Exams. Round 8. 

How did I get here again? So soon. It seems like I have barely recovered from the last year of medical school & exams. Maybe I actually haven’t. I’m still tired more weekends than not in this new cool city of ours. I have chosen to rest. To not make myself go do things, but listen to my body. Rest is needed and I’m in a season of luxury where I can rest. So how did we already circle back to exams? And to be clear, I am not in medical school, but I have been in my own learning journey during my husband’s school experience. 
If you have followed my story for awhile you know that exam season almost kills me and I not always at my finest. Do y’all remember the plastic spoon story? Heaven help me. It’s hard, stressful, long and filled with every emotion under the sun, yet every year I somehow think “this year it will be different, this year I’m ready.” Then I realise afresh I am not. So I’m here, now what? Well as per usual, I’m going to show up. I’m still recovering from last year like I said, yet here we are again. Exams are less than a week away and as I read through past exam seasons on my blog this morning, I thought a familiar thought, “I think I’m ready this year.” 

Now before you say, “Oh sweet Dana you will be melting down soon,” let me share one thing: I gave up this year. I did. I really did. I stopped trying to be the Medical Student and carry the stress and worry and fear. Sounds simple, but it took me five school years to get there. Ironically, I have had more peace this year even though the circumstances & finances have been the worst by a long shot. But giving up was the best and hardest thing I have ever done. It came around April. It took me until July to fully give up and realise I am not in control. And man it felt good. So good. Do I still get nervous? Heck yeah. This week I have wanted to panic at least four times a day, but I just had to say nope I gave up. This isn’t mine to carry. 
Do you have a place that feels like home? Or that feels holy? Where you feel safe? I do. It’s church. For some of you that sounds counter intuitive because you haven’t felt safe in a church ever. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry that the place that represents a God who loves you doesn’t make you feel safe. I’m not better than you or more spiritual, it’s just my place. In fact, this year it’s been my lifeline and nine weeks out of ten this year I’m not even listening. I know, right? That sounds super unholy, but truly for me I end up lost in this conversation with God in church. I’m reminded who I am. I am reminded of promises I feel like are for me. I find myself with tears in my eyes because I feel hope, I feel like I’ll make it this week. It feels so holy that before now, I haven’t really talked about it. Sometimes it feels like the songs and the speakers have had an inside look beyond the curtain of my life, yet I know they haven’t because I have made zero effort at this new church to get to know people.  I don’t say that’s the right way to do church, but for me in this season it’s what I needed. Tonight I walked in to my little holy space and it didn’t feel holy. It never does when I walk in. It happens somewhere within the first few minutes. I can’t tell you how or why. I just know it does. Can I tell you something? If you have that moment just stay there. It might be in a run. It might be in nature. It might be with friends or it might be when you’re lost in a book or creating something with your hands, but when you feel this inexplicable moment of awe and like you are in a holy moment just stay there. Don’t justify it away, don’t feel bad it might not be in a church, don’t feel weird that you aren’t even spiritual and you are experiencing this, just stay there and see what you hear. Experience it. Feel it. Engage it. Why do I say this? Because in this year I didn’t do any of the “churchy” things I knew to do in order to feel God or have peace, yet I have it. Why? I think it’s because God loves us more than we know. He is way bigger than structures and doubts and anger. He is going to meet you where you are at. For me this year, it was in the back of this huge church that did the exact same thing week in and week out. A church I didn’t connect in, a church I didn’t really fit in, yet that was my holy place. And specifically my holy moments were when I wasn’t listening to the speaker. See God doesn’t always show up in structure. I can’t explain it & I won’t justify it, I’m just going to experience it until it’s over. So tonight, tonight I walked in and felt out of place, then this song started and tears were streaming down my cheeks. Words on a screen being sung that made sense and put words to my thoughts today as I read through old blogs and saw old dreams and old promises. Words that weren’t magical but were holy. What does holy mean to me? This space where time stops and I feel like someone is reading my mail, where peace is present and shouldn’t be, where I don’t want to move because it feels safe. It’s why I show up week in and week out. I feel hope, I’m reminded old dreams are not dead dreams, they are just not yet fulfilled. I am reminded that I’m okay. I’m reminded I’m created with purpose. 
So tonight, I wrote this blog in church because it’s what seemed right. But isn’t that beautiful. If I ran a church I would care less if someone listened to my program even though I worked hard on it, I would be so happy someone encountered God and something holy. Maybe that’s the secret of church? 
I’m showing up. Exams are hard, the future I thought was coming four years ago seems so fleeting, the hopes and dreams I had might be shifted in the next few moments. Hard. But I’m showing up. I’m not running. I’m not controlling. I’m just going to walk straight through it because this is not my forever. 
If you are a praying person I would love your prayers for us, if you want to think good thoughts for us I would love it. If you know me, encouraging words is what I need in the next few weeks. And where ever you are I hope you have a holy spot. I hope you know that a God loves you and will show up where you are no matter what. And above all else I hope you never forget, this is not your forever. Shall we show up in our respective lives together this month? Okay, see you there. 

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The Unknown

I swore that I would not move to another city without a job, much less a place to live, again. Yet November found me making that decision with confidence and boldness with a dash of crazy involved. My husband finished his third year of medical school and we were headed to a new hospital and a new city. The house we rented sold, our great friend was graduating close to our new city and I couldn’t seem to get my foot in the door for interviews/jobs in our new city, so off we went. Full of hope and a lot of fear.

I was full of feelings as we drove out of our old city headed to a new adventure with a massive amount of unknown. We left our city with a huge disappoint attached to us. It was not what I expected, not what I thought we needed and definitely not what I wanted. My stressful summer of finding jobs/places seemed to get infinitely more stressful.

My people got me through. On days when I was drowning in fear I sent a lame text or two and was showered with hope. When I felt like my heart was closing in and all the plans and dreams we had dreamed seem to come to a halting stop I would again send some lame “help me” message and was again met with truth and hope. My people are amazing. They have got me through more things than I care to count. But this one seemed the most desperate yet somewhere in it I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do, it was just so scary and often didn’t make sense. My people kept reminding me that my instincts are often right and to trust the process. There were tears and suffocating fears at times. There was mind boggling circumstances that left me scared and others that left me saying only God could have orchestrated all these things to get me a job and a place to live.

My son grieved most nights. It looked like going-to-bed tantrums. The more we tried to understand his heart the more I could see he was sad. His whole life just changed. Some nights I was full of grace and walked with him as he processed this, not letting tantrums & emotions out of control throw me and other times not so much. By “not so much” I mean yelling, crying, anger, frustration…on my part. I felt like we were living the Pixar movie Inside Out. I referenced that movie tons to help my son navigate these changes and help myself navigate things like fear. I had my own stress and fears, but so did he. Seems funny now to think a little purple guy helped me but the power of movies is a huge visual of putting my own stories to life, the best movies do just that. Most nights we just made it, barely but we made it to wake up again. Don’t get me wrong we had tons of fun in our new city, but fun wasn’t the overriding emotion.

Walking next to and partnering with a medical student is hard. Reality is anytime you walk next to or partner with another it’s gonna be hard at times because they are not you. They don’t think like you or respond like you. They process life different than you do. Watching my husband ask hard questions this summer was painful and brutal at times. But I kept silent most of his process. By silent I mean I said a few things, lost my cool some days and vented to my people just about daily. My husband was exhausted after a particularly hard year. It definitely was not in our plan. He starts his clinical rotations in a few days and I can’t say we feel refreshed. At least I don’t and I can’t imagine he does at all, but I feel thankful.

One of my priorities in this medical school process was to never forget the times we struggled financially. The times I choose between bread and toilet paper, the times I could not make sense of our budget, the times we got government aid over and over again. But I also don’t want to forget the fear, the disappointments, the unknowns. Those are what make me connected to other humans. This summer had huge highs, we love our new city, but it had some massive lows and incredible heartache. And I honestly can say I can’t believe we are here. I can’t believe my husband is walking into a new hospital in days, my son has a school he enjoys to learn in, a very cool apartment above a Starbucks and two blocks from the ocean/bay right in the heart of the city, and I have a job I love, but we do.

Disappointment is weird. It makes me rethink everything. It made my husband reevaluate his life in a courageously wise and raw way. I had no idea how our summer would end but I kept letting my people help me. I was pleasantly surprised by new community in our new city and so thankful for my people. Have I mentioned how my people kept me going? My husband and I stayed a team most days, my five year old had fun and we saw sun and felt warm way more than we did the last few summers and my people made sure I stayed sane in the stress, held my hope when I had none, quieted my fears when they raged and cheered me on when I took little brave baby steps. It was too raw to share as the summer happened, but while the memories of all the feelings are swirling around in my heart, so are the thankful thoughts of a season that kept us grounded and humble, a community we never expected and my people who loved me no matter what. What a year! I’m glad it happened but I am so glad it’s over.

The Unglamorous Med School Wife Life

There is nothing glamorous about most people’s lives. But the fact is I often look at others and think they are living such a better and more glamorous life. Let me take you behind the curtain of my life and show you just how unglamorous I am, only magnified with exams happening as I type. I went 5 days without washing my hair. Five, people, five. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I wore a hat 6 out of the last 7 days. (Thank you Susan!) My child has only had nutritional meals at his kindy/preschool. (Reason number 987 why I love Montessori!!) I had one good and healthy meal this week – it was at a good bye dinner at our church, and I’m not even sure what my husband who stayed home ate for dinner that night. My son ate about 4 bites of said dinner and BOTH desserts. I just don’t care. And I didn’t even remember to brush his teeth once we got home. Baby teeth, baby teeth I keep reminding myself. Tonight I made dinner, kind of, and looked at the dirty stove and thanked God I have a stove cover. I shut it after not cleaning it since we had an open house two weeks ago. I went to bed so worried and nervous about these exams and the results. I hopped on the “what if” train for a bit and landed in crazy town. I woke up and sent a few SOS raw, honest, and embarrassing texts to my people then quietly cried in the kitchen unloading the dish washer under the weight of the fear and terrifying moment I was feeling. I continued sobbing in the shower, then sat on the tub trying to gain control while still crying. I was flooded with fear and paralysed with terror. I listened to a very old Jesus Culture Song as I cried and tried to put on make up which seemed a bit futile. I read a text reminding me that this is the terrifying part of risking everything and jumping into the unknown. I remembered that the fear is terrifying when you jump but it eventually becomes exhilarating for me; I just was in the free fall stage. I was reminded by the words of the song that I can Come Away with God and it is never too late to come. I read texts from friends. I laughed at emoticons. I cried at sweet words. I used up a good portion of a life coaching session I was being paid for to speak my rambling fears out (thank you Katie!). I was reminded why I was drawn to my husband and married him today: he is willing to jump, he is willing to risk everything in spite of fear and a lot of others won’t. I needed a risk taker but the ugly side of risk is the incredible fear before the exhilarating sets in and makes it all worth it.

Sometimes people compliment my great support of my husband, which makes me a tiny bit want to scream because I’m not a wife supporting him we are team, but that’s beside the point. Sometimes people say my life is so unique and exciting living in New Zealand, then I remind them people don’t use dryers and nothing is big here and they are grounded again at my reality. And sometimes I get complimented for our incredible risk. But it’s our story. It’s walking through Medical School in our thirties. It does not feel glamorous but it’s ours and for that I love it.

The journey from terrifying to exhilarating was a short one for me this time. I credit that to my people. The ones that get access to my inner crazy terrified fearful parts. The ones that carry the load with me. The trusted and tried friends that make the journey even happen when I’m ready to give up. If you just looked at my social media you would have never known my last 24 hours, not because I want to hide, I don’t in fact. But I do trust the vulnerable parts of my heart with those I know can handle it, my people. And really, did you really want to see my filthy stove and my sobbing red eyes? It’s just not what social media is for at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE social media. It’s how I stay connected and updated on friend’s lives, but the majority of what social media is for is life updates not raw vulnerable moments. And. That’s. Okay. Just find your people and don’t mistake someone else’s glamorous life for what is really just their personal journey.

One Week. 

One week out. I noticed the other day that I was so close to exams and I have not thrown any forks or had a major melt down. Winning. I have not made dinner in days…well I can’t actually remember the last time I made dinner. We eat. Every night we eat, but I can’t do everything. Live your strengths I say. My strength is not dinner. Or cooking in general. We get nutrients in us (thank you Emily and IT Works!) but shopping, planning, cooking and cleaning up. It’s just all too much adulting for me. 
Sometimes I just have to focus on what I’m good at. I’m not good at house wifey stuff. I get zero joy out of homemaking. My husband doesn’t have a doting wife that does everything for him, but he does have a partner that loves and believes in him. Seeing this isn’t my first rodeo, I think this concept is why I’m staying on the proverbial horse in this rodeo. I stopped trying to be good at all the things. I wish I loved cooking and cleaning, but when I tried to do it all I stopped being great at what I was great at. I became all over mediocre. If you know me well, you know that this is my personal hell. Mediocre and average are not okay. I firmly believe everyone is great at something. If you are or feel you are or have been told you are average or mediocre give me 2 months with you and I will help you discover that is a lie and you are great at something the world needs. So when I was living average I crumbled. I was angry and resentful and just kind of miserable. Now I unapologetically embrace I’m not a good cook. We joke about the times my husband has thrown away my dinner or not allowed me to send a made dinner to our homeless ministry. Maybe this is why there have been no outrageous melt downs or fights. Maybe I have more that I am conquering and striving for. Maybe we are finding the rhythm of us. Tonight as my son and I played I received a phone call and was desperate to run in the office and tell my husband. We talk about everything, all day long, all the things. To some that know my husband and how introverted he is that might seem weird, but the secret to introverts is giving them space to talk, I have learned this in the last seven years and now we can’t go a few hours without talking. So to wait was agonising, but again this isn’t my first rodeo. I trusted and respected the study process and let him come out before I shared. Deep breaths. We are getting there. But as for now I say we are winning. One week from today exams begin. It’s brutal. It’s more pressure than I can fathom. It’s draining. It’s admirable to see how hard he works. He is more brave than anyone I know. He looks fear in the eye and does it anyway. He will not settle for mediocre or average. As exams approach, a huge move approaches, details beyond what my mind can grasp approach I’m okay. We are okay. We are starting to figure this rodeo out. If you’re the praying type pray for my husband as he carries the weight of exams. If you think good thoughts, think good thoughts for our family. See you on the other side folks! 

Exams

The season of exams has begun in our house.  Any of you that have followed along up to this point know that this brings added stress to our house.  My husband is diligently studying for his exams and has been for the last few weeks already. My birthday is at end of this week and that marks the start of the serious studying in my head.  I can feel the stress levels slowly rising in my heart, but hope that I have learned a few things along the way to make this time a bit better.  But again, if you follow me you know that I say that each year.  I mean really, I am just hoping not to throw a plastic knife and fork at my husband this year.  That would be winning in my book!

This exam season brings with it new challenges though, not only do I have the horrible feeling of being the spouse where there is just nothing you can tangibly do to help your spouse get ready for tests, but there is a whole hosts of things on our plates.  It is such a helpless feeling as you watch them go on their own emotional roller coaster, facing their demons, doubting their strengths, forgetting they are courageous and being so tired they can’t think straight some days.  I have come to realize that a lot of my melt downs (well at least I would like to think) have come from this helpless feeling.  As a spouse/partner you want to encourage and help, you hate seeing them struggle and you want to make life a little easier.  This. Is. Just. Not. Reality. In. Medicine.  Maybe for some families it is, but my friends that have travelled the road ahead of me seem to face this each major exam or milestone.  With that feeling of helplessness I find that when I get annoyed at my husband some times it isn’t him I am annoyed at but it is the powerless feeling I have.  I do not like feeling powerless or out of control and if I let those emotions sneak up on me they seep out in controlling and ugly ways.  I mean screaming and crying is so not on my list of beautiful things, but somehow I hear screams coming from my mouth and crazy rants and tears seeping down my face because I am out of almonds.  I am a hot mess a lot of the time, I am just hoping exam season goes a little smoother this year. This year I hope to embrace the powerlessness and helplessness and remember to just ride the wave of exams out.

The truth is I am very fortunate to have amazing friends and community that specifically carry me through this season.  About this time they start getting text and messages saying the stress is starting or asking them to pray or think good thoughts for my husband and me, but soon they seem to get those daily.  They have his exam schedule and they fill my emotional tank with words of encouragements, gifts and help for the practical parts of my life.  This year I am going into this season scared, but so aware of my people. Aware that they love us.  They are for us.  They will cheer us on.  They will stop and carry this for us and with us.  SIGH.  It feels good just to write that, to remember that they are there, and to know that they will be there through each flip and turn of this roller coaster.

I am more scared this year with the looming move we are making, my schooling (by the way I received money to attend school via distance learning!  The miracle came last minute but came!), my work, and preparing our son for a massive change and all the logistics and finances that come with a move.  My husband has been placed in Wellington Hospital and we are thrilled.  While I have loved our community and who I have become in this city we live, I am ready to move.  Ready for a new chapter.  Ready to leave cold houses and freezing days.  BUT with that move comes a whole host of other circumstances that must fall into place.  I need a job before we move, my husband needs to study and apply for scholarships and grants (not to mention job search in Wellington as well), I need to study and finish up my grad school class  while looking for a job, we need to find housing, arrange transport and keep our house semi clean because our friends are selling the house that we live in that they own.  It definitely can feel a bit overwhelming when I look at that, but weirdly enough life is so busy and full I can only do the thing in front of me.  I do not have time to stress about some things because I am busy getting life done.  Do not get me wrong, I have gone completely mad and lost the plot already.  I have had major stress and anxiety last weekend and I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest with all the things that have to fall into place in a certain order, but again, I text my people, sat and had a chat with God and got to making more lists.

One of my favorite leaders of all time is Graham Henry, All Black’s Coach from 2003-2011.  I read his book in one of the lowest, most depressed season of my life.  A line that captured me and haunted me “expect the unexpected and deal with it” made its was into my psyche as I read it and has yet to leave.  This was a mind blown moment for me.  Instead of fearing the unexpected or the worse possible scenario, I must actually be waiting for it and take the stance that I will deal with it.  Which in itself infers that I can deal with it.  Wow. Little did Graham Henry know that this rugby/life memoir book would shape a depressed new mom and wife drowning in medical school life and budgets, but it did.  So as this season approaches that is my stance.  I like to pretend that I have my hands on my hips, my head cocked to the right and my legs apart in a superhero pose as I approach this season.  I can and will handle this and just when I think I won’t make it I am reminded that I have a rugby team of people that, like the All Blacks are standing shoulder to shoulder with me and making sure I get across that line.  As I watched the first All Black game of the World Cup today I could not help but be energized by the hard work these guys put in and the team effort it takes to get the Win.  The main reason I write is to help me process, to help someone else out there in my spot say “me too” and feel a little bit less alone and because I need people to do life.  And also because I do an exorbitant amount of ridiculous things that I feel needs to be documented, if for no other reason but to embarrass my son at a later date. But I mostly do it because I need people    Okay team, I need you.  I will end on Prince Harry’s words in the opening ceremonies of The 2015 Rugby World Cup, “I can think of no other sport where the success of the team is shouldered so equally by everyone.”  This, my people, is how I feel about being a Med School Wife.

Blending Over Balance

I’m hoping to start grad school soon. By start I mean finish a degree I started almost 10 years ago. And by hoping I mean I need a big chunk of money by this Friday to actually start. Really it’s a big hope. A big project to take on. A big dream to finish up while we are planning a move to the North Island with about a million logistical details to work out, heading into my husband’s exam season (and you know how well I do not cope in that) and working 20+ hours a week, plus job searching in our new city to be able to make that move sooner rather than later. Through a series of very non random events I want to finish my degree via distance learning in the States, so I can teach at the University level. That means the school year starts as my husband finishes his school year. We talked about the reality of this and if we were both on board with this new endeavour I wanted to pursue. My husband is ultra supportive and never wanted me to be a stay at home doctor’s wife and mom because he knows me. He believes in my strengths. He understands I would drive him crazy if I did that, so for the sanity of him and our family he is a-okay with me having projects so he does not become my latest project. He did ask me if I thought I could realistically handle it plus working part time. I of course had no thought before I spoke, which is my Achilles heel, because what I said without thinking was the truth about me, but often not thinking before speaking helps me see what I am really thinking and feeling, but can cause a huge mess relationally. This time though, I saw a sliver of what I really wanted. I was quick to say yes I can do this because I am at my best when my life is filled and filled with things that I love and see as my strengths. The more full my day is the better I am. Better mom. Better wife. Better friend. Better employee. I had to learn how to set good boundaries though, and I am forever working on this. What if I saw boundaries not to protect myself, but to protect the relationships involved? This idea transformed me. I stopped pleasing people or what I thought pleased them and started protecting the relationship. If I said yes when I could not or did not want to meet the need I found myself resentful. If I initiated or responded to people with a yes or an offer to help when it compromised my closest core relationships, my husband and son, it not only made me a bit angry it disrupted my family relationships. I started seeing life through this new lens. This did not mean everyone was super happy with my new lens. I was less available for people or events. Oddly my fear of letting people down or people not liking me was diminished. All of a sudden my yes’ meant a resounding yes. My no’s were kind and clear and I not only was not afraid of disappointing people I was free. I have been trapped by fear of people for years. Years people, years. I’m almost 40 and I would say about 36 of those I ran my life thinking if I make this person or that person happy I would be happy. Devastatingly it not only rarely worked making them happy, but also, I was exhausted and surprise: not happy.

I do not love the city we currently live in, but I love who I have become in this city. I have found this new blending, not balance thing because I am a klutz in the physical world and balance is not my strong suit, but in the relational/emotional world I can not balance life either. Balance for me looked like what I just described, keeping everyone happy and being successful. So now I blend. I do not balance. I blend my love of coaching people with my son describing to him why I meet with people. I let him know my clients and them myself and family. I am very picky at who I let into my life because it is our life. If it drains me or is hard for my family I just say no. My house is sacred. I do not entertain a lot because it is where all three of us can just be. My husband is an introvert (and a medical student) so space and time is something he values so my extrovert son and my extrovert self respect that and make our home a holy place by keeping it unfrequented by many people. My son knows I work and knows I love it. He does not always love the time it takes but I love that he is learning he is not the centre of my universe. My work friends are my son’s friends, my client’s are his friends, my church friends are his friends and according to him this morning on the way to school, they like him more than me. Which is entirely truthful.

When my husband asked if I could do this if we received the funds for the first semester I quickly said yes. I have learned about myself in this city. I have been a student of me, while my husband learned of the human body I learned about humanity and my place in it. I am settled knowing that I work at my absolute best when I am busy. Not busy for busy’s sake. I used to do that to avoid my fears and insecurities. I was a pro at that. Olympic gold medal pro, but when I am busy with choices that I make that enhance me and my family I am like an unstoppable machine and weirdly enough I am happy. Interesting that thing ,happy, I was striving for came when I stopped striving and started making choices I really wanted. You can have it all. Your all might be different than another person’s all but you can have it all. You can be a surgeon and a mom like my gorgeous friend Hayley, who today takes her biggest exam of her career. It means she had less coffee dates and play dates but she is an amazing mom, wife and surgeon. You can have it all like my friends that stay at home because the love it. They thrive in creating home and spaces for their families. They might be tired more or do less because the choice to not get a pay-check for their work, but they have it all. You might be like my friend Sally who wanted to run a successful interior design business and have good relationships with her kids. She has some of the best relationships I have ever seen with her teenage children and she worked their entire lives. All the while hearing if you are a working mom your family and kids suffer. Clearly not the case. She has it all. Her all. Maybe each person’s all is unique like they are.

Whether or not the funds come in time to start school this month is irregardless. What I do know is blending works for me and my family, boundaries done right keep relationships healthy for me, and I am at my absolute best when I am moving forward. The next year holds so much change I cannot even fathom it or picture it, but I can picture myself in the midst, I have vision for my family and I can create a space for my son to thrive now that I know theses things. Blending over balance.

My People

So my husband had a few exams a couple of weeks ago. Both didn’t “count” for grades, so I didn’t prepare myself for all the emotions that come for me during exams. This was not my brightest moment. As the weeks and exams finished I felt depleted. Lonely. Tired. Insecure. Now remember this isn’t my first rodeo. In fact, it’s about my tenth, but sometimes I forget things. Things like I need my people to help me manage all the emotions because I feel them all. And I rarely manage them well during exams. I attribute this to trying to toughen up and just get through “it.” In this case “it” was my husband’s exams, but other times “it” has been stressful financial seasons or loss or just one of those funky relational seasons where every relationship feels like hard work. No matter what it is I have learned I need “my people.” These are friends that are more than just friends. They get me on a level that is authentic yet they still like me. I kid you not, me at my most authentic can be very needy and ugly.

“My people” are vital to my emotional health and my family’s safety.  I can be crazy, irrational and a jerk at my best times so throw in a wrench to my perfect plans and expectations and chaos, tears, fighting and tantrums take place.  By me. Not my four year old.  Me. 38 year old me. I didn’t even tell one of my people that exams were coming or that I was starting to lose it once they were over until I found myself crying, screeching and sobbing over hurt feelings that were real but blown a tad bit out of proportion.  My first “help me” I’m drowning in exam overload text went something like this: “I’m going to kill my husband and search Pinterest for a new one.”  Not one of my finest moments

Upon reflection I realised two things:  I’m a mess without my people knowing where I am at and when I need my husband, but feel alone or insecure I turn into a 3 year old throwing a tantrum.  To be fair I do both of these excellently.  I mean it, I am amazing at tantrums and at being a hot mess.  If this was the World Cup I would not only be in the Finals I would be the overall champion & player of the tournament.  But enough bragging.

One of the characteristics about women I love the most I did not have this rodeo. Blending. Woman have the ability and strength to blend their life and worlds together seamlessly. Note I did not say perfectly. When I try and balance my life, my worlds, my roles, my relationships and my passions the result is all too often the same: fail. Most times for me it’s an epic fail, plates crashing on the floor, tears, the house of cards falling flat and tantrums. Always tantrums.

I find when I blend my worlds such as including my son in my work relationships like baking treats for the nurses and doctors or bringing him into the hospital to talk to the doctors and nurses, life flows seamlessly between my mom life and my working life.  My son sees what I do and is a part of the process.  My husband talks about his friends and we take my son to see daddy a lot at the medical school.  His friends know Max and love on him and he loves them.  I make sure my son knows my life coaching clients or at least where I coach them.  He talks to me about why my “work” is drinking chai tea and talking. While I think I do more than that with my clients I also love hearing my son process mommy’s work. I clearly do not have it all figured out, exhibit A being the rodeo fail that was this last couple weeks of exams, but I learn a bit more each season.

The fail for me this time was trying to balance my life and my emotions.  If you have ever tried to balance or do anything like Pilates or Yoga you know that sometimes balancing can cause more sweat and pain than running.  It is the same for me with life.  When I try balancing working mom, Med School wife, and mom things seem to come crashing down like a Pilates pose gone wrong.  I end up looking like a hippo doing ballet then finally end up on the floor in a heap. I find when I blend these roles I might not get the pose perfect but I don’t fall and I do gain more strength.

This time I tried balancing all of my emotions by pretending I wasn’t feeling anything like loneliness or insecurity and putting my head down carrying the extra load that exam time seems to produce.  Some woman do this well.  They can put their head down, manage the house and kids, and not complain. I am not that woman. Never. Ever.

I am a little bit like my husband is with school, his midterm exam grades are never as high as his final exam grades.  He uses midterms as feedback to know how to study and kill it in the final exams. I am going to take a page out of his book and use this as feedback.  I need to alert my people when exams are approaching, I need to call them and text them when I start to lose it in my sadness that quickly turns to insecurity which then I react out of instead of expressing my needs to my husband. I find myself attacking him telling him all about him and not about me.  He responds well if I can tell him about me, but he does not engage when I am tantrum throwing and screaming at him about how “bad” he is doing instead of saying what’s actually going on in me. So my people, you get ready. September comes quick. I need your encouragement, I need your reminders, I need your humour and I need you. I’m so thankful for my people. If you don’t have people, try trusting yourself with a couple, if they don’t work try again, then keep trying and investing until you find yours. My people aren’t all in my city or even my country, my people aren’t the ones I see or talk to daily, my people are not even all my age, religion or socioeconomic demographic, but they are mine and for that I am thankful.