Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thank You For Being Here

Maybe it was the way the twinkly, white, Christmas lights shined from the tree? Festive, bright and happy and refusing to be dulled.  Maybe it was the merriment and bustling of people coming in the house? They were bringing contagious joy with them when they entered. Maybe it was delicious beer that sobered my soul and helped me take a breath in and accept my surroundings,  the love, my life and feel completely happy in that moment? I am not sure what exactly it was.

For the first time in quite a while, I was happy to be alive. And really happy I did not kill myself as I had intended two months ago.

I wish that did not sound so dramatic. I wish that did not sound so sad. But that is what truth sounds like.  That's what my truth sounds like for this part of my life.

High functioning depression. That's really a thing. A thing I have. I tend to do allthethings and do them allthetime. I take care of my mom,  work full time, volunteer constantly and for many organizations, offer myself to anyone who needs me am available to my friends day or night and still felt like I could do more and what I was doing wasn't enough. I could not say no.

As my therapist says, depression is a lying bastard. And let me tell you, that's the damn truth. There is a darkness inside me that I cannot shake. Some days it is manageable, other days, it steals my light and I cannot find my footing on my path in life.

Two months ago, I felt like I had no more light left in me. Life felt too overwhelming, too serious, too much, and I felt like no matter what I did I would not be good enough or be able to offer enough to this world.

And I had a plan to fix that.

I had a plan to end my life. It was neat and organized like everything else I do, because planning is essential. But, heh, luckily, life happens while we're making plans or trying to act on them, whatever. It was early on a Monday morning, September 19th actually one day after my mom's birthday,  and I had spent all night figuring out how to end my life. I popped the aspirin and was about to lie on my bed, knife in hand about to acquaint it with my femoral artery. Messy yes, but it would get the job done fairly quickly. Messy though. I'm not a messy person. Who would clean up my mess? I clean up the messes. I make things right.  I make sure things run properly.  I can't leave me for someone else to take care of.  I, for the millionth time this year, lost my shit and it was ugly.  I jumped up from my bed, crying and shaking.  Freaked out by what I was about to do, wondering how it got so bad, wondering how I had gotten so close to plunging a blade into my skin. I was covered in snot, tears and shaking in fear.

I wasn't sure what I should do. I didn't want to leave a mess but I also didn't want anyone to know how bad I was. Notice I didn't say I wanted to live? Heh. I wanted everything to somehow be okay with everyone I just needed to perfect my plan.  And with that thought, I knew I had to reach out for help. Through tears and a strained voice I called my doctor's office and spoke with her scheduler,  a saint named Peggy, who quickly ascertained something serious was going on. She must have pulled my chart because she asked if I needed to be seen because of my depression. I barely squeaked out a yes, and she put me down for the only opening a 3 o'clock.  I texted my therapist who kept me centered and...I still don't know if she realizes how much she kept me sane with texting throughout that day until a friend could sit with me til I made it to my appointment. I called my boss, my poor boss, who told me to do whatever I needed to do. She knew something was wrong and just wanted me to get better.

I made it to my appointment.  My very long appointment where we debated if I needed to become an inpatient. I was not admitted/committed...mainly because I was saying the 'right things '. My medicine was changed. I made it through that day. Barely, but I did. And the next day I had therapy, and I restarted weekly sessions with my therapist and weekly check ups with my doctor.

So badly do I want to say, that day was the worst of it. But it wasn't. It was just the beginning of working through my issues.  It was my eye opener,  it was my day 1 into really treating my depression, it was me being real with myself. I was refusing to ignore a problem any longer,  I was refusing to pretend I could do anything and everything,  I was refusing the notion I did not need help, and I was refusing to keep up this lie I had lived too long.

There have been shitty moments.  Ugly moments, questionable moments, hard moments in this journey to recover, rediscover and to live life how I should.  But? They are fucking worth it.

That overwhelming  blanket of darkness that seized my soul a couple months ago and I could not see out from beneath?  Now? It's the size of a grape. It's still there. I doubt it will ever truly go away for good. But, it can be managed.  It can be dealt with, it can be cut down to size. We have to have the right tools though, we have to accept it is okay to ask for help and there is nothing embarrassing about seeking it.

Last night,  after a Friendsgiving event,  my friend thanked me, for being here. Not there, here. Still here. And with tears streaming down my face I realized, despite the pain, despite the depression that wells up, despite the long and hard roads life can take us on...there is no other place I would rather be.

If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Call your doctor, your therapist, an accountabilty partner, 911, suicide prevention line
1-800-273-8255 or go straight to an emergency room. You matter and your life is worth living. Get with the people who can help you remember why you matter.  Depression and mental illness is a lying bastard...don't let the lies that come from the darkness destroy your light.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ungrateful Isn't Ugly

It is that time of year when the leaves are crunchy,  air is crisp,  and we find ourselves...overwhelmed with everything. You name it, and we got that monkey on our back, as the end of the year nears the pressure is on. Work, school, homework, inclement weather, sickness, children, finances and of course impending holidays. But every corner we turn tends to have a jolly soul reminding us that we must be thankful for the abundant blessings in our lives.

Sometimes, people may misconstrue if we do not shout our praises and thanks, that we are ungrateful. That, however, is not always the case.

Abundant blessings?

Not all of us are blessed with support,  love, necessities, materialistic items, or  -insert whatever else- that would make our souls satiated. Some of us are trying to continue with this eggshell fine existence where yes at this exact moment everything is okay but all the pieces and parts that are creating the picture are desperately clinging to one another in a fragile and anxious state.

There are people that cannot hold hands around an awkwardly dressed table vying to say  the cutest or cleverest quip to show everyone how *truly* happy they are.

Some are working.  Some are healing. Some are grieving.  Some are reeling.  Some are hiding.  Some aren't ready.
Some just aren't happy in this moment.

How do we find what works best for us in our lives?

By weeding out what we do not like or appreciate.

It does not mean they are not thankful for their life.  It does not mean they are not appreciative for what they enjoy.  It just means, at this moment in time, they need time to themselves and no one has the right to tell them how they should feel or what things in their life they should be grateful .

There will be years we sit with family and friends anxious to tell them what has made our lives so good and there will be years we wish that they skip us because we don't want them to hear the emptiness in our lackluckster answer.

We all know some years are better than others. And this year?  This year, has been a doozy for a lot of us. Although I have had my fair share of rough patches, let's not talk about those today, I will probably share what I'm thankful for if asked. But, before I do that,  I find it necessary to say - we do not just get to be there for the good.

Let me say it again for those in the back:

We do not just get to run aside family and friends and stare at them lovingly while they gush about the good stuff.  We need to be there too when they have the ugly,  painful, not so fun stuff to share.

Why celebrate the good without acknowledging trudging through and overcoming the bad? Ignoring the ugly and awkward parts of life does no one any good. It devalues our experiences and tells us that we need to just paint on a happy face and pretend the unsavory parts did not happen. But that is not healthy because what we go through...grows us and we should be cognizant of how far we have come- even if we're not at our best selves yet.

Not bursting at the seams to share your good news? Not overjoyed and caught up in the holiday hypnosis of happiness? That's okay. Not giddy and gleeful? Not full of love and good cheer? That's okay too!  Really, it is.

Being in transition, searching for what makes you happy  while being quiet does not make one ugly. Judging people and trying to tell them how feel and celebrate is ugly and narrow minded.

Being not particularly thrilled or grateful for experiences you had to survive, overcome, or battle does not make your soul ugly or you ungracious. It just means you know what you are looking for to make you happy and you will not sing the praises of things that do not make your heart sing. And yeah...that's rhymey and cute but also freaking gorgeous, because we should never settle for anything less than sets our souls on fire.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Crawling Away

There is no shame in going after what you want or so I've heard.

But.

What if you're the thing that's wanted and you have no desire to be pursued?

But.

You're so used to giving in that even though it's rotting your soul to say no,  you do, because that's what will set you free ultimately.

Yet, that no you worked so hard to muster up? Yeah, that falls on self-made deaf ears. They can't hear the no...they simply hear the roar of their narcissistic self-cheerleading to go after what makes them happy.

Because,  well their happiness is all that fucking matters.

So, you say no.  And this game unfolds, one you never intended to play. There's boring banter, sad stupid words and your smile doesn't reach your eyes because you're simply trying to placate this happiness seeker til you can plan your escape.

But.

Escape doesn't come quickly, because they've played this game before. You're just a novice up against a card shark.  And you know what they'll do if you don't give them what they want?

They'll break your legs so you can't walk.

And you realize that this quest for happiness is really just one for control. Your 'no's' are blocked out to fuel their sick version of winning. They use that no that you choked out so fiercely, my love, as a sound track (blared on repeat) so they can get hyped , one to dance to....one that they think they will know all the lyrics to and plan to dominate eventually.

But.

There you are. Still new. Apprehension building. Still learning. Realization dawning.  Still mewing the no on your soft lips.

He laughs.

And you run.

No has never meant anything to him. He's had this planned way before you were in the picture. Because,  he's a winner and he goes after what he wants regardless of if it's a prize up for grabs or not.

So.

You look for that escape and wish to God that you would have paid closer attention to the exits when coming into this maze. You scan every crevice wondering why he is so persistent when pleasure isn't anywhere in his vocabulary, he only knows destruction. You wait with baited breath hoping he doesn't find your hiding spot, your only solace in this cat and mouse game. However,  the moment you let your guard down, he snatches you upright.

He sucks in his breath through his teeth, demanding you straighten your spine. He roughly pulls your shoulders back,  tips your chin up, has you put your legs together and smugly walks away. He wants to see you stand tall...before he makes you fall.

Then, you hear it.

The whistle of his sledge hammer slicing the stagnant air. And with a sickening confirmation in your gut you already know where it's going. You try to brace yourself, but there's never quite been a preparation perfected for having your knees bashed out by a psychopath. The heavy hammer powers through your skin and sinew like you were nothing more than a piece of paper.

You crumble.

Not gracefully,  not artistically,  you shatter and scream, you break and are bent in the most awkward angles, you ugly cry with snot running all over your face and realize that you've never felt this kind of pain before.

But.

You are alive, even if barely so. You survived.  You may not feel victorious in this moment, but you are.

He does not own you.
He cannot control you.
He cannot break you.

There you are. Surviving amidst a pile of ridiculous pain. Here's your opportunity to look for those exits again.

You can't run, you can't walk, but you can still move forward.  You can crawl your way out, in pain, over the jagged rocks and towards a better place for you.

I lied when I said you weren't a prize earlier.

He wanted the flimsy,  shiny Cracker Jack sticker that he could happily wear on his pleather jacket, that he would gleefully show off to people in between ape- like poundings of his chest that clearly proved his strength and prowess

You are a prize love.

But not a prize for him.

You're the best prize out there. A prize he will never get his grubby paws on again. A prize he will never even know the value of- because he only wanted the cheap stuff. He never realized your worth ran deep, your strength was solid and your determination was untouchable. He did not know the minute he tried to break you down was the minute your soul would rear up and remember you were never meant to be  tamed.

Crawl on friend.

Leave that piece of shit behind in a world where he thought he could control a situation and disregard your disengagement and your rejection.

Go slow, as you are a new you, and find your way out to a better day. Go quickly if you can endure the pain,  just....go.

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 12, 2016: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them.

Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them

I’m using:       

Wonderment ~ Octopus ~ Anyone ~ Organic ~ Cotton

They were submitted by:   The sweet and amazing Jules from The Bergham Chronicles !

Collateral damage.

'Damage inflicted on an unintended target', is what most people associate with it,  but I don't think that's all it pertains to really.

Unintended target makes it seem like there was a sea of people maimed or done wrong by a complete stranger with no forewarning...when in reality many of those who are causing the damage are aware of the hearts and souls they bruising,  twisting and crushing and to put it bluntly, they do not give a shit.

Perhaps they are passing down horrid habits of how they were raised,  maybe they are bullies, maybe they truly think it's okay to treat others like crud, maybe they are strung out on (choose whatever vice you please) to even notice the wreckage that they leave behind,  or maybe they're just apathetic assholes who are so conceited they think the mirror is lucky to show them their reflection.

It almost seems a wonderment that anyone chooses to pursue any kind of relationship when the past has shown us how brutally it can end for us. We can be broken,  we can be left to the wayside with organs ripped out and our soul smashed to bits, we can be left hard, callused and waiting to exact revenge on the next poor mate who crosses our path continuing the jacked up pattern that put us in the first place to begin with...

Huh.

I promise when I started this I was going a positive direction,  have faith dear reader,  I'll get there...eventually.

Anywho.

The want, (or if you subscribe to Maslow's Hierarchy the "need"), to form loving relationships is organic and fruitful for our lives.  We need them just as much as we need oxygen and coffee to be considered alive and human. The unfortunate thing is that so many of us have been handed so much baggage and heartache that we wouldn't be able to hold it all even if we were an octopus. We become protective of our cotton candy hearts that dissolve quickly from the acid of wicked souls,  we become leary of new people and their unknown intentions and our eyes that once saw shooting stars and magnificent meteor showers only fear getting sucked into a black hole. With each ending to a relationship, with each heartache, each betrayal,  we become a little more jaded, a little more cautious...a little more unsure of ourselves.

We can begin to doubt if we are worthy of love or...even capable of loving. 

There are times that leave us speechless wondering if we are to accept the burning cities around us as our homes. Let it be known, the only time we should accept the acrid smell of burnt out dreams and hopes is when we are getting ready to start a new chapter and are using the shit we've waded through as fertilizer to grow bigger hopes and dreams.

We were never meant to be sidelined in our own lives wondering when the heroine was going to come in and save us...when we are the damn directors of our lives.

So, basically my loves,  what this long winded crappily put together post is saying is:

If you feel broken,
if you feel that you are not good enough,
if you feel like you deserve to be treated like trash,
if you feel that it's better to settle,
if you feel that it's okay to piece your life together constantly from the wreckage of an abusive relationship,
if you think you are unworthy of love,
if you think you are too fucked up to go on or to ever be loved,
I'm here to tell you babe, you're wrong.

So. Damn. Wrong.

You were never collateral damage. You were never broken. You were never something that needed fixing.  You were never something to simply be discarded and thrown away.  

You are strong enough to love yourself to realize you don't take shit from anyone.

You are strong and secure enough to eat alone at restaurants and see a movie alone.

You are strong enough to buy the sparkly too-tall sexy heels and turn your nose up at anyone who 'tsks' you for wearing them.

You are strong enough to realize that even though you've had a minor set back on the path to the most righteous you- you cannot be stopped.

Seriously,  stop. Take a moment. Look at how far you have come.  You've survived heart break, challenges and obstacles you did not ever think you'd face, you have rose above abuse, you have taken the bull by the damn horns and made your own future.

Even while scared shitless, you did the damn thing.

So don't you dare for one freaking moment give into that sad thought that you are broken, that you are what was left behind because it was no longer working, that you are not worthy of rebuilding or starting over.

You are, always, strong enough to move forward my friend.

Because, whether you realize or choose to acknowledge it or not,  you already have overcome some crazy shit like only a queen can do.

Keep rocking and never forget where you were and where you want to go.

Instead, I want you to remember when the world imploded and exploded all around you leaving you shell shocked and scared what you chose to do. That's right,  you fought through it and used it as a rock to build the foundation of your future.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                       http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Southern Belle Charm                           http://www.southernbellecharm.com                     

Spatulas on Parade                              http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                   http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html   

On the Border                                 http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/ 

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ 

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                          http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/ 

Never Ever Give Up Hope                   http://batteredhope.blogspot.com 

Climaxed                                          http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com  

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy              http://dinoheromommy.com/                                                            

Friday, August 5, 2016

Secret Subject Swap: August 5th, 2016

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 
 
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out.
 
See you there:
 
Baking In A Tornado                   http://www.BakingInATornado.com                         
The Bergham Chronicles           http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com  
 Spatulas on Parade                http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy       http://dinoheromommy.com/
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver    http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html 
Southern Belle Charm               http://www.southernbellecharm.com  
Confessions of a part time working mom  http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/  
The Lieber Family Blog                http://thelieberfamily.com
Never Ever Give Up Hope               http://batteredhope.blogspot.com
When I Grow Up                        http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/
Climaxed                                     http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com     
Evil Joy Speaks                             http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com       
        
***MySecret Subjectis:***
 
Describe a favorite place you had as a child. What made it so special?
 
                    
After a few shitty weeks, thinking of my favorite place as a child left me more emotional than the first time my eyes had read the prompt.
Reading the prompt again, made me long for simpler days when my biggest concerns were passing a test or cleaning my room. These days seem to drag by and are heavy hearted due to….allthethings.
Favorite place?
There was never just one.
Hanging with my mom on a Saturday night watching Tales from the Crypt eating our trio of olives, cheese and pickles with my cousin was amazing.
Walking into the massive church where I served as an altar girl, prayed the rosary, and spent many days there debating what I wanted to be when I grew up always left me with peace and familiarity.
Spending summer days floating around in my cousin's pool letting the sun kiss my skin while we made memories talking about boys, school and our funny family made me feel home.
That’s what it all boiled down to in the end.
Feeling at home.
Not feeling confused, overwhelmed, lacking,  like these recent days tend to be…but feeling wanted. Feeling loved, feeling at home while eating cheese and watching scary stories, talking and laughing with family, feeling content lighting candles, just being allowed to be myself and being welcome.
My favorite place was feeling loved and at home.
Currently, that is my goal. To feel at home not only in places I visit, volunteer, work or frequent but in my own skin. Until then, I will continue this awkward  dance of pretending I am a functioning adult and muddle through this life until I find that happiness that calls me home to myself.
What about you? What was your favorite place as a child….and what is your favorite place now?

Friday, July 15, 2016

July Use Your Words

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them.
 
Until now.
 
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 
 
My words are:: blanket ~ heat ~ hurt ~ leaves ~ hear ~ seem
 
They were submitted by, the one, the only, the hostess with the mostess Miss Karen from http://Bakinginatornado.com


 
Lately it seems this world is on fire.
 
The heat from the palpable pain and hurt is strong enough to burn the compassion right out of our souls. It seems, as every day passes, that when we flip on the news, go on social media, listen to the radio, we see or hear of more atrocities committed in a more vicious way. It leaves us stunned at first....then it just settles into the recesses of our hearts and souls, resonates with sigh as we mutter with a jaded and broken heart, "Again?". 
 
Times like these, when are hearts are heavy and our minds are weighed down with an inconceivable amount of confusion, leave us wondering what kind of future we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. This world, seemingly has spun just fine on for many years on uncertainty and savagery, so why now does this seem so heartbreaking?
 
Well, shocker, it has always been heartbreaking, we are just becoming sick of it because we know we can be better than this. How the hell do we fix this? How do we fix this world that is being torn apart at the seams with bigotry, hatred and ignorance? How do we do so without putting ourselves in jeopardy while truly making a change?
 
I wish I could tell you. I wish I could say some simple sweet words and make everything better. But I can't. Mass shootings, trucks plowing into crowds, bombs, genocides, ignorance, social injustices are not simply fixed by a, 'Let's all be nice to each other' plea. I wish it was, so badly do I wish it was fixed by throwing all the good vibes into the universe...but alas it is not. So what can we do?
 
We can decide to not pull the blanket over our heads when we are scared. We can decide not to shove our heads in the sand. We can choose to not become jaded but angered instead. We can speak up. We can choose to start a meaningful conversation. We can choose to plant peace and love and not perpetuate the circle of violence by throwing around insults, ignorance and insanity.
 
We can realize we are all human and deserve to be treated as such. We can love one another and we can call others out on their bullshit when they are being wankers and spewing hate and vitriol at different communities, groups or populations. Accepting the hate and violence as a norm is contributing to the ugly cycle we fear is being left for our future generations.
 
Break the chain.
 
By choosing to take the littlest, kindest, possibly dorkiest step of your life, you can help bring about change by bringing love into this world. By choosing to bring kindness and love into the world it helps to battle the apathy and anger. By choosing to stand up to ignorance and challenge archaic and asinine thinking, it helps by putting out a new perspective...even if only to one person. Be a helper. Be a weirdo. Be someone who is not afraid to act like a fool in the face of fear in an attempt to leave this world a better place for those we love. Maybe it won't matter. Maybe people will think you are crazy for being kind to strangers or reaching out to those who are hurting and lashing out in the worst ways possible. Maybe it will do nothing in the end. But it's got to be better than simply letting hatred win.
 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
 
Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com
Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com                       
Not That Sarah Michelle                 http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com                   
Spatulas on Parade                       http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com                        
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy            http://dinoheromommy.com/   
My Brain on Kids                           http://mybrainonkids.net
The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com
Never Ever Give Up Hope                http://batteredhope.blogspot.com
Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/   
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver     http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html 
Molly Ritterbeck                              http://mollyritterbeck.com/   
Juicebox Confession                         http://juiceboxconfession.com/
Climaxed                                         http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com     
When I Grow Up                             http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/    
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                      http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/    
 On the Border                                 http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Questions and Kindness

She asked for another blanket. 

I did not blame her, my mom was lying on the uncomfortable emergency room gurney, with a thin gown that no matter how you tied it-it tended to open in the back welcoming drafts up and down her backside, with the fierce air conditioner blasting on her. Normally we love the air conditioning that combats the heat, but not that day, not when she was feeling crummy and out of it. I wasn't going to buzz the nurse for a blanket, I could see they were beyond busy. I just went to the cabinet, grabbed her another blankie and cuddled her in another one. It is hard to shut off that instinct to help when you know you can, that caretaker mode does not shut off, even when you are in a capable place dedicated to caring for people, that nagging feeling of wanting to help never leaves you.
 
She was not hurt, she was not in pain or discomfort, she was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Actually, she was recently discharged from the hospital three days prior for a serious infection and thought she was in the clear. However, after her fluid drain on Tuesday, her doctor called me stating she needed to go back into the hospital because her lab work was abnormal and she needed to be monitored and it had to be corrected.

So, in the emergency room we sat waiting for a room to clear in the critical care unit.

I, myself, had not realized how tired I was.

Normally, no one would ever notice when I was exhausted and at my breaking point. But that night, that night it was hard to hide. Although it is silly and nonsensical, I held on to never wanting to seem to others that I am in need of help or rest. Over the years of being a caretaker, I had mastered the masking of my personal needs and emotions, putting myself on the back burner...forgetting that even though the heat was steady and low that it would not exclude me from getting burned. That night, the heat had finally began to scorch my soul and I was left weary.

Over mom's soft snores, close to midnight amidst the bustling controlled chaos ensuing behind her the nurse peeked her head in the room and let me know that we would be moving mom to the critical care unit within the next hour hopefully. I nodded my head, honestly the only response I could give her.

She hesitated and in that brief moment I saw her make that decision.

That decision is the one where a health worker, caretaker, friend, family member, whoever, sees a person struggling and knows someone should acknowledge it. That decision, when it is clear that the craziness that is coming from all angles can wait for a moment. That decision, when they decide to reach out. 

I sat in the dimness, head reclined against the wall, just waiting to be transferred to the floor. It took me a minute to realize that the nurse had entered the room. Immediately I sat up, apologizing for not noticing her sooner. She shushed me and sat down in the chair across from me. I was scared she was going to tell me that my mom's levels were dropping more or something upsetting, I would deal with it later though, I always did, so I braced myself for whatever she was going to say and was blown away.

"It looks like your mom has been pretty busy. She has been in and out of the hospital quite a bit lately. Are you her primary caretaker?"

"Yes", I said waiting.

"Do you work?", she inquired with a  sweet look on her face.

"Full time", wondering if she was going to say mom needed round the clock care, wondering if she was going to tell me I was doing a bad job of taking care of her, wondering what she was getting at, wondering if I was failing and if she was the one who drew the short straw and was here to tell me.

"I need to ask you something, okay?"

"Okay," came out of my mouth since I was not sure what to say exactly, going over all of moms medications in my head, going over all her procedures, specialists, allergies, past appointments wondering if I had forgotten something, I braced myself for the blow I thought was coming.

"When was the last time you ate?", she looked me dead in the eyes with concern.

There was no way I could brace myself for that....because...well...what the hell? Why was she asking about my eating habits? Because I was obese? Because my mom was sleeping? Because she was nosey? Then I stopped for a moment and thought and realized...I did not know.

Quizzically, I just stared at her. I did not know, it was midnight and I was not sure the last time I ate.

"That's what I thought", she softly declared and got up and left the room.

Five minutes later she came in the room, with chips, 2 small sandwiches, and a Styrofoam cup of ice water. "I hope you like tuna salad and egg salad, it's all I can find", she said while pulling up the bedside tray and placing it front of me.

I was here for my mom and here was this nurse, pulling up the tray table to me, unwrapping the sandwiches, opening the chips and placing it in front of me and who then expectantly stared at me.

"Eat, woman", she said smiling.

And that is when I lost my shit.

I began sobbing, quietly, my chest hurting familiar with holding back emotions and knowing all too well my habit of refusing to acknowledge my need to feel and release my feelings. I sobbed because we were back in the damn hospital a week later. I sobbed because I was not Wonder Woman. I sobbed because I was upset. I sobbed because I felt alone. I sobbed because this nurse thought not only of her patient, but her patient's daughter and went the extra mile to make sure I was taken care of while I was in her sight. I sobbed because I had not allowed myself to for so long. I sobbed because I could. I sobbed because I needed it.

She did not say anything. She crossed the room and brought me a box of tissues and when I looked up she had tears in her eyes as well.

"It's okay to cry, you can't do it all", she murmured while gently rubbing my back.

I cleaned myself up and settled my soul a bit. Knowing I was okay, knowing I was going to be okay, knowing that I was going to have to take be a caretaker of myself more often.

"Thank you", I whispered.

"You're welcome", she said, her sweet smile saturating her words, "now do me a favor? Eat, woman".

So, I did.

That moment she decided to reach out, that moment she chose to invest, that moment she took to be kind and loving, meant more to me than anything else lately. That moment a stranger just did and made me suck it up and realize that I had to take care of myself was astounding.

That kindness thing? I promise you, on all that is holy in this world-first kisses, shooting stars, self-love, purposely mismatched socks, loud laughs and second chances-kindness matters.