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Day two.

Okay, so I am a little later than my original deadline of “tomorrow”, but, in my defense, I’m still getting used to the whole working third shift thing. I am still posting though, which is a plus.

Today’s prompt is What are you passionate about?

The first thing that comes to mind is my daughter. There is nothing else in the world that is more important to me than her and her daddy. They’re my everything. I am passionate about taking care of them and being there for them. I’m passionate about teaching Evie that you can be a strong, beautiful woman and care for others at the same time. I want to teach her to be creative and to not be afraid to question things and stand up for herself. I want to be the best mother I can be (which I am finding to be difficult on the mornings that I get off work at 4 am and only get a couple of hours of sleep before she wakes me).

I am passionate about reading books. I can get completely immersed in a book and finish it in a day. I will read anything from books about Anthropology to slightly cheesy romance novels, I’m not picky. If you put a book (or ebook) in my hand, I will read it.

I am passionate about music. I don’t think I could live without music. I went so long listening to music I felt I had to instead of music that I loved. At that point, I didn’t listen to it as much as normal; I just didn’t enjoy it. But, now that I am getting back to my roots, per say, I love listening to music whenever I can, whether it is live or from a playlist. My tastes are eclectic to say the least. You’ll find classical, folk, metal, country, pop, and everything in between in my selections.

I have discovered a passion for bettering myself. It’s definitely a process, but it is one that I enjoy. I find that by finding out more about myself, I’m able to enjoy my life more and more. I’m starting to act more like myself again. If you had asked me six months ago if I had changed, I would have said no.

I am trying to form a passion for health and fitness, but I am finding a lack of motivation to be my greatest obstacle.

So, for now, those are all my true passions that I can think of at the moment. The next post is Share your favorite recipe, why you love it, and food porn (pictures of said recipe).

I’m looking forward to this one. No guarantee on when this one will be complete, but I’m shooting for Thursday!

 

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Day one.

So, I found this thing on Pintrest aka: every mom’s secret (or not so secret) obsession. It comes from the blog Janine Ripper and I would definitely recommend reading her stuff if you are on your own self discovery journey. The post I am referring to is 105 Prompts for Self-Exploration. I don’t know that I will do all the prompts, but I feel like this is a good starting point for keeping consistent blog posts coming.

The first prompt is sharing why you are blogging and I feel I have already done that, so I consider that one done. That means I will be starting with number 2!

Share your favorite affirmations. 

I can’t say that I have ever done anything with affirmations. To be honest, I had to look up the general meaning of the word. So, I have picked out a few that go along with some of the issues I have.

What others think of me is their choice. What I think of me is my choice.

This is something I struggle with every day. I am constantly afraid of what others think of me. I know a big part of it is my anxiety and depression bogging me down and I have gotten a lot better recently in this area. But there are still times where I catch myself thinking of how others perceive me. In a sense, I think it is good thing, especially in a professional or parental sense. You always want your boss or your children to think of you positively (even though there are times when you swear your kids despise you). The worst part of it, though, is I let how others see be dictate how I see myself. This is the part that I am working to change. I know that I am not what others make me out to be, but it is hard to see that sometimes, so it is nice to be reminded every once in a while.

I believe in myself more each day.

Again, this is something I have struggled with my whole life. Self confidence isn’t something that I have had an abundance of. Physically, I’ve always considered myself O.K. at best and in everything else I always ranked below average. But, I’m working on it. It helps that I have a husband that compliments me and never lets me forget that he finds me attractive. Also, my two year old tells me I’m beautiful like Elsa, so there’s that! I’ve recently started the whole bare-minimum make up thing and have experienced my skin becoming far healthier and I have lost some weight in the past few weeks, so it’s looking up in that department. I feel like I’m going to struggle more with my inner self issues than my outer ones, though. Time will tell.

I’ve gotten through this before, so I can do it again.

The biggest monsters in my life are my anxiety and depression. I have never been officially diagnosed, though after having Evie I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. Everyday I have to battle through them in one way or another. It’s hard to get out of bed more often than not and there are so many times where I am just at war with myself. Do I stay in bed and stay safe under the covers or do I get up and clean the house to the point where my fingers are raw because of the anxiety of the clutter of having pets and a toddler? Honestly, if it weren’t for Evie and Brent, I don’t know where I would be at. Having people that depend on me is a healthy dose of reality when I hit my low points. I plan on starting to go to a GP and seeing about possibly getting some medication to even me out. I just know something has got to give.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I suppose it isn’t too bad of a start! Any kind of declaration at this point is helpful in my eyes. Tomorrow will be What are you passionate about? It should be fun!

 

 

Just a weekend.

louder-than-life
Louder Than Life, October 2016

2016 included a few firsts for me.

It was the first year we were able to get mine and my husbands side of the family together for Christmas. It was the first year we had been to a concert as a married couple. It was also the first year I had ever been to a music festival.

For those who had read any of my other posts, you know that, for a long time, I had been trying to change who I am to fit the profile of a “good mother”. I know now that that is a load of complete bullshit. The decision to attend Louder than Life and once again immerse myself into the culture of metal was a defining moment for me.

I had spent the past 2 years trying to make myself into this good Christian woman because that’s what social media and those around me told me I needed to do. I changed my clothing, my music, how I spoke and became someone I didn’t even recognize anymore. But, on October 1 and 2, 2016, I saw how wrong I had been.

Being around others who loved the music as much as I do was transcendent, more so than anything I had ever felt during any church sermon. The amount of crowd surfers was insane and you could just tell that the artists got as much of a high as we did from the experience. It was crazy to be around so many people who loved to just be there and experience everything the music gave us a collective. You could feel it in your bones.

The best part for me, though, was seeing the people who had brought their kids with them. That really made it hit home to me that I had been making a fool of myself and that, in changing myself for everyone else, I was setting the worst kind of example for my daughter.

So, I change that weekend. It was like the fire was lit inside of me again. I’ve stopped caring so much about everyone else. My husband and I have starting putting what we want first and giving a big old middle-finger to anyone who tries to shame us for it. I’ve changed jobs, cleaned out my closet of all the clothes that just weren’t me, and starting listening to the music that really reaches my soul.

And I don’t regret it for one second.

Who would have thought to one music festival would have had such a profound experience in my life.

via Photo Challenge: Names

My first big realization.

A few months ago, I was a nursery coordinator for our church. I turned to God for everything. I prayed, I listened to Christian radio stations, I tried to remain diligent in my reading of the Bible, but there was something happening that I couldn’t ignore. I wasn’t happy. I never mentioned it to my pastor because, from prior experience, I knew the answer would be something along the lines of “God has a plan” or “Continue to pray and read the word, God will answer your prayers when the time comes.” To be honest, I got sick of waiting. I was tired of being told that I wasn’t “meant to understand” or that  it was “beyond my comprehension”. I was tired of being told that everything that humanity has excelled in or done wrong is all because of an omniscient being who was kind and generous, but, at the same time, jealous and full of wrath (depending on which scripture you quoted). It just didn’t sit right with me.

So, I stopped praying and reading my Bible. I started spending my time with my family instead of God. I started being easier on myself when it came to letting a curse word slip here and there or when I wasn’t being a perfect “Proverbs 31 Woman”. I belly laughed at inappropriate jokes and starting listening to the music I grew up loving. My style began to change and my view of myself changed with it. I let go of my guilt of never being good enough. I just stopped being so “stuffy” and being more… Gwen. It was then that something happened. I was finally happy. I wasn’t stressing about being a biblical woman and became more worried about just being a good mom and wife on my own terms.

That led me to start really looking into Christianity and the Bible. I found somethings that I wasn’t okay with. (I’m not going to detail it out on here, but if anyone would like to discuss it, I would be more than happy to if you would like to contact me!) After looking into all of this I decided I was going to bring my doubts to my husband. This was a really hard decision for me. My husband grew up in a devout Christian home and was the one who really brought me to the religion in the first place. Words that should have never been said were (by both of us) and feelings were hurt. He was confused and I was wounded and angry. He blamed himself and I couldn’t understand why. Tears were shed and we parted sorely. The next day, things were better and apologies were made. He said he would try to understand and I promised him I would not keep him from going to church and worshiping if he still wanted to. At the time, I was still confused about where I was in my decision to leave the faith I had held on to behind.

The more I thought about it, though, the more sure I became. After bringing my reasons to my husband a few weeks later, he has seemed to understand more. We have made the mutual decision to take a break from church and we have spent the past three months just being a family and spending our Sunday mornings at home. I honestly feel like we are happier than we have been in a long time.

I now consider myself Agnostic and my husband, while he still considers himself a Christian, has his own reservations and arguments about the Church and the ideas that they sometimes convey. It’s understood now that we will teach our kids that there are a multitude of ways that they can choose to believe and that one way is not any better than any of the others. Our kids will grow up knowing that we won’t judge them for deciding that they may or may not want to practice Christianity, Buddhism, or any other form of religion, but they will also be raised to give everyone else the same respect. I feel like this decision has made our marriage stronger.

We haven’t made this known to anyone who hasn’t asked. It really isn’t anyone’s business, but, if prompted, we will explain our decision to them. I feel that our families will take this the hardest, especially his side. They are all completely immersed in the Christian life and, while I don’t hold this against them at all, I feel they will not be so accepting of our decision. My family, while they don’t attend church regularly or anything, still believe in God and Jesus and some of them are a bit more “old-school” than others. Our priority is and will always be our kids, though; so, regardless of how others may feel about how we choose to raise them, we will continue to do what we feel is the best for our family.

Leaving religion isn’t a decision that I made lightly. I knew it would change our family and that it would possibly change our entire dynamic. That being said, I can’t say that I regret it. There are times where I may question myself, but then I think back to how unhappy I was and it is solidified in my mind even more that I made the best choice. I can’t imagine giving myself over entirely to something like that again and not even being positive that I truly understood and believed it.

I think that becoming Agnostic has made me a better version of myself. While I understand the need for religion that some people feel (I’ve been there myself, after all), it just isn’t something that I find necessary nor something that I want to have a strong influence in my life. I don’t need someone/thing standing over my shoulder telling me, as my pastor liked to say, “You’re good enough isn’t good enough and your bad enough isn’t bad enough”. I have plenty of issues with myself without having those little whispers lingering in the back of my mind, thank you very much.

So, to those of you who struggle with this, whoever you are, you’re not the only one. Make the decision that is best for you, regardless of what others will think. Life is too short to live it for everyone else.

-Gwen.

One.

I feel like the first post in a blog should be something that is profound. I don’t quite know what I can write that would be considered profound, though. I am a typical 24-year-old mother of one who is trying to find out where she belongs in this world. I am a wife and a sister. I am a movie-goer and a bookworm, a photographer and a dreamer. I don’t fit into any specific niche and I’m okay with that. I don’t socialize a lot. I have issues with anxiety and depression, but I feel like that is such a cliche anymore, so I make a point to not let those issues define me (sometimes I am more successful than others).

I am also beginning to discover that I have been, in a sense, lying to myself for a while about who I am as a person. I have had this image in my head since I had my little girl of what it is to be a mother. I have been trying to project that in my life, but I have recently discovered how miserable that has made me.

For the past 3+ years I have tried being the bright, bubble, religious, Pintrest-perfect momma, and, honestly, that’s just not me.

The real me listens to metal and prefers skinny jeans and combat boots to floral patterns and bright colors. The real me says more bad words than I should and has a messy house because I’m too busy spending time with my daughter and husband to give it much thought. The real me has a southern accent that I can’t hide for anything and snorts when I laugh too hard. The real me isn’t much a social butterfly and prefers small groups to large crowds (except for festivals and concerts!). The real me watches anime and obsesses over shows like Supernatural and Doctor Who. The real me has the occasional anxiety attack and, in fact, does not have all of my shit together. The real me could care less about your religion, sexuality, how you dress, race, or what bathroom you feel like you should go to. I would rather spend my time with real people who can hold a good conversations and don’t mind that a curly-headed toddler will likely interrupt us incessantly. The real me just wants to be happy and I have decided it about time I take care of myself instead of worrying about pleasing everyone else.

While I have been spending all this time and energy trying to be the picture-perfect momma, I have been hurting myself in more ways than one. I have been “eating my feelings” and let myself go where my health is concerned. I have turned to food for comfort and, as to be expected, dug myself even further in a hole I have been struggling to get out of. Before the holidays, without much effort, I was able to rid myself of about 15 pounds of extra weight, but, have gained back about three of them (I’m kinda proud of myself it has been such a small amount). With this journey starting, I plan on restoring my health so I will be recording that here as well! Cheers for accountability!

I’m hoping that, by making myself a little place where I can write out my thoughts and such, it will be a bit easier to be able to express myself and be happier with who I am. Who knows, maybe I will be able to help others as well! It’s that really the goal of being a human? Bettering others by bettering yourself; who could ask for anything more? I have also decided that just talking about teaching my daughter to be happy with who she is and not letting other people make you feel bad for being yourself isn’t gonna cut it. It’s time I show her instead of being all talk!

So, I guess that’s my introduction to this blog. I hope that some will start to follow me on my journey and we can all have fun along the way!

-Gwen.