Thursday, February 02, 2012

Silencing the Toad

I don't know what's up, but the last couple of weeks I've been fighting off some feelings of discouragement.  Now, don't be alarmed.  Thankfully, it's been over a year now since I got my meds adjusted and was able to leave a 2 year depression behind.  I'm not depressed like that (and so thankful!)  But, sometimes, every once in a while, despite how ridiculously BLESSED I am, I get a little discouraged.

I have dreams.  I think most people have dreams.  Some people are actively living theirs, others are working toward them, some are just aware, and a few may not even know of them.  But they are there.  Dreams are there, buried deep, deep in the innermost tiny back closet of one's heart.  They may be locked so tightly and bound with the strongest chains, but they DO exist.  To dream is to be human.  If not for hoping for something better for ourselves, our families, our world, then there would be little point in existence.

Garelito Photos
So, even though I used to actively try NOT to dream (it was too disappointing to do so), over the last several years I've allowed myself to believe a little bit again.  Bullied by life's rough school of knocks, I learned to armor myself against the hurt of failure, disappointment, and loss.  I didn't have the tools to handle these feelings that seemed an ever-present reality.  But now, now I've grown some.  I have a loving and kind husband who teaches me that there IS a reason to hold out hope - despite whatever odds one may feel she is facing.  I have been blessed with kind and caring friends who have helped open my heart to art, and in doing so have inadvertently opened a door of vulnerability and rawness - both of which are necessary (in my humble opinion) to live creatively.   Now, though I still struggle and am far from where I'd like to be, I have more coping skills for dealing with those failures, disappointments, and losses.  Part of living a creative life (though admittedly, only part time), means learning to love the beauty in nearly everything; learning to accept flaws as part of the completed project, and having joy in the creation rather than just the finished product.  That doesn't apply to just art itself, but the very essence of living.  I have learned to be a little more gentle with myself, to accept my weaknesses.  No, not just accept them -but almost embrace them - for they make me who I am, for better or worse.

All that being said, I've still been fighting off discouragement.  I feel alone in so many ways.  I want to have a child(ren) someday.  I'm 38 and I may not get to.  I may even get too old to adopt a child.  And, even if I did/do, I'm going to be in SUCH a different place than my peers.  Most people my age have children in at least their teens, and some even entering college this year.  I haven't even begun.  If I adopt by the time I'm 40, I'll be nearly 60 by the time that child is graduating high school.  Imagine a 50 year old at "Mom's Club" with a bunch of early twenty to thirty year-olds.  I'm going to be the oddball, just as I am now.

Bernadette Darnell
I feel alone because most of my friends have families that take up the majority of their time.  I understand and heartily agree that family comes first.  But, at the same time, I often feel like they are too busy with their lives to have time for me.  I love my husband, but he is quite the introvert and I often seek outside friendships to help fill the conversational void.  Besides, even the best husband can't do what a good girlfriend or two can.  It's a special bond that women share.

Because I am outgoing (more extroverted by nature), I tend to be the one to invite others and get the ball rolling.  I'm the planner, the organizer.  I get it.  If you're introverted, planning a get-together is akin to getting a tooth pulled.  I try to remember that.  But sometimes, especially lately for some reason, I just want someone else to put forth the effort.  I don't want to be the one who always initiates things.  I want to feel like others want to have ME in THEIR lives.  But again, because my dreams are slow to fruition, I'm in a different place than them, and I can't fault them their busy-ness.  I would likely be the same, if I were a mother.

Bernadette Darnell
So, that's where I am.  I'm backwards from my peers.  It gets lonely sometimes.  Discouragement knocks.  But, I must use the tools I've tried to develop to fight back - to remember that I DO matter, if to no one else, at least to my husband.  I know it'll get better.  It's just a temporary feeling.  My happiness and zest will come back to me soon.  I'm HOPING, anyway.  Because, that's who I am now - I'm a person who hopes and dreams.  I have unlocked my heart and I will push away the doubts and fears and keep trying to live a creative life, complete with blemishes, mess-ups, re-dos.  One day my life's work may be the beautiful piece I envision it can be.

p.s.  To those who read my blog - this is not an attempt to garner sympathy or "Oh, but we do love you"s.  The blogging is for me to be REAL and PRESENT.  It's for me - part of MY way of living a creative life.


  1. Hi! I know how you feel, at least a little bit. I'm 36, and I know I can't have kids. I never thought I really cared whether I had any or not, but of course, as soon as I knew I couldn't, there was that little voice in my head whining, but I wanted to have a baby! Go figure. So, you're not alone, there are other people our age who don't have kids, and there are people our age and older just now having kids, you just have to look a little harder.

    Anyway, I don't even know if you remember me from the retreat at Memory Lane Inn in Tyler and from Paper Cowgirl, but I thought I'd say hi, and just say this really kind of struck a chord for me.

    1. Shannon,

      So good to hear from you! Of course I remember you! I am so glad we got to enjoy your company that weekend in Tyler.

      I really appreciate you sharing with me. It honestly DOES make me feel better (less alone). Thank you for taking the time to help boost me up.

      Your Friend, cheryl

  2. I. LOVE. YOU.
    (i shouted that)
    (and that ain't sympathy. it's just a truth.)
    (( ))

  3. I am smiling at your comment that you'll be 60 and your child will be graduating high school so as someone who's turning 60 on Feb.9 & I'd love to have a child graduating high school! - I say go for it - you'll never regret trying and if having a child doesn't happen so be in the stars for you - so be it - you have a whole world of things to give so continue doing the wonderful things you do - I tried very hard to have children but after a lost child & 3 miscarriages then a divorce - I decided I wasn't strong enough or brave enough to be a single parent but trust me even though those losses were painful - I don't regret one minute of the joy in the trying!! You will be blessed with wonderful joy and perhaps some difficulties but God's given us a great gift so all we can do to pay Him (or her) back is enjoy it and do our best to make the most of it - by the by- I have several friends whose children weren't born till in they were in their early to late 40's & I know they have never regretted making that choice!! trust me you won't be the oldest Mom at that graduation! but you may be the happiest!
    my prayers & very best thoughts go out to you-

    1. Wow! What an uplifting post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience (and that of your friends, as well). It's really good to hear such encouragement and understanding from others. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, as I take comments to heart. I figure if someone makes the effort to comment, they must have something of value to add, and you do. So encouraging. Again, thank you!

  4. I'm not sure why or how to change it but my name should read codyrachel's irises with no '- so I guess I just wnated you to know- ;)

  5. Hi Cheryl!
    Haven't seen you in AGES! I just happened to stumble across this today. (Eric gave my computer new "power" and I was just surfing around.) you know I was just a couple weeks shy of 38 when I had Tommy. I am one of the oldest moms in the Kindergarten class and I have to say it doesn't bother me at all! There are moms in their 20's, 30's and 40's.
    It's been a wonderful experience and I wouldn't change it for the world.
    I do know what you mean about the lonlieness. We were only able to have one child. We so wanted more, but that wasn't in the cards, nor was it meant to be. It's hard at times when my best friends are so busy with all their kids activities. I also get asked all the time, "Are you not going to have more children?" My answer is always, "If we could have we would have." :)
    Hope this finds you well. Just wanted to say HI!
    Take care,

    1. Thanks, Clare. Your words were helpful. Actually remembering that you had Tommy a little later in life than the average was helpful, as I know what a wonderful time you have being Tommy's Mommy! Thanks for taking the time to pass on your sage words.

  6. I still am confused by people who find it necessary to ask the most invasive & inane questions - I know they mean well but it can be so painful answering them but you do it right - head up - big smile & a direct & the to the point answer can leave them thinking (hopefully thinking)about their inquisitiveness !! we can only hope - I know it took me years to come to terms with losing a child & then having a hysterectomy - I spent a long time biting my tongue & crying - that was a waste now I know the truth truly does set you free of course by 60 one should have learned something!!

    1. Kathleen,

      I can't thank you enough for sharing! I love your advice on the big smile and direct answer. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I really DO appreciate you taking the time to share. It helped make me feel so much less alone!