Some people seem to really care about New Years, it signifies a time to reflect and commit to change. Other people think it’s BS. And some don’t really care too much!
However you feel about New Years, it’s always good to reflect on time that’s passed and recognize strides that you have made.
My favorite quote when I was in the midst of a lot of struggles was,
“I may not be where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be”
We don’t have to leap from ditches to mountain tops to recognize our power and strength. And sometimes it’s not even steps that deserve recognition, sometimes it’s staying right where you are, because it can be really hard to not fall backward, and good enough is good enough.
This New Years Eve, I laid in bed next to Willow while she slept and realized the changes that occurred over the past year. I thought about the pain, fear, and excitement I felt, and how hopeless I was at times. I realized how far I have come by looking back for a few moments. And it felt good, and it made me feel proud of myself. And I didn’t feel bad saying that.
So, what are you guys proud of from 2018?
I’m proud of myself for starting school, taking the leap to “real” employment and beginning the process of getting off of disability and SSI, moving, admitting to myself and a few friends that I was depressed, sticking with my path even when it was scary and painful and uncertain, trying every day to be a good mom, working hard, getting certified as a SMART recovery facilitator, Recovery Coach, and a Recovery Support Specialist, starting the path to getting my licence, and beginning to throw away things that I don’t need.
Let’s congratulate each other on our success in being here, even when it’s really hard work.
It’s a strong word that seems to hold a lot of weight these days.
Recently I came out to my grandmother about being Non-binary. Did she take it well? Not really. But I figured I’d been sitting on this secret for over a decade and since I live with her she deserves to know this piece of me. In the end she said, “You know what? I don’t care. You’re still Fallyn. You’re still my granddaughter.” And since then we didn’t really talk about it.
Until recently when she called me a girl over and over in a public diner and… Admittedly, I was getting a little uncomfortable. I don’t identify as a girl but I also didn’t want to start an argument over brunch. So I let it go.
While my grandmother may not fully understand these things, I know my friends support me. They acknowledge who I am and take it for what it is in stride! And I can’t thank them enough for that validation (even though I’d love to be able to help my grandmother process this more I know she won’t bite).
Are there situations when you didn’t feel accepted? Or like an outlier? But you managed to find the silver lining in it anyways? I’d love to know!
World Breastfeeding Week
This Week is World Breastfeeding Week.
Breastfeeding has been a major part of my life for the last 17 months. Since the day Willow was born, and to this day, I have breastfed her.
Whenever, wherever, and for whatever reason, I have responded to my beautiful child’s wants and needs in the most natural and intuitive way physically possible; by breastfeeding.
This journey has taught me many invaluable lessons about both myself and my relationship with my daughter. Becoming a mother is a transformation. It’s a journey, and my own transformation is something I have talked about many times on my blog.
Before Willow was born, when asked how I was going to feed her (formula or breastfeeding) I said I would breastfeed, and thinking back I don’t remember why exactly, other than it seemed the only option- at that time primarily for financial reasons. As I learned more and more about what my journey would entail and about why people breastfeed I began to realize that I was truly making the best decision for both myself and my daughter.
The beginning was hard. It was more than hard.
Willow had a really bad latch. I was tired, depressed, lonely, in an un-supportive and abusive relationship, and essentially alone. Willow wanted to eat over and over again. And for long stretches of time. It seemed as soon as she finished she was hungry all over again. I was not myself, my body did not belong to me, and I was so so unbelievably exhausted. I cried a lot. I fell asleep sitting up at night, holding willow and would wake up terrified but thankful she was still in my arms, nursing. I left Willow latched even when it hurt (mistake) because I just wanted her to eat and fall asleep. I made many mistakes, and was confused about so much.
I had so much room to grow and learn but often felt so hopeless and alone, I would just blindly go forward, unknowing of what laid ahead. But I wasn’t alone. I joined Facebook groups. I talked to friends of mine who breastfed, or wish they did. People commended me, they validated me, and one person in particular (who was with me from early in my pregnancy, there when my daughter was born, and after) who educated me and supported me consistently and oftentimes when I needed it more than anything else. And I kept going, even though there were times I felt desperate to stop, perhaps for just a day, or a moment, or a night- to share the vast responsibility of growing, birthing, and feeding this small amazing person who brought me to my knees and changed my life.
Then, incredibly, and like many other aspects of motherhood, it got easier. Not immediately, and not overnight, but slowly and surely and then suddenly. Suddenly, breastfeeding was the easiest part of motherhood.
Suddenly, my confidence in myself and my ability as a woman and a mother was incredibly affirmed and increased. I am amazing, I made it through long enough to reach a place of ease in something I once considered giving up. I set goals, and wandered through, eyes closed and arms outstretched. Even when I fell into pits, and found my way out. And when giving up was an option I kept going.
I remember, hoping, wishing, to make it, to not give up. Reasoning that I would make it to at least 6 weeks, then at least 3 months. And then, it was just a part of our life. An amazing, incredible, and valuable part of our life. Now, at seventeen months strong, I can say with confidence that we are going as long as my daughter finds comfort and need in breastfeeding – even if its years and years from now. And I will never feel shame for lifting my shirt in public to feed and comfort my child.
And one day, she wont need or want to nurse. But that day is not today, and I hope that it is not tomorrow. But if it is, and when it is, I will be there, holding her hand, and we will forever have the bond that began in my womb and continues to grow every single day.
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Special shoutout to Martin Luther King Jr. on this national holiday! Today we celebrate and commemorate a king who made so much possible in this world for us as a people. He is a hero and we appreciate every single thing that you’ve done to make a difference. Your death was monumental. Let’s continue to celebrate a dream, triumph, and a man who led a movement. Hug your brother and sister, use the community restroom bc you can, talk to someone who is different from you… smile at ignorance, just bc you can! Educate and grow.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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