What a fucking year.
I hope my language is not too offensive but holy hell, its been a rough year y'all. That being said, there was a realness that hasn't been present in the past. Not to this degree.
I sat down last night trying to comprehend all I have encountered this year and felt very grateful for my blog. It has allowed me to keep track of my thoughts and feelings on a timeline. Helpful for sorting out my thoughts and recognizing how far I have come.
January of this time last year we prepared for our move to NYC. I remember packing and purging almost everything with sadness, but also a feeling that something wonderful was on its way. I had no idea. January was the start of a year of birthing pains. The chaos that ensued felt like it lasted much longer than it did. After a week in NYC and CT, and a new knowledge of what exactly Marc would be doing at Columbia we decided that it was not worth the stress and expense. I was so frustrated. While considering our options I remember feeling really poignantly how quickly Luna was growing. Life was passing by quickly; I felt an urgency to make the choice quickly. We decided to move to Asheville temporarily to stay in a friend's rental home and start figuring out our next step. I remember when we bought our car-- it was significant to me...to Marc as well. I am SO thankful for that car. Our last car was beat up and kept us humble. We resisted the urge of buying a new one since it only ever had aesthetic problems. We got a lot of looks in that car. I am thankful for that time. I feel joy every time we get into our car now. I don't know if anyone appreciates their car as much as we appreciate ours. Haha.
Looking at snippets of our life in Asheville. It was a gloomier time in my life than I expected. The stress in our life came to a head there, along with unresolved issues carried over from Auburn. There were several times I wondered if Marc and I were going to make it. That being said, there were glorious times as well. Unfortunately, I can recall negative times more clearly so I am glad I documented all the good things that were happening so I can look back on those. I really miss my tiny Luna, nights were always spent on the couch talking with her. Everything was felt so strongly for me during this time. I don't know if it was my intuition or what, but I felt like a sea of emotions. Often like I was drowning. Overwhelmed with no job and no direction. I posted this to state my intentions to the universe. I was going to stop being stressed and overwhelmed. I was going to be thankful. After all, I had a lot to be thankful for. Not long after, we visited my family and had the option of a date night. This date night was significant. Something clicked that night. My heart felt like it broke through the surface for a breath. For the first time in months...years, I felt like I was on the same page with Marc. Our love was reaffirmed. We went home renewed that evening. For the first time in a while, I was beginning to feel a glimmer of hope.
Life was looking up. My posts are more optimistic sounding, my photos happier. Or maybe it's just me, my photos and words triggering memories. Ocean's birthday is a was a wonderful time. I remember how much love I felt from Erik and Gabriel that day. They surprised us and decorated the house while we were gone. Ocean loved it. It was so thoughtful. I started eliminating things from my life and blog that I didn't feel good about. I finally got to meet some blogger friends that I adored. And, finally, it was decided that Athens, GA was the place for us. We went to Dollywood during the last part of the month, right before we moved to Athens.
We arrived in Athens and it is not dramatic to say that everything in our life got better. These photos make me cry with nostalgia. I was so happy. Real joy. Our home in Athens was home. Home. Our home. I got a job waiting tables and loved it. We were able to get our savings back up and enjoy the local food culture in Athens without hesitation. Here I wrote about seasons in our life. I laugh reading this, I had no idea how this has become some evident throughout my life. Seasons are constantly changing.
My friendship with +Paige Maitland blossomed. She is one of the most beautiful people I know. I adore her. Marc wrote me the most beautiful letter for Mothers Day. I got a little baby fever. Marc finally made Oysters and we all thought they were gross. We went on our annual beach trip to Port St. Joe. Marc and I had a long heart to heart on the way home and again, walls came down. Our hearts were moving closer and closer everyday it seems. Marc got accepted into law school and granted a scholarship, we made a decision to move once again. My heart broke but we thought it was for the best.
Our home in Athens had just begun to feel like home but the move felt like it was right for us. We moved and bought a home with Marc's Dad. Fell head over heels for it too!
Oh July. July was so hard. Wonderful too, but so hard. Finances were SO tight and it made moving in rough but we managed to do it all with joy. I was so glad to finally have Ocean somewhere that was actually going to be home. I had been stressing about how the moves were affecting her. Marc and I had reached a level of closeness never before experienced in our relationship. We had been on a steady path since January but I was just now recognizing it. That closeness paved the way to the hardest heart to heart we have ever had but that talk changed our marriage. July...July is when transition began...
Our home, it was feeling like home. Sweet summer days in Alabama. This month was so bittersweet. The good times were so good and the bad times were awful. We celebrated Luna's 1st birthday and I held back tears the entire time. I began practicing vulnerability. I started allowing myself to cry when I felt like it and to love without hesitation or expectation. Actually, I had been doing that for awhile but not consciously. After all the struggles we had encountered during the past 6 months it was more out of necessity. I ran across Tedtalks from Brene Brown and had a lot of lightbulbs go off. As she explains, you cannot selectively numb emotions. My attempts to numb myself to heartbreak or pain was resulting in numbing myself to joy. Another milestone, for me, for Marc, for us.
This quote rang true for me all month:
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brene Brown
P.S Here is the Tedtalk that I am talking about.
Marc and I were doing so much healing. Our relationship was finally mending. Our days were trademarked by the love we once knew, constant and overwhelming. This gesture of Marc's was especially sweet. My sense of humor was back full-force. Perspective was becoming easier. I finally shared some of the details of our relationship and wedding. These little moments are so dear to me, I am glad they were captured.
A new understanding of marriage had been developing over the last few months and I could finally write about it without being too emotional. We had beautiful family photos taken, documenting a very peaceful time of our life. We spent a ton of time at the local lake. I shared my intentions to say only good things about my body, setting an example for my girls. I wrote about our lives changing again. It is the first post I have ever shared that received a lot of negative attention. Understandably, I know it was vague...but the joy in my heart was real. I wanted to talk about it. I wrote a little response here. After all of this, personal blogging became hard for me. Some things I wanted to talk about were going to be vague because I couldn't share the details, at least not yet. I started doing impersonal posts...but I missed sharing what my life was like, how I was feeling and personal growth. I am finally getting to where I am comfortable getting back to them. Part of me wishes I hadn't shared anything because it's not particularly dramatic (the change I was referring to in that post). It's actually quite simple in nature. It does seem like I was vague-blogging for attention I suppose. I promise I wasn't, I just didn't have the go-ahead to share since we hadn't explained anything to family.
We went camping. I talked about feminism, motherhood and fulfillment and what it means to me. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family.
Marc and I went on our first date in months. It was so good to get out and be young and free together. We spent a lot of time driving to visit parents and during that time we talked about traditions and decided on some that fit our family. Our Christmas was a blast. In fact, I think it was our best Christmas to date. We also had a fun last minute trip to downtown Albany, GA. And our last night of 2 0 1 2 was spent hula hooping and drinking sparkling grape juice while decked out in glittery girly outfits.
And now, what lies ahead for 2 0 1 3?
Here it is:
Law school is no longer a part of our lives. I am so thankful. Marc is so thankful.
To make a long story short, the first few weeks were great. Orientation brought in a lot of passionate speakers. Marc was particularly inspired hearing Morris Dee's of SPLC speak. After all, working at Southern Poverty Law Center was his dream job. He was excited and inspired. However, after all the excitement died down there was law and not much inspiration. In fact, it was the opposite. The more Marc got into it the more he realized that law wasn't so much about serving justice as it was about circumventing the law. And the people! Some of the stories Marc told me. I think 98% of the people there were in it for status and money. Marc started talking about quitting, I encouraged him to stay in it. That it would be worth it for the long run. I started looking up articles to inspire Marc and encourage him to stick it out, it ended up being the opposite. The more I read the more I was convinced it wasn't for us. Nearly every article spoke about depression being high in lawyers. I read personal blogs from lawyers bemoaning the time they spent away from their loved ones. In my gut I knew this, I knew it before he accepted...but I wanted to be sure before he quit. Marc quickly spiraled into depression. He was gone almost all the time and if he was home he was anxious. He broke down in tears to me a few times. A fear of his was being in that environment and away from family so much. Losing focus and becoming much like them. You become what you give your attention to. Would this hurt us as a family? Is it worth all the money and stress? What about once he had a job, even then, was the trade worth it? These thoughts plagued my mind as well but since we didn't have another game plan he kept trucking through. Finally, one morning after a night long heart to heart and days spent mulling over this decision I told Marc "Just quit. Just call right now and quit." He did. And what a lucky break. It was 2 days before the deadline.
That was in October, the change I was referring to.
Thankfully, when explained, all parents were very supportive of this change. Marc's father in particular was very encouraging. He himself regrets how much time he spent working and not with his family. It was also reassuring when others pointed out how hard it is to break into the field now. Too many lawyers. We are still in Tuscaloosa and plan on being here for a little while. Our house has become home. Even Tuscaloosa has a homey feeling to it now. My sister started school here at UA and will be living with us this semester. We are all excited about this time. My parents are happy she is with us. Watching my Mom process this change was hard, makes me feel sad. I know my time is coming as well. Babies grow so quickly. On a happier note, date nights will be regular again! (Eeeee!) Marc and I are both job hunting. It's stressful but at the same time we have never been happier. This past year got rid of so much baggage, it got us on the right track. We are both on the same page again. Our life goals, dreams, hopes and fears have all been laid out and discussed. We are moving forward as a family and a couple. We have a few business ventures up our sleeves.
I'll be sharing more as things progress.
I am aware that this decision might seem immature and rash. Please keep in mind that what you read on my blog is only about 1/4 of what is going on and there are important factors I might not mention. It has become increasingly difficult, the bigger the my littles loves community has grown, to decide how/when/why sharing is important. The decisions we have made and will make are always with our girls and each other in mind. Family first. Maya Angelou said - "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." That's what we have strived to do.
Feel free to disagree respectfully. That is all I ask. That your comments be constructive, useful and respectful. And for all of you who have encouraged me, sent me emails and messages assuring me that you have been here and made it out on the other side...Thank you. I have never been so thankful for reassuring words. I needed to hear them. My sweet friend Sam sent this to me a little while back (and somehow I am just now seeing it), for those of you who are also questioning the "american dream" and living unconventionally: Read.
It's been a wild ride y'all. Thanks so much for being a part.
I'll leave you to reflect on this:
When we live our lives to the expectations of other people, we end up living lives we don’t want. And what do we get when we live up to the expectations of all these other people? They really don’t care — they just don’t like things different because they are uncomfortable with change. Staying the same as everyone else doesn’t make everyone else happier — it just doesn’t force them to reflect on their lives. -MNMLIST
Happy New Year!
(So hard hitting publish on this. I am destined for a "vulnerability hangover" as Brene Brown put it.)