The hardest thing to acknowledge as a woman is that you are not EVERY woman- at least for me it was. In my 30’s, killing the career game, working on a second Masters, and keeping my family of three afloat. To the outside, I am strong, I am determined, I am focused, I am motivated, I am supportive, I am nurturing, and I am love. Yet in reality, I can be weak, I can be nonchalant, I can be all over the place, I can be full of procrastination, I can be selfish, and I can be in and out of depression depending on how the winds blowing. This is or maybe was my world and it took a long time for me to admit it.
I am a mom, a role model, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend/confidant to many. Under all these beautiful designations is the real me that very few see. The me that struggles with depression every single day because I had a stroke at 37. A stroke that almost took my life and I lost myself as I knew in the mix of everything.
I had to wrap my head around how I was going to live my life in the new skin I was in. The body that only allowed half of me to work correctly with the gifts of a walker (that I named Betsy because I felt like an old lady) and a cane (that I named Svetlana because she’s hot pink and has an attitude).
I had to figure out how to explain this to my kids because they left me to go on vacation one way and came back to a different Mommy. I had to deal with the battle of stopping the almost completed progress on my second masters and giving up a career that I worked so hard for because my mind no longer has full capacity.
Yet still, with all of this going on at the end of the day I had to try and keep that every woman cape on because I refused to let anyone see me at my worse. Believe me, I was at rock bottom. I smiled and kept trying to be that silly me that everyone knows but deep inside I was melting down and that hot lava was scorching my soul as it does the earth.
Then there’s the OCD perfectionist me. Don’t think for a minute that this character flaw goes away because of said stroke. It lives on!
I could barely move but my behind was trying to keep my house in order or so I thought. Meanwhile, my husband is really the one doing his best to keep things running. While keeping me from falling on my face because I won’t go sit down somewhere and keep quite. What can I say, I’m a Libra… that’s not in me.
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But what could one expect? Why should the world stop my reality? I was darn near a “perfect wife”. The one who worked full-time, cooked, cleaned, and hosted the best parties (wink wink). I supported, nurtured, and took care of the kids. All while my significant other was at work. But that world changed in the blink of an eye. Its the struggle of living in the midst of massive migraine that managed to altered my world forever.
Here comes the suffocating struggle. That woman was the old me and the new me had no clue how the deal with the realization that I would never be the same again.
That my old mentality was gone, and it took me almost 2 years to accept that. I had to literally lose myself. It was a dark place; it was unfamiliar, lonely, and it was extremely uncomfortable. I had to find a way to be optimistic and positive when all I felt was utter defeat in a black hole of a soul.
What I can say? No matter what level of darkness I got to (and believe me when I say the hole was deep), light always managed to come through the smallest of cracks. That one weak spot, like the Alice In Wonderland keyhole, I knew this will get better somehow. It was the light that came through that small door that allowed me to find my new self and learn to love the new me unconditionally.
So, what I had to use a walker… because now I can just use Svetlana (the cane). Who cares that my left-hand shakes uncontrollably sometimes…I have a right hand that has been with me this entire journey and he will be here for the rest of my family’s lives (and then there’s my literal right hand the still works).
What’s the big deal? My mind isn’t the same as is used to be. My brain saved my life by making my entire body come to a complete STOP so it could regroup and allow me to start again.
I started a weight loss journey to help heal my body. Who needs to eat 6 slices of meat lovers pizza and have 4 beers anyway? A half of an all-white slice with broccoli and some water works just as well for me now. But that’s a journey tale for another time.
Just like a gracefully floating ballerina that may fall on stage unexpectedly, I had to learn to accept that the world keeps turning. And gravity will not drop me so long as I keep holding my head up. Because I have two daughters that look to me for strength and a husband that will not let me fall. They are my gravity and I am every woman that has defied most odds. She is the new me and I am her. We are the one woman they need and that’s just fine with us.
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