Honesty

I would be totally lying if I pretended I was not struggling with my emotional well-being right now. I have had more bad days than I care to say. Honestly, it is not any one thing but many things compounded and maybe I am not the only one struggling. I guess I can begin with the post-divorce healing process. It was a difficult time for me but we are coming up on almost two years now and I feel ok. Of course I miss the friendship and companionship, but deep down I know ending that marriage was the best thing for both of us. I own that.

Second, I had Covid pneumonia just over a year ago and my lungs and breathing are not the same. I still have less than 50% of my sense of taste and smell. I get extremely winded doing things I found easier to do pre-Covid. I find myself taking more breaks during a strenuous task as well. I am hoping that these things will not be the same things I am struggling with a year from now. I am hopeful that with some extra self-care, I can get better.

Work has been both a blessing and a struggle. I am so grateful I have health insurance and a job when many others have lost their job or are still struggling with unemployment and financial stability. I also wish I had been able to work from home or maybe find better ways to work with the public without feeling I am putting myself at risk health wise. I love what I do. It’s been a most unusual process to fall into my job, but it’s been one I have zero regrets about. Am I doing all I can be doing? No. That may be some of the restlessness I am feeling.

One of the greatest struggles over the past few months has been coping with waves of grief and mourning over the sudden loss of our beloved dog, Chance. I was blessed to have the spunkiest and loving Cairn Terrier rescue. He was small but fierce. He was my protector, my best friend, and my favorite little person to be with. His love and companionship helped me begin the healing process post-divorce. He made everything better just by being himself. Coming home was more joyful knowing he would be waiting to greet me. Sleeping was more restful feeling him next to me. He wasn’t a great cuddler, but when he was in the mood, I so enjoyed it. He was my “tricky woo!” I miss him immensely. I struggled trying to absorb why this happened at this time. I did not have a crisis of faith, but I did have some serious discussions with God. I don’t have to understand why things like this happen. I just have to trust that someday, I will see my fur baby again.

The loss of him not being here has affected us all differently but we all feel it in some way. I believe with the pandemic, the stress of illness, work, and the crazy in the world; coping has been difficult. I have had people who say, “Get another dog. It will help.” I cannot. I would not ever say, have another baby to cope with your miscarriage. Get a new spouse if yours has passed. I do not believe they’re being insensitive. I think they have forgotten that grief and mourning are a process that just has to be walked through. It comes in waves and some days the waves are crashing over me and others, it’s just a small ripple. I have struggled with self-care and I am not ashamed to say, I often neglect it. I am working on getting better with it though. I am not the kind of person who stays down in the pit for too long. I am a fighter and a survivor. I don’t get up or give in easily. I know how far I have come and I believe God has more joy planned for my future.

I have come to believe that somehow pain and loss have a way of purifying us. It forces us to get back down to the basics–what is important and what can be let go of. I have let go of feeling guilt for not being more productive or driven right now. I have let go of comparing where I am at with others. My journey has been nontraditional and that is ok. I have given up pushing myself beyond what I know I am capable of for that day or moment just to prove to someone or myself I am worthy. So….if you’re curious about some of what I am doing for self-care during this time, I will share. It is what has helped me and some of these are totally nonnegotiable.

I finally have established a halfway decent morning routine.

  1. Drinking water first thing before coffee is one. Also, reading my devotional or something spiritual and saying a short prayer to begin my day is something I will always make time for now.
  2. I don’t rush thru my favorite coffee of choice. I savor it and sip on it slowly.
  3. Scheduling a regular massage, pedicure, or facial–anything relaxing that I deem to be pampering has become routine. Yes, it’s a sacrifice financially but I have found ways to make it more affordable by going to beauty schools or looking for special discounts.
  4. Making time to read for growth as well as fun. I love to read and I often times feel pulled in so many directions with my responsibilities that I don’t make time for it. Even if all I can fit in is 15 minutes of silent reading. It helps.
  5. Connecting with friends, groups or organizations that are good for my mental and emotional well being has been wonderful. It has helped me learn that we are all struggling in some way and doing our best. Those connections can make the difference between having a bad day and a “I’m gonna get thru this” kind of day!
  6. Limiting time with toxic or energy draining individuals is a must. I have learned so much about myself and how empathic I can be. I have to be vigilant with certain types of people that are energy vampires. This is where practicing healthy boundaries has come in handy.
  7. And lastly, I am just being more mindful of being more of service to others struggling around me. I feel that God wants us to do that now more than ever.

I hope that when you feel like you’ve had enough, you remember that many of us are struggling right now as well–whether it be for something or someone we have lost or because we miss the way things were just a few years ago. I believe God has a plan for us to follow and part of our growth is to be willing to face the hard things with an attitude and mindset of growth….even if it’s painful. In the meanwhile, here is my best boy.

Chance….good boy, loyal friend, and little badass!

Faith….

According to Merriam-Webster, faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. 

Do you have faith? I will be the first to admit, I have not always been as faithful as I should have been. When tough times hit, I used to be the first person to get angry or act on emotions without clear-headed thinking. I would feel this sudden sense of urgency to take care of the problem as soon as I could. That thinking got me into more trouble and problems than I care to admit. Now, as a middle-aged woman, I can sit back and see all the times I needed to be still and have faith. Maybe things would have turned out better. Maybe I should have trusted that things would work out exactly as they should. It’s taken me a long while to accept that through all of the struggles, God knew everything I was going to do even before I did. He also knew I may have needed to go through those things to learn some hard lessons and finally develop the faith and longing for a more personal relationship with Him. My faith journey began back in 2015. I was a hot mess.

I was stagnant. I had been stuck in a really hard place for a few years. I knew I was capable of so much more and yet I was not able to reach out and grab it. Going through a period of difficulty can play a number on your self confidence and sense of self worth. If you do not have a strong support system at home, it makes the healing and perseverance all the more difficult. Did I mention, I had not been to church in years. I had been angry at God for certain events that devastated me and hurt loved ones. I could not find it in me to trust Him when the people I loved the most were taken from me. I never stopped to think that someday I would understand how all things work together for a greater purpose. 

I was very lucky that in spite of my hurt and anger, God put the right people in my life at just the right time. They helped me see that God had never left me. He was there all along. Although He could not control some of the things that happened to me, He was always there for me to turn to in my time of need. I have learned that now. He is the first one I want to reach out to in difficult times. He is the one I want to say “Thank You!” to when I receive good news or a blessing. 

This period of loss and renewal has taught me so much about myself and the whole process of letting go, accepting what is, and finally; learning to be still and have faith. I feel like I have a ways to go to finish healing and growing but I am on the right path to “home” for the first time in a very long time. 

Restlessness

Do you believe in signs? I do! Sometimes the divine has a way of speaking to you and it can be as easy as something popping up several times within a small time frame. Other times, it’s a huge sign and you’re finally faced with a truth you’ve been ignoring for quite some time. I’ve been going through a year of self-discovery and trying to dig deeper into some unresolved issues that keep pulling me backward. At the root of it, there is a feeling of hunger and restlessness. I wrote about that hunger on my first post, but the other day on the way to work, the person on the radio was talking about Psalm 62:5 and the topic of RESTLESSNESS and the human condition. Every sentence she spoke was an alarm bell going off in my head!

I have been restless since as far back as I can remember! I was restless in my teenage years because I believed that once I could be independent and on my own, everything would be so much easier and better. I was restless because I believed that my life would be better and easier if I got married. I got married and believed everything would get easier when I was working full time and we were advancing in our careers and making more money. We got those jobs and career advancements and then I thought it would get easier if we saved enough money to buy a home in the country.

Then it happened. I realized nothing was getting easier. Nothing was getting better. In fact, things were just as hard as they always were and I woke up one morning and felt this heaviness in my heart and physical body. I did not want to get up. I wondered what would happen if I just fought back and decided, TODAY, I AM NOT GETTING UP AND OUT OF BED ANYMORE. I did not want to go to work. I did not want to take a shower. I did not want to eat. Everything was too hard. I was more than restless. I was done. I call this moment my turning point. As I sat and poured out my feelings to my husband and sat there broken and crying, I felt like I needed to just stop. I needed the world to stop so I could see what was next for me. What did Dawn need?

I sat in my doctor’s office and just cried. She looked at me stupefied and doubled my medications. She couldn’t help me. All she could do was prescribe more medications. I’d been prescribed pills for my anxiety and panic attacks. I’d been prescribed a higher dosage to deal with the depression and mood swings. I’d been prescribed pills to help me sleep. I was prescribed muscle relaxers and strong anti-inflammatory medications for the constant muscle aches and pains I had. I had even developed stage one high blood pressure and was prescribed blood pressure medication. I felt like I was dying inside and like I was slowly losing my wits! No one could understand and no one seemed to be listening to me.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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My name is Dawn and I am 50 and this age has been the time of much growth and change.

I’m a native Texan and have lived in some of the major cities here and the coast.

The beginning.

Over three years ago, I packed up and left my job, my friends, and the life I had built for myself in another city. Even now, I am confident, it was the right decision for me at that time because I was in a rut. I was stagnant and not growing professionally. I craved growth and change. I still remember the day I made the decision to leave a job I loved and the friends I’d made and embark on this journey. My heart ached but I was filled with a fervor that was driving me to make this tremendous upheaval in my life. It’s like breaking up with someone you love for all the right reasons. I’ve grown more emotionally and professionally than I ever have in the last three years. When you jump off a cliff, you realize one of two things: you fly or you die. I flew. Starting over was scary but I did it. I began to trust my life’s purpose and my faith in God. What did I gain?

I gained confidence, strength, purpose, knowledge, and even more faith! I realized things I never knew about myself but had within me all along. I was a leader. I was a performer. I was a teacher. I was a writer. I was a mentor. I finally bloomed! I was flying so high until the work, the responsibilities, the family, the marriage—all of it just took over and I succumbed to bad habits for coping. Somewhere in the midst of all that positive growth; I began to lose myself. I forgot what was important.

Now, I am at a crossroads. Growth and overcoming challenges is not without collateral damage. That is what this blog is about—finding healing and unbecoming everything I thought I was and finally becoming who I am meant to be. It is about re-configuring my life around health and happiness.