The Roots, The Branches and The Leaves

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Every tree has roots that hold them to a place in the dirt.  Ever tree has branches or off shoots that showcase buds that turn into leaves.

We often refer to our families of origin as our family tree with branches of members and leaves that off shoot and come and go, change shape and color, and re-budding time and time again.  As we grow up and begin to grow our own family, we begin to plant our own set of roots and those roots begin to burrow onto our fiber and our being.  They hold us to the place, time and people that make up our family.  Throughout my life my family has grown and morphed, by this I mean, my family was sometimes made up more of close friends and their families, other times my extend family of origin and then changing again to my family nucleus made up of my husband, two sons and two dogs.

The nucleus has also included close friends as they have come in and out of our lives over the many years we have been together but nonetheless our party of four plus two fur babies has been the constant for a very long time now making up our immediate family tree trunk and branches.  

Our roots run deep and our trunk although slightly crooked stands tall nonetheless.  Time and awareness can make us either starve the tree of water, prune it too far or neglect it in other ways.  Or you can water, fertilizer and prune the tree so that it flourishes.  

In my case I have waffled on feeding and watering our family tree and at other times starving it causing the trunk to slant and roots to shrivel and loss grip on the earth and place that holds the tree in place.

As the years have gone by and so many things has changed one thing has remained and progressed that has caused the neglect to the tree. The drinking and havoc it has caused.  Although the drinking ramped up there were other things under the soil that kept starving the roots.  The resentment, the depression and the growing belief that the love was gone.  

I can’t say the exact point in time the love seemed to slip away or exactly why.  Perhaps we were never meant to be in the first place but just never took the space and time to examine that.  I know I play a big part in that ambivalence as I have for the vast majority of my adult life.  Always looking for the person who would sweep me up and be the one.  Always moving too fast and never really knowing who I was or what I wanted.  

But in this family tree there really was not an option I felt for walking away or moving away like I had done so many times before.  This time there were other people involved, my boys who so badly needed a sturdy tree that could help them change, evolve and grow so they could be the strong branches and the allow their leaves to continue to bud, grow, change and repeat.

When we make choices to hide or dissolve into our bad habits we leave very little space for those we love or who love us and need us.  I think about my actions, distance and numbness everyday.  I am defiant as a mother due to my own choices and the circumstances I have put myself in.  When the roots don’t hold you or your family to the ground you can falter, making your responses or lack there of worse creating even more distance between you and the ones you love. 

So this where I have the choice to open up for my children and keep the other parts of my sorrow and loveless marriage out of the picture.  Rise up and be present for my family or at least part of it.  There is no real choice to uproot the tree right now as it would devastate the branches and leaves forever.  Instead I need to look inside and be stronger, bring more clarity and peace to my home and not drink.  Remove the fog, the fuzzy head and shame just be real and be there for my boys.  I can take care of the rest later when it is safe to uproot the tree without damaging the branches and the leaves.

I share this here because I don’t want to falter, I will come back when it is tough and read these words so I know to stay the course and remember the to feed, fertilize and water my family tree.  After all it is a family tree, and my family deserves more and better from me.

~K from the Hill Country

Naming the Crazy! Anxiety

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You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.

— Dan Millman

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to go to my son’s lacrosse game, very familiar feelings started to stir, the nervousness, feeling uncomfortable in my skin, and worry about what others will think of me. The self talk, often negative in nature, about whether or not anyone will talk to me, will the other moms ignore me, will they think I am fat, or not pretty enough, the list goes on and on. Then my mind shifted and I began to change the conversation in my mind. My thoughts were more positive in nature. “I am sure at least a few of the moms will talk to me”, and “I will introduce myself to a few of them so they know who I am”, and “why would they not like you, you are smart, pretty, have a great career and once they know who you are they will enjoy talking with you.” I have to say that is was one of the first times the dialogue in my brain has shifted and it stopped me in my tracks. I finally knew what I have been experiencing for so much of my life, extreme anxiety!

Anxiety, that is what I have been feeling my whole life. I know what you’re thinking duh! Of course it was and is anxiety, have you been living under a rock? But I was just finally putting the two and two together, and it finally clicked for me yesterday.

So many events, moments throughout my life immediately flashed before my eyes. I have always been a strange mix of shy and out going. Of course over the years, I have used alcohol to move me from one end of the spectrum to the other. I think if you asked most everyone who has known me throughout my life, they would tell you I am an out going, silly, crazy, always talking woman. But that side of me has come from a bottle 98% of the time. The truth of the matter is I do believe I am shy, but more importantly very, very insecure and anxious. I know I am not alone in these feelings, many woman feel this way, but I have definitely used alcohol to cope.

I always pre-partied before the parties in college, I always drank before I went to a party after college, I always drank while getting ready for an event, in when it was at my house! I needed to drown out the voices in my head telling me I was not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough etc. For me the best way to do that was drink, so I would be loose enough to have conversations and not be slipping into panic mode.

Naming anxiety yesterday was important, it was the shift I needed to recognize why I was always on edge before every event, every interaction with other women, other moms. It is important to name things, in particular feelings and emotions we don’t understand, as it helps us to process and make these emotions tangible. Making sense of what the messy, swirly, craziness in our heads is all about it is magical, because when you name that shit, you can start recognizing when it starts, how it starts, and begin to change the narrative in your brain, changing your self talk and behaviors. Yesterday, I named dark feelings and emotions I have endured my of my life, anxiety, and I was able to change my thoughts and actions to push through the major discomfort, to show up in a new way around new people I did not really know. For me yesterday was a major breakthrough!

I have listened to others talk about anxiety for a very long time and even been able to identify it when I see certain behaviors with other including my own two boys. The nervousness, fidgeting, the hypersensitive responses, avoidance, I have watched them move through all of it. Knowing I have had very much the same feelings most of my life. It is confusing at times, because even though I might get nervous about a big presentation or event at work, I also look forward to them. Practicing my presentations, moving so easily through a room full of people I don’t know, greeting them and engaging very easily. Why is it so different in professional settings but so scary and hard when it is just a mom’s night out or neighborhood gathering? Why is so hard and awkward when it is just meeting new moms on a lacrosse field or at back to school night? I am not sure I understand why that is so hard for me but I am going to push through it and work on identifying the emotions and feelings, so I can sit with them and change my patterns. I know drinking is not going to help me anymore. I need to stand on my own two feet.

Wish me luck…because it only took me 48 years to get to this point of understanding and self awareness…sit with for a minute and think about all the wasted years of crazy ass, overwhelming anxiety.

~K from the Hill Country

So Small

I am so small
My world is so small
I live life rolled up in a tight ball 
The space I possession just becomes less and less
My life is a fucking mess


My world is so small because I shut out all
Leaving no space or time for anyone to pay a visit at all
Shutting everyone out except for one who will definitely lead me to fall


I am small because I choose to be 
I was not always this small but my addiction restricted me 
Too small to raise my voice for help
Ego to big to really look at myself


My life is a mess because I gave up
Reigning chaos and letting everything go amuck
Never caring about anyone else, only me and how numb I could get


I am so small because I ignore it all 
Living among the lies that strangle me 
Minimizing my space so there is no way to get free 
Smaller and smaller my existence gets like anvil I can’t get off my chest


My world is so small as I have left room for only drink
I hide away so they won’t see my world is made up of only one thing
All else falls away or gets pushed out, there is no more room in my one room house


My life is small
I am small 
The mess of if all is so big it has devoured me
Small will just have to fit since I am too afraid to set myself free or ask for the key