I do.

It’s a great idea at the end of a long day, when you’re too tired to cook a real meal and too tired to actually bathe properly.  Plus, I like doing quirky things sometimes.  I just need to remind myself every once in a while that I’m me; I’ve got to do something original.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking to some wonderful women lately, and I’ve sort of seen a theme in a lot of our conversations.  We, no matter what stage of life we’re in, need to know our limits.  My personal boundaries are going to look different than your boundaries.  I talked to two women who, after staying home with their children for a period of time, decided they did not want to be full time moms.  They needed a job, goals, something to work towards.  While they love their children and love certain aspects of staying home, it wasn’t enough.  They are better moms when they are letting themselves live within their limits.  Some people in their lives probably struggled with that decision.  Maybe they think they’re being selfish.

But the most unselfish thing you can do for another person is to listen to your rebel and love yourself.

I talked to another mother who wants to be a stay-at-home mom.  It’s her greatest desire.  She loves being a part of all the tiny little details of her baby’s life.  It will be a struggle financially not to work, but it’s what her core, her rebel, is telling her to do.  Is one choice more noble than the other? Absolutely not.  The sad thing is that so many people are forced to live a life that doesn’t satisfy their needs.

I’ve found myself in that place before.

You see, I’m right in the middle of the spectrum on the introvert/extrovert scale, but most of the time I’m more extroverted.  I need people.  I need daily conversation–a way to stimulate the social side of my personality.  This part of me suffered greatly most of last year.  Wesley was traveling for work, and then he had a great opportunity to start touring with a band.  He took the job with the promise that he’d mostly be gone weekends and that he’d never be away longer than a couple weeks.  Well, that wasn’t true at all.  He started traveling more and more and eventually he was gone 20 days out of the month.

I was dying.  I was excruciatingly lonely, and instead of telling others how awful it was, I isolated myself.  I don’t think I even admitted to myself how much I was struggling. I tried to make plans and see friends as often as I could, but it didn’t touch the pain I was feeling about my marriage.  I felt like we were drifting apart; like we were living two separate lives.  I felt lost and aimless, but I believed that I needed to be strong because it was only temporary.  We were working towards something bigger, and besides, all these other road wives were doing it!  If they could handle it than I should be able to too. I just needed to reach out more.  Pray more.  Do more DIY crafts and reach out to the community.  That would fix it.

But it didn’t help, and I didn’t tell someone how miserable I was until it was too late.

What I’m learning now is that I was unable to recognize my needs, and that when I finally did, I didn’t take them seriously.  I tried to push them down and explain them away.  But like I’ve said before, when our rebel isn’t cared for it will find ways to be heard.  I wish I had valued myself enough to speak candidly with Wesley.  I didn’t want to rock the boat, though.  I didn’t want him to have to give up his dream job.

We need to stop minimizing the struggle.  If you’re miserable, say so.  If you feel like your soul is dying, cry out for help.  You are the only one that knows what you need.  YOU have to be an advocate for yourself and fight to get the care you need.  It’s so tempting in our culture to mask the pain with Christian platitudes that, although true, really don’t help at all: “but God is in control. It’ll all work out in the end.  Everything happens for a reason.”  Let’s be real with one another!

It’s ok to say no sometimes.  It’s ok to live your life in a way that doesn’t make sense to others. It’s ok to be broken and needy, and it’s ok to be strong and independent!  It’s ok to eat Ramen Noodles in the bathtub.

Don’t lose your voice.  It may be the only thing we have someday and we should fight tooth and nail to make it heard.

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