I know I've said here before, I'm not much of a girlie-girl and I'm not much of a jewelry wearer. I am most comfortable in jeans and a tee. Necklaces are the only jewelry other than my wedding rings (simple bands) that I feel comfortable wearing. Because my uniform is so basic, to keep from being too boring I like an interesting tee, one with a beautiful screen print like the one I'm wearing or a graphic that says something about me. I feel the same about necklaces. I don't want the latest diamond that says "forever" or whatever the diamond industry is pushing as the only way to show how much you love her, until next holiday when they come out with another way that's the only way. Not for me. I want something that feels special and has meaning to me. That's exactly the kind of jewelry that Lisa of Lisa Leonard Designs creates. As soon as I came in from the mailbox yesterday and opened the box to find this necklace, I loved it so much I went straight to her website to order another. Something that said JOY.
I've had joy on my mind a lot lately or should I say a lack of joy has been on my mind. I've become increasingly aware that I have been in a bit of a funk for quite a while and am frankly quite exhausted and worn down. I am 39 years old and feel so much older most of the time. Getting to this point has been a gradual process, a slow wearing down of my body and my spirit. If I were to try to pinpoint the beginning of the slow trickle of joy out of my life, it was probably around the time I had to quit working. I was told I would have to have a lung transplant and that my line of work was detrimental to my health. I became more conscious of where I went and who I was around and eventually became more comfortable at home than anywhere else. Once a shop till you drop kinda girl, I cringe at the very thought of going to the mall. So here I am, a stay at home mom at a time when my kids are seeking more and more independence from mom. I have made it no secret, being the mom of teenagers has been the absolute hardest thing I've ever done. We, because it is we going through this, not just me. Mitch and I have been on a roller coaster ride of fear, worry, frustration and heartache for something like 2 years now. When your identity is so tied up in being a mom and suddenly you feel that you have failed at your job. You have failed miserably and you don't get do-overs, it bruises if not breaks your spirit. Anxiety and worry made me finally seek help in the way of medication, but there really is no magic pill in a bottle to heal a spirit. I hate to sound sappy or cliche' but an awakening moment came for me this week watching Oprah. Like I said, I've been thinking a lot about joy lately. In fact I mentioned a sermon a few weeks ago in which the pastor presented the question, What would your one wish be? What do you most want? I couldn't answer right away, because I really wanted to think if through. Finally I decided what I wanted most, what I felt would be the most beneficial to myself and those I love, was joy. I wrote on a piece of paper I wish for joy and peace. I don't know exactly how to put to words the feelings I have. It's not like I'm walking around crying all the time. I just know I'm not joyful and I'm not spreading joy. I guess it's like a low grade sadness... does that make sense? A constant low grade sadness combined with the occasional and usually out of the blue crisis that would result in a more acute sadness. All of this chipping away more and more of me. More of my awareness of who I was and what I wanted out of life. More of the security that everything will be all right. Slowly and insidiously joy has slipped from my life. Forced out by the constant feeling of having my guard up to as a defense for my battered spirit. This has been a hard thing to face. Hard to put to words, mostly I believe because I don't want to inconvenience anyone. That sounds pretty silly doesn't it? I don't ever want to be the reason anyone has to go out of their way, I don't want to be the cause of someone else's upset. I try very hard to keep things on an even keel and just praying that things would just magically get better. You know the old this too shall pass thinking. Never mind that in trying to keep my feelings inside really doesn't work and doesn't benefit anyone. It's a never ending circle of unhappiness. Back to the Oprah thing, she had Dr. Christiane Northrup on her show, a doctor/author who specialized in women's health. She discussed how stress and unhappiness increases inflammation at the cellular level. Most diseases are the result of inflammation. I have two chronic diseases that are inflammatory in nature. So, (and this really isn't news to me, I'm a nurse, but it was the message I needed to hear at this time in my life) all this stress and unhappiness in my life is not only wearing me down spiritually, it's detrimental to my health. Like I said, this is not news to me, I think I've even discussed it here before, but I think what's different is I said it aloud. I may blabber on and on here about feelings, but when it comes to actually speaking- actually saying what's in my heart doesn't come easily for me. It seems nearly impossible to make my mouth form the words and leave my mouth, but I did it. I talked to Mitch and to Alyssa and Casey. I told them I am tired of feeling this way. I'm ready to be a source of joy they can come to. This doctor, the one on Oprah said something to the effect that a being a joyful mother is the best legacy you can give your children. As unhappy as the world can be and as much disappointment as there is out there, everyone needs to know there is a source they can turn for joy. My job of being a mom isn't over. I still have time to spread a legacy of joy and that is my wish. I know I can't do it on my own, I plan to be much more communicative with those I love, to let them know what I need to be happy, because it really is true, if mama ain't happy...and for me, if mama ain't happy, mama ain't healthy. In a few months I'm going to be a grandma, and I have a lot of living left to do, I need my health. I've made an appointment to talk to someone who's job it is to listen to people whine and help them through it. My wish is for joy and if I have to work a little bit to find it again, that's work I'm willing to do.
Boy that was probably TMI just to say I can't wait to get my new necklace, I'm getting the mini circles necklace with the words Joy and Peace, a tangible reminder to myself and everyone I see that joy is my wish.
If you made it through all that, I promise I have some crafty things to talk about. Maybe later today, if I can ever get a good picture.