Hear Me Roar

Something this past week lit a fire within me to express myself about how society’s perceptions of motherhood are unrealistic. Yet if one is brave enough to raise your voice loud enough others will judge you for having your own mind. Motherhood and life are a messy business.

Motherhood is the most challenging experience that I have had in the past two months. The time that I spend with my son, Dylan, is by far the most rewarding and challenging. You learn a great deal about yourself and what you are passionate about once you become a parent. I am become even more willing to express myself since my son was born as I realized that I could do far more than I thought.

Most of my adult life I have been dealing with both post traumatic stress disorder and depression. I have gained a lot of wisdom and much healthier coping strategies over the years. Mental illness does not make a person into an unfit parent, or a person who is less deserving of happiness. Our society does not encourage mothers to seek help for post partum depression, and many mothers fear judgement for asking for help.

Society says that we should be able to handle motherhood on our own without the help of family, our partners, or even outside assistance. Media portrayals of motherhood are far from accurate. What we believe and expect of ourselves as mothers is complete and utter bullshit! Our speed of lightening society doesn’t give anyone the right to breathe and try to do things differently. It may make me unpopular or even a bit of a rebel, but I choose to speak of my own experiences honestly. If someone doesn’t like how I express myself or who I am then that is their problem; not mine. As Katy Perry sings, “Hear me roar!”

Amanda

Nightmare at Rocks

Midnight blue sky without stars or moon

Wind howling as it whips through the trees

Weighed down by a weariness

That she cannot shake in light of day

Or when the moon comes out to play

Holes punched in heart’s cloth

It’s a ragged garment soon to be cast off

She looks down at the blackness below her

A sound of water rushing against the rocks

No one calls her name behind her:

Would anyone mourn?

She swallows gulps of air then takes a running leap

Floating towards the water’s blackness

As the water fills her lungs

Sitting bolt upright in bed awakened from

Nightmare at the rocks

Poster Girl

This evening I decided to depart from my regular viewing habits of watching a movie or catching up on a television series on Netflix. I found the documentary “Poster Girl” that aired on HBO in November 2011. This documentary follows Robynn Murray, a veteran, who works to reclaim her humanity as she overcomes post traumatic stress disorder. Robynn is very candid about what the experience of post traumatic stress disorder can be like. She has spoken about her experiences before other veterans and the public to raise awareness. The documentary is unflinching and can be very graphic, but the topic requires this brutal honesty.

Amanda

Finding a Reason

Post traumatic stress disorder had a very big effect on my intimate relationships. It affected my ability to trust others and my instincts, to be emotionally balanced, and to see myself as deserving of receiving love. Getting better took me a long time where I made a lot of mistakes that I learned very valuable lessons from.

For my husband, it was at times a battle of wills to get me to open up about what I was feeling or thinking. It is difficult to express what you are feeling when you don’t know how to. It took therapy and a great deal of growth before I could be open about my emotions with others. The divorce rate for those with post traumatic stress disorder is very high with good reason. It is not easy for our partners who do not know how to always cope with our symptoms.

The duet sung by Pink and Nate Ruess titled “Just Give Me a Reason” reminded me of those moments where the love was still there, but we were struggling with each other. Nate sings: “You’ve been having real bad dreams.” Nightmares, and insomnia are the most troubling symptoms that I experienced when I was really ill. The two singers share a dialogue between them that reflects that love can survive even when things look dark.

I can remember asking my husband at one point as to why are you still here. He told me his reason was, “I love you.” Love is very much a verb. It is wonderful to say I love you to someone, but it holds no weight if your actions do not reflect those words. It means staying and trying even when things are difficult.

Amanda

The Nightmare

Laying down my tired body

a journey begins to flow

where I go to the place of hopes and fears.

~

Standing in a hospital’s hallway

hair on my arms begins to prickle

something is not right here; stomach churns.

~

Lying on a stretcher; you are there

your eyes are closed and messy dark hair

hooked up to a heart monitor, an erratic rhythm

~

I am looking in from the hall,

a disembodied witness wanting to scream,

as I hear the heart monitor sound the alert.

~

Nurses and doctors swarm you as little I can see,

I am pushed aside as they race,

they call “Clear!” and try with the paddles.

~

Your body rises up but still no response,

they try again…nothing

pulling a sheet over your face.

~

I collapse down on my knees,

as I can’t force a scream out,

tears won’t come as the shock is too great.

(c) Amanda Wilson 2013

Reflecting on Freckles

On Monday evening, I had the privilege to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in a couple of weeks. The weather here made a very quick transition from the cold of late winter into sunshine with the temperature in the double digits. My friend and her children spent a few afternoons and evenings enjoying the sunny warm weather. April is fair skinned and a red head who develops freckles when she spends a lot of time in the sun. She told me once as a child that she was very self conscious about those freckles.

Her red hair, and yes even those freckles, make her beautiful in the eyes of those who love her. When you look in the mirror at yourself how do you view those things that you perceive as imperfections? Those who love you could very well argue that they make you unique and special. How wonderful it would be if we choose to love everything about ourselves?

Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Freckles” caused me to smile when I heard it. My favourite lyric is: “A face without freckles/ Is like a sky without stars.” The night sky loses something when the stars are not out. We lose our most lovable qualities when we try to hide them from others, or do not give them the love that they deserve. It is very much a waste of time to not love yourself for the all the unique and wonderful qualities that you can share that will enrich our world.

Amanda

A Stray Cat’s Wish

mar-stray-cat-2

A Stray Cat’s Wish

a black stray cat could be my animal form

we share some experiences, forlorn

people avoid me on the street

even though my story is unknown

easier for me to not get too close

most who do wish me harm out of fear

or if they get close enough to offer affection

greeted by growling, arched back, and scratches

once someone cautiously approached me

left out tuna that when he wasn’t looking

I hungrily devoured…

a feast compared to garbage scraps

the man spoke in a soft voice

trying to come a little closer towards me

almost got close enough to pick me up

I bit him and clawed him until he bled

fleeing into the nearby alley

heart pounding against my ribs

two green eyes wide with fright

what had he planned to do with me?

once no longer scared

I thought as I groomed myself

perhaps he meant to take me home

to a place of warmth

I slipped in and out of shadows

meowed at his front door

hoping that I would be heard

and the door would open again

I don’t take up much space

my small body doesn’t eat much

give me a soft place to sleep

so this stray cat can purr for you

(c) Amanda Wilson 2013