At the end of each long day of being a wife and mother, it’s easy enough to share the struggles so many find appropriate and universal for this stage of life – bills to pay, toys to clean up, dishes to do, school papers to sign, kids to kiss goodnight.
I can show you my calendar, my email inbox, my check book, and you can see the tangible things around which my life tends to revolve.
What I can’t show you, and what I rarely quantify as part of the “Is it bedtime yet?” lament, are the internal, invisible battles I’ve been fighting, even to the end of each very long day.
I often feel wrong and I often feel weak for having to coax myself through so many days, for having to encourage myself through each tiny shift that everything is ok, that I am ok. Usually I keep pace with my negative mental dialogue, can swiftly dispel impending fight or flight even while vacuuming the floor, answering the phone, letting the dog outside. But at least once a day I have to pull away for a “reset,” and often retreat to my room for a sturdier mental re-framing of my day and my reality.
Too many times I get to the quiet hours of the night and wonder why I just can’t get this right, why I am so broken.
But the truth is, I am not broken, I am brave.
I am brave because no matter how much fear or doubt or self-loathing creeps in, I talk, laugh, sing, work, love, pray, learn, try, and fight louder. Again and again, every day.
It is not easy. I do not know why I am the way I am, but I have stopped trying to understand, change, or medicate it. Instead, I’ve simply accepted it. I’ve learned to identify triggers, gauge my own mental comfort, communicate my needs to my family (they are incredibly supportive), and between all of us we have developed strategies that work for making life good, for making it ok.
I’m always surprised when I learn that others struggle the way I do. If you’re one of those people, I hope you realize: to face that internal struggle every day takes courage, and you have it. Don’t you ever, ever think you aren’t strong enough. You are. You are not broken, you are you, entirely you, and you are brave.