You know that saying about how love always comes when you least expect it?
One Friday afternoon, I left a message for my boyfriend the bouncer, letting him know that it was not going to work out. Then I called my friend Crystal and we made a date: Brooksider for burgers and beers at 8. In that basement, on a very cold February night (February 9th to be precise), the universe threw another curve ball.
I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that I fell in love that night. Three months into our relationship I found out I was pregnant. Wowzers. My head was spinning. My first thought was, “oh my God. My parents are gonna kill me.” Fortunately they did not. And luckily, for me, my new boyfriend was beyond excited. That night we drove to the library and stayed up until the wee hours talking about baby names. It was a hasty decision, but two months after that we got married. I was working full-time in the accounting department of an engineering firm while going to school full-time. Needless to say, I left school—again—and focused on work while trying not to freak out about my future as a parent. Yet, at only 22 years of age, how could Inot be freaking out?
The summer flew by, autumn was a blur and on December 29th, 2007, I gave birth to a very beautiful baby boy. During my maternity leave, we decided that the ridiculous cost of daycare meant that I should become a stay-at-home mom. Those first 4 or 5 months were really difficult. My life basically consisted of pumping, feeding, burping; pumping, feeding, burping; pumping, feeding, burping…you get the idea. I was tired, hungry, and very depressed. I did not admit it to myself then, but looking back on it now, I was clearly suffering from Post Partum Depression. One night, as I rocked him back and forth, back and forth trying to stop the crying, I could feel myself fill with rage. My muscles got really tight, hot. Jaw clenched and eyes wide open, I imagined myself throwing him across the room. I didn’t, of course. But I really wanted to. At that moment, I felt like a failure as a mother. Yet, day after day I tried my best to be the “perfect” mom. I learned how to cook. My home was always spotless. I got a sewing machine. I tried to learn how to knit. I even tried to be all eco-friendly and green and use cloth diapers. (After I had to soak a poopy one in the sink, the husband put an end to that.) However, I never really felt like “me.”
Three years later, I have perfected the role of a homemaker but I still feel lost. It was not until I was pregnant with my daughter that I really felt compelled to make some more change. I knew that if I wanted to be an example of a strong, secure and authentic woman for my daughter that I needed to get to work on my self. This past summer I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and it is no exaggeration when I say that it has changed my life. It reminded me of all those little things that make up “Alisha”. I delved back into writing, drawing, dreaming. It made me excited about life again. It was as if by giving birth to her, Iexperienced a rebirth of my self.
However, I am still floundering in uncharted territory. I knew how to be “me” when I was single. Now, the challenge is how to combine all of these new elements (husband, home, two children) while I travel on this existential journey, the rediscovery of my soul. In the midst of broken train tracks, how will I find inspiration instead of ire? How will I navigate through the poop and toddler vomit and stay on course through this crisis? I don’t know. But maybe Stratejoy can be my compass.