The past few months I’ve been at a loss as to what to do with this blog. My vision and goals for it when it began 6 years ago are different than my goals now. I hardly recognize person I was when I started this site as a way to connect with the outside world and attempt to encourage other moms in the imperfect moments of life.
In all, I have been blogging for 12 years on various sites. There have been seasons of oversharing, but lately, in a way I haven’t been sharing enough. There are big pieces missing to the stories I’ve been telling, and I can’t continue writing this way.
I went through a few years where I was processing a lot of things in my life, that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to share with the world. Quite honestly, I didn’t think the things truly going on in my head and my heart would be helpful to anyone.
Lately, I’ve been reminded how much stories can help us heal. Even if I don’t have all the answers, or a perfectly constructed closing thought, sometimes just a middle-of-the-story “me too”, can mean so much.
So my friends, I want to go back to sharing more of the imperfect. Not just the silly imperfections that make us giggle, but the hard ones. The raw ones that hurt to type but somehow bring a little bit of comfort to the reader in the middle of a struggle.
There are some things that have been phrased in hints and tidbits around the blog because I wasn’t sure how to put them into words. So here, all in one place, you’ll have the chance to read the truth about me. If you want to. And maybe, if you’re so inclined you can tell me a bit about you in the comments (or an email) as well.
You might already know I’ve struggled with depression. But what I have failed to say is that it’s been my struggle for over a decade, and because of my past, and the type(s) of depression I carry, there’s a very good chance this will be a life-long journey for me. It’s been difficult to realize this and then come to terms with knowing happiness might not ever come easy to me in the way it seems to for other people. But this is my life, and a big part of who I am is my survival story. A story that continues to be written every single day whether I find the courage to type it or not.
You know I’ve written about trying to gain weight, and my frustrations when people reduce me to just being “the skinny girl“. What I didn’t tell you is that I was underweight for so long because I had some sort of an (undiagnosed) eating disorder. During that time it was not uncommon for me to suddenly feel like I was going to pass out and have a huge headache, only to remember that I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for 36 hours. This was not a voluntary attempt to stay at a certain body size. My body had just stopped telling me I was hungry.
This isn’t a version of me from the distant past or childhood. This is me, during my adult life, and while I’ve been writing this blog.
Without you knowing about that struggle, I haven’t been able to share with you my joy as I have been able to gain weight, and keep it on. How every time I went up a size I would quietly rejoice. And how now, I can eat at least two meals a day, and even three on some days without it being a burden.
That’s such a small thing. The ability to eat three meals a day doesn’t seem like something to be celebrated. But there was a time that food was making me so sick, and I could barely manage to choke down some humus or an avocado without feeling like I was going to throw up. There were months when I lived on protein shakes and one meal a day because it was all I could convince my body to eat. . . All while people were telling me “you’re so skinny” and “I’m so jealous you lost the baby weight that fast” and “real women have curves“.
Those people that somehow found out I was trying to gain weight would say things like “I wish I had your problem” and I’d cringe inwardly. I knew they weren’t trying to be insensitive, but if they could only realize how isolating it is to be failing at the one thing that should come naturally to every human. Something that even animals are able to do instinctually – eat and provide sustenance for themselves was a struggle for me. I had to fight to want food for after being abused…and they were jealous.
You probably know that I have a tattoo on my arm. Harry Potter’s patronus. A daily reminder from the books that mean so much to me. I’ve written a bit about why I got my tattoo, but as the years pass it gets easier to talk about.
The night before I visited the Wizarding world of harry potter this week, some one was asking if I was excited (probably really wondering why a 26 year old would be so giddy at the thought of a nerdy amusement park). I found myself saying, slightly sarcastically “because Harry Potter is LIFE”. As we laughed together at my exaggeration, I realized, in a way it’s true. I read Harry Potter during a hard time in my life which also happened to be the third time I was dealing with being suicidal. Saying “I love the Potter series” for me, is different than just enjoying it for the gorgeous work of fiction that it is, but it’s actually a big piece of what saved my life…during suicidal experiences numbers 3-6.
Guys, it’s embarrassing to count them like this. To add up the times when I sat sobbing, half of me hoping I’d have the bravery to carry on with my life, and another piece of me silently wishing I wouldn’t, and that it could all end quietly with a whisper. But that’s the truth of my life to this point, and if I’m going to continue this journey of writing with you, I want you to know these things, so I can share my joys and my pains and the laughs in between with each of you.
It’s not all heavy things you don’t know. There are some fun things too. Like how it’s been seven years since I last lived in the Philippines but I still miss it every day. How when I’m very tired, or very homesick I’ll slip back into a Filipino accent and my husband loves to laugh at the way I say things like “pacebook” instead of “facebook” or become a totally different person when I’m talking to a Filipino. Living in Asia was one of the happiest times of my life. I miss the culture, I miss having rice three meals a day and most of all, the way that when people said “how are you” they meant it as a question, not a greeting.
You probably know that I was homeschooled, but you might not know I dropped out of school and got a GED a week after I turned 16. I haven’t mentioned my (lack of) education too much, because honestly I’m ashamed of it. There are times I can still hear my step father’s voice in my head telling me I’m worthless and stupid and ugly, and knowing that my education was sub-par even before I “dropped out” (And moved out) only feeds that feeling of never-good-enough that lives inside of me.
I probably haven’t told you that sometimes at night I can still hear the words “waste of a good breath of air” echoing in my mind, and a part of me can’t help thinking, he was probably right…
I probably haven’t told you that every success I experience in my life is somehow dampened by these things and the feeling that I’m a fraud. That from the outside looking in, I’m a pretty cool person (I think I’d like me, if I wasn’t me…) but from the inside looking out, I don’t always like what I see of me.
I definitely haven’t told you how all of these things and more made me doubt my faith. Faith I’ve been raised in since before I can remember. Watching the way people in my religion react to things happening in the world breaks my heart and made me question everything and almost walk away entirely.
I had seasons of thinking maybe I’ve just been coerced into religion since I’ve been in the church since birth. And then somehow a combination of rock bottom and Harry Potter (yes, again) and studying theology and screaming all sorts of things at a God I wasn’t really sure I believed in any more, I’ve come back to Faith, but in a true way this time instead of something some one else told me to do.
I don’t write about religion much here, because I think those conversations are best had with a good drink and lots of hugging and tears and not through words hurled across the internet that are far too easily misunderstood.
But it’s been a huge shift and change in my life as I figure out who I am and what I actually believe, and yes it’s still in the God of the Bible despite having a million reasons to walk away. All of these things which almost pulled me to anything but Christianity, but somehow I’m finding a way not to judge a perfect God by horribly imperfect people who claim to love Him and it’s making sense.
It’s hard, but so is life, so in a way it’s the only way it can be to also be true.
Most of all I know for certain now, that I’m not just here because I was raised to be. It looks different and it feels different, and I think that’s because it’s real and it’s something I actually believe and not just something I was taught to think.
Y’all, these are hard things to write. If only because there are so many emotions tied up in each of the secrets I’ve been keeping. These things are so raw I’ve kept them safely hidden away. But being burdened with them has prevented me from writing honestly for a long time now. I haven’t know how to articulate what I’m feeling without launching into a dramatic back story that would minimize the original point of the piece I was writing.
So here it is. My dramatic backstory.
Coming in pieces, and a little all over the place, but you have it. In one place, the the missing pieces of who I am and why I respond to things in the way that I do.
Going forward, this invigorates me. I’m ready to share the beauty I see through all these imperfect pieces once again. And I’m anxious to connect with you on this journey.
Hopefully I didn’t scare you away.
If you’r still here after all this, thank you. And don’t worry. Every post isn’t going to be this heavy or difficult to read. My life is not a series of sad things happening over and over again (refraining from making a “series of unfortunate events” reference), but a mosaic of the sad and the beautiful things that life has to offer. It is never as simple as just “good” or “bad”. It’s much more complex and I am happy to get to share the complexities with you.
Welcome to Beauty Through Imperfection, where things are real and things are hard and things are hope-filled.
Friends, if you are dealing with things like this… depression, eating issues, suicide, anxiety, or any of the more difficult things that life has to offer… please get help. Tell a trusted friend. Call a suicide hotline (find one for your state or country here). Don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Send me an email if you need to, just know you aren’t doing life alone.
Latest posts by Paula (see all)
- Weird Ways To Save Crazy Amounts Of Money - October 17, 2018
- Fun ways to announce your pregnancy on Thanksgiving - October 15, 2018
- Halloween Thumbprint “Eyeball” Cookies - October 13, 2018
- Woah! Living a 90s Flashback With My Daughter - October 10, 2018
- Spooky Spider Cookies - October 1, 2018