I am Ugly and Don’t Care and The Reason You Shouldn’t Either
I know you’re either thinking two things, one is oh she’s fishing for compliments because people who post negative things are hoping others will come to their defense, or two, why does she want others to think she thinks herself as ugly? Stay with me for a sec. No, I’m not fishing for compliments. When I say I’m ugly I don’t mean I don’t have pretty days. I mean that traditional beauty standards say women should look a certain way, appealing. I, most days, do not look like the beauty standards. I look like a tired, needs to be retired, broken old mop. I, some days, look like a goddess. (I don’t care if you agree because somedays I think of myself as a goddess) All depending on the day at hand you might get a moldy old mop or a very pretty woman. This is the reason I don’t stress over meticulously placed hair and the reason you shouldn’t either
I’ve always, ever-since I was little, battled with depression. Honestly, my kidhood sucked and I really mean sucked. I have chronic depression. Funny thing about depression is unless you look really hard, you cannot see the shadow hovering over the affected person. Being a chronically depressed human, it’s hard for me to even get out of the bed some days, let-alone worry about spending twenty minutes to turn my frizzed-out hair into the straight sleek goddess-like locks that society says is acceptable. I look into the mirror and see the bags hanging from the bottom of my eyes and the right eyebrow looks like it was out too late partying while my left eyebrow looks like a sophisticated woman in her 30s. I’m still in the clothes I wore the day before and I am either starving or not hungry at all. I look in the mirror and today I’m ugly. Today I fed my child, took the dog out, managed to make sure I put cartoons on for the kid and started the washer. The house is a mess today and I’m sloppy, but I don’t care. If you look in the mirror and see you have a zit on the bottom of your jaw (me) and notice your hair is still in the bun it was in the day before (also me), say this with me, “I DON’T GIVE A SHEET!” I’m ugly and I don’t care. Why? You ask. I have dealt with so much in my life that if someone gets butthurt that I don’t fit into what society says is attractive, I’ll laugh in their face. I’m not saying that appearance doesn’t matter because unfortunately it accounts for a lot in the first impression department, especially in interviews. Don’t go looking sloppy in an interview. You’ve gotta know when you have to pull yourself together, but for the most part you should give yourself permission to be ugly. You don’t have to have it together all of the time. It’s okay to wear pajamas all day if you haven’t the energy to figure out what to wear. Don’t go to a wedding in a stained up T-shirt and baggy sweats, but if it’s a bad day and you don’t give a crap then let yourself not give a crap. What is it going to hurt? If the world ends because you walked around all day with one sock on and one sock off then you can write me and tell me all about how I was wrong, but seriously it’s okay. I seriously have no desire to dress up for anyone aside for my husband or nice events. I dress up when I feel like it. In college and up until my son died I wore flawless makeup every day unless it was an off day. Now, within a months’ time, you may catch me in an eyeliner and mascara combo 3ish times. Honestly, if other people judge you then they have way too much time on their hands. I think moms are superheroes in their own right and the ones who have battlescars like me are beyond supernatural. If someone judges you on how you look then they aren’t worth knowing anyways. As for me, I’m going to enjoy my ugly five minute routine until I decide to look like a goddess again. Yes I know depression is a big deal and depression has a lot to do with not caring about looks, so I shouldn’t be proud yada yada yada…I have something to say about this. If a depressed person gets out of bed and is a somewhat productive member of society who cares if they put crayon on their face. They beat the monster today, that’s what matters. So be proud you got out of bed. You kicked ass today. Who cares if you’re sloppy or sexy because you’re a beast.
From the far reaches of the galaxy it seems, when I say I’m a sorority alumna I get two typical responses. Oh, so you partied a lot or Why did you join a sorority? You don’t seem like THAT type of girl. Let me set the record straight on this. I am a proud and ever thankful member of my sorority. Yes, I have everlasting friends and NO I don’t see it as paying for them. I paid dues yes, but that was for events, but rearing back to the point here… I joined a sorority when I was a little 20 year old girl who finally moved away from most of the people she knew. I had 2 really good high school friends I went to college with, but I had always dreamed of joining a sorority. I had dreamed of the cliche toga parties, the awesome social events, the BOY connections (come on I was 20), I dreamed about having ever true and lasting friendships. From the deepest parts of my heart I wanted to be accepted by these girls I didn’t even know. I loved what they stood for and was mesmerized by the grace each one of them had. What does being a part of a sorority have to do with my blog? Well, after I began the process of going alum, I became less active in my sorority. When you become less active you lose a lot of contact with your sisters. I ended up becoming pregnant my last year of school, and was punched in the gut with news that my unborn son had a congenital heart defect. (CHD for short) I posted on social media that the doctor was sure it was Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS for short) a defect by which the left side of the heart doesn’t properly and in some cases, doesn’t at all develop. Callan had 2 chambers instead of the normal 4 chamber heart. I had a whirlwind response that scared the crap out of me. A sorority sister’s son had the EXACT same heart condition. She wanted to talk to me, but I was too terrified. I remember her speaking about the heart condition when I was an active, and realizing how real it was terrified me to no end. Cut to having my son and staying in the hospital for our first time, (a month) I had sisters come visit and do such selfless and wonderful things for me. The day of his first heart surgery two sorority sisters showed up. One bought Boston Market for my whole family! One brought adorable baby clothes and stayed while I cried! Cut to multiple visits in the hospital I had two of my closest sisters visit multiple times. Cut to the same sister whose son is affected by the same condition, and how out of everyone she became my legs to stand on. She and another sister bought me a blanket and care package that no one else can understand how much it meant to me. I still use my blanket and it’s one of my most cherished possessions. Cut to my son’s funeral. I barely remember that day at all, but I remember coming out of the service and I saw a group of my sisters. It blew my mind away. I truly cannot remember exactly who all came, but I remember they were there. No matter who I’m fighting with at this particular time or in the past or even in the future these ladies are family. These ladies were a part of my life when I thought my life was over. Now, two years later, I barely talk to any of them. We’ve all grown in separate ways and for some of those relationships it really hurts than there’s so much distance, but if you were to ask me if I regret joining I’d say I’d do it again a million times over because what I got out of my sorority was support. Sororities are not all about the parties, the boys, the networking, and the fabulousness; sororities are about the support women give one another when all they have are each other. Sorority women are life lines, late night phone calls, a shoulder to cry on, support systems, family, and a true and constant friend. To my own sisters I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I couldn’t be there for myself. Thank you for being in the worst imaginable memories and being the light in those memories. Thank you for loving me, and I hope the paths we are on will one day come back together and become close again. I love each one of my sisters and I hope they realize they made a difference in my life.
One month in, two months out, three months in, two months out, four months in, and from then on one or two months out with weeks in the hospital is how our life went. We stayed, for the first year of his life, in the hospital eight months total. That’s four months out of a year where I got to feel like Callan’s mom. Looking back I have one single regret, fear. In those flashbacks and memories I remember the paralyzing fear that kept me from being fully with him. I tried to be perfect in every way so I wouldn’t be the reason my son’s life ended. I was terrified to make any mistakes. The terror I felt in and out of the hospital made me scared to hold him for fear of hurting him, made me afraid that the oxygen would run out at any moment, made me paralyzed when his oxygen saturations dipped, and made me scream silently when he’d have to go back into the hospital. EVERY time we were admitted I felt as if I had failed him somehow, so I tried to do better. I knew every medicine he took, when, how much, what it was supposed to do, and even what color EACH medicine was, but I was terrified to give it to him in fear that I wouldn’t give it to him correctly. His nurses gave his medicine because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t educated enough, and wasn’t intelligent enough to take care of my own son. I let insecurities take away a big part of his care because I was so convinced I wasn’t enough for him. If I have learned anything within the two years he’s been gone is that I wish I had held him more, I wish I had stepped in more with the medical aspect, and I wish I would have found a voice for myself when I disagreed with someone who was directly dealing with his care. I fought for him in every way I knew how, but I was scared to mess up. Trying to be perfect for him made me miss out on being the advocate I feel he needed (though I did have to yell at a few people to get his needs met sometimes I still feel I had no voice). No one is perfect, and I know I did the best I could. He had a wonderful team of nurses, doctors, surgeons, cardiologists, and social workers; he was well taken care of. I know without a shadow of a doubt I did what I, as a mother, should do, but I also feel I should have been more confident with myself and that starts with throwing out the word PERFECT. So my advice to the more naïve me would have been to cut that term loose. Be a warrior, not a perfectionist. FIGHT. Fight for your child’s need to be met, fight to hold him even though he’s covered in wires and you’re terrified to accidentally unplug something, fight to give the medicines even if you feel you need supervision at first, because the more you do it the more proficient you’ll be. Fight the people who tell you things you don’t believe and get second, third, or fourth opinions. You and your child are a miracle. It’s a miracle each day you both get up and do the impossible. He breathes and you fight. Don’t let anyone take your voice away, because when it’s all over all you’re left with is the what ifs. Don’t have regrets and let your terror take the only thing you’ll have. That’s my one mistake.
Why Making Drastic Changes Could be the Best Thing for You
One of the most used advice people get when going through a major tragedy is, “Don’t make any major changes.” I got this saying a zillion times over after the loss of my son. I was a teacher and realized I didn’t really want to teach anymore, but so many people told me to hold off on making a big life decision until the shock wore off. I’ve also heard wait a year before you do anything major. I can’t remember if I cut my hair or did anything appearance wise, other than getting a memorial tattoo, but I do remember the feel of a serious pull towards change. I wanted something different. I wasn’t for sure what I needed, but I had an idea. Then one day it hit me. I wanted to be in Social work, writing, and counseling. I wanted to dedicate my life to a cause that meant something to me. It hadn’t been exactly a year when the idea came across my mind, but I did wait quite a while before actually acting on it. I went back to school and even got a certificate as a certified pharmacy technician to help earn a living while I went back and started over. I completely changed the route of my life, and I don’t regret it for a minute. It saved me. Why would not making any changes be bad? If you’re like me then you probably feel stuck and lost. The soul crushing feeling of doing nothing and weighing pros and cons isn’t, in my opinion, the way to go. Life is way too short to stay dedicated to something you’re not completely in love with. Life is completely and holistically about love. Do what you love, be with people you love, be someone you love. LOVE. If you think about where you’re at now and where you’ll be in five years and you aren’t completely giddy over what you’re doing; you should probably take a different path. It’s never too late to follow dreams or create new ones, especially after trauma. When you’ve been through something terrible, you realize your time is valuable, so you shouldn’t waste it pining away hoping that your passion will return. If you realize you HATE what you’re doing in life make a plan. I’m not saying to just up and quit your only means of income and lose everything by the way, but I am saying be smart and plan your change. Think seriously about what your purpose in life is. Pray or meditate and do RESEARCH. I did so much research and took a long long time before implementing changes, but I am grateful I made them. I am not the same person I was when I fell in love with teaching, and you may not be the same person you were when you started your current job. A job is a job until you add passion to it. If you don’t have passion then find something that gives you that need and thirst. It’s not going to be particularly easy, and in some cases, it seems down-right impossible, believe me I have a toddler, work full time, and went back to school and earned a 4.0 my first year in. If you want it bad enough, NOTHING is impossible. You just have to get creative and make your own luck. Believe me, your hard work will pay off when you look back with a smile and realize how much you’ve grown as a person. In whatever you do have faith, passion, and love.
What is a rainbow you ask? No, not the refracted light from water droplets; the rainbow I’m referring to is the light after the storm. The rainbow is a baby who is born after the loss of another. Here recently, rainbow babies are getting a lot more attention to celebrate the wonders of new beginnings. There have been so many cute ideas in how to reveal a rainbow, but a question I’ve seen a lot lately is what are some ideas on revealing a rainbow. Well, I did some research and compiled a list of, What I think are some of the most darling ways to show off your light and the end of the storm.
5 Cute Ways to Reveal Your Rainbow Baby
Photos – Whether it be a photo of rainbow Holi powder shooting around you to make your announcement, rainbow paint on the baby bump, rainbow balloons, or even special effects lighting on a photo, rainbow photo announcements have become really popular and are a gorgeous addition to a baby book.
Rainbow Parties – Send out special invites to your closest friends and family for a get together and surprise then with a rainbow announcement. There are many ways to do this such as: a regular ole speech to say “We’re pregnant!”, or you could go more elaborate and open a box with rainbow balloons that say baby, or even have the special message written in a clever way somewhere in the party. I personally like the idea of a scavenger hunt to find the message out, but whatever floats your boat is what counts. I also would love to do something such as have a group go to a painting class and paint rainbows, and at the end of the class announce why they painted rainbows. << keeping that on the docket.
Snail Mail – You could send out a, “We’re expecting a rainbow.” Post card or even do a formal baby announcement for all the people who are close to you. Keep in mind the stamps, envelopes, and addresses you’ll have to hunt down though, but snail mail is a lost art form and I, for one, would love to get something like this.
Phone- You could always keep it simple and call, text, or just plain mention it in conversation if you aren’t a big to do about it person, which is completely fine.
Dinner – Good news is always great paired with good food and good company! You could just have dinner at home with your family or go out to eat and announce it.
However you choose to announce it, it will be wonderful because a rainbow is wonderful. Have fun planning or not planning. I hope this list helps inspire a great idea to surprise your loved ones! If you want to, comment what you have done or planned to do and help others with some inspiration!
I am by no means an expert, but statistically marriages that endure a loss of a child are EIGHT times more likely to end in divorce, according to the authors of the article, “Long-term Effects of the Death of a Child on a Parent’s Adjustment in Midlife.” I know the title is long, but it actually is a good scholarly article to read if you have the time. What’s a married person to do with statistics like that? I asked a few “Heart Moms” for advice in writing this post because I wanted to have a variety of opinions to make sure I wasn’t biased. So, I’m going to list “Rules” if you want to call it that to help struggling marriages because I myself have been in this position of questioning my marriage, sanity, and everything around me.
4 Rules for protecting your marriage after child loss
UNDERSTANDING – Understand that you and your spouse will likely grieve your child in different ways. You might want to talk, and your spouse may bottle it up. Understand that it is OK for you two to grieve in your own way. If you cannot understand why they grieve in the way they do, ask. Ask your partner about the way they are coping. The way your partner grieves may not make sense to you, but it’s their life jacket at that moment. Try to make it apparent that you are taking steps to understand and respect the way they cope, as long as it is not abusive or harmful behavior.
RESPECT – Respect your partner and their grief. Do not belittle them for not being able to function the way you expect them to. It’s hard, but take a step back from yourself and notice that the other human being that is effected needs support too. I had a hard time with some of these especially this one. I didn’t respect that my husband couldn’t deal with all the talking I wanted to do some days. We are in a much better spot now that we are two years in our journey, but still, we have some days where we forget the human on the other side is our loved one battling a serious war, the same war, but different battle plans.
COMMUNICATION – like with anything in a relationship, communication is key. Tell your partner if you don’t want to talk at that particular moment. Tell your partner when you feel talking is OK. Tell your partner if you need to be held. Don’t expect them to know you need all night cuddles because you feel like your world is crashing around you. LET THEM KNOW! Sometimes my husband would see this desperate look in my eyes and he would automatically know I needed his arms around me, but other times he was simply oblivious as I’m sure I have been to him. People are not mind readers, so tell your spouse you need them, or you need space, or you want to do something special in memory of your loved one. Communicate with each other.
YOU ARE NOT ENEMIES – Know that most likely, your partner might say or do something unintentionally that hurts you. Know that your partner is not, in most cases, trying to hurt you. There have been so many times my husband and I have been pitted against each other because we were defensive and didn’t really give the other a chance to explain their meaning. They may have spoken out of grief, ignorance of your feelings, or many other things. Grief clouds judgement and makes it hard to really think about the other person because you are so busy licking your own wounds. Realize you are both hurting and both need to stand strong together. You are allies in this terrible war, not enemies.
I’m sure there are more “Rules” you can add, but truthfully, just be kind to one another. Kindness and tenderness give way to understanding and healing. Love each other, and realize time is so short. Be there for another and help each other find a way through this path. If you BOTH want to make it work then there is nothing that can stop you TWO. Just remember, it takes both of you to get through this together, so try to keep in mind you are a team.
The ultimate guide to getting back into the world after losing a child
After the loss of my son, I curled up into a ball and didn’t want to come out from underneath the covers. I wanted to close my eyes and for there to be an abyss of nothingness surrounding me, but I am not rich, nor is my husband, so I had to go back to work. I changed jobs four times in one year, because I was lost. I tried to be who I used to be, but the shock of loss and grief had changed me. I couldn’t pretend to care about the petty problems others were facing, or how others perceived me as being unfriendly, or chatting about how something so awesome was happening in my life. I just buried my son. How in the hell could I relate to these people who were going on as life had not just stopped?
Truth be told, life didn’t stop; and life still keeps going and going and going. It sucks. I have to be a shark. I have to fight every humanly instinct inside my body telling me to become a human burrito….Why? Because you can’t be a comfortable burrito on the streets while your family is starving, and I sense if you’re reading this then you care about your family, so you too have to fight. A quote I love from a show I love is “You can’t be a shark if you’re toothless.” – Pretty Little Liars. It’s true. I had to grow some big shark teeth and bite my way back into life. I started with realizing it was ok to not be ok and get whatever help I needed to get to function. I then realized to become the person I wanted to be I’d need to sit down and make some realistic goals for myself. I set my mind to a specific goal and fought tooth and nail to meet that goal.
I still have days where I can barely function to be honest. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy or that there is a specific way to do things. I fumble around a lot in the dark trying to pick the pieces of my life back up, and so far, it seems to be working a little at a time. My advice is to give yourself healing time, but be prepared to come back kicking and punching because survival of the fittest is no joke in this world. You will come against unkind and uncaring people about your loss, and many will expect you to “get over it” after a while of hearing about your loss. It’s an awful truth I’ve been faced with many times. I have realized not everyone will tenderly understand if you miss work because you can’t crawl out of bed, bills won’t stop coming, and the hurt doesn’t stop. You have to make a choice. It’s a hard choice. Are you going to survive this? What’s my ultimate guide to getting back into the world after losing a child? There isn’t one. It’s your drive, your emotion, your family, yours and their needs, and your faith of survival that will get you back on your feet. You are your own guide to getting out of this. Feel the soul crushing hurt, feel the insane drive to stay afloat, feel the anger, feel everything, but don’t give up. You went through something horrendous and it will always be horrendous, but if you want to make it back to the land of the almost living then you can. I have faith in you.