I thought after this last year that Azia-the-Sovereign-Person, was quite possibly dead. It seemed my schedule was too full for anything other than driving the kids to extra-curricular activities, the never-ending-grocery runs, the mountains of laundry, and, of course, the sleep-deprivation from our not-quite-colicky-but-definitely-ridiculously-horrible-sleeper-baby Jude. I watched not only my energy levels and mental state begin to deteriorate, but also my physical body. I put on 15 pounds in the course of 60 days. (I am fairly active and eat relatively healthy, so the weight gain kinda came out of left field, but apparently sleep deprivation and stress is just like eating 8000 calories a day or something, who knew). I began to notice some very crazy wrinkles on my face. I BROKE A TOOTH! And, most recently, my eyes became the kind of red where other Moms were asking me if I smoked pot. (Which, I know this may be surprising to many of you, especially those who knew me in high school, but, I absolutely do not smoke pot ever!! It's been over a decade. It's not my thing. All about legalization though, baby!)
Am I allowed to say I looked like shit?
Whatever, I'm saying it. I LOOKED HORRIBLE. Not like the me I've come to know. Who, though not the fanciest gal in the world, is usually at least passable to be in public.
And, then like every other human on this planet, I had a bunch of other stressors happening in my personal life, and, let's just say, the only words for the most recent season of life is SURVIVAL MODE. I was in survival mode, and I was drowning.
(PS- My eyes still look horrible. I apparently have BLOCKED TEAR-DUCTS. How does that even happen? I joked that God was like, Girl, don't even think about breaking down and crying about this. Not happening. Put your big-girl pants on and get moving!)
I just let things I love fall away. Update the Etsy shop? Pft! Who has an hour worth of energy to do that!? Not me! Sessions? Readings? HAHA. Yeah right. You really don't want this exhausted crazy woman telling you shit right now, trust me. Writing? Submitting work? Are you drunk? Like I'm writing anything besides pleading for sleep in my journal. Editing Tiny Flames Press? I'm literally afraid to publish the wrong asshole & honestly. No. Not doing it. Byyyyyyyye. Too Stressful.
And then-- my most recent doula client. Oh em gee, you guys. She had her baby 5-6 weeks early in her car before she could even get to the hospital. And you should have heard God laughing at me: AZIA: YOU HAVE 4 KIDS. THIS IS NOT THE SEASON OF LIFE FOR YOU TO BE ON CALL. WHAT IN THE HOLY HECK* ARE YOU THINKING?
*actually wanted to use a naughty word here, but it felt wrong to say God cussed at me.
But, that's how my March to September looked, like one giant What-the-flipping-heck-are-you-thinking?!
Small things began to happen, though. I started swimming daily. An hour in the pool without the kiddos is one of the most effective meditations I've ever experienced in my life. I was part of a short-lived community called the Mammune, where I was able to dive into Maiden to Mother archetypal work that redirected an almost dark-night-of-the-soul moment into something so overwhelmingly empowering that I am still finding words for it. The sermons at church just kept hitting me deeply and simultaneously in my root and heart chakras. I could feel life burning through me. I committed to NaNoWriMo & ended up writing 27K of a novel, and a few poems (and even had one published in Bad Pony Magazine). I was painting damn near every day again. I listed and sold new items on my Etsy shop and committed to a few craft fairs. Reworked the publishing format of Tiny Flames Press and am actually considering reviving that beast and finishing what I had set out to do.
Mixed in with all of this was intense physical pain and purging-- my poor body, you guys, she has been through so much, but, suddenly, I'm sitting here and I realized-- I am through the other end of it. It was all these little things and poof! Out of nowhere I'm kind of a person again? A sovereign being. Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother. Running a household is a full-time job and having all these kids with their various activities and schedules is enough to make any person feel as if they have had a full day. I love being Adam's partner (I mean, helloooooo. I'm still giddy-obsessed with this guy and how handsome he is, like we are 19 years old forever.) But, I have always been a creative, a creator, an artist. If I'm not making, I'm not being myself. I am a maker, it's what I do for me. And to have that part return to me again. Whew. It feels good. I feel good. I can't stop saying it because it's true.
I have released a dream though. And, I don't know if it's for forever or just a season: but I can't work as a doula. It's not feasible for me right now to be on call. I have four children who are counting on me to be there for them and it's just an unnecessary stress for my family. I am so very passionate about birth-work but I trust the way God is moving in my heart and after a lot of prayer and thought, I know this is the right move.
So, though I am releasing that work, I do feel like I have returned to Me, Again. And I'm walking in gratitudes. I'm going to end this with a song that kept me strong as I remembered myself.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior