Five Ways to Live Out Your Cold, Hard Truth (The Chicken Method)
I am a 35 year old chicken lady. What happened to me? Shouldn’t I convey some sort of “cool” given my hipster personality and penchant for bright colors? Instead I spend weekends folding laundry, meal planning, and attending to my little flock of chickens and children. Honestly, it makes me feel so far removed from my peers. Cool 35 year olds go to jewelry parties, drink cosmos or microbrews, and have some sort of fitness regime. I think this is true… my knowledge forms in grocery store lines and Facebook advertisements. Needless to say my core knowledge on “trendy” is limited to the legging craze.
Yet, my day in and day out trudge is actually an environment I thrive in. Trying to squeeze in nights out and socializing create intense anxiety for me. Attempting to look like a “cool mom” seems time consuming and I recently chopped off my hair so I can sleep in a little longer. When I try to socialize someone always loses. I loathe the guilt that comes along with that cost. Almost every meaningful friendship takes place over the phone for me. At 10 pm you will find me texting Heather while I wait to doze off or chatting about the rigors of parenting on the most intense group chat I’ve ever embarked on. And I love that little piece of my routine.
Over the last few years I have met a plethora of mothers facing similar situations as mine: divorce, separation, young children what have you. Some choose to stay with ungrateful husbands in unhealthy relationships, others pound the pavement for independence, some move in with parents, others enroll in marriage counseling hell-bent to stick it out etc.
The reality is there is no one way to get to a better place. No 10 Ways to Whatever blog is going to get you there. The process works best when taken as a sacred journey. And a journey inward knows no specific demographic—we all benefit from taking time for self-reflection and healing.
It’s been my experience I get so used to treading water I struggle to feel relaxed when someone tosses me a flotation device. Often I panic and end up making a more waves. Help, while hard to come by, feels weird. People start to brand me as a charity case, drama queen, or unreliable. To be honest, I work all the time, I blog when I have a moment and something on my heart, and between appointments, work, and activities I struggle to be reliable for anyone else but my small family. That may make me sound selfish. I own that. Yet, the selfish path towards self-care and reliance is one worth investing in.
By choosing to not cope or ask for supports I sank many healing opportunities prior to this point. I went out on my few kid free nights to drink and meet “Mr. Right.” No one was “Right” and it was hard to get a ride home. I drove to the mountains and sat under the stars contemplating every-single-damn-thing. I made mistakes. I made friends. I made non-negotiables for myself.
I encourage taking similar steps for wellness. Here’s a few of mine:
1. Take my medicine, keep a log, and notify the doctor if things don’t feel right. It’s ok to tell my doc if something is off. In fact, that’s best practice. Finding the right medication for anxiety, depression and PTSD requires patience. Trying to go the holistic route failed for me. Accept failure and regroup.
2. Limit the number of obligations in a day. The pressure of obligations makes me feel like I am in that Star Wars scene when the trash compactor walls are pushing in ready to crush the heroes. Not only will I be crushed to my death but I will meet my maker in piles of garbage? I ain’t doing it. I stopped making commitments to things that weren’t family, ministry, or opportunities to make money. This way when I am home I can be a crazy chicken lady with far less guilt.
3. Limit alcohol. Liquid calories and liquid courage serve me no real purpose. Plus medications and alcohol live as arch-enemies. Instead of forcing the friendship I respect the division. Nothing spoils a romantic evening like vomiting on the sidewalk whilst getting to the car. Alcoholism runs in my family—I binge drank a couple of times in my darkest days and I’ll never live the embarrassment down. Booze and I don’t mix—I save money and whatever reputation I have left.
4. Accept that I am fat…for now. Being a fat person honestly sucks. I miss working out and fitting into pants without a precocious bulge at my mid-section. But as long as leggings stay in fashion and coffee comes deliciously flavored I’m fat for the time being. I’m trying to manage being a mom, a career, non-profit dreams, a never-ending court case and debt up to my eyeballs. Working out can come later. I can take walks, play with my child, and scoop the chicken coop for exercise until more time frees up. It’s ok.
5. Live out my cold, hard truth. Gah! I teach classes like Anger Management and Making Better Choices on the weekends. Part of the coursework requires me telling folks it’s time to handle the painful truths that keep us in cycles of dysfunction. I’d be a sham if I only advised this rather than lived it. Cold, hard truth stings, pinches, and full force puts you in a headlock at times. I hate confrontation and conflict so I often skirt issues or swallow problems until the point of explosion. That’s not healthy. Being more honest with yourself and others feels daunting. Take on the challenge. It feels freeing to live my truth. I climb mountains with a whole new viewpoint.
I promised myself after this round of waiting for court to take place I would find a new pathway for approaching the emotional toll it takes on me. When I go back to my non-negotiables I find my footing. Deciding personal boundaries prevents me from feeling guilty I’m not drinking cosmos or on a flight to Vegas with my best girl pals. And that’s ok. I’ve grown comfortable knowing this season of my life limits me from the same experiences as other women my age.
My truth lies in the comfort of home. I feel a certain peace smelling fresh laundry, sitting in the sun with a coffee to watch the chickens, and snuggling on the couch with my family. I firmly believe in generating small avenues towards comfort and kindness towards oneself. I had to give myself permission to do so. You can too. Build a new map for yourself, lean into discomfort and embrace the detours. No sacred journey takes a straight path… in the twists and turns we find deeper reflections of self-discovery. Be a crazy chicken lady, a legging wearer, or start a business selling something you love. Become a blogger, vlogger, or an artist. Just be true to the voyage. I travel best by couch and lawn chair. Perhaps you need another mode for travel outside your current selection.
What works for you? How is your journey going? Let us know—we love to hear how you are doing. Need encouragement? “We Rise By Lifting Others.”