Bracing for Catastrophe

Well this is awkward, but maybe in a good way? For a very long time, Mother’s Day has been complicated and challenging for me. Claire would normally have a seizure at the Hallmark store picking out cards, which would push Jared closer to a break down and we just didn’t celebrate after that because we were wrecked.

I love how there is a lot more awareness around all the complicated emotions connected with the day. There are memes centered around all the different difficult mom relationships. Discussions around child loss, adoption, parent loss, and infertility issues seem more common and on the top of peoples minds.

In anticipation of an incredible amount of depression around the day, I booked a trip to Barcelona to see friends and celebrate Chloe’s birthday. Perhaps I could hide from the day and trick my brain into forgetting, foolish I know. You can imagine my surprise when I didn’t wake up grief vomiting on Mother’s Day. In fact, I woke up with a full heart, thankful for the life I am getting to live. It wasn’t just that I had managed to hide from difficult feelings, they just weren’t there.

It is awkward to brace for a catastrophe that doesn’t happen. After years of barely coping fast enough for the mind fuck that trauma parenting is and the painful transition to grief when it all ended, I just assumed I would be working on healing forever. But here I am, walking around Barcelona, enjoying my life like a person who’s life isn’t controlled by PTSD or grief. What is really wild is how I feel like I am some how doing grief wrong, like I should be sad forever.

As much as we have worked to bring awareness to the incredible pains in life, can we now work to normalize getting through it and living? Can we celebrate when we put in the work to release trauma? Can we talk about how weird it is to live in a regulated state, where we can be present and enjoy the now because it is so foreign? Can we own our growth?

I realize this season of peace is only possible because of an incredible amount of effort that’s been invested in healing. I don’t want it to sound like if you sit and listen to water for a while, all the stuff just goes away. The last five years have been an aggressive fight for myself. I’ve been in therapy, yoga, sensory deprivation and all sorts of other things to move all of the crazy out of my body, so that it could also leave my head. I hope to talk more about that soon. For now I am going to sit back and enjoy the afternoon, and walk my dog in the forest because staying in this state is important to me and my nervous system isn’t going to regulate itself.

I am sharing more frequently on Instagram @the_adventures_of_colleen if you want more of my perspective, please join me there.