen, not the worst.
By the end of summer I'd written a lot, read a lot, cleared my head with tons of fresh air and sunlight. The kids and I spent our days swimming and going to the lake, movies, the carnival, the fair. But then at the start of school all the fears returned. I was terrified of Liam having ear problems again, and of me not having enough money to deal with illnesses and visits to the dentist. As I fixated on these problems, they came back as if I'd sent out an invitation. I began to feel hopeless and utterly out of control in my own life.
Taking a step back, and taking some very deep breaths, I made the realization that I was indeed inviting negativity into my life by visualizing and giving it power with my fear. So I made an ultimatum: I could live in fear, constantly preparing myself for failure and bad luck OR I could live with a positive mindset, only expecting the best to happen, and if something bad did happen I could deal with it right away and leave it behind. In other words: I could be happy, or I could be miserable. I chose happiness.
When I was eighteen, there was a lot of chaos in my life. I'd fallen in love, been rejected, and felt as if my whole life was a string of rejection and loneliness. Sometimes I would be in my el crappo Chevy, driving home from my even crappier job at Wal-Mart, and scream and scream until all the anxiety and hurt inside of me was gone. But it was never really gone. I went on a quest. I began to seek enlightenment. I wanted to know who I was, not what the world expected me to be, or what I looked like, or what I succeeded or failed at. Who was I, and why had I been born? Those were the questions I began asking myself. In the story of Adam and Eve they are told not to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, but in my opinion the most beautiful fruit is knowledge, namely, self knowledge. Without it we are all drivers set on auto-pilot. We arrive, but have no idea how or why we got there. We're lost, yet on a track that's set by another person—someone who we'll never see and who doesn't give a damn about us.
I started experimenting with music, books, clothes, people, and the realization of who I was slowly became apparent. It was as if I were on summit, looking out over the entire world, having a soul orgasm. I know that sounds weird, but that's the only way to explain it. I felt like I was connected to everything and everyone. But with great understanding comes great sadness. Much of my life afterwards has been me trying to replicate that peak of happiness. The only way to truly replicate it was, and is, to keep exploring and not to remain stagnant. That may explain why being a mother both enlightens and frustrates me. In one way I am witness to life in action, in the other I am stuck being a goose on a delicate egg, never allowed to fly the coop, so to speak. But that's where writing is essential. It saves me. I was born to be a writer. I was also born to me a mother and a musician.
So, right now, today, I am happy. I take time every morning to reflect on who I am and where I'm headed. Every day I wake up and see the world with new eyes. I've made a vow to stay positive and to visualize the things I want, not the things I fear.
There's always light in everything we do. Even the darkest shadows are a result of light. Remember that.