Thursday, January 12, 2012

And This Is What I Do

When I was little I wanted to be an actress. I loved the limelight. Singing and dancing and being really dramatic in front of people was awesome.

I also wanted to be a veterinarian. Except I was kind of afraid of animals. Something to do with the many many exotic critters my mom insisted on having. You haven't lived until you have shared several hundred acres with herds of horses, cattle, emus, ostriches, miniature donkeys, llamas, dogs, cats, a breeding operations worth of guinea pigs, and at one time a fighting bear. Yeah.....a real effin' bear in the backyard. Scary right? I thought so.

So I got older and wanted to be a jounalist, writer, photographer. I was actually pretty skilled at these despite my inability to write with any coherency today. I was slated to go to commercial photography school in Seattle. But boys and booze and harder darker things kept me in this small rural town. Until I was catapulted into a big college town and began to live it up.

I had a good job. I worked in insurance thru high school and followed that to a decently paying job for an fresh out of high school kid. No college education but yet I was making $24,000 a year with paid vacation and insurance. It was a cushy cushy position where I could wear my pj's to work if I so desired and I went and screwed it up. I was 18. I had a drug addiction and a boy addiction. And both were really bad for my mind and body.

Oh and then I had a baby. And quit my cushy job. Because I had postpartum depression. Then I got divorced.

I secured another insurance gig making even more except I had to wear real clothes at this one. And I couldn't get away with quite as much which means I got fired. Cause really....I would have fired me too.

So....single mom. No college degree. Newly divorced. Lost job. What now?

What happened to the girl who scored so high on her ACT's?

To the one who had big dreams of living on the West coast?

When did she lose her ability to write and create and dream?

What was she going to be?

That's what got me down for years after that. What was I going to be when I grew up? Nevermind that I ALREADY was a grown up. Meeting my husband and birthing two more kiddos saved me from the darkness that always lurked and threatened to consume me. I threw myself into mothering and domesticity and for the longest time I struggled to convince myself that that was all I needed.

Still, deep inside I was convinced I was missing something. I needed something. Not in the way I need those new Toms or I really need to get my roots done. But more like I need something to make me feel I don't know. Like I need to create, to contribute, to be meaningful in some way. As if raising three humans to be good, decent, healthy, considerate beings isn't contribution enough.

When we took aptitude tests in school, it was always determined that someday I would be a boss. Someone in charge of people. The one calling the shots. That came true. I am in charge of three small children. I am their boss. I call the shots. I like making the executive decision of what's for dinner and how clean we keep our rooms. I love that in our house we only eat whole foods. As close to nature as possible. I enjoy making choices in all aspects of their life. Its fun. Except when its not. But it is my job and it is my favorite one so far.

It is important, extremely so, to be a good model for your children. When I took up running a few years ago, my oldest boy showed interest. He already plays soccer and was proud to tell people his mother can run 5, 10, or 15 miles. My middle son loves to tell people how good I cook and I am so proud of the fact that he is quick to turn down food he knows is not good for him. My baby girl sits beside me at our big kitchen table and creates things as I am sewing or painting. She is my sous chef when I am cooking and she ties on her little apron when we bake. They all help me in the garden and love harvest time. As their Dad works on their treehouse they play below, help when they can, and plan all the fun they will have in it come summer time.

New Year's brought the desire to do something (as it always does). Something! Anything! To make something of myself, no matter how small. I enjoy thrifting and I am slowly learning to create and craft with skill. I stalk Etsy and had tried selling on there before Sugarbaby was born with not much luck. As I looked at all my vintage finds scattered around the house,  I thought why not? So Southern Blackbird was opened and I hope to make something of it. It could take years, but I love design, style, vintage, turquoise, cream, lace, fabrics, the list could go on and on and on. This is something I can do easily alongside my most important gig. They can be inspired and hopefully grow up with some good taste to boot.

How many times have I written this post? Seriously, why do I have to keep coming to the realization that this is my life? Moments like the ones this evening (my Kindergartener reading a book to me, my preschooler lovingly holding a turnip the size of her head, my 8 yr old playing with his new electronic device that he saved up for and bought himself) cause me to smack my forehead and go okay, obviously!

This is what I am good at.


  1. Firstly ... wowzers ... this was a deep one and for this I love you more. You should really talk more about your past because most of this I didn't know before now, and really, it all helps me understand the awesome lady you are.

    Secondly ... I feel ya.

    Finally ... I think modern society has ingrained and imprinted a message into women's brains that they can do more and be more, be everything, never settle, reach for the stars - and that's all great. That is exactly what I want for my own daughters, and likely you for yours.

    But my kid says to me, "I want to be a mommy like you," and I go, "Nooooooooo, you want want to be more. Travel the world, be a doctor, save lives, go to the moon." Yet she still wants to be me, and being a mom is not settling to her, it's being a hero.

    I totally get everything you wrote, and I'm really proud of you for your store because you have a gift, you really do.

    And to me, you've always been a strong, funny, smart, take charge boss of a woman, and you're an amazing mom and wife on top of it all.

    I completely admire you in every way and think you've totally got it made on this track. xo

  2. Oh, kiddo, this may be your best post ever. I suspect that you would be good at anything you set your mind to. The issue is, what are you PASSIONATE about? Fancy job titles, good money, and paid vacations do not make a person successful OR happy if they have no passion for it. You've found your niche in life.

    As for having to come to this realization several times - completely normal. We spend our lives having these "ah ha!" moments. Changing, growing and just suddenly being reminded how happy we are with what we have. :D

  3. This is why I heart you. Love it and it sounds like you are doing fabulous.

  4. I identify with this post. I'm 30 and since I was 18, have been struggling with who I am and what I want to do, want to be...and I'm still a bit lost. This post made me feel better, realizing that you don't HAVE to have it all together by a certain age, and to love and be grateful for what you do have. Thank you.
    (btw, I think I might be from your area, I live maybe 8 min. from the Caddo)



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