I promise this one has a point. It just may take me a bit to get around to it. That sounds super promising, right?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of rebuilding lately and making huge changes that can only be classified as rebuilding. I never really thought too much about that kind of thing before I turned 30 because I always knew what I wanted to do. There was never a reason to rebuild. There was only building.
Then I got pregnant. Even then I wasn’t really rebuilding anything, just going along with the plan. My husband and I had made changes to prepare ourselves for having a baby, but it wasn’t a seismic shift.
Then World Explosion. World Implosion is more like it. My entire foundation had been forcibly removed and I crumbled. Crumbled sounds too romantic. I broke. I shattered into tiny pieces, some of which I’m pretty sure will never be found. I got to experience in real time what authors say when they write, “I could hear this horrible shrieking sound and it was a moment before I realized it was me.” I can now check that experience off my list.
When the nurses and doctor and intern informed my husband and I that our daughter had died, everything we had built together was suddenly lying in ruins around us. Neither of us had realized such a thing had even been an option. We assumed that we would be entering the hospital in 5-6 weeks and would arrive home with a baby girl. That we would keep on building.
Instead, we got to experience something completely new. And horrible. And excruciating. We were and are very fortunate that we have such a wonderful group of people that could scaffold us when we weren’t going to make it. So far, though, we are. I wouldn’t say that we are any stronger than before. We were always strong people. That much is obvious in that we even attempted a rebuild, let alone have been so far successful and surviving the process.
One of the unexpected side effects of experiencing stillbirth was that I could no longer do the job I had wanted to do since I was 12. For the first time, I couldn’t handle the whole dead body thing and that is sort of an essential part of crime scene investigation.
I will usually flippantly tell people that I started The Accidental Housewife because I was bored and needed something to fill up the naptime hours because I’m uncomfortable with excess emotion. The reality is more that I needed a rebuild of my professional life. I worked hard in school. I worked hard in college. I needed a chance to rebuild that part of myself that had shattered with the Implosion.
Here’s the crazy thing about rebuilding that I have found, though. It’s hard to stop it. About two years ago, I was tired of not exercising anymore. So I rebuilt that into a daily routine I could do for me. It wasn’t insane. It wasn’t anything that was going to land me in a bodybuilding contest. It was what I wanted to do. Last year, I decided to rebuild my eating habits to become healthier and happier within my own skin. I made small changes that I didn’t tell anyone but my husband about. I’m still finding success with that one. I am starting to like my body. I’m constantly rebuilding my self-esteem as it is tied to my self-worth. This year, (likely as a result of my rebuilding efforts) I felt strong enough to start a squat challenge. Yesterday, I did 358 in just under 19 minutes while also exercising my back and chest and completing side lunges. Surprised and elated by what my body was able to do with the squatting, I decided on a plank challenge. Today I did a 60 second plank. 1 minute straight through. I haven’t done that since I was playing soccer in high school. When this challenge is over, I have decided to do a push up challenge. Because I’m insane.
Last month, a good friend suggested, strongly suggested, that I listen to a talk given by Dr. Brené Brown. She and I were talking about the shame I carry around with me that I needed to get rid of, desperately. I was drowning in it. 30 minutes into this lecture by Dr. Brown and I’m convinced I have the tools, the strength, and the desire to rebuild my internals. I can have this shame resilience instead of drowning in it. I can be a me I actually like. I can have a sacred ground on which to stand.
So now I’ve added striving towards wholeheartedness to my rebuilding repertoire. I trust myself to take on this new thing. I trust in my own Jesus given strength to change the way that I look at the world and, more importantly, how I look at myself. The best part is? I’m starting to like what I see.
Small Aside: Part of what I’m working on is showing up and being seen. This was going swimmingly when I thought that no one was really paying attention. Last week, a favorite author of mine started following me on Twitter. Which of course threw me into a tizzy. Now I have to get my shit together and put this vulnerability thing into real practice. Attempt 1.