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Remember, this too shall pass…I promise

Hi, My loves,

I hope this new blog post finds you all safe and healthy.  Oh, what a time to be alive, right?  Who would have thought?  ♥

So, recently I’ve been at my wits end trying to figure out how else to fill my time these days.  Some days I am really good at it and others not so much.  Some days I am up and at it, early, tackling every task on my list.  And other days, I just lay on couch and watch endless hours of TV, and eat, and nap.

This week was a struggle trying to think about what I wanted to write because quite frankly I am a little tired of addressing COVID19.  There are so many conflicting news reports that I am just tired. And it seems at this moment, that this is going to be the rest of our lives. Right?

The other day I decided to purge one more bin of paperwork, as if I haven’t purged enough and I found a bin full of journals and essays and writings going back about 20 years ago.   Crazy right?

I started to read through some of it and I came across something I wanted to share with you that I wrote during a pretty low time in my life.   I know am not alone when I tell you that as a teen and young adult, I struggled with depression.  It followed me into my adulthood, but it wasn’t something I really knew how to articulate.  It wasn’t something that was spoken about or even understood.  But I have spent years going to therapy on and off to deal with general life issues.  drepession1

Anyway, I was at a really low point in my life when I wrote this.  I was feeling restless as you will read after having reunited with my husband after a three-year separation.  I was confused and had this overwhelming sense of feeling like I just didn’t belong in the life I was living.

It didn’t have a title, so I am just going to share with you….

“I don’t know how I got to this – sitting in a motel that fits the perfect description of “seedy”.  Come to think of it seedy might be too good of a word considering the dingy, faded yellow brocade comforter, the veneer TV stand that reminded me of something in my mother’s house growing up, and the carpet that had the ever so slight smell of mold mixed with disinfectant.  I keep picturing an undercover operation and narcs busting through the door and me getting arrested for prostitution just because I am here.  It’s that sort of place.  But in my sadness and desperation to just get away, I just drove and drove and I ended up here. Tears in eyes, a heaviness in my chest and pen in hand.

I keep trying to retrace my steps – you know, how I ended up here, at this point in my life.  How did I end up in this place, this motel, this sadness, this drunkenness, this dark hole that is threatening to swallow me whole? 

I mean not too long ago I was living my life – the day to day mundane – going through the motions; being a wife, a mom, working and going to school.  Hosting get togethers, writing research papers, cleaning and cooking and putting on a happy face.  It was a routine that was all too familiar, so familiar, I could probably get through my days with my eyes closed.  At times complacent, at other times overwhelming, but always routine.

I knew what to expect, all day every day.  Speak when spoken to, pay bills, clean up when needed, have sex at least once a week, show the right amount of affection and reaction to not let on that I was barely awake.  When I went out in public, I smiled and showed enough interest to keep the speaker talking about what I thought was an endless list of nothing. And tried really hard not to let the sadness, the depression take over me. lizgilbert1

At night, when everything gets quiet and all I hear is the sound of the cars driving by, I lay there and think about my life and try to thank God for everything I have, my children, my loving family, my health and home, food and clothing -you know all the things I am supposed to be grateful for. 

But once in a while in the midst of all those jumbled thoughts, in those quiet seconds in between wakefulness and drifting off to sleep, I’d make a wish.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I’d wake up in somebody else’s shoes.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I couldn’t carry the burden of so many people’s happiness.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t wake up.   I’d lay there with my eyes tightly closed. 

When I went back to school, I swore it was to get an education, you know, so I could be a role model for my girls.  I sacrificed many nights with my kids, school activities, or just down time at home.  And though I loved school, I sometimes think, that I don’t know, subconsciously I used it as an escape from my everyday life.  My escape from a life that at that moment didn’t feel like it quite fit; an escape at a time that I wasn’t even sure what I was escaping.  It’s funny I never realized how our psyche knows just what we need when we need it. 

My husband and I have been back together for five years now after a brief separation.  Five years ago, it seemed the right thing to do.  Get back together and raise our kids. Yet tonight I am not so sure.  Again. Somewhere along the way the reasons I fought so hard for, to get my marriage back, became blurry, not so clear, other people’s reasons, not mine.  Making my mother and in laws happy.  My daughter’s happy.  But I feel suffocated and I feel like I am drowning.

As I sit here writing, I wonder how many other women feel this way.  Feel as if all the choices they’ve made weren’t really for themselves. Feel guilty for changing their minds, not feeling the same.  Feel as if they are living a double life? You know the type – on the outside we seem to be leading a perfect life; happily married with great kids, a beautiful home and fulfilling career. 

Sometimes I look at my married friends and wonder, “Are they as happy as they seem?”  “Is this what they envisioned for themselves when they were little?”  “Is this what they daydreamed about; being married with kids with a white picket fence?”

I think it’s funny because for a long time I thought that was a Latina thing, you know, being raised to believe that marriage was the end all be all.  But, as I expanded my circle of friends, I realized that most, if not all little girls are brought up to want the “happily ever after” back then.  It seemed that even if we achieved everything – a house, a great career, nice car – if we didn’t have a man, well there was just something wrong with us.

I mean that’s the way it was with me, even though mom raised me on her own and sent all these implicit messages about being strong and independent, she still made sure to plug in there, as often as possible, that without a man I wasn’t enough.  In not those exact words.  But you know what I mean.

Even though she did it on her own.  Immigrated to a new country, woke at the crack of dawn to commute to work, sometimes worked two jobs, and sometimes brought work home from one of those to finish.  She purchased her own home, her own car, we always had what we needed and wanted. And STILL, she kept insisting and instilling in me to be a good woman so I could get a good man.  (Insert thinking emoji here).

Why didn’t she find a man? I mean why did she choose to struggle on her own?  Struggle she did.

Here I am writing this, feeling guilty because I don’t think I want the husband or white picket fence anymore. I feel overwhelmed and scared. I feel antsy.  I know my mother only wants what’s best for me, as all mothers want for their kids.

But how could she teach me all those lessons about independence and being in control, taking care of myself, and not giving in to a man’s demands and yet make me feel that if I walk away, I won’t be enough.

And now I feel this restlessness, this agitation tugging at my insides, this  restlessnessrebellion.  I hate the fact that I don’t feel satisfied with what my mother said would be enough.  Or that I have what so many other women wish for. I mean what more can I ASK FOR?  I scream this out loud forgetting I am in this motel room.

I don’t know how I ended up in this dingy, seedy motel room, but I know that for now I need to go home, and be a wife, a mother, a caretaker. 

I don’t know how long these feelings will last or if I will just give into this oppressive heaviness in my heart.  But I do need to go home.  And tomorrow…well…who knows what will happen tomorrow.  Like God tells Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, “Go to sleep, Liz.  Go to sleep.”

After reading this, I started to reflect on how back when I wrote this piece, I never thought, those feelings would pass.  I never thought life would get better.  I never thought I would feel better.  I remember feelings of complete and utter helplessness.

I eventually did get divorced even though he was a great guy.  We co parented our girls, who are adults themselves now with lives of their own.  I went to therapy.  Still go to therapy, because at times I feel that overwhelming sense of sadness, for other reasons in my life.  I was in a couple other relationships after that, built a great circle of friends, worked in a career for years.

What I learned after reading this is that all things pass.  Time is the one sure thing that is guaranteed to keep going.  And though way back then sitting in that dingy motel room, I couldn’t see past that moment, fifteen years later here I am.  Lots of questions answered, some still linger, but I am still here.  Wiser and older.

For all those of you everywhere who get “stuck”, depressed, sad, overwhelmed, remember with the right support, this too shall pass.

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Stay safe and healthy!

LolaUncorked♥

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It is okay to be afraid and anxious…just don’t sit in those emotions for too long.

Hi my loves!

I hope you are all safe and healthy.  Been thinking about what I wanted to write about today. I kept telling myself I wanted to write about something light and funny in the midst of this new reality we are living.

Every time I got an idea and would start to type, my thoughts kept going back to COVID19. I finally gave up and stared at my computer screen. And sat and stared. And I literally heard a voice say, “Write about what you’re feeling because you are not alone.”

And, so I started typing.

Let me go back a bit. A few weeks ago, I was celebrating my birthday in Miami. This is about the time I started to pay a little attention to the news. In my defense, don’t have cable at home, so most of my news comes from social media, 1010 Wins, and friends.

Anyway, I remember in the airport, my best friend pulled out two surgical masks. I was like “Heck no, girl you crazy!!” And laughed as I joked around about how silly we would look. I even took a picture of us in the airplane but it was more of photo op for IG. I also have to say that I probably counted about five other travelers with masks, only one actually covering their face.

While in Miami, my girlfriend who is a nurse (God bless her soul) kept talking about the coronavirus in very serious tones. As serious as you can be while drinking right? Anyway, she kept saying that this virus scared her, that it was going to do a lot of damage.

She kept saying things like, “As of Monday, we will all be zombies.” I was like, “Ok Rick!” (Shout out to TWD fans!!!). But really, I didn’t even take her seriously because I just felt like the news kept saying this was just a different strain of the flu with no vaccine.

I was back at work on March 4 and suddenly I was being bombarded by news out of Italy and Europe and the numbers of cases and/or deaths. My ears perked up, but I can’t say I was worried yet. As is the norm for me, I was still celebrating my birthday (which is a month-long event). I was looking forward to Friday the 13th to meet up with friends at our local bar to continue the celebrations.

And this is where I think I started to feel a little rise of panic in my chest. That night, that Friday night, the bar which is typically crowded with diners, drinkers, and karaokers every week was eerily empty.

There were about 20 of us in there including the employees. Very few people were singing. I was kind of like oh, ok. What’s happening? That Sunday evening, we received the email that the school I worked in was closed until the end of the month. It felt so surreal, like what do you mean schools are closed. As I watched the news that Sunday more and more districts shut down. That was my first panic attack.

Since then I’ve been social distancing and isolated at home for 15 days with my 20 year old. Rough! Friday, I got laid off from my job and that was my second meltdown. I wanted to take a xany and sleep and wake up to find out this is all just a bad dream. As we all know it’s not.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had three anxiety attacks, usually at night, when I start to pray for all the people I kept hearing about that are testing positive and/or very sick. Friends I was working with before the shutdown.

Initially I tried to not give into these episodes, I thought I was being ungrateful by having meltdowns and wanting to not deal with this considering I am still healthy and able to collect unemployment. But I found that when I resisted, the anxious feelings, the panic, the fear lingered. It immobilized me. It kept me on the couch, drinking wine, or napping. It kept me from wanting to pull myself together.

And then I thought, wait why can’t I just have my meltdown? Why can’t I give in to the panic and the anxiety? Why can’t I be scared at times? Why can’t I cry and scream? We are entitled to being scared, anxious, confused during these crazy times.

What we are not entitled to do is to sit in that fear or anxiety for too long. So, when I feel an attack, I cry, I get mad, I question why, why, why? And then it’s over I pray, and meditate and I give thanks for all that I have. If none of that works I medicate. And then I’m fine.

I started to think about things I could do to make my days more productive and keep those anxious feelings at bay. I had to be proactive. So, I created a schedule for myself to stay focused and productive. I make sure I exercise every day, whether it’s a short workout from IG or a walk if it’s nice out. I am meditating more. Eckhart Tolle https://eckharttolle.com/free-resources/ has a ton of free guided meditations on his page. I am also doing a 21 day meditation which I started late with Oprah and Deepak Chopra https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience.  I am journaling. I’ve been going through paperwork, drawers and closets. I am constantly cleaning and decluttering. I have magazines, books and Netflix.

Are there days that I just want to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing? Yup! And guess what? I do it. And then I buckle back up. And get back to tackling my to do list.

It’s easy to get in a state of panic and stay there, but what good will that do? It’s easy to allow this new normal to become our permanent normal. But the reality is I am looking at this as an opportunity for transformation-physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

I am not saying I will not have any more panic attacks and that I won’t have moments of being really scared, but what I won’t allow myself is to live in that space too long. Because if we come out of this the same as we went into it, then shame on us for not taking advantage of this blessing and opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by!

LolaUncorked♥