When my husband I started dating, I was bar-tending at TGIFRIDAYS, renting a house with a couple of friends, and my monthly bills could be paid in one weekend of good tips. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, life was simple. I mean my biggest “worry” was if I would get off work on time to hang out with my friends.
Fast forward fourteen years. Marriage, children, school work, preschool, illnesses, activity scheduling, pets, homeownership, bills, etc. All of which are filtered in between the full time jobs that make it all possible. Today my biggest worry is, “Am I doing my best?” When I married my husband, I made a promise to myself “to be my best,” and in the midst of these crazy days, it is easy to feel like a big, huge failure.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed; blessed beyond measure. I am a forty-one year old woman who has two living grandparents and can run a full marathon. I am healthy, have an amazing husband, a beautiful family, a fulfilling career and friends that love me enough to meet for 5:00am workouts, and even more when life feels too hard to make it some days. I am happy and man, life is so good…most of the time.
You see through all the blessings I endure, there are days I can’t see any of it. All is see is a tired mommy who isn’t keeping up, and a wife that isn’t holding up her promise to be her best. I see a woman trying to hide her faults from an unforgiving world. A world that accepts physical illness as a valid reason to “be sick” and stay home, but shames mental illness on those who need acceptance the most. It is wrong and needs to be talked about. And in my promise to be my best, that’s what I intend to do; talk about it.
I’ve never been much for making New Year’s resolutions, but this year is different. This year, I will take part in breaking the stigma, and talk about the importance of mental health. This year, I pledge to be kinder to myself and allow myself to say, no. No to things that aren’t required and carry too much stress, and say yes to things that bring me peace. This year, my weaknesses will play as big a role as my strengths do in keeping my promise to be my best.
To those that struggle with their mental health, my hope is that acceptance finds you, too. That you understand that your feelings are valid, and ask for when needed. You are worthy of happiness and joy even on the hard days.