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Let your soul be wild and free my little one

I have pondered the nature vs nurture debate quite often when it comes to my anxiety. It always seemed that nurture would win in the cause category until recently. If I were to make a list of MY anxiety, it may still beat out another hypothesis as the root cause, but I am learning, in the parenting game, things are not always what they seem. I know one thing for certain. Someone without anxiety cannot understand another person trying to explain the reasons why and how to them, which make dealing with it quite lonely at times.

I contributed most of my anxiety issues to my grandmother. I learned as an adult, due to multiple tragedies in her life she had much to be anxious about. But when I stayed with her a lot growing up I didn’t understand that. As my anxiety began to take hold, I thought it must be because I was exposed to hers so much. Then I learned my daddy has it too, which would make sense. Except, except I never knew growing up my Daddy had anxiety.?

Now I see my seven year old experience it. She has exhibited signs since a young age and it manifest in different ways. But, I make a very contentious effort NOT to expose her to my anxiety. So much so that I have other family members help rationalize situations for me so I do not let it get the best of me. Believe me, I’ve come a long way since she was an infant! But to see her with it breaks my heart because I know how she feels. Could it be a manipulation at times? Sure, I am aware of that, just as I am aware of what true anxiety looks like on the face of my seven year old.

My husband, as great as he is, is not someone who understands. Oh sure, he understands my anxiety for the super Center and that look I get when I am about to melt down. But he doesn’t understand this gut wrenching, deep breathing anxiety. The kind that has kept me up all night to write this at 4:15 a.m

I only hope she can hold on to the parts of her soul that are wild and carefree. The parts that laugh at everything with a giggle that can warm the coldest of souls. The wander I see in her eyes as she studies something with her mind working on how it may operate. I want her to hold onto the part that operates on stuffed animals with ketchup and gloves and leave the heavy burden of anxiety to me. I’m her mama, her keeper, I can carry the load for us both.

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Dear 22 year old

thI have been where you are. I know what is going through your head. I am still there most days, but I have got some age on me now. I know things you do not know at 22, or do not believe yet anyway. It is hard to believe them, when all around you everything goes against it. But, I am writing this because at 22 there is still time. Time for you to change your thought process . Time for you to become head strong. Stronger than you already are so that when you do have years on you too, like me, you will be able to look back and think, “I’m so happy I was able to change my way of thinking.” The reason is this, your mind is one of the most powerful tools you have. It can help you, it can hurt you. It had done both over time to me. It continues to do it daily. I wish I had someone to say this to me at 22, really at 15.

My story begins at 15, really younger, but for the sake of this we will say 15. I looked around, I noticed what was going on. The girls getting the attention from the boys. Meeting them at the movies. I could not figure it out. I was outgoing, friendly, had plenty of friends but I was not one the one the boys noticed outside of the “friend zone”. I realized what they did notice. I became obsessed with it. Exercising like crazy, becoming “healthy” is what I said. But at one time my parents considered sending me off to treatment because my “healthy” behavior had gotten out of control and on my large boned frame, the weight I had lost down to was skeletal thin. However it paid off where I wanted it to at the time. According to what the “norm” was anyway.

At age 16 the first boy notice me and asked me out. We hit it off. blah, blah, blah, fell in love, married when we finished college at 21 and the rest is divorce history. I could not keep up the charade. I am not born to be a naturally thin person. I am not a skinny girl by birth. I began to gain the weight back when I began to eat again. Just eating healthy, minding my own business, still exercising like normal and eating like normal, but gaining weight above Skeleton’s level. After gaining the weight, this person who promised me forever, better and worse, realized he only like the size I was at 16, not the size I had become 12 years later. Immediately my mind went to the place , “no one will ever want me, love me, if I am not small”, really there was evidence of that right?

Time passes. My soul was searched. Prayers were prayed. I cannot tell you all scars heal, but now I know that body shaming is a real thing and a real problem. I actually lived it the entire time I was married not only by my ex-husband but his family also. The people out there that talk, whisper, stare. They are not secure with something they have, something they are dealing with. Yes, I said I struggle now. Because I did not change my thought process early enough.

That’s what I want for you. Change your mind now. You are good enough RIGHT NOW! RIGHT THIS SECOND you are GREAT, exactly how you were meant to be. Whoever does not see that, whoever comments to the contrary does not deserve a second thought. I know it is not easy. I KNOW it is not easy. But you can do it. You HAVE to do it. Now. Change your thought process now and stop body shaming yourself. NOW.