it's 11pm, hop on the circus ride

Writing is therapeutic for me. Especially in moments of worry, anxiety, fear, or contemplation. I find that the easiest way for me to calm my mind and my thoughts is to put it on paper... or type it into an iPhone in the middle of the night. 

I have considered sharing these stories, these moments, in the form of a blog for some time now, but have found myself stuck in the middle of "will this be too much? am I ok with being that vulnerable? will people even read it?" 

After much consideration, I realized the answer was "stop over-analyzing and just do it". Here I am... continuing to challenge myself to be open, in hopes that it sparks conversation, hope, or reaffirmation that we are all in this together. 

So, why not just jump in? 

The house is quiet, the kids and your husband are asleep. You even have the calming weight of one child sleeping beside you, a little hand wrapped around your torso. Both boys, snoozing away.., far off in dreamland and you lay awake. Tired, but your mind won’t turn off. 

Oh, let’s see... Step One: Turn on the “soothing sound machine” - jam packed with realistic sounds of nature, of summer wind, of a campfire... nope, that elicits fire. Fire isn’t good. Step Two: Rain. Yes... the sound of rain is soothing, the pitter-patter of raindrops on a tin roof, with a slight summer breeze... finally, a calming sense starts to override the noise... nope, rain sounds like running water... and after having three kids, now I have to pee. 

Not always, but sometimes this can be my nightly mantra. Anyone else? In the quiet of your safe home, your brain turns and starts to tick away at the worries of the day, and it settles in. Our daughter has had hives for two days, but after a thorough doctor’s appointment, we were told not to be too alarmed, so I can push that worry aside until it is at least light outside. During bath time, our son took a big ol’ slurp of bathwater... coughing and smiling up me, continuing on with happy babbles to his sister, a relatively funny moment... but now, in the darkness of the night, a thought appears. A story from GMA... the dangers of secondary drowning - you know - the kind that happens hours after a small water incident? And now, secondary drowning is eminent. I should go check on him, even though he has been peacefully sleeping, like the rest of the house, for the last 3 hours. 

Anyone else’s brain decide to conjure up all of the scariest things at 11pm? 

Sure, I have techniques to help combat the swirling... the ever familiar merry-go-round, or on special occasions... the tilt-a-whirl that my active mind can hop on and off of with such precise grace and accuracy, a true anxious pro. But why? Why even tempt to get on it in the first place? Any of you have these circus rides? Stored away in a secret place only your most creatively anxious brain will surprise you with at the most unexpected time? How do you get to the front of the line and say, “Nah... I’d rather not hop on this ride tonight.”

For me, the most productive way to not let the merry-go-round fire up is to write. Put it on paper. Share it with people. Sharing it makes it real and makes it less scary. Less lonely, especially when the house is sleeping sweet dreams without care. Not to say that my sweet husband wouldn’t wake up to yank me off the circus ride, he has done it many times - “Nat, take a deep breath, you are here with me.” But sharing reminds me to remain accountable, accountable to not let the worry take over too much. Accountable to find the center spot that puts me back on the ground for my kids, my husband, my family and friends. Sharing also creates the uncomfortable sense of vulnerability - which fuels my fire to squash the worry, shake my finger in its face, and hope that by sharing, others find the courage to do the same. 

The worry starts to fade, the calm settles back in - kids are safe, our son is not going to have some GMA worthy incident with slurping too much bathwater (I mean, c’mon...), The sweet six year old, with his little hand wrapped around my torso is a well adjusted, big brother and his little sister just has hives. Period. Faith is restored. Believing that we are all in this together, we are not alone, brings my feet solidly back on the ground, and I am not spinning anymore. 

What do you do when life jolts you awake? When worry settles in? When the tilt-a-whirl fires up inside of you, egging you on, “this will be a fun ride - jump on and spin for awhile!” 

Whoever needs to hear it, you’re not alone. Maybe I say it to reaffirm myself that I am not alone either, I know this for sure. Jump off the ride, put your feet on the ground, close your eyes, and listen to that soothing sound machine’s ocean wave... let it lull you back to sleep. 

#ourbeautifulcircus #meadorstarting5 #unapologeticallyauthentic 


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