Bear with me.....

I’ve had a lot of downtime this week while our family of 7 is battling norovirus to lay and reflect, while my body aches with pain and choosing to stay strong and positive as our house smells like a portapotty, and resembles a bomb going off. This week one of my favorite designers took her life, and it shook me weirdly hard because she seemed so optimistic and I really felt she was my spirit animal with her love for glitter like myself. It was no secret I was a Kate Spade-aholic, shoes, purses, wallets, watches, phone covers, stationary, you name it, I love it, I’m that person taking selfies in front of her stores  and gushing constantly of my love for the line. It got me thinking about a lot of things regarding this epidemic in this country and how we can navigate the future. Being a mom to 5 boys and having suffered from anxiety and depression starting in college, I’m always over analyzing situations with my kids, making sure I’m doing the best I can so they don’t end up anxious or depressed and praying to God that they feel enough every single day. I am nervous to write this in fear it could be misconstrued, but I feel like there’s even more that needs to happen for us out there, more than any medicine can touch. There has to be a change inside of us, a change that begins with us getting real and raw with ourselves vs masking our issues. A change that begins when we stop sugar coating life and loving ourselves, imperfections and all. A love for ourselves that doesn’t involve an income, house, car, purse, to make us feel enough. I think until we truly grasp that concept, we’re going to be treading water. 

Medicine has saved my life, still currently on zoloft, I 125% believe that, because the out of control feeling from anxiety and depression is unlike any other. You feel helpless, out of control and doomed. But medicine can only get us so far. We have to dive deeper, we have to look into our past and our present and dig deep. We’re so good at avoiding, avoiding hurt and feelings at all costs, but when we avoid, we create more problems. So let me tell you a little about me. 

I grew up in a divorced family. I lived in a trailer and we had food stamps. I fought with my mom and moved in with my dad. I went to college only to drop out after wasting thousands of my dads hard earned money. I spent so many years of my life never feeling enough. I chased boys and would mold myself to what they liked. I did dumb stuff to get attention, I literally couldn’t NOT be in a relationship because I felt like I had no purpose. When I moved out on my own to a one bedroom apartment, I forced myself to get two extra jobs because I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts. I would drink cheap wine to fall asleep and keep myself insanely busy all with a smile on my face not letting anyone know. I was a nanny and worked for some wealthy families, I saw their houses and fancy cars as things that would make happy. If I could have those things I wouldn’t be sad. So I fixated on buying things to make me happy. Ugg boots would bring me joy, right? 

I met my now husband at this time and we fell in love insanely fast, moved in after two months, got engaged and pregnant shortly after. Pregnant before marriage, just to add to my never feeling good enough but we didn’t want to get married til after our son was born. I hid from social media because I didn’t want friends from high school to see me, I had gained weight from pregnancy, was now a mom and wife who had no idea what she was doing and was still chasing that idea of “I will be happy if we have more”. We had baby 2 and my first earth shattering battle with anxiety and depression that rocked me to my core. Thankfully Xanax and Zoloft reigned me in and I weaned a few months later. My husband finished his MBA and got offered an amazing job. A job that changed our entire lives in a sense. We had to relocate and could now afford a fancier house. We could have rented something smaller but this giant 3,000 square foot home with granite counter tops and a gorgeous neighborhood was what I had to have. “I will never be sad if we get this house Jordan”. Because you know a pretty house solves all problems. He of course wanted to make me happy, gosh I was such a gem (eye roll). 

I started sharing our shiny life on social media. Look at our new house, look at my kids dressed perfect, because now I could afford Baby Gap. It was ALL about appearances with me at this point and it’s legit nauseating to even type this. I was threatened by every woman around me, and constantly comparing myself to them, I had no self respect or self love for who I was and how blessed I was. We got pregnant with baby #3 which meant we needed a bigger car. I found a Land Rover, I had to have, once again, “Jordan I will never be sad if we get this car, pretty please” and of course, we got the dumb car. I thought people would think I was cooler, or fancier, or worthy. This bull crap carried on. And guess what I was still comparing myself, still never feeling enough, still negative self talking, and just a mess y’all. I started a blog and chased perfection, sharing only photos that were perfectly posed, no messes in the background, and you’d never see me not smiling. I had an image to obtain to the Mom blog community, how could I ever let them see the real messy me. The one who’s bathroom is disgusting with hair in the sink, the one who yells at her kids for not smiling perfect, the one who trash talked everyone but would shame others for being “judgemental”.  We then moved to our now house and got pregnant with #4 where I fell into my depepest depression yet and this was the turning point. 

I was helpless, flailing on the floor, bawling my eyes out, I had no sense of reality, I couldn’t think past the next 5 minutes and was terrified I would somehow die. Sleep deprivation paired with anxiety is awful. Once again thank god for my doctors, Xanax and Zoloft. As I was in the deepest pit I kept praying and asking myself “Allie you have it all, you have the car and house, you have healthy kids, an amazing husband and yet look at you”. This is where my biggest change happened and I’ve been digging and unraveling ever since. It’s been about 4 years and it all started with finding my purpose and who I truly am. I started reading personal development books, Brene Brown “Gifts of Imperfections” was such an eye opener to me. 

For years I thought “self help” books were for people who needed help, but I clearly didn’t need help. I was so far gone thinking I had life figured out with grasping straws to get shiny objects to buy an ounce of happiness vs looking inside and around myself for that joy. Digging through my past and uncovering my hurt and things I would always hide of my life was huge. I literally didn’t want friends to come over in high school because I was ashamed we lived in a trailer, I would wear name brands to feel better about myself and tear others down to build me up. I started getting real and raw and OWNING my life, my past decisions, my choices and every single moment that led me to who I was that day.  I started sharing my gut wrenching moments, sharing the ugly, sharing that motherhood and marriage was hard, sharing that I was on anxiety meds, sharing that I didn’t feel enough, sharing that I would stand in the mirror and tell myself I was ugly, sharing that I judged people before getting to know them, sharing it ALL and not hiding the chaos of life. I started making my mess, my message. By the grace of God through this I somehow started an at home business and landed myself in the top 1% of the company having my name in shining lights and strolling across stage in front of thousands, I had an amazing income and title, and last year it hit me, I was on stage looking out and instead of feeling complete joy for the achievements, I felt empty, I knew I still had some work to do on my insides. I was still ironing out the details of chasing things but that moment let me know, the titles and shiny lights aren’t it either. Last fall after that event, I got rid of the stupid Land Rover and felt a huge sense of relief, that’s when i knew real change was happening inside me. I didn’t need a car or purse to be enough. I didn’t need a title or rank to be enough, I was finally enough and in love with myself that I didn’t need affirmation from others, not friends, my company or followers on social media. I was enough for ME! 

The growth meant a lot of boundaries and detaching myself from people who brought more harm than good into my life, it required me not allowing others choices (my dads alcoholism and my moms constant ups and downs with me) and letting go of others control over me. At the end of the day, the choices of others have NOTHING to do with you. It took me countless hours of reading and reflecting and realizing that HURT people HURT people, because I was once a hurt person who lashed out at others. When someone has something mean or hurtful to say, it has NOTHING to do with you, and everything to do with them and an insecurity they face. I’m not fully healed and I’m eager to continue the journey but every single day, every scenario at hand, I’m given choices, choices to honor my self or to fall back on old habits. At the end of the day i control who I let control me, I control if I let my kids awful behavior ruin my day, I control if I let the jerk who cut me off get me angry, I control if I let my husbands comments bounce off me, or settle in deep. I’m not a doctor or a specialist, I didn’t even finish college but I do believe we need more awareness into WHO WE ARE as a person, what brings us joy and what doesn’t, being honest with ourselves and those around us. To stop feeling like we have to be everything and enough for everyone else. To stop saying “yes” to things that stress us out, to start listening to our bodies and resting when we need it. To start fueling our bodies right so we can function properly, to stop digging ourselves in a hole with alcohol and drugs (not medication FYI) If we all focused on being enough for US, and loving every freaking aspect of ourselves there will be a change. It’s not easy or pretty, it’s downtight excruciating to dig at wounds and work through our issues but you’re worth it. You are so worth it my friends. I’m a mama to 5 little men, currently still on Zoloft and still working daily to be the best version of me.

If there’s one thing I want my boys to grow up with, it’s that sense of love for themselves. To be happy in who they are, to like the things that bring them joy, even if it’s not cool or trendy. To love their quirks and to not hide their imperfections. I believe if we can achieve that in ourselves and our families we will be stronger as a country and stop the rate of suicide and death dominating the news. 

It won’t be easy, but I believe it will be worth it. 

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