Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Simplicity, Serenity and Struggle

I find myself in a tug-of-war.  I love writing in this space, and I miss it.

Following the chaos of my relapse(s) and subsequent 90 days of treatment, I vowed to take a break from living my life so publicly.  I have been doing serious thinking about the role blogging plays in my life, in my recovery.  I have more questions than answers.

I still receive numerous emails from people who identify with my story, have been helped in some way by my words. People offer bits of their own struggles, their own triumphs, and it comforts me, makes me feel less alone. 

I don't have regrets, because despite everything I continue to believe that being open brings more gifts to me than being closed. When I share some of my vulnerabilities with the world, the blessings I receive back are beyond measure.  I am long past worrying about judgment, censure or sideways glances on the soccer field.

This blog has been, in large part, about my addiction and recovery story. But I also wrote about motherhood, creativity, advocacy, balance and family.

The past six months have shown me that I do not need to share all the intimate details of my journey. Some things are meant for the sacred intimacy of real-life: family, close friends and recovery people.  
I have focused on living a quiet, simple life. I stepped away from the day-to-day of running Shining Strong, I took a hiatus from my jewelry businesses and from blogging.

My main focus has been on self-care and my family.  My kids are my priority - after my recovery, of course, because without my recovery I will lose everything.

I find myself in an in-between space. There are lots of changes happening in my life, and I ache to write about them.  But it's not just my story to tell.  What I say here impacts my kids, my husband, my family.  

Because I have shared my struggles here, I am stopped often - even from people I barely know - who look me in the eye and ask me, in a heartfelt manner - how are you?  

I don't know what to say anymore.  I am someone who shares; I find comfort in connecting with people.  I want to be truthful, but I find myself uncharacteristically speechless.  

I struggle with the balance between what is private and answering authentically. It feels shallow simply saying, "I'm fine!  And you?"

So what to do about here?  In the land of One Crafty Mother?  I realize, looking back, that I have never been untruthful or misleading here.  I have written as authentically as I could.  But there is a kind of safety in crafting words to describe my life to the unseen masses.  It's the parts I didn't even have access to myself - the pain, the depression, the grief and anxiety - that got me in the end. Writing is powerful, but it can allow me to skip rocks over the really hard stuff, even as I believe I am digging deep.

So here is what I can say:  I am okay. I have an incredible relationship with my kids, and for this I am beyond grateful.  My recovery is solid. I am able to live in acceptance and surrender and keep it in the day, with lots of prayer, meditation and support.  

Recently I re-opened my online jewelry shops, but I haven't been marketing them aggressively. Like sinking into a hot bath, I am slowing reintegrating into creating again.  It feels good.  I am writing a lot on the side, away from the public eye. It is healing.

I am smack dab in the middle of a fantastic recovery community; I reach out for help.  I stay active, present and involved.  I lean into my feelings, and share them face-to-face with the unbelievable support network I have right here in front of me.

I am also not okay. My husband and I are separating. I won't get into the details, because it isn't my story to tell.  It's our story. It will always be our story, no matter what happens in the end.  We are working together with love and respect for each other, and that's a lot.  That isn't to say it's not hard - man, is it hard, but I find that anger, resentment and fear block my contact with God.  It's simpler to live in compassion and faith. Well, maybe not simpler, but certainly more serene.

I know that God's got us, that we need to row the boat but that He is steering. I know I will learn and stretch and grow. 

Our little family has been through a lot in the past three years, and a lot of it revolves around my issues: the death of my Dad, my cancer, my depression/anxiety, my relapse, my absence during my treatment.  And now our separation.  

I find myself waiting for things to settle down, for life to return to normal again.  I find myself grappling for a foothold, wanting to shake answers out of the Universe because I want to know, dammit, what is going to happen.  

When I do this, when I live in the land of expectation, I suffer.  When I pry my white knuckles off the steering wheel, surrender and ask for help, I am calm and steady.  I know now that this is the only power I have over anything: how I metabolize my world.   

I have the power to let go.