One day, about a decade ago, I was talking to a neighbor who was going through a hard time she said “I can’t talk to you about what’s going on–your life is so perfect, you’d never understand.”
I was floored! My life was NOT perfect. But I was really good at hiding my reality. I didn’t do it on purpose mind you. I grew up in a home of abuse and alcoholism, where keeping the reality of our lives under wraps was the unspoken rule.
On the outside, my childhood seemed idyllic. Our extended family would come across the country to stay with us and bask in our sunny California home. We had horses and chickens and a pool with a pool house. My home was actually a field trip destination for my school! People used to wish they could be me, but no one had any idea of what ‘being me’ was like when the company was gone.
My young adult years were spent doing nothing I want to share here, but suffice it to say that poor choices were made. Then a poor marriage choice was made. We tried to make it work for eighteen years, but some things just aren’t right. That conversation with my neighbor came just before the divorce.
When you grow up in abuse and addiction, you learn certain behaviors, and expect them in others. I thought that love was screaming at me until 2am and then lovingly coming in a few hours later to offer me pancakes before school. I was an isolated, only child (until I was 12) and didn’t spend enough time with “normal” families to know that it was all wrong.
My adult life started with the same patterns. I thought I was better. I thought I’d broken the cycle. I thought my kids had things so great. And they did, to a degree. But I still didn’t understand that I deserved to be treated right and fairly, and loved unconditionally. I did those things for my kids, but they saw things happening that were not ok.
I’m telling you this for a reason.
I have a blog about being a mom. I’m writing a book about being a mom. But I, just like everyone else, am NOT a perfect mom. My self-righteous old me used to think so, but she was wrong.
Because of the things that happened years ago, I don’t have a relationship with my oldest daughter. It is the most heart-wrenching part of my life. I’m not sharing details, because I respect her and her privacy. Please do the same thing, as I’m sure you would want for your own child.
I also don’t have a relationship with my own mother. Sometimes we have to let toxic things go, even when missing them tears us apart.
I am the most fortunate woman though! I have met someone who lives life with the viewpoint of a happy, untainted child, while still being strong and able to take care of our family. He has shown me what a normal, healthy relationship and family look like. He has been willing to teach me, a slow and painful process, how to have healthy relationships. And he loves me unconditionally, through my illness and through my pain.
I have had the opportunity to start again. I am working at re-building the relationships I hadn’t realized were broken from the start, and create new, healthy ones. I have a life that I can share–with my friends and with the world–without hiding anything. It’s been a new experience for me, and I’m still amazed at my life! I owe most of my now-happy life to my husband, Dave, who saw through the heartache and bitterness in me, and taught me how amazing life can be when we focus on the positive. He’s been teaching me for 9 years now, what true love looks like and that I’m OK. He’s a husband, life-coach, and cheerleader. Somehow all while being a strong, grounded person.
That’s why Chronically Positive Mom is working. I’ve been there. I know what drowning in the negativity and pain, both physical and emotional, is like. And I have been able to break through it to create a better life–for myself, my family, and everyone I meet.
I want to be transparent with you, my reader and my friend. I want you to know me. The good and the bad. Some may choose to not come back, but the rest of you will know that I am human–fallible, and honest. Most of my life I’ve hidden who I am. I was guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed. My story isn’t as bad as many, but it’s not the perfect, rosy picture I wish it was. I’ve never told anyone about it all. Until now. Now I’m telling the world. It leaves me feeling so many things, mostly vulnerable. But I can’t go on writing about Mom-ness without complete transparency.
The chronically positive mom has come a long way, and she has much further to go. I hope you’ll join me on the path. We are going to have fun along the way, but sometimes the road of life is bumpy. I’m here for you when it gets tough, because even though I’m smiling in the pictures, I do understand.