I've started and stopped more blog posts throughout the past week than my two-year-old has said "no" today. This post, however, I am committed not only to finishing, but to sharing, as well.
The truth is, I'm having a hard time with this blog business and I've only been at it for a week. I'm not only rusty in the writing department, but I'm also severely out-of-practice with anything that is, to quote my two-year old, "mine." Since giving birth to my daughter, the only identity I've really occupied is "Sophie's mommy." As a stay-at-home mother, I have focused nearly all of my energy on her and little on me. Somehow, somewhere, I've lost my sense of self. But I've got a bee in my bun to find it and what better time to start than NOW!
This is not to insinuate that I regret even a minute of the past 28 months, because that is certainly not the case. I'm proud to say that Sophie and I have spent nearly every waking moment of her life together and that I've never missed a thing in her young life. She and I have an amazing relationship and a closeness that is really special. I have never taken for granted how fortunate I am to be able to be with her every day and I honestly don't feel as though I'm making sacrifices to do so. Sure, Jeff and I can't afford lavish vacations, fancy meals, or other frivolous expenses, but we're doing what we feel is best for our daughter and we've never felt an ounce of guilt or regret in the process. That being said, I do feel as though Sophie and I both could benefit from me having... a life outside of her! How can I teach her to be independent and free-thinking if I'm not setting those examples, myself? And how can I feel truly fulfilled if I don't at least acknowledge my own dreams and personal aspirations?
I know this may be shocking to those of you who have had the unfortunate luck of only knowing me after September 25, 2007, but prior to mommyhood I was a pretty cool chick. I was quite free-spirited and thrived on spontaneity. Hell, for the most part, I just thrived, period. My husband and I were huge Phish-heads (those who follow the band Phish, just in case you're not hip to the term) and it was nothing for us to drop everything - including bills - to follow the wild, psychedelic, improvisational, "jam band" (I strongly dislike that term) geniuses for several shows at a time at any venue we could get to. I lived for anything mind-expanding and spent well-over the standard 4 years of college hanging on my professors' every word, pushing myself to the brink of insanity to excel in school and to be the best student in every class. I took entire foreign languages (well...one) and advanced philosophy courses just for the thrill of it and ended up double-majoring in Sociology and Anthropology at one of the most liberal "Liberal Arts" colleges in the country. I was an intellectual through and through and I read and wrote and thought and dreamed. I prayed and cried and danced and loved and combed the interiors of my soul for purpose and meaning. I had a Zen-based spiritual practice with so many profound experiences that any one of them would have left me a lifetime of contentment. I was blessed and blissed beyond belief.
And if that weren't enough to earn me a top slot in the cool club (or at least cool here in Asheville), my husband, Jeff, and I were also, um, AVID outdoorsy folks. By avid I mean we camped, as simply as possible, about a third to a half of the weekends in a year. We found God in nature and couldn't get enough of feeling one with the trees, the streams, and the stars. Camping was our priority; we did it over everything else. Petty things like... cleaning the house and paying the bills got squeezed in late on weeknights when we "had time." We even got into winter camping and camped in sub-freezing temperatures in ice and snow and rain and frost. We planned entire vacations around camping in some of the most pristine locations in the country. As-a-matter-of-fact, right before I got pregnant we flew out to the Pacific Northwest with practically nothing but what little camping gear we could fit into our suitcases and camped throughout the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier National Parks.
Then, on Wed. October 11, 2006 my life drastically changed. I found out I was pregnant, which was a bit of a surprise, but a very welcomed, albeit a bit scary, one. On Sat. October 14, 2006 I went to a life-changing Zen Retreat. And on Sun., October 15, 2006, as I was getting ready to pick apples with my brother and his then girlfriend (now wife), when I suffered a devastating miscarriage. I was only about 7 weeks pregnant, but the blow hit me with such intensity that I thought I would never recover from it. In some ways, I still haven't.
I graduated from college on Dec. 15, 2006 and was pregnant again just a few weeks later. At about 7 weeks pregnant, I thought I had another miscarriage. The emotional pain was just about more than I could handle, but, much to everyone's surprise (including my doctor's), somehow I was still pregnant. It turned out that I had most likely lost a twin and I went on to have a healthy pregnancy and later, beautiful Sophie.
My entire pregnancy, however, was filled with worry. I had two monumental losses back-to-back and I just couldn't shake the thought that something was going to happen to that one, too. Somehow, I had lost faith. Even after my perfect baby girl was born, my emotions were still numb. I desperately wanted to breast-feed her, but my body just wouldn't cooperate with me and it couldn't happen. A couple months later, my thyroid went bezerk (and is still out-of-whack today). I felt as though my body had betrayed me many times over and I was angry. Instead of turning to God or meditation I recoiled and invested all of my energy on Sophie and forgot about me.
Well, here I am, folks. I'm here to take back my self and to become reacquainted with the Kim from before October 15, 2006. I know writing is one of the elements to make this a reality, but so is accountability. I'm taking a big chance here, putting myself out in the open like this, so that you, my loyal readership (of three!) can hold me accountable. I am not going to hide behind pain and self-hatred any longer. With any luck, I'll find the things I loved about my "old" self and fuse them together with all of the energy I've invested in motherhood and maybe, just maybe, a "superKim" will emerge!
Thank you for reading! Peace and love to you all...