Today I begin a 12-week journey. Well, not today, I’m actually in the second week of it. But around 10 days in I decided to revive this old blog. I realized I’m still paying for the platform for the next year, so why not utilize it?
Let me begin with a disclaimer or warning: This is a totally self-indulgent venture. Meaning, I’m blogging with no current SEO strategy nor any goals. As of today, I plan on just writing and sharing my thoughts and experiences as a way to document for myself and share with close friends and family who care.
If you’re a stranger or new and found these musings, welcome! But, I just thought I should be upfront about why I’m writing.
To clarify, these blog posts are a totally self-indulgent way for me to process this new chapter in my life. You are welcome here and to the conversation, but…remember how we used to write blogs like a diary back in 2007? That’s what you’re getting—inconsistent, personal musings, not Pinterest-worthy, rambling thoughts.
Sorry for the redundancy, but I just wanted to be clear out of the gate. Keep your expectations low and the coffee level in your cup high because…I’m a rambly writer if you haven’t noticed.
If you don’t know me, hello! You can get to know me better, and see me, over on my Instagram.
I am a wife, mother, and aspiring homesteader. I’m a Type 5 with a strong Wing 4 on the Enneagram and INTJ. My former lives include being a professional ballerina, magazine owner, business consultant and now I raise Babydoll Sheep while I learn more about gardening, husbandry, and agriculture on our acreage in Oklahoma.
I’ll dive more into my past later, this is about the next 12 weeks…err, 11-ish.
It all started with the pandemic.
Actually, even before then when I sold my businesses in July 2019, and it was made official later that fall.
I knew that selling my businesses was coming and I had been looking for a buyer for about a year. All I could focus on was selling and I didn’t spend much time thinking about life after it.
I attempted some plans, came up with a business name and branding for our farm endeavors, but didn’t have an idea of what I (we) wanted to do with that beyond selling livestock.
I also had never been ‘just’ a stay-at-home mom before. I say ‘just’ not at all to belittle the job, but because I had never experienced life with only the title ‘mom’ next to my name and not trying to juggle motherhood with a business or other endeavor.
You can guess where this is headed.
Once all the files from my business had been transferred and all transition arrangements completed in January 2020, I turned around to find myself in an identity and lifestyle crisis. My days were no longer structured like they were before.
So I did what I knew best, I started building another business—the farm. I did it the only way I knew how, I planned photoshoots, took blogging courses, I took classes in sheep husbandry, and even became a certified sheep shearer!
The education was great (do not regret the courses, books, and classes AT ALL), but my days were spent…in dumpy clothes, bed hair and no makeup…hanging out with the girls more like a zombie because my mind was not with them, but with wondering what I should be doing with my time.
Basically, I spent the first half of this year worrying about what I should be doing with myself instead of doing the job right in front of me. (I’ll get to the point, the second half of that sentence in a minute.)
I didn’t get to the ‘aha’ moment I needed until the big news events of the second quarter of the year.
The pandemic kept us home and while it was nice to have Nate work from home and be together, I sat around…still in PJ’s or dumpy clothes (I promise there’s a point to mentioning this)…planning photoshoots and blog posts for when the pandemic would go away, scrolling social media which fed my fears and again…worrying about what to do with my time. Then, the pandemic seemed to never be going away.
When the conversation changed from pandemic to racial injustice, my blog post ideas about mocktails and cute sheep seemed very superficial. Now, I know that value can be found, even in small things. As a former dancer, whenever I felt like my pursuits were trivial I always remembered a moment I had as a teenager…
My friend Carly and I were dancing tiny, small roles in the new Swan Lake at Houston Ballet. And when I say tiny, I mean we had to do a full warm-up class, hair, and makeup to literally run across the stage for two seconds towards the end of the show.
After the performance, we would take pictures with patrons in Wortham Theater’s Green Room, which is actually green, and since we were insignificant roles, we’d chat—probably about where we wanted to eat afterward—until a group photo.
An older gentleman walked in alone and was so kind to everyone. He paid attention to every character and had a thoughtful compliment to give each dancer, even us!
He complimented how fast Carly and I ran for our little role at the end. Of course as teenagers (and dancers, let’s be real), we didn’t know how to take a compliment so we kept brushing it off nicely. And he kept affirming us and our roles.
I can’t remember exactly, but I think Carly said something like, “Thank you, but we’re just dancers. We’re not doctors or saving lives or something.”
The old man stared at us and got real quiet.
“My wife died two weeks ago,” he said.
“She loved ballet. She was the only reason I ever came. Your showing up, allowed this old man to go on one more date with his wife.
Never let anyone tell you you’re just a dancer.”
All I could imagine was him sitting in that dark theater alone, next to an empty seat. As a season ticket holder, her seat would have been open. He really would have had one more date with her.
From then on, even when I was working on my magazine and felt so superficial for editing a spread about a pretty table for hours whilst a national tragedy was happening, I’d remember this story. I’d remember how “beauty can save the world” and what a responsibility it is to keep giving others a reason to smile, to hope, to go on.
Not that I think a pretty table would save the world, but maybe it would make someone’s day a little brighter.
I share that story to say that sharing joy, beauty and things like that (authentically) is important. There is a time and place to and not to share those kinds of things with respect to current events or situations, but they can matter.
One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram shared a similar sentiment so elegantly here.
It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t find value in sharing about cute farm life, I just totally lacked motivation and the will to be committed to talking about those kinds of things. I was confused, isn’t this what I wanted?
Multiple times, I tried to express my feelings on social media, but even now, I’m having a hard time.
The puzzle pieces of my life weren’t fitting. It was like I was trying to put together a puzzle with pieces from a different puzzle. Something wasn’t working.
Let’s talk physical…
I gained weight from mindless, anxiety-driven eating.
I forgot to wash my hair, often.
I wore out my sweats and t-shirts…and kept wearing them. Not like “oh, I’m going to chill because of quarantine”…I was doing that before everything happened.
I’m super ashamed of this, but as I started to realize that I would be ‘just’ a stay-at-home mom for a while I allowed myself to surrender to get lazy about self-care, TV on all the time, and way more Chick-fil-A than we needed.
Again, sitting around—with my family—not mentally there…wondering what I should be doing.
I’m not sure if this is an entrepreneur thing, a me thing, or if you feel the same way:
I kind of don’t know how to function if I don’t have a business or job.
Yikes, that’s embarrassing to type out.
Let’s get even more embarrassing, I started to feel that friction other stay-at-home moms have said they start to feel that their strengths are not appreciated and their brain turning into mush.
I asked my four-year-old where the baby pusher was. She replied, “You mean the stroller? It’s in front of you.” Maybe if I hadn’t stayed up past midnight on Instagram feeding my anxieties I’d be awake enough to function properly.
Let me pause. I’m not trying to be dramatic here. I wasn’t just the worst mom ever for the past six months. I did get dressed some days and make attempts to be healthier and did make some great memories with my family, etc. The dumpy-ness I felt was more in my head. Which made me realize…
OK, back to the pandemic and everything…
Obviously, I had very strong reactions and opinions to current events and others’ reactions to them, opinions I will not be sharing here.
However, the biggest feeling I had was helplessness.
Like there was nothing I could do to make a difference, to help those I loved, and help build a better world for my girls. I felt paralyzed and would feed my fears with more sitting and scrolling, feeding those anxieties.
I kept being with my family, wondering what I should be doing with my time…as time passed.
I don’t think I was alone in this.
I started praying more, getting back into my Bible and Jesus Calling. And I was reminded of something I heard Jordan Peterson say that felt both encouraging and convicting:
“People who don’t have their own houses in order should be very careful before they go about reorganizing the world.”
My mom is a flight attendant and always preaches to me when I’m tired, burned out or overwhelmed: “Well, did you put your oxygen mask on first?” As parents are supposed to put on their oxygen mask before children. You can’t help your kids if you’ve passed out from lack of oxygen.
You can’t be of help to anyone if you cannot help yourself.
It’s not about perfection, let me be clear. You can never be perfect. And you can never be enough. (I know, that totally goes against every pseudo-spiritual, rah-rah, influencer, but it’s a lie.)
You can be responsible. You can be committed. You can be kind. You can find fulfillment and joy. You can take action and do things that create happier, healthier outcomes for you, your family, and the ripple effect goes on.
But another meme that sides with your political belief is not going to solve racism. And soaking up lies about being perfect just the way you are and already enough from rah-rah influences is a total waste of time. It’s not going to make you stop feeling like crap.
You’ve got to step into the real world, off of your phone and the media, and look at your own life.
You don’t have to wait to be perfect, you just need to be responsible.
I was not being as responsible as I actually wanted nor living the day-to-day life I wanted.
(I’m talking about a responsible, fulfilled life not determined by some motivational speaker’s definition based on superficial elements that are excused away from ‘not being superficial’ by some lame Pinterest-worthy one-liners.)
I promised I wouldn’t get opinionated here, sorry! Stepping off the soapbox now.
I wrestled with these thoughts, and so many more, for weeks. What’s my role now? How do I live? How do I want to live? Nothing seems to matter anymore, why should I try? Should I build a business? If I don’t, what will I do? I feel like everything has to be big or related to what’s in the news, but nothing I can do will do anything…blah blah blah.
A combination of that Jordan Peterson quote stuck with me, reading my Bible, talking to Nate led me to a very simple, like a ridiculously simple, realization that changed everything in my mind.
This post is already way too long…
Which I’ll share in my next post—stay tuned!