yearly reflections

Welcome back to my journey- finding my way. Have I found my way? Am I finding my way? I am not really sure I am finding the right way, but I am definitely finding a way, and that way might as well be mine.

So here we are, freshly into a new year. This time of year, always brings on a time of reflection for me, which is strange. So many holidays and and chaos happening at the end of the year with the holidays (especially working out a semi-decent schedule when you split your time with another parent), work, social life, and just life in general; yet here I am, still finding myself in a time of reflection. To be honest, I am not really sure where this time of reflection really comes in. It is not all at once, that is for sure. Especially when your mind is going a million miles a minute. On drives home or to work, after I get punky down to sleep, after work when the students are gone.. I find these random moments, sometimes triggered by external forces, and sometimes because my mind is just racing.. but I find myself in this place of reflection.

Honestly, I enjoy the reflection, most of the time. But it is definitely a way for me to go through all of the emotions I need to, in a very healthy way. I like to be able to relive the moments to understand them better and find the way I need to move forward with a situation.

Now, with the end of the year here and gone, I have been searching down deep thinking about where I started last year, and where I am now.

I have also been reflective of the last two and half, almost three years. I kind of think of this time as when my life, sort of, started over. Everything I came to know to be my reality was completely shifted.

The last part of the reflection process is from where I was as a child to where I am now. All of these processes leading up to where I am now.

And DAMN, I am so proud of where I am now.

So these reflections are kind of all over the place.. and in no particular order here they are..

To start off, this blog. I started off this blog ready to expose anything and everything that wronged me in my life. And let me tell you, there are still days that I want to do that, but in all reality, it isn’t going to help me, or anyone around me. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there are definitely times that I need to expose some things in this blog, to have context to my life, but overall, the details are not always important.

I have really liked the sub-series that I started in here, with the mindful prompts. They definitely brought some reflection and shadow work onto myself. There were some prompts that really made me dig deep, accompanied by tears, and then release of those emotions. There were some that did not hit as deep, but were still fun to stop and think about. I think I am going to continue that.

One of the other things that I was thinking about in terms of this blog, is wanting to redo some of the descriptions of the Guest Stars. I do not necessarily want to completely delete the other post, because that post served its purpose at that moment, but I definitely think that there is some updating that needs to happen to reflect this point of my life.

Work and my job has definitely encountered its fair share of challenges, and then add on the pandemic. It has been a wild ride. I love my job with my whole heart, and there is nothing else in this world that I can realistically see myself doing. I love teaching at the school I am at. I love my team and I have made some of my best friends at this place. But, dang, the stress of work sometimes really just gets to me. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in the water, not quite gasping for air, but face just afloat, and burning all my energy, destined to fall under. Something has to change, something has to give me that energy boost. Again, it isn’t that I don’t love my job.. I do. More than most people love their job. It just gets heavy. Heavy that I (as a teacher) have all of these expectations put on me (as a profession) to get students to a certain point – but have no support from parents (as a whole) nor the community.

I have also thought a lot about in the last couple months about how much I have been missing high school. Again, I love my job, and I am so glad to be where I am now. But like any job, it has its pros and cons. But recently, with all of the different security situations in nearby high schools, I am even more grateful for my position in an elementary school. Not that security breeches can’t happen in an elementary school, but the likelihood is a lot less. It is just a weird time again for politics to enter schools, and not that it is not justified in certain aspects.. I just wish that, as a society, we put that much effort into supporting teachers and quality education.

Mental health has been a roller coaster of a year for me. I mean really a lifetime of it, but I am finally starting to understand it all. This is the year that I finally was able to get off the waiting list and see a therapist regularly. Now, I am fully aware that therapy does not work for everyone, and I also know that there are lots of different kinds of therapy. I did a couple different types of therapy, but the main one that I was engulfed in was cognitive behavioral therapy. Essentially it helps me practice mindfulness and rewire the way that my brain reacts to different triggers.

Back in January, I was attending therapy once a week. Over the course of the year, I was able to attend about once every 4-6 weeks. A couple weeks ago, I had what I think will be my last therapy session for the foreseeable future. I have made so many gains in my mental health this year, it honestly kind of makes me question myself. I am no where near perfect when it comes to my mental health (or anything), but then again, who is? But, now I have the strategies and validation I needed to set healthy boundaries. I can see different relationships with the people in my life for what they truly are, and not what I want them to be. I am completely off my PPD/PPA medication. I have started to remember things as they happen, and stopped seeing things in a blur, or only remembering situations because they are triggered by the 18,000 pictures on my phone. (No I am not kidding with that number.. it is there, and growing.)

I put in the work. It was probably one of the hardest things that I had to do for myself to give myself a better future. I had to dig deep into some of the most painful times of my life to relive them, acknowledge all of the parts to it – including the role that I played in it as well. Often times, when someone is telling the story, it is all about how they are/were the victim, and while that may be true, they are not being truthful in the complete role they played in a situation. I had to admit feelings that I had that were hard to put in words. I had homework to complete between each session. But, damnit, I am so proud of the personal work that I put in to this process.

It isn’t even the fact that I no longer need to attend therapy at all – as determined by my mental health team and myself. It is that I am making healthy changes in my life to better it. I have had friends and family members note how things have changed and they have noticed a difference in my mentality. It not only helps me, but the way I am able to now have healthy relationships with every single person in my life.

I would not be able to have gone through this year without my friends. I have gained friends and drifted from friends this year – all in which is ok, because things have just run their course. The pandemic has caused some barriers in seeing my friends, but for this reason, I am very grateful for technology and the ability to stay connected. My friends have been through some very low-lows, and some very high-highs with me. I have been able to have game nights, play dates, long venting sessions, and even had to rely on my best friend to be there for my when I had to evacuate my apartment because of a neighborhood gas leak. Never the less, my friends have been there through and through, and my reflection on them warms my heart because I am not sure where I would be today, if I did not have the amazing and supportive friends that I have now.

Romantic relationships are always a rocky subject for my brain to think about. I feel on so many levels, that I just don’t even know sometimes. The universe really just threw a curveball at me in so many different ways that I am not sure that I will ever understand this aspect of my life. This kind of reflection can bring the most sting from healing wounds. But it also brings some sort of clarity. I am pretty sure I just contradicted myself. Oh well, it makes sense in my head.

Anyways, I had this idea in my head as a child as to what I thought my life would be like. Married, have kids, buy a house, grow old, have grandkids.. you know the fairy tale kind of thing. And I started with that.. married, kid on the way, and then BOOM! Nope, the universe decided it was going to shake things up for me. Now, am I happy that it happened? Yes. But also, no. No one, or at least I didn’t go into a marriage thinking that you are not going to be with that person after 11 months. I also never thought that after 5 months of being pregnant that I would not be with the father of my child and have to spend only 50% of the time with my son. But again, the universe had a different plan for me.

Now that I am far enough removed from the situation, and I able to see more of the silver lining than I ever was able to before. I am so glad that I am not stuck in the toxic relationship that we allowed ourselves to fall into. I also realize now that we both ‘settled’ for things that we didn’t even realize that we wanted out of a relationship, and now not being together, we are able to have those things. I realized my worth, and I stopped allowing my happiness to come from another person/relationship. I was able to start on the journey to finding my way.

After some soul searching, after my divorce, I was able to meet some amazing (and not so amazing) people along the way. Each of them, teaching me something about myself and what I want or don’t want to have in any future endeavors.

This summer I took a lot of time to dedicate to myself and stopped trying to find someone to fill that ‘relationship’ gap in my life. I focused on the witch baby and myself. I allowed myself to enjoy things without needing someone else there. I really started the journey to loving myself and learning to truly be ‘alone’. Then, after summer ended, I became a little more open to the idea of finding someone, but only if it meant that I was not settling in any way, shape, or form. I told myself that my next relationship is going to be something I want to enhance my life, not fill a void. I learned that my life is amazing as it is. I built it from the ground up. I put so much work into so many aspects of my life, there were so many positives around me, but I never took the time to see them for what they were, until this past summer.

My current relationship is different than all others that I have been in. It is a learning curve to have such a healthy and organic relationship. Not something that is rushed or made to fill a void in my life. Not that all past relationships were a flop, but there were obviously things that went on in a relationship that made it not work out, and that is ok. But finally taking sometime to dedicate to myself and my healing has been the best thing I could do for myself in terms of relationships.

Things with my family have been a wild ride this year. There were times that I had to cut people off cold turkey because boundaries were not being respected, lines were crossed, things were said, etc.. I have repaired some of those relationships, and they are coming along, but they are not anything like what they were. I have also built up some of the relationships with family members this year that were semi-distant. This is something that can at times make me very uneasy. I have a long past of people leaving my life and kind of going cold turkey, and some of those people have now been brought back into my life, and becoming so close with them means that I have had to lower my guard around them, which makes me very uneasy.

I have also, recently learned of some toxic family members that have been out of my life for a few years now, have made it vocal that they would like to see me and meet the Witch Baby. This has suddenly caught myself, along with other family members, off guard. I essentially wrote them off in my life, as that I would never see them again in my life, and I made my peace with that. But, I always struggle with wanting to be close with family and have that bond, but I refuse to allow toxic people into my life when I have worked so hard to get to the place I am now.

The Witch Baby, who is not so much a baby anymore has upgraded to the new nickname, Punky. It really blows my mind that I have an almost two and half year old. So many people talk about the ‘terrible twos’, but I am not sure if I just hit the jackpot or what, but I am loving this stage. He is learning so much, starting to talk more, understands more and more everyday. He is truly such an amazing soul, it blows my mind and warms my heart all in the same breath.

I sometimes get frustrated with myself when I reflect over some of punky’s life. I have battled with some severe postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. So much of my life during that time, seems like a blur. I feel like I disassociated through those times just to make it though, to survive. I am able to look back on the thousands of pictures that I took during that time, and I am able to remember or relive some of the moments, but I am not always able to just remember certain things without having to have my memory jogged. But since the move to my new apartment, I have kind of shifted mindsets. This has been one of my biggest focuses, and one of the biggest hurdles I have overcome. I still have my days, but it has been another journey I am proud of.

I am not sure where the rest of this year is going to take me. But I do know that I am here, and ready for it. I am still finding my way, and that is ok. It may be a lifelong process, or I might wake up one day and have clarity. Either way, I am going to continue to do my best and take each day at a time.

As always, thank you for reading, and partaking in the journey of finding my way. I appreciate all of the love and support. ♥️

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