I Hereby Grant Myself Permission to Be Shitty

Six weeks ago, I started seeing an amazing new doctor who finally diagnosed this mystery illness that has made me so sick the last two years. He has begun weekly IV treatment along with a host of other alternative therapies that are finally starting to give me my life back after two years of countless ER visits, trips to the doctor and testing. The treatments are really helping. But, when I have to go more than a week between them, I start to feel really sick again, and some weeks I feel worse, before I feel better. I’ve gone from being in bed 80% of the time to about 20% of the time, though, so that alone is a miracle, especially when you have four children. I have decided to document my journey here to show the up’s and down’s of my healing journey, in hopes of offering an honest view into my world, as I fall and rise, yet again and again and again. Through my years as The Grim Reaper Girl, I have learned above all, that our struggles teach us as much as our triumphs, so I hope you can be inspired by my acceptance of all the parts of this journey, and myself in them. 

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Days like this are really, really hard for me. This healing journey comes with its up’s and down’s. (If you missed my updates on my recent diagnosis’ of serious chronic illness, go check my Facebook page). Right now, I have severe asthma and allergies on top of the chronic illness I’ve been suffering from for 2 years. I have a severe infection in my lungs and feel like I can’t breathe. I’ve been in bed since Sunday and this week I had to postpone my weekly IV treatment because it’s just too much for me to drive an hour and a half each way to the doctor, receive the treatment which really drains me, and then come home and have to take care of 4 kids alone for 3 days until my husband has a day off. Today I feel really horrible – bad anxiety (a side effect of my treatment), extreme fatigue, nausea, headache, heart palpitations, brain fog, chest pain, and a wicked cough. And I woke up this morning to find out my 3 year old who just got over a horrible case of the flu that almost turned to pneumonia a couple weeks ago, now has CROUP. Croup is what my nephew died from.

This shit is real, folks. I don’t make it up. It is absolutely ridiculous how often we are sick. It is absolutely unbearable feeling horrible myself and taking care of a toddler who feels awful – when he doesn’t feel good, he is mean and nasty and whiny and gets into trouble all day long. So, I should be in bed, but instead I’m pulling him off counters and shelves and candy cabinets all day long. Oh yeah, and there’s also a 16 month old to take care of and 2 other kids to take to and from school, and make sure they get their homework and chores done. Mamas don’t always get a day off. No matter how sick they are. 

I’ve worked really hard to train myself to stay in FAITH instead of FEAR but days like today, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle ALL ALONE. My husband works 7-7 most days. I have paid a babysitter enough money to put her through college, to help me this last year and a half, but she has limited availability because she’s in school. So, today, I am just trying to be ok with not feeling great, and wishing I could feel super loved and supported when I’m feeling really alone and overwhelmed. Am I allowed to feel that? Am I allowed to have days where I kind of just can’t get to a place of positivity and faith and lots of words of inspiration while I try to heal?

Well, I’m the only one who can give myself permission to just be as I am. So, I hereby grant myself the inalienable right to just say, THIS SUCKS. THIS IS HARD RIGHT NOW. I know it will pass, but right now, it hurts and its hard and I would LOVE more than anything to feel your love around me right now.

Tomorrow I will probably be back to peppy-steppy-feelin’-and-believin’-Megan. Today, I am allowed to just be Megan. And maybe even, Shitty Megan. Or, at least, Shitty-Feeling Megan.

And I feel SO much better when I just express myself honestly to the world. Don’t you?!!!!!!!! I hope this inspires you to be honest about your struggles. When we give ourselves permission to be real, we give others permission to do the same, and the truth is, sometimes this being human is hard, isn’t it? Let’s not try to pretend any different. What makes it worth doing, is being in it together, and knowing there is as much beauty as pain.

Ahhhh…I feel more faith-filled already. I know this will pass, and I’m trusting some miracles are on their way…and I am so grateful I have this community of people around me to support me from near and far through this. Thanks for being here, thanks for listening. Remember, whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. I’ve probably been there. I see you. I get you. We’re in it TOGETHER, and we even get to be SHITTY together if we want to.

The Brave & Brokenhearted Club: Are You In?

I want to start a new club. Who wants to join? Everyone? Great!!!!!

It’s called The Brave and Brokenhearted Club. Think you belong in it?

Here are the qualifications for admission:

  • A) You are human. 
  • B) You’ve had your heart broken.
  • C) You are still living and breathing and walking around on a planet with your broken heart, knowing it could be smashed into pieces again anytime. You are still daring to be in relationship with other human beings who may get sick, or struggle, or die, or hurt you or betray you…and you are still loving them, anyway. Because, you can. 

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This is not a sad club. It’s a club of elite members of people – humans – who do really brave things like open their hearts up again and again, even after they’ve been broken or trampled or pummeled or pounced on. People who have become masters at stitching their hearts back together from pieces and pumping those hearts even louder and prouder for what they’ve loved and what they’ve lost. People who live wholeheartedly, as Brene Brown calls it, embracing love for as long as they can hold it, knowing, in their hands lies the both the possibility for their greatest joy and profoundest sorrow. Because to love is the highest risk – it is risking our own hearts. It is knowing we can never hold onto something, truly – that every love, relationship, friend, teacher, experience, is only ours to borrow for a time.

It’s living out loud, even with broken hearts. It’s letting those broken hearts grow, not wither, from each loss, each beating. It’s owning our stories and showing them to others, so we can ALL BE REAL about the truth of our humanity.

It’s still loving hard, playing hard, giving hard, believing hard, faith-ing hard, praying hard…while also grieving hard, crying hard, raging hard, recovering hard, and growing…HARD…no matter what life gives us. 

But, even more than all this, let me tell you what this club is really about.

This is a club for front runners. For brave and brokenhearted souls who are willing to walk ahead of the pack, alone, standing for their truth.

You see, it’s very cold and lonely walking this road alone, sometimes, but we are the people who have finally figured out, after years of trial and error, that there is no MAGIC PILL. That healing NEVER comes overnight. That part of life is taking time to honor, acknowledge, process and recover from the stories that make us and break us. 

In this modern day and age, our society has found a way to hit fast forward on just about everything. We’ve sped up cooking, eating, exercising, traveling, working…but, we’re paying the price in so many ways for speeding up BEINGNESS. Where is the time to just BE? And where is the time to grieve, feel, emote, joy, sorrow; celebrate? 

Our bodies were not designed to heal overnight. When you get a cut, or scrape, wound or broken leg, do you expect that you’ll wake up the next morning healed?

The Brave and Brokenhearted know that hearts heal like bodies. They take time to puss, bleed, ooze, scab and scar, too. They take time to put back together after they’ve been shattered, like carefully rebuilding a broken ceramic vase from three million tiny shards and pieces.

 

We Brave and Brokenhearted, we believe it’s ok to take this time. We’ve stopped listening to the society that tells us to, “Hurry up and get over it!” “Put on a brave face!” “Soldier on!” And, “Keep positive!”

ChutzpahWe’ve learned that ignoring our wounds, our pain, our sorrow, our grief, and even our GREAT VICTORIES of the heart, literally KILLS US, slowly. When we deny our truth, we become the zombies we over-glorify in movies and TV shows. We lose our heart, our life force, our chutzpah (chutzpah: the quality of audacity, for good or for bad) when we give up the honest expression of our darkest fears, deepest sorrows and grandest miracles of who we are….which is BAD ASS WARRIORS.

We Brave and Brokenhearted give ourselves and others permission to feel, to grieve, to struggle, to celebrate the tiny victories and the large ones. We give ourselves and others permission to take time to heal. To be whoever we are. To own our stories, our diagnosis’, our never-ending grief, our mistakes, our growth and recovery.

We have taken TIME back, and given it to ourselves.

And we want you to have it, too. Time to not only mend your heart, but breathe it back to life and joy and loving again. Time to not have all the answers or solutions just yet. Time to recover not just from illness but from trauma and loss and grief. Time to fill your well, every single day. Time to pursue your passions and purpose on this Earth. Time to mine the dark caverns of your soul for gold, and time to bring that gold to the surface, to share with others, because we need what you have!!!!

It takes courage to join this club. It means standing against the old paradigm of HURRY UP AND GET OVER IT, and holding a vision of a new era, a new paradigm while others who don’t understand (yet) look on with bewilderment, or worse, look away. But, we have to do this anyway, for each other, so that every time one of us starts to feel lonely up there ahead of the pack, we remember, we are NOT alone.

There are more and more of us coming out of the shadows every day, saying, “I’m not hiding who I am anymore. I’m human. I struggle. I fall down. I get back up. I throw pity parties and tantrums. I make mistakes. I eat too much chocolate. I cry, I scream. But, I’m alive. I’m still breathing. I’m still trying. And that’s what makes me amazing.”

There’s a funny thing that happens when we give ourselves permission to be exactly who we are. We give others that permission, too. They get permission to take off their masks, let down their hair, and pull up a chair to THE REAL AND RAW table, too. And you know what that feels like?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….relief.

So, we just have to keep showing up and keeping it real and being honest about whatever is in our hearts, and soon enough, those people staring at us in bewilderment, will be pulling up chairs to our table and saying, “Thank you, thank you for inviting me to the Brave and Brokenhearted club, where I have permission to be…HUMAN, too. Thank you.”

Are you in?

#brave&brokenheartedclub

On the Edge of a New Era (in Which We FEEL)

kyler sickAfter awhile, you learn what people do and don’t want to hear. You learn that most people don’t really feel comfortable hearing the truth of your feelings. So you start changing, without even meaning to. You hide your feelings…stuff them down so deep you don’t even realize you’re stuffing them. Because where else do we put them? Right?

Girls cry, we get labeled drama queens, over-dramatic, over sensitive.

Boys cry, they’re not tough enough. They’re weak. They’re “pussies.”

I’ve gotten to be pretty good at hiding my true feelings. I’ve learned the world usually just wants a triumph story with a happy ending. That if you’re grieving or suffering, depressed or just simply FEELING the whole gamut of life…many people will make you feel like a “downer.”

I almost always feel the need to put a positive spin on my posts…because I’m afraid of scaring everyone away by saying some days it just really sucks or it’s just damn hard.

I’m afraid of being labeled.

I’m afraid of being ignored.

I’m afraid that somehow I’ve met an invisible quota on how much FEELING I’m allowed to express or have. Of how long I’m allowed to take to grieve 21 deaths. To recover from being married to an addict for 10 years. To learn how to live and parent 4 kids in a world where I’ve already buried three.

I’m tired of living by the old rules. News flash! They’re not working! Suicide rates, depression rates, mental health statistics, overdoses and rehab centers will tell you: WHAT WE’RE DOING IS NOT WORKING. This whole NOT showing our true feelings thing? It’s KILLING US. Those feelings don’t just disappear. They turn into toxic poison that kills us from within. That we have to drown and soak and stuff and eat and numb our way away from.

I want to stand on the edge of a new era. The era of BEING ALLOWED TO BE OURSELVES and not play by anyone else’s rules on how much we’re allowed to feel, grieve, hurt, sorrow, celebrate or express our anger openly. An era where we all get together and say HEY, THIS BEING HUMAN THING IS HARD SOMETIMES…HOW ABOUT WE ALL AGREE NOT TO PRETEND ANY DIFFERENT?!

An era where a man can grieve his child with tears at his graveside 14 years after he died.

An era where GoFundMe campaigns are set up not just for funeral expenses for the one who died but for support of those who are left behind.

An era where people who are dealing with blow after blow after blow in life can say it STILL sucks and not be called a downer.

An era where we don’t always get the happy endings but we support each other in the FOREVER MIDDLES.

An era where a girl who has been open about her grief and struggles, and her commitment to finding light in landmines can come on Facebook late at night after a good HARD cry and say…

In 2 weeks it will be THE day…THE day…March 14th…the day my nephew died…when he was almost 3…

And today it killed me inside a little…to see my sweet little baby boy who is also 3 so sick his fever was 106. He is exactly the same age. He has the same hair, the same exuberance for life. And I hate not knowing how long he’ll be mine to borrow. I hate knowing that children DO die and for the most inexplicable inconceivable reasons. And I am still grieving the little boy we lost too soon…and I ALWAYS will be…because I will never stop loving him…and it will never stop being the hardest thing on Earth to be reminded of the last time I held him…as I parent my own four kids. Tonight, I’m hurting. Tomorrow, I’ll get back up and live out loud like I always do…and I’ll feel something different or maybe the same…but tonight I wanted to tell you the truth of me because I know one thing for certain…the truth will always set you free.

What era do you want to live in? How much we allow others to be real is how much we allow ourselves.

The next part is up to you. ♡

*Are you following me on Facebook? This was also posted over there. Click like on that box on the right side of your screen if you want to see all my posts. 

The Smackdowns & Getting-Back-Up-Agains: Ronda Rousey & Me

Some days everything just feels so hard. When the sleep deprivation and the toddler tantrums and the chronic illness and anxiety and all of it pile up on me all at once. Every day I get up a fighter, ready to put on my best face and go another round. And so many more days than not, I end up face down in the ring with a crowd of onlookers.

It’s just one “next hard thing” after the next.

I try to keep a positive attitude and I do most days if everything aligns and the kids don’t melt down 9 times out of 10, only 7, and I get maybe six hours sleep or even seven instead of 2 or 3, and the baby isn’t teething and all 4 kids got to bed on time and didn’t wake up all night, and the pollen isn’t too high and I haven’t spent too much time outdoors today to give me an asthma attack and I got a short text out and back from a reassuring friend yelling, “You’re not alone,” and a twenty minute nap while both babies slept instead of a 5 minute attempt at a nap while they took turns staying awake…on those days, I feel like I could do anything. I feel like I could fly and conquer the world and change it,  too.

But, most days I feel like some level of shit just like I have for the last 2 years fighting chronic illness, depression and anxiety…and most days my 5 year old who is a highly sensitive kid starts his day by taking all his anger and rage out on me just because I asked him to put his shoes AND socks on. And most days my three year old yells, “I don’t like you!” and, “You’re not my parent!” while I put on clothes for him and take him to school for the whole hour he can handle there. And most days, I have never gotten enough sleep, even if I have slept a solid eight hours in a row (imagine THAT miracle!), it will never begin to make up for the consistent state of utter EXHAUSTION I have lived in for the nearly nine years I have been a Mother who has been recovering from a million smackdown moments in her life. 

I want more than anything to just be a normal Mom. I want to just run my kids to and from activities and play dates and meet the girls for coffee and breakfast. On those rare days that I feel good, all that and more seems possible. I hatch up dreams for how I will change the world and I work on my book and I feel like I’m making a difference somehow.

But, it’s days like today that I need more than anything to just be honest about how hard it really is, how hard it’s really been. How much I try to meditate, pray, 12 step, affirm and believe my way through it all…only to feel that stinging sense of a smack down like Ronda Rousey again and again. 

It’s ok to not feel like a prize fighter 24/7. It’s ok to struggle and fall. I think maybe life is just a series of knock outs and drag outs and get-back-up-agains.

I don’t live in the past and I’m not identified by my story of 21 deaths in 5 years, an addict husband, almost divorce, postpartum depression and so on. But, no matter how hard I try to move on, my body and heart tell the story of the pain and unimaginable stress and trauma they have been through. No matter how hard I try to push on, they continue to stop and remind me that it takes time to heal. That recovery is a process. That there are no magic pills or quick fixes – only time and only love.

We all love the conquerers story, don’t we folks? But, I’m wondering, can we maybe also cheer our fighters on when they’re flat on their faces in the ring? Can we tell them how much we love them for reminding us we’re all human? Can we not set a limit on how much a person is allowed to feel, grieve, bleed or struggle? Can we maybe just send more love and love and love no matter how long they’ve been laying there, til they find their way back up again???

Can we let it be ok to be human? Can we tell everyone we know, how STRONG AND beautiful they are for the falling down parts too…because those are the hardest parts to get through? Can we be cheerleaders for smack downs because that’s when people need us most, not when they’re holding the winning prize?

I don’t want your pity. Just today, I want to be honest and not tie it up neat with a pretty red bow about how I will survive or overcome or conquer. I just want to lay here on the floor in the ring for a minute and cry because life smacked me down again and I’ve been going 18 rounds now and I AM TIRED. Tomorrow, you KNOW I’ll be back in the ring fighting again…but today, I just want to hear it’s ok to be down. Do you still love me, when I feel defeated? When I’ve forgotten I’ll get back up again soon?

I want to tell you something…yes, YOU. Wherever you are in the ring – getting sucker punched, knocked out, going round 20, or throwing punches or dodging blows…I’m cheering you on, because I know you’re going to get back up again when you’re ready and keep fighting, too…and dammit, I love you for falling and for getting back up again, too.

Thanks Ronda Rousey for showing us how to fall with grace, truth and honesty this week. ♡♡♡ Yes, maybe you were meant to do more good by losing this time than by winning again.

To the Mama Silently Fighting…

To the Mama who is fighting silently…

To the Mama who is suffering in silence…who wakes up every day feeling already weighed down by a ten ton weight…

Who slogs herself through making lunches, barking orders, breaking up fights among the kids, all while feeling sick or sad or lonely or angry or depressed…

To the Mama silently suffering from an illness or struggle no one can see…that she thinks no one can understand…

Who hides in the shadows quietly working to heal herself, to love herself more, to give herself the compassion maybe the world cannot…

Who wishes some days that she did not have to fight alone…

Who wonders how she’ll get through one more day of parenting while trying to heal…one more feeling “swept beneath the current” of a struggle she never asked for…

I see you. I get you. You are not alone.

I know why you stay in the shadows, because you feel safer there. Because sometimes it hurts more to be misunderstood than to be alone. Because you feel scared and vulnerable in this space you’re temporarily calling home. Because you have no energy to try to explain to the world what it’s like to be you, to be expected to be responsible for small beings when you’re struggling so deeply, to continue to persevere when sometimes you just want to give up…

You’re afraid the world will just give you that same old song and dance…the, “You can do it, you’re so strong!” song. Or they’ll try to tell you they know how to fix you (like you haven’t already tried everything yourself). Or worse, they’ll simply turn and look away.

You’re afraid they’ll make you feel like you’re a mess…like you should’ve gotten on with things by now…like you’ve met some invisible deadline or quota on how much suffering you’re allowed to have, and now it’s time to JUST GET OVER IT.

You would do ANYTHING TO just be over it. To will your way out, to pray your way out, to fight your way out, to find some magic super pill that would make it all easy. And trust me, you’ve tried all those things, time and again! But mental health, chronic illness, addiction, suffering and shame, and all the other silent diseases we walk through take time to heal. Grief takes time to heal. Life takes time to heal. And you, dear Mama, are giving yourself that time, I know, whether or not anyone else understands.

We give ourselves permission to take time to recover when we’re in a tragic car accident or when we’re diagnosed with a life-threatening disease like cancer.

Why can’t we, and the world around us, do the same for the silent suffering?

Bevy around them??? Send them as much love as a Sandy Hook Mama or a Cancer Mama, because the battle they are fighting feels just as big, just as heavy to them as anyone else’s cross they bear???

There’s no need to compare. None of us have it worse or better. We all have our silent struggles. There’s enough LOVE and COMPASSION in this world for ALL of them, for all of us.

That’s all any of us need…more love. Love so big it cradles the pain. Fierce empathy so strong it lightens the lead weight.

Love can carry us through anything…but we can only give it to others if we give it to ourselves.

I have suffered in silence for 6 years. The world told me I was “too much,” “too messy” as I walked through 21 deaths, postpartum depression and chronic illness. So I hid, beside the few people who loved me so much they allowed me to struggle and take time to find my way out of the darkness.

I have a friend who was recently involved in a tragic car accident. He almost died. His body was battered and beaten, his spine crushed. He’s now endured months of endless rehab and may have years ahead. I can’t imagine a SINGLE person in his life is standing over him telling him to GET OVER IT NOW, to quit moping around and get back out there.

Death, loss and disease are the car accidents to our hearts.

Hearts take time to heal, too.

Do you know someone who is suffering silently? Someone who has lost a loved one recently? Or who’s been affected by a chronic illness in themselves or someone they care about? Set up a GoFundMe page for their broken heart, will ya? Start a meal train of empathy for their soul. Pick up the phone and call them as often as you’d call someone on their death bed, because trust me there are days they feel like they are on it.

Love them…more. Love you…more.

And to that Mama, who is suffering in silence, whatever you’re going through,  you’re not alone. We are breaking the silence around you. We refuse to be deaf to your suffering one moment longer.

Keep going, Mama.

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Don’t worry. We’re coming for you. ♡ ♡ ♡