Doing Push-Ups in the Thunder

Dec 8, 2021

This has been one of the most brutal weeks in my life. Running three businesses, dealing with a critically ill husband, pandemic year-end fatigue, runaway pets (that thankfully returned), allergic reactions that were intercepted in time, pets getting stuck in weird places, dealing with a green swimming pool, school requests and a three-year-old with sinusitis (in no particular order). I knew that it would be tough, so I planned and prepared. However, a few days before this week and even in it, everything went wrong emotionally....

This has been one of the most brutal weeks in my life. Running three businesses, dealing with a critically ill husband, pandemic year-end fatigue, runaway pets (that thankfully returned), allergic reactions that were intercepted in time, pets getting stuck in weird places, dealing with a green swimming pool, school requests and a three-year-old with sinusitis (in no particular order).

I knew that it would be tough, so I planned and prepared. However, a few days before this week and even in it, everything went wrong emotionally. Multiple people around me were having emotional meltdowns. Then, on Friday, d-day for my husband’s operation, I felt emotionally numb and isolated.

But somehow, that changed, and I got through the week more than relatively well. Despite the chaos we managed as a family unit, I am proud of how well.

Last night as I ended this truly emotional and mentally trying week, I sat down. I reflected in gratitude about how lucky we are to have a family—a busy, crazy home filled with love and passion for life. Despite how the experience of it all was this week in the super crazy moments.

As I sat reflecting last night, it dawned on me that I have been preparing for this last week for most of my life but didn’t know it. Society is still very unkind to capable, strong women and their partners. We fight biases often from within our extended family units and a broader context every day.

I had always found myself in positions of responsibility, which I resented when I was younger. I even tried to run from it but ended up running straight into more of it when I started my first business at 24 years of age. Over the years, the responsibility increased, and I often found myself in leadership and decision–making positions in the extended family unit, where I felt I should instead have been the support. Again I resented that when I was younger. Now I see that often feeling no one understands the constant pressure from all the responsibility and often feeling so alone and misunderstood prepared me for this. I am at peace and no longer let the perceptions of how things should work dictate my acceptance of my path.

I now know that every heartache and hardship I have overcome shaped me and made me more robust so that I could be the very best version of myself as an employer, leader, mother, wife and colleague. But, undoubtedly, my most significant victory of 2021 is that I didn’t just survive it. I loved unconditionally.

I know my experience is not unique, and I’m not alone. But, unfortunately, women are often unseen and un-thanked, as are our partners who do see us.

But does it matter that we are unseen if we know our worth? If we see that we are strong because that’s our path? Doesn’t the actual change start with our unconditional acceptance of ourselves? I think it may be, and the idea of that is compelling

It made me remember this poem which I want to conclude. The conditions in often harsh environments tinker us, often unnoticed through (often) a silent struggle into becoming our true selves and to unleash our purpose. We should embrace it.

Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

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Nicolene
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