July 14, 2008

hiding out

self_july.jpg
self-portrait, top from All About Cute, Canon Rebel Xti

I rarely cry anymore.

While I was pregnant with Ben, I thought it was hormones. A gentle cocktail that left me feeling grounded, even, content. It was how I imagine being on an anti-depressant might feel, protected from the high highs and low lows of the world. After years of trying to conceive, it was a welcome respite. My theory was that I had cried my quota of tears, way too many, and I was done crying for a long while. I was all dried up.

But even now, 19 months later, I rarely cry. There is a way that I no longer have the indulgence of looking at my inner life like I used to. Sometimes this is a blessing... focusing on this other life called Ben, on the immediacy of the moment and his needs (and not my own) protects me from my own mental drama. At best it keeps me from obsessing about things I can't control and leaves me more present.

The down side is that I feel disconnected and confused a lot of the time. A simple question like, "How are you?" can disarm me. I find myself wondering where to look for the answer, How am I?... and I'm never sure. I've trained myself to just say, "Great!" because if you don't know, then why not? (and some people are just being polite and don't really want to know how you are anyway...) but somehow these simple questions stop me and point to some sadness in me, some ungreat part of me that I haven't untangled yet.

I share this partly by way of an apology, or rather an acknowledgment. I haven't been sharing as much here or as deeply. I've felt a bit more quiet and hidden, more like the superhero pendants I recently designed and not the bright bold superhero necklaces of before. Becoming a parent has left me feeling less visible in the world, tucked away a lot, not going out that much or wearing hottie clothes, feeling more simple and less shiny.

And I'm okay with this. It's the being less visible to myself that concerns me. Have you ever gone through a period like this? When you didn't have access to your deeper layers?

And then there's the crying. It seems to happen only when I see a sad movie, and then I am sobbing in big gulps and my throat swells from trying to hold it back.... Did any of you see Sex and the City? I cried my freakin eyes out. I cried during the movie, when I got home and even a week later when I talked about it with a friend. It opened the floodgates. I was like one of those dudes that never cries when they lose their parent and then 5 years later they find an old watch or something and they cry for three days straight.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. After trying to come up with some snappy post for several days I am going to have to satisfy myself with something from the heart. A snapshot of where I am today, a bit tangled up and a bit less shiny than normal.

Posted on July 14, 2008 01:43 PM
Comments

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I look at this photo and just want to reach out and give you a bear hug and a big smooch.

You are so beautiful and your softness is heart warming......

I get what you speak of, I really get it.

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Posted by: thea at July 22, 2008 09:31 AM

My throat was tight and my eyes were blurry all through Sex and the City!

Sometimes I am afraid that other people have more access to those "deep layers" than I do. One simple question can totally disarm me and surprise me.

Posted by: Kate at July 20, 2008 07:02 AM

yes. have been there before.

mine was due to a needy [big and fully capable of taking care of himself] man. I think it stems from not having enough quiet time for one's self. I'm not sure how you would achieve this with a baby...as I had to break up with mine to get some rest and find my balance again.

damn, I still haven't seen sex in the city either...maybe tomorrow.

Posted by: richele at July 19, 2008 07:05 PM

yes. have been there before.

mine was due to a needy [big and fully capable of taking care of himself] man. I think it stems from not having enough quiet time for one's self. I'm not sure how you would achieve this with a baby...as I had to break up with mine to get some rest and find my balance again.

damn, I still haven't seen sex in the city either...maybe tomorrow.

Posted by: richele at July 19, 2008 07:04 PM

Well I would like to know one thing...where did you get your shirt? I love it. Looks wonderful on you. I do love the pensive photo.

Posted by: Tamara at July 17, 2008 11:29 PM

Yes, I too feel that way a lot of the time. Thanks for sharing. x

Posted by: Leah at July 17, 2008 05:06 PM

even if you feel less shiny, you are still so very REAL...and that is what I appreciate about you and your blog :) thank you for opening up...I still think you're pretty spiffy and shiny :)

Posted by: rebecca at July 17, 2008 02:26 PM

The most amazing thing about your post is that you gave room to you and your feelings. I too am a mom to a toddler. It can be amazing and crazy all in the same minute. I know a true extention of who I am is a mother but the question in hand is what else is my true aesthic? I feel as mothers we should never stop asking ourselves these questions. Our children will be emotionally grounded and healthy for it. They may even grow up to do what they love. The best part is we will know who we are when the children grow up.

Posted by: Tonia at July 17, 2008 12:08 PM

The most amazing thing about your post is that you gave room to you and your feelings. I too am a mom to a toddler. It can be amazing and crazy all in the same minute. I know a true extention of who I am is a mother but the question in hand is what else is my true aesthic? I feel as mothers we should never stop asking ourselves these questions. Our children will be emotionally grounded and healthy for it. They may even grow up to do what they love. The best part is we will know who we are when the children grow up.

Posted by: Tonia at July 17, 2008 12:08 PM

i wish there were a rouge cloth for people. "how are you?" always kills me. it's easier, safer, more interesting(?) to answer how the kids are.

Posted by: Kim the Midwife at July 17, 2008 11:48 AM

I hear you! My kids are in school and I am still trying to connect with that part of me that is just me, not mom and wife and friend and daughter and volunteer, etc. Thanks for inspiring some thought!

Posted by: Anne at July 17, 2008 11:39 AM

I can relate to so much of what you've written. I think many women can. Moms are amazing people.

I think we often look back on the days when we were shiny and I think we sometimes get stuck in the simple. I think what we need to remember to do is "simply shine" and keep it real and authentic.

xo,
Carmen

Posted by: Carmen at July 17, 2008 10:07 AM

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

My (baby) boy just turned one last week. I completely relate to this. In many ways I am much happier than I've ever been, but I do feel the loss of a little something along the way. So much more is gained, more than I ever expected in the joy of being Silas's mom. But still I find myself wondering where parts of me have gone...

Posted by: Melissa at July 16, 2008 09:21 PM

Dear Andrea,

Bravo to you for showing all of us who and where you are, especially when that place doesn't feel shiny.

This post made me wonder if maybe you're actually even shinier, than you were before. Or maybe, if your tears are your polish, then those long pauses between cries are just how long it takes for you to find some new, lovely, part of you that wants some attention.

I say this because you seem shiny to me. You seem like the kind of understated, quietly confident shiny that designs that amazing pendant, that goes out and gets herself her own room with a view, and that doesn't need to show how bright and shiny she is all the time.....

Posted by: Maria at July 16, 2008 06:22 PM

I'm wearing that necklace right now. I have one of each and have pretty much always felt more simple more often than not.

Cried at S&TC, too. And like someone else mentioned, loved it when Charlotte got fiercely protective of Carrie.

Totally appreciate your real posts. As always.

And I must say I love your shirt and you should have never linked to that fantastic website. Can I buy every dress? Or, you know, groceries...

Posted by: cjh at July 16, 2008 04:30 PM

Oh and BTW- I totally cried my eyes out at Sex and The City and it was a pretty deep purging cry. For me, I thought it was the little girl deep down inside of me being allowed to feel all the disappointment of being rejected as a small child by the important males in my life. Carries endless frustration with Big and her deep want and love and yet she got in her own way when she wanted him to be something he was not. When she didn't just go with the flow. It's like being frustrated at him and herself at the same time. It brought up a lot of that in me. I thought that was why I sobbed. I love that movies give us that extra push to feel and sob. -L

Posted by: Leia at July 16, 2008 01:35 PM

Dear Andrea, I can so relate to this! I have not felt shiny since my last month of pregnancy! That's a long time considering my Sam is only one month older than you Ben. The layers are thick and then the emotions ever changing. I have struggled so much in my life because I came from such a hurtful childhood with very destructive people around me. I was a sensitive and caring girl and I loved people and nature and just being curios about everything! I was shiny and full of hope and always striving for growth, love, and close meaningful relationships. I started writing diaries at age eleven and never stopped I knew it would help me see me and not believe the emotional abuse I was surviving as a child. After I met my soul mate I waited years and years before attempting to start a family with my husband. I wanted to spend as much time healing and understanding how my traumatic upbringing affected me. I spent all of my twenties and half of my thirties writing out my feelings and seeing two very special therapists. I wanted to clean house, know me, have tools, get out all of my ya-yas and and be as whole and empowered as I had always dreamed of so I could be the Mom and parent that I had always longed for. I am much more whole and healed for the hard work I have done and yet I don't feel shiny these days either and I know under neath the pregnancy pounds I gained which don't want to budge and under the dark circles and droopy eyes, the shiny, saucy, vibrant, curious, artist, hot woman I was for a while is just bursting to come back out. It's just part of this crazy cycle of life and while it is so different for everyone underneath it all it is also the same. It just happens at different times and some of us choose to be aware of it and some do not. My son brings me the greatest joy and love I have ever known and that, I figure is one hell of a trade off:) What an honor to be my son's mom, to read your blog (which I never would have found if not for my son and Google-ing baby stuff), to wear your necklace, to know there really are other women out there going through these feelings or thoughts at the same time. Once again in your honesty you remind us (and yourself) that we are not alone. Words From The Heart is the name of my blog and your writing what you wrote here even validated that for me. You shine to others even when you are not feeling it:) Thanks for being you. -L

Posted by: Leia at July 16, 2008 01:24 PM

andrea,

this is so powerful and poignant.
you are beautiful,
and very much honored and understood.

sending you lots of magic,
mccabe x

Posted by: mccabe at July 16, 2008 01:22 PM

i have been feeling less than shiny myself these days for different reasons but i do remember going through a period of being less visible to myself for years after i had my son who just turned 14 which is sending me through a whole other tailspin of an entirely different sort. also two years ago when i held my twins as they passed away, i lost myself for so long that i wondered if i would ever be whole again, ever find myself again. but i did and we do and transitions and changes alter us and we lose our sense of self but then we find ourselves again when we are busy not looking. something from the heart is always the best i think ... hugs! xo

Posted by: darlene at July 16, 2008 11:13 AM

i told everyone i knew going to see sex & the city to bring a box of kleenex...you are spot on there! it was certainly a tear jerker...i mean the scene where carrie is smashing her flowers on big...the way charlotte grips her and yells NO, NO....oh my, i need a kleenex...

Posted by: natalie at July 16, 2008 10:28 AM

As a mum, I relate to almost everything you have said in your post. I used to walk alone in nature a lot to process emotions or I would carve out time in my day for reflection and I haven't had time to do those kinds of things since becoming a mum. I experience the same thing when people ask me how I am. I often find it difficult to identify how I am.
I also feel less shiny. Very much so. My face looks tired and drawn, no matter how much I try to cover it up. I also feel tucked away, hardly go out. I also rarely cry because crying takes up a lot of energy. I'm in the process of accepting all this and remembering there's two people to look after here; my daughter and also me.
I started my blog last month and sometimes I think I am crazy to have started one at this point in my life, but I think it's good to just be honest about where I currently am in my life.

Thanks for your post today.

Posted by: Vanessa Voss at July 16, 2008 09:27 AM

it's okay, you know. it's true, you're an inspirational lady to many out there. but even superheroes get to take a break. take off the cloak and bright red underpants and don't feel pressured to blog something great or save the world all the time. it's okay.

Posted by: christine at July 16, 2008 08:22 AM

I loved reading this post.

I could have written the same thing after the birth of my son...and sometimes even now (2.5 years later)!

I feel invisible, alone, not as hip and cool, not as pretty, or funny, quiet, and still kind of in mourning of my life prior to having a child. Don't get me wrong, I love my son. He's my everything. But it's hard. It's so hard and I hate saying that it's hard because I feel like those words are manifesting the reality that I'm living.

But I will say, it gets better as they get a little older and you begin to really embrace the new life you have! The first time I really felt like me again was when I cut 10 inches off my hair and got the trendy inverted bob (and that was 6 months ago)! I began to feel hip, cool, pretty, funny, artsy...all the things I used to be. And then I told my best friend that I was finally ready to go on our annual beach weekend (which was just last weekend). Something that we haven't done since I was pregnant!

So, give yourself this quiet place and don't feel bad for it. It will pass and you will be shiny again soon. I just know it!

Posted by: Susan at July 16, 2008 07:12 AM

Big life changes shift us- and in response to some big changes in my life, I find I am often lonely for the person I used to be, for characteristics that were lost-- really big bold joy, innocence, blind enthusiasm... and my feelings of dislocation have to do with feeling a big rift between the person I was and knew well, and this person I am and am becoming.
I have a hard time being gentle with this unfamiliar self, allowing room to accept the changes as well as the reasons and giving myself credit for surviving. How to help reconnect? patience, I suppose. and gentleness. and time. and loving acceptance that things are changing, the the self I put down on the side table is no longer there for me to find. Your post resonated with me deeply, and it always always feels that you are sharing from the heart. thank you.

Posted by: Kate at July 16, 2008 07:11 AM

As someone who reads your journal avidly, it's actually very reassuring to read this. Often, your articulation astounds me when a lot of the time, I feel a bit more blurred and uncertain that you seem to.

The exact same thing happened to me with that film. It's not a very "me" thing, to cry at a girly film, but i sobbed and sobbed..I'm not entirely sure why.

The easiest thing to do seems, for me, to turn uncertainty into movement- keep moving, keep "progressing". Though I'm sure my perpetual motion and grounding int the present just hides that big tangled mess you just described.

Posted by: lucy at July 16, 2008 02:08 AM

I recently read this story and I then read your post and thought maybe I should send it your way.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,
the way one of the kids will wk into the room while I'm on the phone
and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see
I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone,
or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the
corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible
Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix
this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer,
'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around
5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude
- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be
seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of
a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous
trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was
sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling
pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great
cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me
until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are
building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great
cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave
their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made
great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building
was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a
tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that
will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman
replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I
see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you
does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no
cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.
You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what
it will become.
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life.. It is the cure for the disease of my
own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn
pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The
writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4
in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a
turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That
would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to
his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if
we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world
will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that
has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.
The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

Posted by: chris at July 15, 2008 09:21 PM

I think we all go thru our times: of crying, not crying so much, maybe crying too much (i speak for myself here with the too much). I know for myself these days, I am crying when I am happy, sad, or mediocre, and sometimes laughing at the same time... seasons, phases, moments, snapshots, seconds. They all seem to bring such different emotions, or maybe different ways of expressing these emotions we are feeling. Beautiful perspective.... thanks

Posted by: Liz at July 15, 2008 03:16 PM

Andrea, thank you for sharing. That movie really struck a chord with me too. My partner of 12 years and I broke up in February and I cried so much leading up to the end that I haven't really let go of my tears since. It doesn't feel normal that I'm not mourning more... and I keep waiting for it to hit me in a bad kind of way. That movie brought everything up to the surface again and it felt good to let go, but, like you, it seems that only sad movies are reaching me in that place where deep sadness resides.

Posted by: Jeanine at July 15, 2008 02:03 PM

I cried thru that whole movie too, but I thought it was because I was pregnant or crazy, or both. Being a mama does leave very little time or energy for introspection. Those moments tend to sneak up on me when I least expect it also.

Posted by: Leta at July 15, 2008 12:58 PM

You know Andrea it is a post like this that reminds me why I share your site/blog with every woman I know and love!

I first started reading your blog when I was pregnant a year and a half ago. I gazed adoringly at Ben and looked forward to the birth of my own son. Seeing motherhood through your eyes was so beautiful and so exciting! It is because of you however that I was moved to read through months of pre-Ben archives. And why I continue to read now.

How beautifully you worded the "up side" and how perfectly you worded the "down side" of this time in your life and your realization that a little part of you was missing.

I'm struck by your pendants and necklace analogy. I love it. Only insead of seeing you as less bold and less bright; I see you as more solid, timeless and perfect in your simplicity.

Thank you for sharing what you are feeling, it's so great to know that we are not alone...so engaged in someone else that we forgot ourselves.

Posted by: Tracey at July 15, 2008 12:47 PM

It's so strange how the same emotions display themselves in different ways in different people. i can relate to all the feelings you are explaining, but i am the opposite it that i display my "lost" feeling by crying all the time.

it used to really freak my husband out, but it happens so often now that it doesn't even phase him anymore. which kind of scares me, because it still freaks me out and I desperately need somebody to "help" me.

i got a haircut this weekend (the first in a LONG time) because I was so desperate to feel "shiny" again, as you say. but the effects were short-lived.

this thing called motherhood is harder than i ever imagined it would be. for now i hope you find hope in the fact that there are others out there who understand how you feel.

Posted by: Nicole at July 15, 2008 12:30 PM

I loved reading this post. I have thought the same thing, that I don't know where to look when someone asks me how I am. Where do we look? How do we know we're not "great" when that's the answer that comes out? Our gaze is constantly fixed outward, toward everyone else. Then when we suddenly turn our gaze inward, we're disoriented..... what in the heck am I looking at? Who's in here??? Thanks for sharing this discomfort you're feeling. It's helping me to open, open, open, open.

Posted by: Becky at July 15, 2008 11:31 AM

I found out on July 7th that I was pregnant with my second child after trying for two years. On Friday, July 11th, my birthday I was told that I would lose this pregnancy and I have. I'm devastated, depressed and feeling quite hidden. Thank you for your post.

Trish

Posted by: Trish at July 15, 2008 10:12 AM

Thank you for being so real and opening up to all your fans. ;o)

Posted by: Nancy at July 15, 2008 10:11 AM

thank you for sharing that part of you...

Posted by: jessica at July 15, 2008 09:18 AM

D'oh! I see who made your shirt! Sorry! :)

Posted by: Jae at July 15, 2008 08:47 AM

I've never been quite where you are. But I will say both the pendant and the superhero beads are equally beautiful in their own ways.

Posted by: Leah at July 15, 2008 08:44 AM

Life seems to be an evolution and we change with it. The change may not be something we are familiar with but it's us all the same. Sometimes you have to get to know yourself all over again.

I can't imagine what it's like (though I'll know in January!) to suddenly be "Mom". Sure, you have time to get ready for it but are you really ready? I wonder who I'll be and how I'll be in relation to the little guy or girl who depends on me. I wonder who I'll be to the rest of the world after that.

I love reading your journal, I can count on you to help me to see when I hadn't seen before.

Also, I love your shirt. Who makes it? I must copy you. :)

Take care!

Posted by: Jae at July 15, 2008 08:41 AM

I'd say this post was a good start at getting in touch with YOU.

Posted by: kristen fischer at July 15, 2008 08:25 AM

i hear you, sister.

it takes me a moment to respond whenever someone asks me "how are you"...because i so seldom hear it.

as for the tears i have found that i'm more emotional now that i am a mom than i was before. simple beautiful moments are apt to choke me up.
it's like a super-awareness superpower.

blissfully puffy-eyed,
wendy
xo

Posted by: wendy at July 15, 2008 07:39 AM

You are far from invisible.

I see you Andrea.

I see you.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 15, 2008 06:28 AM

I think that's a stunningly accurate description of how I feel quite a bit of the time.

How are you is the most disarming question...

I always learn from you - you must be an amazing coach.

Posted by: blackbird at July 15, 2008 06:07 AM

I too was taken by surprise when I was crying in Sex in the City. There was a part of me that really just wanted that movie to be all about the clothes but of course that isn't the case is it. It is so wonderful how you expressed this about not really knowing how you are. I have found myself answering "we're great." Telling huh. I don't even identify with myself as an individual.

Now I get what my mom was talking about. I thought it took all those years; however I am seeing that it comes in an instant. I too love not having the luxury of getting all entangled in myself. But I can also wonder where am I in there.

But lately, when I am present with the boys I see me coming right out of them. All the stuff that I am trying so fervently to impart is reflecting back at me. I can actually see my parenting working if I am paying attention. When I see me on my littles I have to say I kinda like me.

My heart is filled with love for you and all of your incarnations be they bold and bright, simple and elegant or something new altogether. Bring it on however it works for you.

Love,
Jen

Posted by: Jen Diamond at July 15, 2008 12:22 AM

Hi Andrea,
Just wanted to let you know that I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and really see it as a boost of inspiration and reflection for the day. It's hard to write so honestly and I admire that about you, giving a voice to something I may be feeling or going through, but never knowing quite how to express it!
All the best :)

Posted by: Patty at July 14, 2008 09:34 PM

and you know that THAT is the stuff that resonates so deeply in us all, right? Being exactly where you are AND I SO GET IT!!!!

Girl, you shine through it all. Oh do you shine :)

Posted by: michelle at July 14, 2008 08:45 PM

it always strikes me in the heart when i read here, i can hear you and these words resonate so in my heart. it describes so well this life i am in right now, two boys, 15 months, taking a lot of everything and leaving me feeling so wonderfully full of them but struggling to find a bit of me.

the tears have come of late, just from the sheer exhaustion of dealing with simultaneously teething twins, so i have tried turning to 'smiling meditation' as described in eat pray love. not always effective as there seems to be a lack in my ability to meditate, but something.

thank you for sharing so deeply. it makes me feel less alone and more visible just in the reading.

Posted by: mamie at July 14, 2008 08:42 PM

I cannot say whether it has anything to do with motherhood as I am not a mother, but I can relate to the loss of tears and the search for self.

During my marriage and since the divorce, I have been searching. I generally can't cry unless I am watching a movie or reading a book... in other words feeling someone else's life, pain, worries, etc.

I lost myself during my marriage in a messy and not so nice way. I turned myself inside out trying to be whoever it was my husband thought he wanted for so long and in so many ways that when I finally liberated myself from the marriage, I didn't know who I was anymore.

For a long time all I could feel was angry. It's an easy emotion and much less messy than whatever else I might have been feeling. I resist being that angry person or for that angry person to be who I am. I mourned the 24 year old who married that husband. I really felt the loss of her once I was no longer under the spell. I was afraid that I could never recover her joy and openness and trust in the world. I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back. I was very sad that I could never go back to being that person again.

A good friend confirmed that I would never be "her" again, but challenged me to imagine that there is a whole new me that is just as wonderful. His words have haunted me ever since in a good way.

Whenever, now, I wonder at this new person, the one that looks back at me from the mirror and faces the world every day, I am reminded that I can just be...whoever I need to be whenever I need to be.

There is sadness and world-weariness but there is also energy and wonder and strength.

Sometimes the new overalls just take a little getting used to... but I would hope that you do take time for yourself.

Ben doesn't know how to remind you that you should take time for yourself. He is physically incapable of really thinking about your feelings beyond how they relate to his own wants and needs. It is the nature of babies/children. So, you need to remember to nurture yourself!! You are the original SUPERHERO. Don't forget, you've got a lot of fans out here you are wishing you the best and sending you lots of love.

Posted by: Anna at July 14, 2008 07:53 PM

Beautifully said. I'm not even a parent and I thought you were talking to me! :)

Thanks for sharing, however you are feeling! Your photos and your writing are beautiful...and so are you :)

Posted by: kkonmymind at July 14, 2008 07:50 PM

I couldn't cry for about three years. The best I could manage was a tear, maybe two. I always felt bad becuase sometimes I would want to cry but not know how. Then I began to look at my heart and my life wounds. I forgave about a million people, including myself, and low and behold, when I released my bitterness it made my heart soft again. Now I bawl like a baby often. I give myself permission to do so.
I am in no way saying that this is what you are experiancing, but if it is its ok.

And I honestly enjoy and honest answer to "how are you?" Its refreshing to hear that other people have bad days too! Its not just me! :)

Posted by: Toni at July 14, 2008 07:45 PM

Yes yes and yes. Same as you - I lost the majority of my tears during pregnancy, buoyed up by the juicy hormones. And I too sometimes feel lost, in myself, in the ways that I draw protective lines around myself and my child. The well to taking care of a kiddo requires depth, and I had to cut out the busy nothingness - the going and going - and then sometimes I miss the busy of before. If that makes sense.

Also - one of my favorite moments (that made me cry!) during SATC is when Charlotte was holding Carrie in the street - the look she gave Big - oh it was incredibly protective, fierce - so how I feel when a friend is deeply hurt.

Posted by: Sam at July 14, 2008 07:41 PM

when i was reading through this, i thought to myself how you have always held the ability to express your emotions in a way that emulates how in touch you are with your self.

i know you're not feeling that way but i feel it for you and have always been honored to witness this in our friendship. you teach me and so many others to stay present.

even though i am in that place that you were when you were crying all of your tears a few years back, i still can meet you where you are today because even though they are different spaces, you help guide me to where you are by sharing your truth.

its so beautiful when you share.

if movies help you cleanse. then watch more. ; ) it can be your therapy. xoxo

i love you.

Posted by: boho girl at July 14, 2008 07:25 PM

This post is wonderful. I am the grateful muma of a little girl who is almost 1. THIS is exactly how I feel and have felt since she was born...maybe even while I was pregnant. I have been trying to explain what the feeling I have had for the past year is..and I just have not been able to find the words..you described it PERFECTLY. Thank you.

Posted by: Katie at July 14, 2008 07:22 PM

right on target, spoken beautifully. thanks for sharing. i can't tell you how many times i have felt this way in the past year. i feel unhinged and disconnected from self. i am close to 50, still raising 2 girls, with one out of the house...i still can't answer the question of how am i? you always manage to touch me when i have had a really bad day. thanks again.

Posted by: deb at July 14, 2008 07:08 PM

wow you put it just right. "feeling more simple and less shiny" i smiled wide at that. that is ME! can she see me??? yes i'd say so, or the innards of us mommas lost a bit in the shuffle. i too had a guttural reaction to Sex in the City. i weeped in my car all the way home. mostly from missing my sisterfriend too far away feeling more isolated than normal, like it put a white hot spot light on it. hugs to you, may your sparkle return to you soon.

Posted by: kristin at July 14, 2008 06:34 PM

wow you put it just right. "feeling more simple and less shiny" i smiled wide at that. that is ME! can she see me??? yes i'd say so, or the innards of us mommas lost a bit in the shuffle. i too had a guttural reaction to Sex in the City. i weeped in my car all the way home. mostly from missing my sisterfriend too far away feeling more isolated than normal, like it put a white hot spot light on it. hugs to you, may your sparkle return to you soon.

Posted by: kristin at July 14, 2008 06:34 PM

wow you put it just right. "feeling more simple and less shiny" i smiled wide at that. that is ME! can she see me??? yes i'd say so, or the innards of us mommas lost a bit in the shuffle. i too had a guttural reaction to Sex in the City. i weeped in my car all the way home. mostly from missing my sisterfriend too far away feeling more isolated than normal, like it put a white hot spot light on it. hugs to you, may your sparkle return to you soon.

Posted by: kristin at July 14, 2008 06:34 PM

wow you put it just right. "feeling more simple and less shiny" i smiled wide at that. that is ME! can she see me??? yes i'd say so, or the innards of us mommas lost a bit in the shuffle. i too had a guttural reaction to Sex in the City. i weeped in my car all the way home. mostly from missing my sisterfriend too far away feeling more isolated than normal, like it put a white hot spot light on it. hugs to you, may your sparkle return to you soon.

Posted by: kristin at July 14, 2008 06:34 PM

such a beautiful photo and honest lovely words. your acknowledgment of the shifts and flows is very wise and, very kindly, creates a space for all of us to stop and ponder. thank you.

Posted by: amy at July 14, 2008 06:21 PM

Thank you for your honest post!

Posted by: rachel at July 14, 2008 05:33 PM

tangled, a bit less shiny, and very beautiful.

Posted by: julie at July 14, 2008 05:28 PM

and that is OK. I totally hear where you're coming from.

Posted by: stef at July 14, 2008 05:23 PM

thank you for sharing this truth about your journey...

(and that gentle moment between samantha and carrie when she brought carrie food and fed her. yes, i can't stop thinking about that and i saw the movie a month ago. a moment of real.)

blessings,
liz

Posted by: liz elayne at July 14, 2008 04:56 PM

i am going through a phase like that right now. i feel like there are layers and layers of clothes piled up on the me i'm trying to find. i keep throwing them all off, picking through them...trying to find a bit of me...but for right now, i am at a loss as to why i feel this. so for now, i'm in the moment...letting myself feel it. it's like a craving of a food yet you just can't figure out what it is you are wanting. anyway..just letting you know you most definitely aren't alone in this. and i hope you discover your shiny self again real soon.

much love to you! give ben a big ole kiss from me...~Celisa

Posted by: celsia at July 14, 2008 04:30 PM

I gotta say you look hot in that tank top.

I cried and cried in Sex and the City.

On not crying: I would like to think that you are truly grounded and that is why you are not crying. But that you still have a deep passion for life and love, hence it bubbles out now and then. You sound stable to me. And Present.

Posted by: Amy at July 14, 2008 03:49 PM

While not in the same way as you're experiencing, I spent nearly a year hiding out. And when I emerged from it, I was so much less of a people pleaser, yet much more guarded with sharing my true feelings except when I feel completely comfortable with a person. A more authentic version of myself in all respects.

While my default answer is still "great," as is yours, I am much more apt to call up a friend and be completely honest with how I am truly feeling.

And yes, I bawled at SATC. I was fine until Carrie woke up and asked her friends "was it a dream?" I was a wreck from that point forward.

Posted by: jen maiser at July 14, 2008 03:18 PM

Something from the heart is always the best! You are so very special, Andrea. xo

Posted by: Gypsy Alex at July 14, 2008 02:47 PM

I was just reminded of my frequent response to the question 'How are you?" when asked by some of my past grad students...
"Never ask a therapist 'how they are'...I'm likely to give you an entire dissertation!"

I don't give dissertations any more...I'm more reserved. I keep a lot back... for myself (too much self- disclosure is over rated). Or maybe because I can no longer define it past the point of "I'm fine."

Posted by: Stephanie T. at July 14, 2008 02:45 PM

YES...YES...YES!!
and along with it comes feelings of guilt... (I've been gifted with two beautiful babes and I feel WHAT?! How selfish...How petty!) It's hard to unhitch the guilt wagon. It's harder still to dig deep enough to uncover the roots of these feelings and look for the key to change. There are days when I have the emotional depth of a gnat...feeling like I just go through the 'paces' of the day...not really feeling connected...or present.
This wicked circle jerk gets in the way of my thinking, creating, loving...growing.
Andrea...it takes a lot of gut to share this with us...thanks. Just know you are not....alone.

Posted by: Stephanie T. at July 14, 2008 02:32 PM

Thank you...more than you'll ever know.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 14, 2008 02:24 PM

Loved this. The tangled-ness of emotions, of those buried, of not connecting with them. The stages of parenting and our development alongside our child's. And now as I witness my teen and hear his contemplative sharing, I see him and me walking parallel paths.

Your words here, this kind of sharing, does answer the question, "How are you?" It shows that it's a complex question worthy of a relaxed and expanded answer. :)

Posted by: deezee at July 14, 2008 02:19 PM

I know exactly how you feel. Welcome to post-baby-now-mother-of-a-toddlerdom ;-)

Posted by: Sue at eLuckypacket at July 14, 2008 02:06 PM

I know exactly how you feel. Welcome to post-baby-no-mother-of-a-toddlerdom ;-)

Posted by: Sue at eLuckypacket at July 14, 2008 02:06 PM

I completely understand. I' like to think while I'm not looking those tangly layers are undoing themselves all on their own, just maybe.

Posted by: Rochelle at July 14, 2008 02:04 PM

I'll welcome from the heart over snappy and shiny any day. It's called real! Great post.

That "How are you?" question gets me every time, too.

Posted by: Jena at July 14, 2008 02:00 PM