January 18, 2018
The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
I had to forgive myself. For letting the rage of my anxiety take over more days than I would like to admit. For lashing out at my kids for doing the things that kids do: spills, messes, big emotions. For bickering with and then resenting my husband for things that I never communicated. For feeling bitter during a time of my life that should have been rapturous.
I’m not one to make resolutions, for the new year or otherwise. I have a hard time writing in a planner or journal every day, I don’t like to keep a calendar, and the idea of resolving to do a certain thing or a list of things every day for an amount of time is overwhelming to me. Often, I plan my life a week at a time—expectations low, squash disappointment, overall gratification. Setting a year-long goal is paralyzing.
But this time last year, I was drowning in my new reality with three children. I was feeling crushed and anxious and displaced. I wasn’t sleeping. My anxiety manifested as rage—this guttural anger that was far from my standard tolerant, composed self. The more I raged, the more guilt I felt. The more guilt I felt, the more I raged. But at the surface, where everyone could see, I was doing just fine. Beautiful life, beautiful kids. All good.
So, as one year turned into the next, I began to feel a pull to change something. I had to start with acknowledging my anxiety—giving it a name, recognizing that it was present, treating it accordingly with the help of my doctor and supplements. And then I had to proposition myself to try something new—something more powerful than magnesium and B12 and Epsom salt baths and Prozac. I wanted to change the way that I thought and, therefore, change the way I was reacting.
My intention for the entire next year was to soften. Soften when I felt like bristling.
And I did it. In situations where I thought I might explode in agitation, I melted. I listened more, I breathed more, I soothed more. I felt calmer in moments of unrest. I hugged when I felt like yelling and I walked away when I became irritated instead of fighting it out. There were mornings that I would sit on my bed before I started the day and give myself a pep talk. And there were plenty of days that I failed. But the incredible thing about changing your focus is that a failure is just a small blip—you do better the next day or the next hour or the next minute and you keep moving forward. I have a lot of moments where my ego and self-admirations get in the way and I think, “But I’m right! You’re wrong and I’m right!” and then I step back. And I breathe. And I think, “But does it really matter?”
My year of softness has changed me endlessly. It has changed who I am as a mother and a wife. It has changed who I am as a friend. And it has, quite surprisingly and happily, changed who I am as an activist in our current tumultuous political climate. I’ve learned that there is power in listening. Power in hearing what the other side has to say. Power in compromising. Power in the softening.
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