Saturday, December 17, 2011

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

So I've been trying to get this blog written for two weeks now.  I keep writing, then saving, then coming back to edit, then saving again - rinse and repeat.

I managed to have a whole Sunday off two weekends ago. It's not often that my schedule allows me to make it to church on Sunday mornings. But when the opportunity arises, I usually like to go - especially on the weekends that I have Emily home with me.

I haven't officially found a church "home" of my own here in Nashville, however, I do have a few churches that I go to on a semi-regular basis.

This past Sunday, I went to my in-law's church (The River).  The pastor's message was on the 3 Christmas Killers. Obviously, it really hit home because I felt compelled to share.

It's no secret that I've been in an uncharacteristically foul mood as of late. I can't quite put my finger on the reason(s) why though. It's not the typical Christmas chaos getting to me. It's definitely not a dislike of the holidays either. I actually do love the holidays. I LOVE Thanksgiving and I truly enjoy Christmas time - and I even voluntarily work in retail during the holidays thus subjecting myself to non-stop Christmas music!!!

So when, and more importantly how, did Christmas time become the most hectic time of the year when it is supposed to be the most peaceful time of the year?

We all get so wrapped up in the craziness of Christmas that we lose sight of the very reason for the season - which is Christ.

In today's society, Santa has replaced Jesus as the #1 Christmas character. Most children these days don't even know the story of Christmas. - And being a mom of a 6 year old myself, I wondered if Emily even understands the reason for Christmas.

Here is Pastor Barry's list of the Three Killers of Christmas:
 
1. STRESS.
 
      A. Finances.
           We worry about not having enough money to pay for Christmas. We stress over wanting to provide our families with the best Christmas ever. - I'm lucky that my child is easy to please when it comes to Christmas and it's also a HUGE comfort that she is blessed to have ALL of her dad's family plus Alan's family to spoil her rotten. - Seriously, this kid has about 5 different Christmas gift sessions.

      B. Time.

           We stress over not having enough time for shopping, wrapping gifts and the plethora of Christmas get-togethers. We wear ourselves out trying to coordinate multiple family schedules, rushing around from place to place on the days before Christmas, the day of Christmas and even the days after Christmas just to see everyone.
 
      C. Expectations.
           We worry about everything being perfect. - Finding the "PERFECT" gift. - Fixing the "PERFECT" Christmas dinner. - Being "PERFECT" for our families in hopes to please everyone.

 
2. LONELINESS
     Though I've always loved the holidays, for as long as I can remember, the holidays have always been a melancholy time for me.  - And even though I'm not "alone" this year - I find that am still plagued by feelings of utter loneliness a lot of the time. 

     This year, I first recognized my feelings of loneliness on Thanksgiving. We spent the morning having Thanksgiving lunch with my former in-laws. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to feel slightly awkward bringing my new husband to the ex-husband's family's house for the holidays, but thankfully everyone seemed to make room and adjust. - I still couldn't help but feel sad over it though.

     It's not a real secret that my former in-laws have been more of a family to me than my own - especially when it comes to their relationship with Emily, but the reality of it all comes down to the "one of these things is not like the other" concept. In the first time since my divorce from Emily's father, I suddenly felt strange about being there. - So I've began to pose the question to myself of how does one ostracize themselves from a family that has made you one of their own for so long? - And is it even necessary to do so?

     I'm sure in some ways, all together eliminating the headache of trying to coordinate an additional set of in-laws into the holiday visitation schedule is a blessing within itself (especially when my family gets thrown into the equation), but nevertheless, there's still an overwhelming wave of loneliness I feel when I'm surrounded by the perfectly "functional" families of my past and present in-laws. - Being in the midst of them, all at once, makes me painfully aware of how dysfunctional my family really is.  

     Now don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that no family is perfect and they all have a healthy amount of dysfunction within.  But I also know that those of you unfamiliar with my family history are saying to yourselves, "Sure, Sylvia, all families are dysfunctional. Yours can't be that bad." So allow me to say this: Trust me, you have no idea and I'd appreciate it if you kept all your patronizing comments to yourself, please and thank you.

     I haven't spoken to my mother in over a year. - I'm not even sure if she's aware that I got married this year.  - And what gets me is that she shows no desire to have a relationship with her granddaughter.  My siblings and I have virtually no relationship either.  We have never been a family to say "I love you" or "I miss you."  Affections throughout my family - verbal and physical - have always been few and far between.

     All in all, it would be nice to at least have the option to spend the holidays with my family...  but unfortunately that will never be the case.


3. DEPRESSION. 

      Statistically, suicides happen most around Christmas due to depression.

      Now I'm not one to even contemplate taking my own life as I am mentally well enough to see all the great things in my life that are worth living for. - My amazingly sweet and ridiculously smart daughter. - My super supportive, caring, kind and wonderfully patient husband. - My extended family of former & present in-laws. - My friends, co-workers and clients; all of whom support me (as well as my business) and continually keep me focused on the bigger picture.

     Despite all these things I have to be thankful for, I have always been one to struggle with bouts of depression.  For as long as I can remember from my adolescent years on into adulthood, I have been in some form of treatment - whether it be in therapy with a psychiatrist combined with an anit-depressant, or just therapy with a counselor without medication, or with just a medicine prescribed by my general practitioner.

     Depression has just been a thing that I'm able to recognize and deal with throughout different times in my life.  It never goes away, but the degrees of severity vary.  

     I would be lying if I said that the holidays don't contribute to my depressed feelings as of late.  I most definitely am experiencing the cliche "Holiday Blues."  But I truly feel in my heart that it's not for the "typical" reasons most people have.

    It's not finances or stress.  It's more just a general feeling of being overwhelmed.  Everything in my life requires work right now.

     My home is a work in progress.  There's no place to just relax comfortably because it's in a state of renovation.

     My days off, I work.  

     Even my "vacations" away from Nashville are for work.


- Anyhow, I'm not sharing this for pity party or anything like that.  - Instead, I'm sharing these things because I have allowed them to somehow rob me of my joy and peace. - And I'm sure several of you can relate in one way or another.  So many of us are struggling to find peace in a time of pure madness.

With that being said, I have found peace and comfort in this:

Christ came on Christmas day to take from us all the stress, all the lonliness and all the depression we experience.  He came to heal the brokenhearted and to be with us in our loneliest times.  He is the reason for this season and we should find comfort in that - not be stressed over the trival parts of Chrismas. 

Despite my personal struggles with loneliness and depression, I've been trying to not let the Christmas craziness get the best of me - and when working in the retail world durning the holidays, that's easier said than done...  but when those waves of stress, loneliness and depression wash over me, I remind myself that Jesus is the reason for the season.  He can & will heal my brokenness, fill the emotional voids I struggle with on a daily basis and provide for me and my family. - And that is something amazing to be happy about.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Rumour has it..."

Gosh, it seems that I've been too busy these days to keep up with my blog.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to most of you in my friend circle that I've been working entirely too much, which means trying to form a cohesive string of thoughts to put in a public post for everyone to effectively comprehend hasn't been an easy task.

But yet here I am.

As far as work goes:
- I am so, so blessed! Freelancing has been keeping me busy to say the least. I'm also working on a pretty regular basis at The Cosmetic Market. My in-home treatment room is functional - though not completely finished - and has allowed me to service the few regular Aesthetics clients that I have when my schedule permits. And finally, I just officially signed on with Too Faced Cosmetics this week as a freelancer for several stores in the Nashville area - which I'm very excited about.

On the home front:
- Home renovations are coming along... still soooo much to do, but we're tackling one room at a time and making some noticeable progress.

- Emily is doing very well in school. She's learning so much in the first grade. She's reading and writing so well now that she actually reads the bedtime stories to me. It's amazing as a parent to see all the things she's learning.

- Today marks 7 months of marriage for Alan and I. We are doing well. - Don't get me wrong, we have our disagreements, but in the end we always manage to laugh it off and move on unscathed. We were talking earlier tonight about how we've only been together a little over a year, but we can't remember life before we came into each others lives.

- I had a check up with my gynecologist today and mentioned that I'll probably want to have my IUD removed at my next appointment in May. (GASP!) - So that gives me a good 6 months to wrap my head around the fact that Alan and I are seriously planning to spawn. Emily is already counting down the days till I am able to get pregnant. Crazy. So my primary focus for the next several months will be to get rid of this post-wedding weight so I can spare to put on the 40llbs of pregnancy weight guilt-free. - But in all seriousness, I'm hoping to get my body in a healthier state so that this pregnancy won't be so hard, because we all know that I'm no spring chicken! Ha!

- I decided earlier this month to get back on an anti-depressant for the moderate depression I've been struggling with for the last several months. I'm on week three. - Still not feeling 100% "NORMAL" - but then again, who's to say what normal is, right? The medicine makes me sleepy and a little sick to my stomach so I've been sleeping a lot on my down time, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a quick acclimation period.


That's about all I've got.

-- Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Good Golly, Miss Molly!"

Things have been quite insane at the Casa de Fox-Smith as of late.

LOTS of changes taking place, lots of decisions to pray hard about.

For starters, Alan officially turned in his notice last week. This has come as a VERY welcomed gesture - especially since we've been married I have hardly been able to see my husband because of work. Although I'm extremely happy that he won't have to stay at work till all hours of the morning cleaning up the messes his incompetent employees unfailingly leave for him every night, at the same time, my mind, body and soul are completely exhausted from the constant state of worry they've been in since the day he called his district manager to inform him of his decision.

He's got a lot of things in the works - tossing around a lot of ideas and making all kinds of plans. - And much like the situation I found myself in when I was about to leave my insurance job several years ago to pursue Aesthetics school, Alan is also registering for school in hopes to finish up his degree. I - more so than anyone - understand the importance of loving what you do and support his gestures to make that happen with everything I have.

But somehow, my worrisome nature always gets the best of me. My maternal instincts get shoved into overdrive. And I worry... constantly... over how I'm going to take care of everything and everyone. God always provides for me, I know this, yet I still have trouble letting go of all the worry.

In other news, most of you know that I've been with The Cosmetic Market on a very part-time/as needed basis since I started Aesthetics school in 2009. Just in the last several weeks, I've managed to rack up some ridiculous hours. My manager even asked me if I was interested in staying on a few days a week from now on and I agreed.

Well, with all the added hours, I decided to email corporate to see about having my pay rate adjusted. In my email I proceeded to toot my own horn a little (something I don't normally do) - but I was sure to mention all my recent accomplishments - like being nationally published multiple times, completing Aesthetics school and placing 1st in the state for my Aesthetics & Makeup techniques and having the opportunity to go compete at Nationals only to place 5th in the Nation.

Needless to say, my email was well received. They came to me with an offer that I seriously need to pray about - actually 3 different offers - but only one of them I am seriously considering.

So in addition to my freelancing business - which I'm so blessed to be staying so busy with, I'm still trying to get a treatment room up and functioning out of my home and I am now considering the offer of working out of the treatment room at The Cosmetic Market in Green Hills every Sunday and Monday.

I've been praying about it incessantly. I've informed my managers that I need a few weeks to think about my decision so that we have some time to figure out Alan's schedule too as I don't want to commit to something that I won't be able to keep up especially when Emily's schedule comes into play and they've graciously afforded me some time.

So yes, we've got a lot of stuff going on - and lest we not forget to mention the horrible state of demolition and reconstruction our home is in. Oy vey! Please keep our family in your prayers and I will try to do better at keeping everyone informed of what's going on in our crazy lives!

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Breathe in, breathe out, move on and break down..."

I seriously feel like I'm losing it.

Why is it so hard to accept and openly admit that you're in the middle of an all-out knock-down drag-out fight with depression???

I've seen it slowly creeping in for a couple of months now... each passing day getting more difficult to keep it all contained.

The extreme mood swings, the lack of patience, the hyper-sensitivity, the change in eating habits, the non-stop crying, the loathing of your own appearance, the insecurities, the difficulty sleeping, the lack of motivation to get out of bed...

It's all here.

Unfortunately, this has been something I've dealt with on and off for the majority of my life.

Circumstance isn't helping much either. My schedule has been all out of whack. Who knew working for yourself would wreck so much havoc on your day to day life? - And this house is about to drive me completely bananas. Renovations are s-l-o-w, to say the least. Between Alan working so much at his craptastic job and my being in and out of town, we haven't had much time or energy to devote to getting things done around here. This house hardly feels like a home. No matter how hard I try to keep it clean and in some sort of order, it seems pointless because of all the unfinished projects going on all at once. Needless to say, my OCD is in overdrive and I feel like I'm in a constant state of unfinished chaos.

I hate to think that I will be one of those people dependent upon anti-depressants for the rest of my life. I've been on just about every anti-depressant under the sun at one point or another and they all somehow manage to make me feel even more crazy than I already feel (just for the record, that's pretty damn crazy). - Let's not even get started on all the cruddy side effects you have to deal with on top of the "crazy".

Reluctantly, I'm making an appointment to discuss my options with my doctor but I'm curious to hear from all of you first about what medications have/haven't worked for you and if you have any natural remedies other than exercise, diet & St John's Wart that have helped.

I've tried it all... I'm less than thrilled about getting back on a daily medicine, but I've also had enough experience with this sort of thing to know that if I don't do something to get this in check now, things will most definitely start falling apart.

Please say a prayer or two for me and feel free to chime in with your two cents. :) Thanks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"I Should Be So Lucky in Love."

Gosh... it's been 3 months since my last blog. It seems I'm finally acclimating myself to the duties of "real life" again after being completely consumed by a world of wedding planning for the last several months.

Even the simplest of weddings are a challenge to orchestrate. -And let's not even begin to discuss how expensive weddings are. -I can not imagine having a huge all-out wedding with hundreds and hundreds of guests. I would end up in the funny farm for sure.

-That being said, our wedding day has come and gone. In all aspects, April 9th turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day. Abundant sunshine. Not a drop of rain. -And record breaking high temperatures - 91 degrees to be exact.

The ceremony was perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything more. It was everything I wanted and then some. Simple, minimal, heart-felt and sweet. If I could do it all over again, I would - over and over again, exactly the same - just minus all the "crazy" and stress.

There it is. I am a married woman.

Who would've thought my life would take this sort of turn and then make it all happen so fast? I sure didn't. I remember many times over the past several years wondering if I would ever find that one person who was made especially for me.

It's no secret that I've had some commitment issues. As Brooke so eloquently threw me under the bus in her blog. -Yes, I've dated some really great guys. -Annnnnnd, this goes without saying, I dated some real jerks too.

So many of those relationships didn't work because I was searching for something to fill the deepest of voids within my own heart, but yet I had no clue as to what that void needed to be filled with, thus making dating and relationships very difficult for me to sustain.

I speak from experience when I say this: "When you know, you just know." I admittedly caught some flack from people in my life who weren't very close to me about my decision to get married to someone I hadn't officially known for very long. -Yes, Alan and I had barely been together a few weeks before we started discussing marriage seriously, but we just knew. It was totally a God thing and we both truly believe that. There was a reason why we were Facebook friends for 2 years without ever meeting. We had several of the same friends. We had been in the same place at the same time with said mutual friends on more than one occasion but were never formally introduced. It just wasn't the right time for us to meet. We both were not ready.

After meeting Alan in person, I quickly figured out what it was that I had been looking for. I had finally found that person who made every ounce of hurt that had ever happened in my life completely fade away. Someone who understands me - better than I understand myself a lot of the time. I've found my soul mate. I finally feel complete.

Even though I have my moments of non-stop griping and complaining about the ridiculous state our house is currently in, I know I have so much to be thankful for.

I'm a 32 year old married mother of one. My amazing husband not only loves me completely, but loves my child just as much. I'm lucky enough to be doing what I love for a living. We're making plans and setting new goals together. We have a house - that with a lot of patience and hard work will eventually become a humble, comfy & cozy home. I feel secure knowing that my family can and will love me through whatever challenges we encounter together. -Oh, lest we not forget to mention how abundantly lucky I am to have so many amazing friends who would do anything and everything to help me (and vice-versa).

I'm a very blessed lady. Life is good... Really, really good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Somehow, I'm Leading Someone Else's Life."

I'm in a state of serious transition, and most of you know how being uprooted and completely out of my normal routines effect me. It's not pretty, to say the least.

Originally, Alan & I had planned to move into a place of our own, however, considering all the transitions taking place over the first part of this year, we decided that staying in his home and making the necessary renovations, then selling it in a year or so would be the wisest plan of action for us financially. After all, the number one strain on any marriage is finances so we decided that we'd be able to keep that to a minimum for a while by staying put.

So a couple of weekends ago, Alan, Emily and I went to Home Depot to price flooring, pick colors, and get some ideas for updating the house. We left with paint for the master bedroom and for Emily's bedroom. The first coat of pretty purple paint is up in Em's room and I can already envision how adorable her room will be once we finish sponging on the pink flowers, stars and hearts. - Definitely a room fit for the little princess she is.

This past Sunday, after about 5 different appointments within a week's time, I finally said "Yes" to a dress. - My dress. - My very first wedding dress ever.

As I handed my debit card over to the bridal consultant, it all began to feel very real. I. Am. Getting. Married. Again. - Whew. - Breathe, Sylvia, breathe.

Later that afternoon, Alan and I went to sign up for a gym membership "together". I even went as far as checking the box labeled "married" and hyphenating my last name on the membership application under the advice of the gym associate who was assisting us with our paperwork. - I'm not going to lie, it felt a little foreign.

I started moving some of my things for the kitchen over to the house on Monday. I made dinner for Em and placed my belongings into "our" tiny kitchen while Alan and his dad went back to Home Depot to get new wood slats for the floors in the master bedroom.

This is when I felt the first pangs of anxious energy stab at my chest.

As much as I hate to admit it, this all seems vaguely familiar. - The purple room, gradually moving my belongings into someone else's home, and then the all-too-familiar feeling of worry about completely taking over someone's bachelor pad.

I promised myself I would not do this again - not that I've made plans to live with a plethora of men in my lifetime or anything like that. But I had made all these goals for myself to get out of my current living situation all on my own. It was something I felt that I had to do all by myself. But here I am.

I know the situation at hand is completely different from the situation I found myself in two years ago, however, I can't help but worry. I suppose it's just something I'll have to work through on my own. It just surprises me that two years after the fact, it still has such a profound effect on my emotional well-being.

It's 73 days till our wedding day... I should be ecstatic, however, I'm finding myself in a very melancholy state.

- I don't get it. I've found the love of my life, yet I feel so completely alone???

I can only deduce that all this loneliness is manifesting itself from the following:

* In reality, given logistics and finances, most of my friends who I actually WANT to be at my wedding, won't be able to make it.

* My immediate family hasn't the slightest clue that I'm planning to get married. - Sadly, I know that they wouldn't show an ounce of support for my decision anyhow, whether it be emotionally or financially, even if they did know. - Ultimately, I am on my own.

* Being in the business, I've been to enough weddings to know that there's an unspoken dynamic to most weddings that I will never have.

My father is deceased, so he won't be there to walk me down the aisle nor will there be any Father/Daughter dances.

My mother ritualistically stops speaking to me for extended periods of time so she won't be there to help lace me into my dress or share any last minute marital words of wisdom before I walk down the aisle to marry my best friend.

- But don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my friends here in Nashville. I'm convinced that my best friend, Karla, and I were separated at birth. - And my ex-in-laws as well as my soon-to-be in-laws have been more of a family to my daughter and me than my own family. I guess it's just difficult to have always felt as if you never belonged in your own family, therefore you will always have trouble feeling like you belong anywhere else.

- That's where I am currently. A bit off, emotionally.

I miss my friends back home a whole lot right now, more so than usual. - Especially my lifelong, best-friend, Sandy. - Molly, Chad & Amy too. Distance, busy schedules and family obligations have made it entirely too difficult to stay as close as we would like.

Additionally, whether I like to admit it or not, I do miss my ridiculously dysfunctional family. Not a day goes by where I don't think of them and fervently wish things were different.

There's just something not right about having to plan such a monumentally joyous day without an out-pour of emotional support from the people you love the most...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"So this is the new year..."

2010 in retrospect:

* I survived a surgery that completely changed my life for the better.

* I finally graduated from Aesthetics school.

* I experienced the busiest year of freelancing I have ever had.

* I met my soul mate.

* And after a lengthy succession of challenging years, 2010 was finally a year to be remembered by the amount of smiling I did rather than the amount of tears I cried.



Hello & Welcome, 2011!

*******************************************************************
It's 26 days till my daughter's SIXTH birthday. It's hard to believe I've been a mom for SIX years. - Man, where does the time go?!?!

But as trying as my journey has been at times, especially doing it all as a single mom, I can honestly say I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't have her in my life. She IS my saving grace and the whole reason why I continue to chase my dreams with such ferocity.

*******************************************************************

It's 68 days till my 32nd birthday. I remember having so much anxiety about turning 30. - 31 wasn't bad at all. - And as I'm quickly approaching my 32nd year, I finally feel like my life is coming together how I always envisioned it to be.

- I have a beautiful daughter.
- I completed a program of study, though not exactly "college" in the sense my mother would have liked, but college nonetheless.
- I'm doing what I love to do and am able to provide for myself and my daughter by doing just that.
- I've met a man that I can't wait to spend the rest of my life loving.

*******************************************************************

Only 94 days till I walk down a petal-covered aisle in a pretty white dress in front of our closest friends and family to marry the most amazing man I have ever met.

For the first time in my life, I have absolutely no apprehensions about getting married. No distrust, doubt or second guessing. No worries about our ability to communicate with one another. No concerns about not having enough in common. No questions about his reliability, commitment and dedication to our marriage, to me and most importantly to my daughter. It all just makes perfect sense.

- April 9th, 2011 can not get here fast enough...

*******************************************************************

Resolutions??? - Eh, not so much. - More like "Goals for the New Year." I function better that way anyhow.

~ First and foremost, I want to spend more time PLAYING with my daughter & my soon-to-be husband and less time working feverishly.

~ I WILL pass both parts of my state board exam with flying colors.

~ I would LOVE to find a comfy place for Alan, Emmy and I to call "Home" by the end of February, if not sooner.

~ I WILL lose 30lbs, tone up these flabby arms and fit into my skinny jeans by April.

~ I want to write and paint more frequently.

~ I would like to start having dinner & movie nights with friends again.

In closing, I simply want to be happy, content and able to worry less over things I can't control while continuing to strive to better myself in every way possible.

I am so, so excited to see what wonderful things 2011 has in store for me!