Here's to the Growing Pains
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve hopped onto this platform. I apologize for the absence if that’s something that’s impacted you. Just to give you a peep into the chaos that has been the past month here we go…
Puzzle Peace Counseling has officially relocated! I am tapping away on my keyboard in my new cozy nook as you read. Oh boy, has this shift been a labor of love. For the chronically impatient souls like myself, moving always proves to be a humbling experience. There are not enough ways I can thank those in my corner for the physical and mental assist in making this transition as smooth as possible. Seriously folks, thank you. You know who you are.
Aside from prepping 50+ clientele for a physical shift in location, the holidays have not disappointed in upping the intensity of which people call on mental health counseling.
Let’s face it, 2021 has been quite the kerfuffle of stress. The opposite of what we had hoped for as we crawled out of 2020. Fast forward to now and we are on COVID-19 variant 734, the virus is floating around with its posse of flu and cold illnesses mixed in, gas prices are emptying our wallets, and tempers grow shorter-fused by the day.
Personally, 2021 redefined how I view growing pains.
Innocently, growing pains are the uncomfortable pangs of discomfort as our bones grow quicker than our muscles. Little humans wither from the awkwardness that may swim through their legs as they battle with this sensation. Yet, this is a mere surface level peek into the depth of the defining points of the phrase.
Growing pains slapped me across the face in the earlier part of this year. Within three months, my husband lost his last surviving grandparent, I lost my last surviving grandparent, and I had to face a reality that did not have my heart horse, Sadie, in it.
BAM BAM BAM. Three strikes.
I wanted to be out. I wanted the baseball reference to ring true throughout the nightmarish reality of grief that had slammed into my soul. I craved to curl into a ball and hide away from the truth that was mine without those who gave me so much structure and strength. I wanted to disappear into myself and drop my responsibilities on their heads as I cowered from the burden of it all. The world felt wrong.
Growing pains willed me to stand back up. Truthfully, sinking to the floor was my trauma response, yet I found myself gritting my teeth and hoisting my grief-tormented body into the spaces that occupied my responsibility. It wasn’t pretty, but true growth rarely is. There were days I took off from work, and times my people had to glue me back together like a real-life Humpty-Dumpty. There were times that sadness gripped my throat and tears stung my eyes in between sessions. Evenings that I would crumple into my husband’s chest and unleash the pent up yuck I had thoughtfully carried behind my eyes during the workday.
That period of growth hurt like a son of a bitch lit on fire.
Yet I sit here, so unbelievably proud of the woman who stares back at me in the mirror.
Truthfully, I grew into myself and the resiliency I underestimated.
I am publishing a book y’all.
A real-life book that will go on a real-life bookshelf. I am working with editors and illustrators to bring a story to life that would have never been written if it weren’t for my grief and the ways I chose to express it.
I am finding myself pictured in magazines attached to articles I've written promoting conversations surrounding mental health.
I am a fiery advocate for those who identify as Neurodiverse and have pushed for rights of kiddos whose voices have been quieted by broken systems.
I have climbed the professional ladder into a cozy office space I delightfully get to call my own. Titles like ‘assistant clinical director’ and ‘lead Marriage and Family Therapist’ follow my name in a private practice I utterly adore.
I found a therapist I connect with. Finally.
I am here. Figuring it out. Taking it day by day. Finding joy in the ordinary.
So, hear me out.
2021 was gut-wrenchingly painful. I had to mutter goodbyes to souls that ripped my heart from my chest and the air from my lungs. There are times when my grief sneaks into my mind and my eyes cloud with tears as I yearn for what once was. I’m not sure these moments will ever subside completely. Grief is love persevering after all.
Yet, I am actively seeking out meaning to tie to my grief. I am investing my emotional experiences into outlets that cultivates fulfillment. I am practicing gratitude for those in my life whose love I will mindfully never take for granted again. I am humbly learning and gripping tightly onto hope.
Growing pains are not only in our legs, my friends.
Cheers to surviving a hellacious year.
Here’s to a year of vitality, connection, and (hopefully) less chaos.
12/31/2021 11:03:26 am
You’re right, true growth is rarely pretty. Some of the oldest trees are gnarled not stately beauty.
12/31/2021 11:06:28 am
Wow! I could only imagine the things you have to work through that your clients have no idea about. My own therapist lost her husband, got engaged and married the past 5 years or so I've been seeing her and just saw a email about maternity leave! I didn't know about any of these things and it just put my own issues into perspective.
12/31/2021 12:20:27 pm
Grief is the hardest change to go through. I understand the desire to curl up and shut everything out. There is a line in one of my favorite fictional series that adequately applies - "duty is heavier than a mountain". I celebrate with you coming out the other side. I also recognize, as I'm sure you do that grief can pop up unexpectedly. I send the support of a sister and friend that you have never met.
12/31/2021 01:03:28 pm
The past couple of years have been rough, filled with losses of loved ones, uncertain future and pain, but I did grow more resilient and overall stronger. Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel less alone in my struggles!
Riyah Speaks Blog
1/2/2022 10:09:30 am
Thank you for sharing this. I feel less along in this. 2021 was quite the year for many of us, but there is hope that 2022 is better.
11/3/2022 05:36:30 pm
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