I’ve been wracking my brain all summer about how to start off this blog post, but every clever, fun way to say “Hi! I’m still alive!” seems to miss the mark. It’s complicated, but essentially yes, hi! I’m still alive, and I’m finally ready to get vulnerable and share about life these past months (thanks, Brené Brown, for the green light on vulnerability!)
So where have I been since May??? An extended not-so-relaxing vacation from social contact? A mental breakdown? In hiding? The truth is, I’ve pretty much been in the fetal position, rarely checking email, let alone sewing baby dresses or blogging, ever since our lightning fast move from Colorado to Virginia, where we’re living in close quarters with family while we go through an agonizingly slow house search process…and the baby girl in my belly gets closer and closer to coming. Each passing week of not being in our own place has kinda felt like a step down a super short plank toward crisis. I know it wouldn’t be…won’t be, at this point…a crisis to bring a baby home to a not-our-house-home (people do it all the time!), and we are so so grateful for generous and unconditionally supportive family opening their space and lives to our rowdy gang of 6, soon to be 7, but it’s hard to stay chill and function normally under the pressure of such a hardcore (albeit self-imposed) deadline. Oct 11th, or somewhere around there, she’s coming. It’s happening, whether we’re living out of a suitcase in someone’s basement, or are in the middle of unpacking boxes, or not. She’s coming, and there’s not a darned thing I can do about it. It’s a massive loss of control, which is, yup, you guessed it- my ultimate hot spot.
I’ve discovered through this that one of my natural coping methods for stress (aka loss of control) is to block out all outside noise, and hyper focus in on a couple of basic things. I feel like Brené talks about this in one of her books…maybe it’s overfunction vs. underfunction during stress? I do both. Underfunction on a ton of stuff (like responding to texts and emails, blogging, anything creative…) while simultaneously overfunctioning on totally asinine things like vaccuming out the car.
My efforts to try to maintain control have been…interesting. From a poison-ivy-induced-health-anxiety-attack (aka “the skin crisis”) during which I made my husband drive me to the ER at 5am on a Saturday morning because I was convinced I had skin mites, to relentless and insatiable nesting in a house that doesn’t belong to me, it’s been, well…let’s see, I’ve filled my generous host’s freezer with post-birth meals, and have managed to reorganize everything from my tax receipts to the camping gear in their basement. It’s crazy bizarre- I can’t seem to find the motivation to work on a quilt or post a blog, but I’ve managed to reorganize someone else’s tupperware cabinet. The more I try to seize control, the more I realize that I am utterly void of it, and the feelings that emerge from the rubble are guilt, embarrassment, and shame.
Fast-forward 3 months of said underfunctioning/overfunctioning coping, mixed with homeschooling, pool time, lots of ice cream, and exploring our new area, and you’re pretty much up to speed. Right now, we are enjoying a few days of sun and sand at the beach, and somehow I’m finally allowing myself to take in a huge deep breath, let it out slowly, and just be. Just relax. Just accept that life is ultimately unplannable, as much as we tell ourselves that it isn’t. I’m realizing that when things don’t go as planned….when we don’t get that job, when that deal falls through, when we can’t find a house, or get sick, or are unexpectedly pregnant, or wreck our car….when we’re hanging off the cliff and feel like we’re just dangling…we finally get the chance to look around and realize we were never really in control to begin with–that someone with more foresight, more wisdom, more patience, and more love than our minds could even conjure, has us securely in the palm of His hand, and if we just stop gripping, He can take us to places we never dreamed we could go. For me, that place is calm in a storm, a peace in the valley. I’m trying to let go, and let Him hold me. It’s painful and I’ve felt like crying through much of it, fingers cracked and bleeding from all that stressful gripping-the-edge-of-the-cliff stuff, but I’m trying. God, I want to rest in the safety of your plan, not panic in the failings of my own.
So here I am, 35 weeks pregnant, sand in my hair, and ready to get home and pick up where I left off in May- living fully and trusting completely.
Thanks for letting me be vulnerable. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders (not belly though, unfortunately!), to get this out and share some raw reality. Sometimes I feel like I’m letting you guys down when I pop on here with a “hey everyone, I’m a total mess right now!” post, instead of some handy tutorial or project reveal, but then I remember how good it makes me feel when I see others around me being vulnerable and letting me see into their mess…it’s an encouragement to know that underneath all of the screen names and zippy pouches and photo filters, we’re all just humans, trying our best, and learning through the ups and downs.
Until next time, stay real…