If you’ve been alive for more than a few days, you’ve likely heard something about the soundtrack of a recent movie/musical entitled “The Greatest Showman”. It’s a period biopic portraying the life of PT Barnum, father of “the circus”, the Greatest Show on Earth.
I took my girls to see this movie last week, not at all expecting to fall in love with it as much as I did. First of all, I’m very picky about musicals. I like the old stuff. New stuff has lost something in my humble opinion. Secondly, it was a largely glorified version of what I’m sure this man’s life was actually like, and I want the real raw gritty documentary type stuff. This isn’t good for the box office I realize, but it’s what i was hoping i’d get. Which I didn’t.
What I did get, however, was a dazzling performance set to music of the fact that life is one big adventure, and it’s up to you to CHOOSE to live that adventure. To see everything with new eyes, to look at roadblocks as launchpads instead of stop signs. And oh, the songs…..
By far one of the most hard hitting songs for me (and likely one that you’ve seen floating around facebook if you’re there at all), is called “This is Me”, an anthem to not being afraid to be seen for exactly who and how you are, being proud of both the good AND bad parts of you, because they make up the sum of you, the whole YOU that the world sees.
Anyways – the lyrics in the song are powerful and hit my heart and soul in such a resounding way~
I am brave.
I am bruised.
This is who I’m meant to be.
This is me.
So I decided that since I am committing to getting back to my writing, my passion, my voice, my blog….I will start with sharing again, who I am.
This is Me.
1. I am Terra Janice Atkinson. I became an Atkinson at the age of 20. And at the age of 41, I unbecame an Atkinson legally. Yet I am in limbo between names.
2. I am honored to have been chosen to be the mommy of four amazing beautiful little girls. They are my everything.
3. I know a lot of medical stuff because I have to in order to keep my youngest daughter, Kendall, alive and thriving at home and out of the hospital.
4. I am messy. But I am organized messy. LIke there’s a pile of papers 7 inches deep on my desk, but if you need something from that pile I can probably find it for you in under thirty seconds.
5. I am a procrastinator. If it’s a task I don’t want to do, I put it off until the very last possible minute. Literally.
6. I was married for 20 years. That is half of my life.
7. I love Entemann’s chocolate covered donuts. Probably too much.
8. I need to lose about 50 lbs ASAP. Yes I know how to do it. See number 5. Also number 7.
9. I love regular Coke, fountain coke from mcDonalds most specifically. But I also really love Dr Pepper. I’m trying to cut back on both of these.
10. I was divorced last year. Divorce is ugly and hard and brutal and no matter how much you think you are protecting the kids from it, they will always feel and know pain. No matter what. You can try to lessen the blows, but they will still hit everyone hard and affect every. single. area. of your and their life.
11. I was raised in somewhat of a “fishbowl” existence where there was a lot of pressure to be the “perfect” kids of the preacher. My parents didn’t necessarily put that pressure on me, but their expectations, and the expectations of everyone around us, were high. I think this is part of why I held on in my marriage for so long. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I hate disappointing people. Whether it’s a big one or a little one, I hate knowing I’ve let anyone down for any reason.
12. My marriage ended for plethora reasons that probably every marriage goes through and no one really talks about. And it ended for big reasons like what you’d expect. The ending of my marriage was every bit as much my fault as it was his. Yes there was infidelity. I cannot fully tell my story without infringing on Ben’s story, and he has chosen not to tell his, as is his right. I can only tell mine. And my story is that I had an affair. I am not here to proudly proclaim it, but I am here to tell you that there is hope and healing in spite of however bad you think things are. I had an affair, and my marriage ended, and my kids are still reeling from the pain caused by all the poor choices we both made….but by the grace of God we are moving forward. We are brave, we are bruised, we are who we’re meant to be.
13. My marriage ended, but my life did not. It goes on. Days come and days go and somedays I get up and I put on not-sweatpants and I look forward to whatever the future holds and somedays it’s harder to do all of that. But Life Goes On. I am doing my best to learn what Keeping On really looks like. It’s easy to say that when the days are warm and full of good things. It’s harder to say when everything is breaking and there’s not enough money and you don’t know how to stop the toilet from spraying water and how to keep food from either going bad on the counter or freezing in the outside fridge because it’s 30 degrees below zero and you just can’t ever get warm and you just want something to go RIGHT for once.
14. I am learning. And growing. And waiting. Patience is not now nor has it EVER been one of my virtues. It’s hardly even in my vocabulary. I am impetuous and I want what I want on my time. But these days, that’s not how it goes. I am doing more soul searching and more growing now than probably any other period in my life. I am both comforted and stretched in this growing by the amazing tribe that has stuck close to me throughout this past year.
15. I am inspired by good words and beautiful colors and stories that give you all the feels. I want to surround myself and my babies with these good things and teach them to find themselves and their inspiration too. For years we were told we had to do it only one way and that our ways weren’t good or right or acceptable. We are learning together what we all like and love and we are making our house a place full of all the things we want and love. Sure, it’s not always clean and organized, but it is always full of love here. And usually laughter. Sometimes tears. Lots of hot burning tears of anger and pain that I am forced to wipe away even though I did not cause them. But we get through the hard times and we push on to more good times.
16. I am both mom AND dad for days on end. Sometimes weeks on end. I am glad for the times they do get to go see their dad. I miss them the minute I start packing them up, and I miss them the entire 45 hours they are gone from me. It feels like the longest day and a half ever. I know I need that time alone though, to reset and remember who I am when i’m not being “mommed” to death and running my own taxi service to hellandgone and trying to please 4 completely opposite little opinions. I am good cop AND bad cop. I am the one who gets the phone calls from school about grades and missing assignments and not wearing their gym shoes on gym days. I am the one who is making sure lunches are packed and dinner is eaten and teeth are brushed. I am the one doing all of the laundry and all of the cleaning and all of the cooking and all of the lightbulb changing and door handle tightening and bill paying and cable bill finagling….I am doing all of it. And I am exhausted. But I do it all for them. I am learning to try to soak up these few hours of peace and quiet I get every couple of weeks, and try to restore what little peace and sanity to my soul I can in these times. Usually I end up working 15 hour days though because there just isn’t enough time in the weekdays to earn enough to keep everything moving smoothly here.
17. I work for a company called Shipt, delivering groceries that I personally shop for, based on each customers order. I love my job. Most of the time. It is long hours on my feet, lifting heavy stuff, standing in long checkout lines, sometimes dealing with really grumpy people. But then i get to deal with really awesome people, who are so grateful when I show up at the door with all the stuff they need for their sick babies or their dinner party that night, or just because they are too frail to make it to the store themselves. I love what I do – some days are just better than others!
18. I am a good cook – of about the same 6 meals. it’s what my kids will actually eat without complaining. It’s not always the healthiest choice, but without a reliable fridge for going on 4 months now, it’s what i can do right now. Maybe someday when i have a fridge inside my house that doesn’t freeze everything I can start branching out, because I really do like to cook – i just am not there right now.
19. I love playing with makeup. Not because I think I need it (although somedays, yes, it’s the only way I can acceptably leave the house). I love sharing my love of makeup and skincare and even weird random little tools from Amazon/Groupon deals with my friends on facebook or other social media. I hope I can figure out a way to link all of that fun here more often, because it is a part of who I am.
20. I am still healing from a lot of the hurt and pain I have endured over the past decade. Sometimes this comes out in different ways. I endured a lot silently. I endured things that should never be endured silently. I never stood up for me or my girls. I had to learn to chop off little parts of my heart so that I could get through the pain of betrayal, of rejection, of disappointment. This changed me in a way. It made me more resilient on one hand…and in another way it has made me so resistant to things that are good for me. I once was a very trusting person. And I lost that. It was destroyed. It is very very hard for me to trust anyone these days, and that actually ends up causing more issues than it fixes. But I am working on learning to trust again. I will not remain silent ever again. I am finding my voice and I want to help my girls learn to find and never ever lose their voices and any other woman who thinks her voice is lost – I will help them find it for themselves. My voice gets stronger every day. I get stronger every day. My girls get stronger every day. “We are warriors!!! Yeah that’s what we’ve become…”
This is me.
I am broken and I am bruised and I brave and I am healing.
I am not perfect, not even a little bit, not even close.
I probably have far more flaws than attributes, but I am proud of the me I’m becoming and the four little women I am raising.
These are my broken parts, and I won’t hide them away anymore.
Thank you to those of you who have held on with me and to me through this journey. And who continue to walk beside me as I learn and grow and wait for the rise.I am so very grateful for each and every one of you.
I think that’s about all I have to say about that for now.
Party on, party people.
All my love,