I’m on punishment. I have to write.

One of the biggest issues I have with myself is my lack of confidence in so much that I do or how I come across to others, yet I’m aware that I truck on through a lifestyle that has not been an easy one to improve. I stopped chasing my own goals and dreams and became engrossed with trying to survive. Life becomes a lot less savory when you have a span of years that are an endless struggle, and for once I am seeing a clearing where I can make a little time to selfishly indulge in stories that no one asked for.

So, the punishment isn’t really a punishment at all, but more of me forcing to take a stab into my brain and hope I draw something of substance. I’m aware that this will probably be a pile of shit, but instead of a story, I’ll just do a rambling, personal update. Really more motivated to complete a thought enough to post it, and here we are.

The water in our neighborhood has been off since the early morning. We knew there was some work spoken of in the city, but once my husband used up what was left by running a bath (not realizing it) I had to spend the day with forced conservation of a resource I wasn’t prepared for. Usually, it’s the electricity. It reminded me to go back to my notes on installing water harvesting tanks as a small part of a bigger project to make our house greener and more secure, as safety and resources have become a big issue in South Africa. While we are generally okay, there will be a day where we won’t be, and we have to make sure to just be smarter with the space we live in so our kids have something to inherit other than greed, crime, and trash. That takes a lot of freakin’ effort and my journey to self-improvement has barely begun, but it’s still a luxury to have those struggles when others aren’t as fortunate. It certainly doesn’t come from a place of ego, but learning to stop limiting myself without trying harder first.

Right now, I’m finally reaching a point where I’m not drowning in the woes of simply being an adult and a new mom, during which time our “bigger project” stalled. I’m sitting here, with no water until tomorrow, but that’s really my biggest concern. I really can’t even complain about that, because sometimes those little experiences serve as reminders to be better prepared for life in general and now I have time (and help) to put work into the next phase of my insanely long and daunting plan. I already have to pick up new paint for the nursery, main area, and guest bathroom, paint, move furniture into new rooms, tackle the endless pile of laundry that needs catching up on, get a new dryer, fix the dishwasher, retile the guest bathroom, and totally redo the entire master bedroom and guest bathroom because it’s falling apart and needs a facelift. I have to leave my kitchen for another day because I need it done a very specific way and I’d have to earn that opportunity later on. Right now, we’re in dire need of some heavy duty changes and I need to carry our team for the win because otherwise it just won’t get done.

I know little about the more technical side of things but I’ve had to pool my resources and start learning how to do things like hanging the complicated curtains that folks prefer because all of the curtains are starting to get worn or are totally faded. I mainly grew up with blinds and I honestly would switch to them but I have to be conservative until I can afford to do it right. I’m going to have to learn my way around tools and get my hands dirty and recruit the help where my skills are totally non-existent (like electrical updating- I’m not that bold) but in order for us to be able to afford a lot of the overdue repairs, I have to do them myself, because my husband has neither the time nor the desire to pick up a hammer. Despite it sounding like a pretty annoying situation or me complaining, I’m actually pretty excited about the potential. My husband has never fixed up this house prior to me moving in due to severe lack of available finances after his divorce, but it’s a good opportunity for me to put my personality into it.

It’s going to suck to get it done but once it’s done, this house will not only feel very “me”, but be someplace I can be proud to have people over to. But it costs money, and money had been scarce for years. There’s nothing quite as discouraging as having ambitions beyond your means. But last year, my husband said he’d let me call the shots on redoing the house since I’d be doing it myself. I slowly started scraping together tools and supplies so I’d be able to hit the ground running when I started investing in the house and tackle a large number of outstanding issues. Then, we had to take in a baby and employment was spotty for me. It was a struggle to continue on with the things I so desperately wanted to do because I had to stop and learn how to be a mom when my focus was nowhere near that. It has really weighed in on me lately because it’s forced me to take a look at myself and how I was living my life. I didn’t want material things, but I did want something that felt like home. And lately, I hadn’t felt like I was “home” yet and had to figure out why.

I have sunk a lot into trying to help my husband get back on his feet and it almost cost us our entire relationship because I wanted to run and he was struggling to walk. I failed at achieving a standard of life that was more humane by focusing too much on trying to get to where I am today with him. I realized I’m with him, but our growth spurt wasn’t meant to happen at the same time, and he’s going to have to be a spectator while I soldier through the things that need to be done in order to enable me to focus on things that make me happy again. I have two incomplete books. Dozens of short stories without a finale. Lists of random plot ideas that spring up while I’m doing things that prevent me from taking the time to flesh them out. I’ve been feeling incredibly confined and alone in a situation where I needed to constantly be working at SOMETHING and losing so much of myself in the process. I made the mistake of blaming my husband for me losing sight of myself, and that was wrong of me. Once I started to realize my own imperfections, things started to change.

But the one outstanding issue was time, and when I would have otherwise hopped in a nice hot bath, I’m freezing my ass off at a keyboard, trying to get to a point that I’m not sure about yet because the baby is asleep, I don’t have to work, my husband and pets have been fed and no one is looking for me. I can’t do dishes or laundry or run the vacuum and probably should be in bed but at least I can go to bed feeling like I accomplished something, even if it seems small and irrelevant to others. I let my phone die and didn’t plug it back in so I had no excuse but to empty out my thoughts. This one is for me.

I’m spending the next hour or so finalizing my design plans for the nursery. My niece, the amazing soul she is, is going to help me with painting and whatever else, but more so the baby will have her to play with when she’s not taking a nap, freeing me to actually focus on finishing several key items on this relentless list that will unlock another chapter that we desperately need. It all starts with a nursery, and today is the day I clear the room for painting. I have carpet cleaners coming to show some love to the floors. I’m repairing and cleaning dining room chairs that we haven’t used in years because neither of us knew how to properly fix them, and finding other ways to start making our space more functional for our quirky lifestyle (including creating a summer workspace that will allow me to work in the room adjacent to the nursery and closing off the hallway so she can play freely or have access to me while I find more time for productivity. Making my home more functional is going to create so much more time, especially as we progress into toddler life. It has also been a long-standing dream to have an opportunity to even have this as an option.

You see, my life needed to be a balance of allowing time for creativity, managing the responsibilities of a remote employee, having order in my home and being a mother. Throw a relationship and high-conflict people into the mix and it’s only reasonable to want to turn that energy into a journey towards peace, and that’s where I’m starting to venture. For the first time in my life I’m truly understanding what I want in order to be truly happy, and getting a taste of that happiness has been amazing. I want more, and I want it for everyone around me. But I still have a lot of work to do before I can see it fully realized, and a good chunk will be done by the weekend because I have a rare window and time to do it. While this is all very awesome, I know that the hardest part of this process is going to be the nursery, as it’ll be the second time in my life that I’ve had to do it. The first time was for a biological daughter I never got to take home, so I guess it’s a little emotional and a trigger for fear that something will go wrong in a situation where I have a lot more control.

I digress. I’m also not sure if I’ve made a point yet.

It’s 1 am and I realized I’m learning how to be happy under circumstances where it’s hard for self-love to grow. I’m learning how to get a grip and the results will be worth the jumpy journey towards our next destination. I’ve been caged inside my own fear of simply living better, wiser, and in the present. I’ve had to stop caring so much about what other people were thinking of me because it took my focus off of the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is far too important to waste any more time on. While I appreciate the struggles for the experiences and lessons I needed, I’m ready for a far brighter outlook that I’ve worked really hard to make possible.

 

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