There is a truth I need to acknowledge. It isn't something I want to focus on, but rather something I know I need to admit. Here it is: life is hard.
I titled my blog glowing and grateful because gratitude is something that comes easy to me. I feel grateful often and I express it. Positivity is one of my strengths. But for the last few months I have felt a struggle that I can't gloss over by counting my blessings or thinking on the bright side. I don't even have the exact words for it. There is some anxiety, defeat, exhaustion, and depression that I feel during part of every day.
I think that part of it is related to my job. I wrote a post about a month ago where I described what my job is like. But I wrote that post knowing it would be read by many people. It did not tell the whole truth. The whole truth is that most days my job feels impossible. It feels thankless. It sucks the soul out of me. There are core parts of myself that are silenced the second I walk into the school doors. This year they gave us 4 days for spring break when we needed a full week. I am tired. Yes, I am good at what I do. Yes, I know my work is important and that I owe it to the kids to take good care of them. But at the end of the day I give much more than I receive from work. And the scary part is, I transferred schools and my job is better than it has ever been. I am surprised that I survived my first years of teaching. I think I still have post-traumatic stress from those experiences.
Because work is so challenging, I spend every moment outside of work trying to practice self-care. I go to bed early and unwind with chamomile tea. I wake up and prepare healthy foods and meditate. I blow off steam at the gym or on my bike. I pet my dog as often as I can. I visit friends who uplift me. I read and listen to inspirational thinkers. And it still doesn't feel like enough. The other thing that doesn't help is the phrase "other people have it so much worse." I know how lucky I am and that there are people praying for things I take for granted.
This winter and spring I've had issues with my heater. I know that sounds like such a trivial thing. But its not. I've had repair men come out to my house a total of 10 different times so far. I've spent over $1,000 on repairs. My parents have helped me with the cost, but the experience has compounded my stress. In addition to the time, money, and cold house it has brought up so much fear for me. I have fears about not having enough money and my biggest fear in the world is that I will lose Boo. I love him more than I've ever loved anyone. So I worry that some electrical issue or heating issue will cause me to lose my home or my dog which are the two things that keep me sane.
I have been looking for another job since December, but finding the right one is not so easy. Teaching does have some awesome perks. I have a lot of time off, job security, and decent pay. I also have some level of autonomy. I want to appreciate these things and I want to find the right fit for my talents. The other truth I've realized is that many of my talents don't pay much. I'm good at fitness, cooking, mindfulness practices, writing, and creative pursuits. So I'm looking and praying and hoping that I can find a job that supports my life. I am willing to work hard.
I don't know exactly where this sense of struggle is coming from. It is probably one of those life experiences that I will just need to ride out. It could be seasonal or hormonal or job-related. It could last the rest of my adult life or it could go away tomorrow. But I feel like it is important to honor my struggle and be honest about how I really feel. I have deactivated my Facebook account to silence some of that noise and let my heart tell me exactly what it wants to. It might be ugly, it might be hard. But life is sometimes hard. If I can honor that for myself then I can honor that for the people in my life who might also be going through a struggle.