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Happy Valentine's Day!

Apparently, it's the middle of February. Like, what? How? Life has been coming at me real fast lately so I've been trying to be intentional and slow. Since we're already in the middle of the second month of the year I suppose now is a better time than any to wax poetic about stuff, right?

I spent the latter end of December 2022 home with the kids whilst my husband went to Idaho to be with his mom who passed on the 29th. I'll talk on this topic more, as there are a lot of words to say, but it was a very trying and eye opening time for us. We also experienced the sudden loss of my auntie the day after Christmas, which, again, I have so much to say and added to the weight of the time. That's a story for another day. So one solo parenting flight to frigid Idaho (I told my husband I'm never going to do that again. I love him so much and the circumstances were dire but no, never wanting to fly a red eye with two kids by myself ever again.) and two funeral services later, I'm still not feeling a sense of normalcy, which, I mean, really what's normal anyway? I don't know.

So like everyone else that has access to HBOMax, I've been watching The Last of Us. We started watching it late. I think 3 episodes had been out by then and I had heard good things so I wanted something to distract me. I was expecting to watch Pedro Pascal be super smoldering hot and paternal while protecting The "Little Bear" Bella Ramsey from mushroom zombies. Sure, sure I got some of that but what I got instead was a love story between Nick Offerman's and Murray Bartlett's characters, Bill and Frank, that I was emotionally unprepared for and left me sobbing to the point my husband had to ask if I was okay. (I was not.)

Now, why would an episode about two men who find and love each other for 20 years smack me so hard in the face I couldn't keep it together? They had 20 years to love and be in love and grow and experience life with each other despite all of the things happening around them. The blessing was in the time they had and what I was feeling after the episode was the reeling loss of time we no longer have with the ones we lost. I thought of my father-in-law and my uncle losing their life partners and I broke down thinking of how devastating it would feel to lose mine. It was cathartic. Beautiful and cathartic. I cried so ugly. It was great.

The episode stuck with me. The Linda Ronstadt song, the little strawberries, and the now ever present notion that at any moment time gets taken away from you. Really, all we have is that, right? Love and time. So spend the time you have loving the people you got, loving the life you have, because it can just cease to exist. Let's also not forget that I watched Hamilton 3 times in one week and their ending song encompasses the passing of time and what one does with it. Time and love are the themes I'm hitting on is what I'm saying if I haven't said it directly enough.

So that being said, what am I doing with my time and will I be doing what I love? As of now I've been trying to find a semblance of self. I think I did a lot of healing last year. I am trying to be more honest with myself about what my limitations are while also dreaming about the things I'd like to accomplish and show the world. I am terrible at grinding. Horrible at it. I realize I need to take a slower pace. If I grind I end up hurting myself. Literally. I have back and shoulder pain after my marathon week of work delivering a large order. It's been fun trying to treat it. (By fun I genuinely mean it is enjoyable going to PT and having a person teach me different exercises and stretches so I can feel more at home in my body. My PT is remarkable and awesome. I am grateful for her.) We still don't know it's actual cause. I don't know a lot of things...but I do know some things.

I know I want to make more art.

I know I want to make things with my hands.

I know I want to learn more about the things that interest me and bring me joy.

I know I want to spend more time with my family.

I know I want to experience life with them.

I know I want to get to a place where doing those things can support me and my family financially.

That's it.

I still grapple with impostor syndrome, perfectionism and fear of failure. I don't think those things will go away. The wanting to make things and the need to create, that will also never go away. So I'm going to take the time to do what I love with the people I love. Do it messy. Lean into the things I'm good at. Ugly cry through it all. I am very adept at ugly crying. Champion ugly crier.

Things have shifted. Things are shifting.

This is a long ramble of a blog post. Reading this must have taken a long, long time. (heh)

I suppose if there is a take away from this long, long post, is that we only have so much time what you love, make of it what you will....and I love you. :)

I have been mulling over what my word of the year for 2021 was going to be for a few weeks. While the wonderful women around me I know have decided with certainty what they were going to theme their year, I sat there ungrounded and unsure. What if I pick the wrong word? What if my year doesn’t even come close to it? What if, what if, what if? I sat and thought. Then I over thought and then I thought some more. I spent a good chunk of 2020 just thinking. Thinking about how I could protect my family and keep them healthy. Thinking about how I haven’t done anything business related since the end of 2019 after I was asked the very pointed question of, “Who’s going to watch your kids?” after ending a successful event selling my wares. Thinking about how I lacked the support I needed but never bothered to ask because it would be burdensome. A lot of thinking happened. I even have a page, actually several pages, in my old journal with the words “WHO ARE YOU?” in big, bold letters.

Who are you? Can you correctly label yourself? Were you given the option to label yourself or was the label given to you? How would you decide to answer? Can you pin point your multifaceted self? It's such an easy question to ask but the most difficult question to answer.

Who are you? It’s a weird question to ask yourself, isn’t it? I should know who I am. I’ve been me for 36 years. How would I introduce myself to someone new? Hi, I’m Donna. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, colleague, ally, helper. I’m silly, creative, loving, somewhat impatient, hungry for both food and knowledge. I’m crafty and good with my hands. I’m a performer and singer but only for myself. I’m unsure. I am weird. I am unconfident. I am hard on myself. I am often an empty vessel. I am often filled with love and enthusiasm. I am segmented and compartmentalized. I am tired.

I am an unreliable narrator of my own story.

In all of the thinking, I realized, I don’t fully know the answer. The story that I tell people of who I am is a story that I needed to settle with myself. I needed to settle and accept the story to make it palatable for other people. Obviously, I can’t show all sides of me to everyone. Not everyone needs to see every side of me. At some point, however, I wasn't even showing myself all my sides. I don’t know if it was out of necessity. I don’t know if I just felt comfortable playing a role, for example, I’ll play the role of mother. Mothers are basically thrust into the role from day one. I’ll do what a mother should do and say, but I’m not just a mother….right? Right. I don’t know if, at some point, things just chipped away at me or I started planting seeds given to me instead of choosing what seeds I want to plant myself. Disparaging words and definitions can stick around like seeds of weeds that eventually grow thorny and uncomfortable and get embedded in my heart and mind. The thorny vines conceal what’s actually inside. I need to clear the weeds to see what is and see what has been. It’s daunting and I don’t know how to go about it. I don’t know a lot of things.

What I do know, though, is that after I’ve cleared those weeds and removed the definitions and expectations placed on me, I can begin to define myself the way I see fit. I can begin to place pieces back together and see the entirety of who I am. I don’t need to show it all to you but I definitely need to show it all to myself. Both the good and the not so good. I need to become a more reliable narrator of my own story. I need to be a conscientious gardener and sow seeds of plants that I will be happy to reap. So, in 2021, I want to see myself as a whole person. I want to take the time to clear the weeds in my mind and my soul. I want to take the time to sow habits that can help my life blossom into what I hope it can be. I can start off by doing this. Hello, my name is Donna and I am.

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