Priorities and Balance

My life has had an extreme makeover. Toxic relationships have been removed or diminished. Mindfulness and living in the present is much more common now than being a prisoner of the past or worried about the future. Dreams are growing and nourishing my new roots.

My new struggle is how to do it all without neglecting any one thing? Everyone struggles with daily choices, I now know. I need to write about some of mine and see and if I can find some peace, because I fear my new life is wearing me out.

Just a few years ago, my social world was very small. The only actual conversations I had were with myself, and I was a terrible friend, and fed myself putrid lies. Depression overcame me for so many years.

My therapist encouraged me to get out of my house and out of my own head space. Slowly, that is what I did. I found local organizations that sounded like fun – and joined them. Timidly at first, I stayed on the outside fringe and barely spoke to anyone while I observed social interactions. Slowly I would see where I fit in, where I could be helpful.

The theatre group wanted painted scenery – I was so shocked to hear myself whisper “I can paint. I’m an artist”. Slowly I became central to planning, designing, and painting elaborate scenery for childen’s theatre.

The arts non-profit needed musicians. Again I heard myself say “I can play. I’m a musician.” And that opened up a world of performances and meeting dancers and other musicians.

The same arts group puts on a Zombie festival every year and offered low cost classes to learn to dance Thriller. I heard myself say “I’d love to learn that, I’m not a dancer, but I’d like to try” I was welcomed into that group and danced with joy in a form where my weak, limping leg was actually helpful! Zombies are not graceful, I was a natural.

I put myself out there, started answering other calls for artists. Still working on a huge mural, nearly 50 feet long and 13 feet high for a local business. My biggest paid job as an artist ever. And the owner is pleased – it looks good! I did it!

My supervisor was fired recently, and I have been asked to take on many of her duties, adding extra hours, with no extra pay. I see no choice, this is the job that pays the bills. I have sent out so many application over the past year, but have not had even 1 callback for an interview yet, so I muscle through it.

Add to this getting kids ready for school in the morning, even when I forgot to do laundry for a few days and scramble to find something for them to wear. I didn’t make it to the store, so peanut butter sandwiches were made on tortillas last week instead of bread. Sometimes I go 3-4 days without a shower, just brush hair and sweep into ponytail and apply deodorant and hope no one notices. Squeeze in time to paint the mural when the weather and my new boss cooperate to give me free time. Make it to Thriller rehearsal and performances. Plan birthday parties for my kids. Make sure kids do homework, eat protein and veggies, and shower more often than I do. Attempt to sleep, but fail miserably. Get up early anyway and start it all over again.

I also need to continue my therapy sessions and blogging to keep my thoughts straight and avoid the self-loathing pit I tend to fall into when I am not paying attention. And the days are already shorter and I fear SAD will have its way with me.

Exercise is missing again, other than the dancing. I need to make that more a regular part of my day, but like cleaning and shopping it is easily overlooked.

I’m wearing out. I just want the world to go away and let me sleep for an entire week. But I must keep going. The mural is nearly done, just in time to start the next theatre set. Sometimes I worry that I will run out of creativity and draw a blank for everyone depending on me – but somehow the ideas and images always form just in time. So I let the dishes and dust bunnies pile up, let kids wear yesterday’s dirty jeans today, order pizza for dinner, and some how make it through each day.

Here’s the big one though. My daughter struggles to make friends at school for some reason, or the moms won’t let the friends come over here is more precisely the issue. She plays with the neighborhood kids, but they are all younger than her and better friends with my boys. She has a birthday coming up and I boldly decided to do something for her that I have never done before. We’re having her party at our house. I’m inviting judgmental kids and moms to see my imperfect house. Well see, I’ve always assumed they will be judgmental and that I couldn’t handle that. I used to fear people invading my sanctuary. I think it is time I jump one more hurdle and get over this too. My hope is that if the parents and kids come to my house instead of a skating rink or bowling alley like I usually use for parties, that they may accept an offer to come back here to play one day.

We started remodeling my daughter’s room a few months ago, and now have a goal to finish it so she can show the girls her pretty new room. I am planning to do my best cleaning and preparing, and then anything else that remains will get tossed in to my bedroom and the door shut to hide the mess and make room in my tiny house.

I’m nervous, but also excited, and super tired. But mostly, when I dig down and examine what I truly feel at my core now – I am happy and looking forward to see what else I can do.

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2 thoughts on “Priorities and Balance

  1. You sound wonderfully, normally awesome. Pizza on a regular basis is not a flaw. Maybe add a salad more often or a fresh fruit and veggie tray to add more nutrition. Dust bunnies are not desirable but not a flaw either, unless of course they are the size of the house. Then they’re problematic if only making it difficult to breathe. Sorry to hear the company is taking advantage of you but truly impressed you are handling it. How much are the children able to help? Help with dinner? Help with laundry? Help with cleaning the house? I was doing laundry in elementary school. I’ve read articles about housework being great exercise. You may need to re-evaluate your commitments and pick and choose. You may need to schedule a day this month when you take the day for you, a chance to clear your thoughts and pamper yourself. You have made so much incredible progress so quickly.

    A favorite feel-good quote came to mind. ‎”I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.” ~ Jennifer Yane

  2. I think you are doing wonderfully well. Balancing all that is motherhood, and work, and life, along with sorting out the demons from the past is an ENORMOUS workload. And you are doing it.
    Reading your story really encourages me. Thank you so much for sharing it and please know that it has helped me a lot!
    And the Zombie thriller thing sounds like so much fun!

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