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.