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Let’s be true for just a moment. And read “Little Women”.

Dear Son #1, #2, & #3,  

I’ve been known as “Mommy” for almost six years now and the other day when you all learned my name and started yelling “AMY!!”—followed by fits of giggles—it really threw me through a loop. Not only because I strive not to have the same relationship with you as Homer and Bart Simpson have but because I’m known as “Mommy” now around this house and really don’t hear my name that much.  

Amy, meaning “beloved”, is originally a French name but spelt differently here with this hideously boring 3-letter version. Fun fact: When I was a teenager, I changed it for the longest time to Aimee. While I have come to appreciate my name now, it took a very long time to come to terms with it. I was named after Amy in the classic book “Little Women”, but honestly, I always felt that I was more of a Jo. (Read the book, she’s one of my favorite characters in literature). But I’m not writing this post to talk about names, I’m writing it to talk about being true to yourself. And Jo. Because she’s awesome. 

Jo was always true to herself, even though she and others around her struggled with who she was, what she stood for, and what she wanted out of life. She made sacrifices, mistakes and tough choices but she always stayed true. Not only was this rare but very frowned upon in a woman in the 1860’s.  

True. It’s a big word (metaphorically I mean, literally it’s only 4 letters). And being true to yourself is something that is not easily done. So today, I’m going to be true about Amy—AKA Mommy and tell you how I became true to myself.    

10 years ago, I came home from work, sat on our bed and couldn’t get undressed. Physically I was fine but mentally I was completely shattered. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, couldn’t talk without crying and could hardly go out in public. I had what is known these days as a nervous breakdown and was quickly diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Huh, what happened? And coming from someone who’s had four hip surgeries (for another blog) and given birth three times, this was, without a doubt, the worst thing I have ever gone through. You don’t need the details but you do need to know that I recovered. Slowly but surely, I clawed my way out of the pit I had found myself thrown into and with the help of family, friends, doctors and a pretty amazing therapist I found Amy again.  

It took a while, but I gradually I became true to myself.  

I became true to myself in my needs and wants; my relationships and boundaries; my priorities and goals; my likes and dislikes; my strengths and weaknesses; my quirks and hang ups; and my values and character. I no longer tried to be everything to everyone, I learned how to say no, when to say yes and how to put myself first. I practiced how to calm my mind and listen to my body. I explored new ideas, places, books and activities and I was no longer hesitant or weary to just be me.  

Jo (from Little Women, in case I’ve lost you) endured a long, arduous journey in being true to herself—in her values, character, ideas, writing, and especially her relationships—but she persevered, she made mistakes, she struggled, she got hurt, and she stayed true. And honestly, the woman ended up marrying a sexy German and got her own school so, you know, it was worth it.  

Have I got everything under control now? Heck no. This is kind of what is known as a “lifetime journey” and sometimes it’s a real freaking struggle. I have both good days (everyone listens, eats their vegetables and poops on the toilet) and bad days (everyone’s deaf, demands cookies and poops everywhere but the toilet). Some days I feel like the world is my oyster (whatever that means) and other days I feel like I’ve lost sight of who I am other than the “breakfast maker” as I was labelled the other day. Thanks for that. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, stressed, over-tired and self-conscious. So, I try to take a moment—usually locked in the bathroom where you can’t get me—take a breath and try to be true to myself and my needs in that given moment. The knocking and the little fingers poking under the door really are quite distracting but at least the lock works.  

I’m not writing this to make you sad, I’m writing it because no matter what kind of person you end up being, what kind of job you end up doing, where you end up living or who you end up spending your time with; you will still struggle with being true to yourself. But you must never give up. Because as Dr. Suess says—I know, we really can’t handle reading his books but his quotes are so good. 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

Ain’t that true? 

Love Mommy,  

XOX 

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “True”.

1 thought on “Let’s be true for just a moment. And read “Little Women”.”

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