Thursday, September 25, 2014

doing the work

For so long I just didn't care what I looked like, I was in survival mode. I wore an over sized green hoodie sweatshirt from my hometown of St. Louis because it was safe and real life felt so chaotic and sickening. Sometimes I slept in it and kept it on the next day too. After too many days in a row after too many weeks in a row I let big green rest on a hanger in my closet. I up'ed my game and donned black yoga pants and a t-shirt daily. I didn't do a lick of yoga. My appearance was totally a stay at home mom cliche.

Each morning I awoke already exhausted. I had been up numerous times the evening before, sucked into a whirlwind of horrific thoughts. Thoughts of the future were unbearable. Thoughts of the past were a sucker punch. Simple, easy, perfect then. Over. Thoughts of the present were a nightmare from which I couldn't wake and took more than I had strength for. I had no where left for my mind to go.

We ran from appointment to appointment each day. Assessments, therapy, screaming, tired, numb. I tumbled out of bed each morning and landed somewhere near my coffee machine. I threw on the uniform. Black yoga pants and t shirt. No makeup. What's the point?  I wanted my outsides to match my insides- empty. Big bold life was pointless- makeup was a million miles below that. Beautiful shades of my favorite colors were sucked from my life. I was so angry with everyone else in the world that this wasn't happening to.

And  so (so)   s  l   o   w   l    y like everything in my life over the past few years, I began to defrost. I still am in many ways. I began to remember the ways that life was a gift- the ways that autism hadn't stolen. At first they were tiny and I had to search for them through squinted eyes. And then they grew. I was shocked to see there were still so many.

And finally about a year ago, I traded in the yoga pants for clothes. I still sacrifice fashion for comfort most days- but it isn't so dire. I started to get excited about a new shirt or pants or lipstick. It was the realization that I started to care about me again. A few months ago I discovered THIS BEAUTY BLOG- Maskcara.  I love when we find a new blogger we feel like we are the very first ones on earth to unveil their coolness. I DISCOVERED CARA!!! You know- Right after 100,000 people discovered her too. For the first time- probably since 8th grade I was excited about makeup.

Yesterday morning while the kids were in therapy I went and just played at Sephora. I tried EVERY SINGLE THING available on this "best of"  list. It was so much fun. They give free mini makeovers, so the makeup artist Staci and I just played. There were no goals, to treatment plans, no assessments, nothing concrete accomplished- just a focus on me and it was AMAZING.

Who wudda thunk there could be so much love and healing and nurturing in taking care of yourself? I thought makeup was something superficial- but it can be so much deeper. I discovered I didn't need to be a selfless martyr to be a good mom. I am discovering I am worth time and attention too.

I feel perfectly acceptable walking out of the house without makeup on, but when I invest time in myself and love the glow on the girl in the mirror I feel even better. I left Sephora feeling beautiful. The mall was blasting music and I couldn't help but walk with a dance in my step. ABC by the Jackson 5, OMD- If you Leave, John Mayer- Why Georgia Why? (He seems like a bit of a douche as a guy, but his lyrics are outstanding- Cause I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life. Am I living it right? Am I living it right? Am I living it right? 

I realized I was embedded in a moment of feeling simply content. Suddenly I realized this entire little trip was planned just for ME by God. Surprises were being laid out before me everywhere. Starbucks, makeup, music, alone time. Surprises I wouldn't have recognized before. Sometimes these types of moments are so lovely they are almost painful. Maybe I never saw them before because I didn't need them so much. Maybe they were there all along and I wasn't raw and open enough to notice them. The thing about being scrubbed raw by life- it makes you more sensitive to the good things too. I hope I am always raw enough to notice all my gifts waiting for me.

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Here's my after. Please note the copious application of happy. Repeat after me- I AM WORTH SPENDING TIME ON.

There's been a lot of self help and reflection going on here. A couple of months ago Michael and I started to go to marriage counseling. We struggle with intimacy and communication; a faulty foundation built long before autism was in our life. But WE were put on the back burner during survival mode and it was finally time for us to invest in US.

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I wish you could have seen our therapists face when I asked her to take our picture.  And Michael was supposed to be making a mad face like he was yelling- but he was laughing too hard.

I felt weird about it at first. Like we are bad or broken. "I go to weekly marriage therapy"- is one of those things most people keep private and many people feel ashamed of. I am realizing- we are showing up and doing the hard work- we shouldn't be ashamed of this kind of stuff. We should be proud. No marriage is perfect. 

I wasn't sure if I would write about it. And then I wanted to wait until I figured something out first. I wanted an epiphany- resolution- a lesson. But it's not that easy- real life isn't so concise (darn). It's slow. It's so hard to dig through a closet where things have been shoved into; slamming the door so nothing leaked out for years. After therapy I am exhausted. But we are slowly sifting through and searching for ourselves in the midst of marriage. It's hard. We are investing time in our relationship because it's important. WE are worth it.

Shew. All of that feels scary and good to say. Others truths have set me free and I hope to do the same. Sometimes we are the only ones thinking we are going through something hard and we all end up sitting in our isolated silence, longing for another voice to say me too.

Me too.




  1. Loved it. And marriage counseling is awesome!!!

  2. You are amazing and so very worth it! Thank you for sharing Chrissy! Take care, xx

  3. Thank you for sharing. You look beautiful. And you're strong & brave for going to marriage counseling!

  4. You are amazing!! :) And marriage counseling takes so much love/courage/and hope, I don't think that it should be hidden. I secretly hope you spend more time talking about marriage counseling, I have often wondered if my husband and I should go. But I'm not there yet....soon I hope to be as courageous as you. You are glowing lady.

  5. this is an amazing post. i had a mini sephora epiphany the other day too, smelling the perfumes in the hope of settling on one to buy myself as a birthday present, taking 5 precious fucking minutes for ME instead of my kids (more like half an hour really...) how amazing does that feel. and you look gorgeous in that photo mama!

  6. I'm sorry...but that last picture made me laugh...that looks like a Parker face to me! ;)

  7. Reason number 794 we are twinsies! I, too, think John Mayer is an incredible douche but still enjoy his music! Ok, maybe we aren't alone in that.
    I went to a new place/old friend last night for a very expensive new cut and color. I looked in the mirror when she was done & said - I can't remember the last time I put any effort into my appearance.
    I am totally jealous that you are seeing a marriage counselor! I wish hubby & I could swing it. I don't think you need to wait until things are falling apart to learn how to better communicate. I look at a therapist as kind of a neutral 3rd party. I get very wrapped around things for probably no or wrong reasons. I feel like it would help us get on track and strengthen what we have. Hope you two come out of it stronger!
    Love & happiness to you, sweet Momma!! xoxo Miracle

  8. I work outside the home full-time in sales, so have to put SOME effort into my appearance. But I've been known to rush out the door, so stressed and swamped with the morning routine, that I'll be up for several hours, at work, with other human adults, having had a couple cups of coffee, and STILL haven't brushed my teeth since the night before. Yuk. But there - I said it!
    And the days I take time to both brush my teeth and put on lip gloss always see me happier and more serene.

  9. You rock! I think I love you!!!! XOXOXOXO ;-) Erica

  10. I was so excited to run into you at the Sephora checkout! I love reading your blog.

  11. Another "just what I needed" post. It is very true about putting the work into your marriage, they are worth it. I failed at it and walked away (a few times). A lady at a divorce retreat once told me I was the most hopeful person that she had ever met, to keep remarrying. I just knew the right one was out there. I have now been single 3 1/2 years and am going through a Celebrate Recovery program at church. Going through that closet of my past is a lot of work, things coming to the surface a little at a time, peeling the layers of the onion back, etc...I should have put that work into me, before trying to be an us. I wish I knew that before. But, kudos for continuing to be real on your blog. To show another side of how real you and your family is. You are beautiful inside and out, green sweatshirt, yoga pants outfit, or normal outfit clothes. ;) Have a blessed day.

  12. Marriage counseling is the BEST investment. After 16 years of marriage and I think every relationship would be better off if they "checked in" every once in a while. Good for both of you for taking the time and energy to invest in each other!

  13. I remember all too well, after we knew it was autism, complete fear. I dropped into a big black hole, and I wasn't sure we could ever find happiness again. Three years later and, in many ways, we are happier than we have ever been. It is a very very tough road, no doubt. But life is actually more clear to me than ever. Thanks for sharing your feelings so deeply and honestly. And I agree, marriage therapy is a good thing!

  14. You are an amazing writer, Chrissy and I appreciate your willingness to say the hard things and do the hard things. In spite of the trials and challenges that your days bring, you are writing about the good stuff and that's powerful. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart, and never be afraid to go to marriage counseling!!
    We have mutual friends, and I hope someday to be able to meet you!

  15. Always enjoy reading your blog. Great post. Thank you!