How strange it feels to sit with my fingers resting on keys again. Hello. It’s been awhile.
I thought I’d give you a little update. I’m not sure if this is hello again. Or goodbye.
The truth is, I don’t know much anymore. So many things feel uncertain. And trying to figure things out just feels like too much work. So putting all my deep thoughts and ponderings in a neat little box and tucking them away behind the mundane tasks of motherhood and life seems much more doable.
Even as I sit here typing, I can feel Writer’s Block calling my name. I’ve listened to her for so long, I’ve almost forgotten what life is like without her voice. Maybe writing was a season. Maybe I just needed it to get me through the hard spaces. Maybe I needed it more than you did. And maybe I need to release that season to years gone by.
But then I find a drawer full of stories. Hundreds of thousands of words. Handwritten. Typed. Pencil on scrap pieces of paper. Ink on pages in flip files. Illustrated. Half finished. Thoughts paused. Ideas unearthed from the recesses of my mind as I get lost in a world I knew once long ago. I miss the people I created. I wanted to tell their stories. But then I became a wife, a working woman, a mother and an Instagrammer.
When I wonder what I did in the days before my fingers knew how to swipe, I realized that this was where I was. My fingers ticking away. My imagination swirling vibrantly, alive with untold stories. I used to lie awake, wishing I had a keyboard beneath my fingertips to type the fantastical stories my mind thought up after the light went out.
And now, here I sit each day, wasting hours on social media with nothing, not even so much as a post to show for my time. Wasted hours.
It’s made me question my online space. I’ve deleted Instagram several times because of how many times a day I open the app. I don’t pay attention to my family or anything anymore. My supper burns; I run late and put everyone else out because I haven’t finished dinner; I forget things and nothing holds my attention anymore because I’m used to instant gratification.
It has also been my escape. Instead of rummaging in a secret place to find a drink, lighting up a cigarette, putting on headphones and starting a computer game or scrolling for porn, my addiction (and I don’t say that lightly) takes a different form. Social media. Why? Because it’s an escape. I can escape my world of sick children, anxiety, financial stress and the mundane and live in the airbrushed lives of others. I turn to it, as other addicts to their addiction, when I’m bored, stressed, panicky, upset, angry or tired. When the world becomes too much – I go there. And not where I should go. To the only “Thing” that will help.
After a year of really investing in the Instagram world and seeing how much time it took with little returns, I’ve gathered that this isn’t where my efforts should be right now. I had hoped, like every upstart blogger, that I would be able to earn from home. Well, I got a reasonable amount of free stuff to review, but no cash in my back pocket. Which was one of the reasons I started this all in the first place.
So then what? How do we live more comfortably while being a full time mom? While I’ve explored many avenues, none have seemed to work out.
I then began to question my calling. My whole life has been geared to this moment called motherhood. I never once questioned what I wanted to be. I always went back to preschool teaching. Why? Because I believed (and still believe that with other kids) I had/have a gift. I knew that it meant I could leave work at 2 and be the one to collect my kids from school and be at home in the holidays. And being a teacher was a means to an end. My goal in life was to be a stay-at-home mom. My life, my hobbies, my career choices were geared towards having a family.
And when I did, the nappies hit the fan. Cue colic, postnatal depression, spiritual crisis, financial strain, resurfacing of old OCD habits, purposelessness, COVID and a host of physical manifestations of anxiety.
I tried to control the chaos with the only thing I could conquer. House work. So I cleaned furiously. And when things fell apart, my house eventually did too.
This year, I’ve realised that I spend my days cleaning and Instagramming. To find purpose. To keep my mind off the things I can’t handle. Because, left with my thoughts, it’s too much. And sometimes a scary place to be.
Each time I determine to cap the hours I spend cleaning and start a new routine, someone comes down with a sickness. Then the routine blows out the front door.
So here I sit, in my early thirties experiencing all the questions about life that my peers experienced in their teen years. My life pretty much followed a storybook. Confident in my life choices as a teen with a strong sense of right and wrong, a steady boyfriend, a career path I never doubted flowing into university, engagement, job and marriage. I loved my body. Loved my friends.
And then the thirties, supposedly the best years of one’s life, sent me spiraling. Suddenly I questioned God and my faith. I looked at my husband and thought he should have a wife fit to be a better wife and mother sometimes nearly getting in the car and disappearing or praying that God would take me away. I looked at my body in the mirror and felt functional or chubby. Clothes that fit me all my adult life didn’t fit anymore. I looked 6 months pregnant and was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. I didn’t like my body. I didn’t like photos of myself. Health issues from anxiety started to crop up. I felt aimless, purposeless and directionless. I wondered what I was good for – what my calling was. Because motherhood was not it. And I actually can’t put this into words. Every mother feels like a failure. But I honestly thought I would be good. I had so much “experience” and everyone told me my calling was children. I thought that God had called me to motherhood. But, instead of loving it, I even now, find it hard to play with my kids. Motherhood has not only not been remotely what I expected but I’m not even sure I enjoy it.
I LOVE MY KIDS! But I’m not sure that being a mother is enjoyable. And my mind can’t deal with that.
This all sounds like I’m not ok.
I am ok.
I am not depressed. Not worried and obsessive about COVID.
I can honestly say “I’m good,” when people ask.
I haven’t lost my faith either. But, when I re-read this post, I realised what was sorely missing from my life.
Putting God first.
I have been chasing after the wind. And I have squashed God into a distracted 20 minutes each day, in which my kids or my mind take my eyes off Him. I need to refocus and I need mental space. Which is maybe why I’ve been scarce. There is lots to process. And I guess I’m just figuring that out.
So I’m not sure how much longer you’ll see me around. I’m not sure if I need to say goodbye.
But, if this is goodbye, I do have one last thing to say.
Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for clicking the link, opening the attachment and crying with me, laughing with me and supporting me with prayers and love.
I’ve loved being a part of your lives. I’ve loved the time you have given me.
So thank you! You mean more than you know!
See you when I see you…Tags: addiction, anxiety, depression, Instagram, life, life story, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, phone, social media, update
Dear Kate. Thank you for opening up – so raw and honest. Sometimes it isn’t easy to put it all into words. But your words matter, I want you to know. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for sharing. I’ve never really figured out a consistent income from blogging but the bits and pieces here and there have helped. Some days it’s been my cheap version of therapy, other days, it’s a product review. But writing has always helped me, one way or another. Scrolling social media also helps on some level too, I can relate to that.
Cheap therapy – I like it! So true! Thanks for your kind words, Heather!
Waheeda Joosab says
Hi Kate. What a beautiful way with words you have. It is only when we reflect that we find the best versions of ourselves.
Thank you so much, Waheeda!