Motherhood for the Non-Mothers

Oh, good, it’s a post about motherhood by someone who has no idea. Here we go…

First of all, talking about Mother’s Day can be hard for people who struggle with infertility…

Infertility can be caused by so many things.

Infertility is more common than you might think. It’s a pain that is often expressed privately so it can seem less prevalent than it is.

It can be biological. These conditions don’t just affect someone’s ability to have children, they cause pain and grief in everyday life. Endometriosis, PCOS, cancer and so many more don’t just cause problems whether or not someone wants to have children. It’s sharp pain and dull pain, bloating, bleeding, not bleeding, endless doctor’s visits, irregular hormones, and all the issues that come with that.

Infertility can be lacking a partner or sufficient means to raise a child on your own. Add to the yearning for children grief and loneliness and feelings of not being enough.

Infertility can be losing something you had due to tragic incidents. That’s a grief that’s hard to heal and the reminders of what you once had don’t just go away.

Infertility is a loss of control. It’s not being able to hold on to something you want so dearly. It’s wanting something that you can’t have and you might be able to someday but with so much uncertainty. So many risks and budgeting of time, money, and willpower.

There are so many different ways to have children which is a blessing, but also adds on this stress of decision making. Sometimes having more options adds to the hopelessness.

Mother’s Day is hard.

But I don’t imagine it’s going anywhere soon. And as someone who is blessed to have a fabulous mother and many amazing women in my life I don’t mind it even if I have had a Mother’s Day breakdown or two (or more) in my life. My mom lives far away so I can’t make breakfast or dinner for her. I, of course, will express my love in a way that is affectionate and slightly embarrassing, but how else can I celebrate Mother’s Day?

mom shirt

How can I get out of this Mother’s Day funk and turn it into something positive?

I am not suggesting that we can simply flip a switch and stop the negative feelings that distress us. This isn’t a pep talk or an attempt to encourage those sinking in quicksand to imagine instead they are relaxing on a beach. I recognize that in all of our lives there are real concerns. I know there are hearts here today that harbor deep sorrows. – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

It’s conveniently on the calendar in the middle of May which is when things start looking up in nature (on this side of the world, at least). I’m sitting on the steps in my backyard as I write this and the sun is shining and warming my skin. My yard is lush and green (it’s all weeds, but they’re still lush and green).

weeds.jpg

Motherhood is about creating and nurturing life.

There are many reasons why I may never be a mother, but there are also many opportunities for me to create. This is something we can all do regardless of gender or circumstances.

I could create life by planting a garden, but that is more of a way I destroy life. YOU could create life by planting a garden.

I could nourish life by rescuing a dog. Oh my gosh, I did that already, I’m such a good person.

rescue dog

You can create life by creating a work of art. You’re bringing into the world that wasn’t there before.

Posting a photo of something beautiful. Write a poem or song…or a poem that should be turned into a song because they’re better that way. Painting, sculpting, dancing, acting EVEN IF YOU’RE BAD AT IT. It’s not going to be easy. But suck it up and you might even enjoy it.

I suck at dancing and had fun taking a community dance class. I was bad. Even at the performance.

middle eastern dance

I’m creating this blog post with no intention of editing it to actually be good. I’m taking voice lessons starting soon and I’m sure it’ll be painfully humbling, but worth it. It’s a better high than drugs, trust me, I’ve only tried one of them. Creating makes you happy, I’ll find an article to back this up later, but I’m pretty sure it’s science.

I’ve learned so much from strong women.

But what I really think we can do to create and nuture is looking after each other. My mom is amazing and I’ve learned so much from her. If I could only take one person with to an island or something I would take her, but it’s taken so many people to make me who I am.

your first home was a woman

Those who were born or married into my family. Strong women going back for decades on both sides of my family tree. The ones in my history who overcome trials I will never know but passed that strength on to me.

Friends and friends’ moms.

gal3

Women in media and arts and politics. Women who work for national and global causes that have taught me what it means to magnify your talents and stay classy while doing it. One thing all these women have in common is love and support. 

As a mom you have to nourish and support your child, because without you your child cannot survive. The rest of us may have to go out of our way to find opportunities to love and care of others.

heatherme.jpg

Definition of motherhood.

A perfect mother is full of love, selfless, does the thankless jobs and gets it done when no one else will. Those are things we should all be.

Dictionary.com be defining motherhood like,

definition of motherhood

I don’t know who came up with this, but how amazing is that phraseology. “Inherent worthiness, justness, or good that is obvious or unarguable.” Dang. That definitely describes mothers, but I think we all have that same worth inside of us and I think it’s time we remember that.

Just like mothers, we can all create life.

We can literally bring life to someone by making them smile, by bringing back a light in someone that has gone out. By encouraging them to leave their house to experience something they love. We can remind them of their worth when they’ve forgotten. We can take other people’s hands in our own to remind them they’re not alone. We can look into each other eyes and acknowledge each other.

We are givers of life when it’s lost. You don’t have to grow something in your womb to give life. You don’t have to conceive to create (I just thought that sounded catchy). You don’t need to wait to learn to love and nourish a human. You don’t need to be genetically connected to be family.

It’s even creating a positive outlook when you have to create it out of nothing.

60067463_2287354274850918_4932227128604229632_n (1).jpg

I have no doubt that motherhood is a fast-track to lots of life lessons and emotions, but I don’t think the rest of us get a free pass just because we have no fruit of our wombs or child of our own.

Here’s to being the best moms we can be, to whatever creation we can make and sharing those creations and that love with the world so that we can have more good in this world than bad.

And because I may never be a mom, but love giving motherly advice, I made this blog.

Freaking 30

New Year’s Resolutions never really work for me, but I do want to change and improve my life before I turn 30 on May 23rd. I had a list of things that were mostly fun that I wanted to do before I turned 30, and a friend pointed out (shamed me) that they were more-or-less things I could do in a day and that I should do things that challenge me. So I started thinking about what I want to do and who I want to be before I turn 30.

My personality lends itself to having loads of ideas and no follow-through, it’s something that’s bugged me since I graduated and then I get this fortune cookie…

The biggest thing for me is to not care if something is good or not. Picasso supposedly said, “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” The best estimate is that Picasso created 50,000 pieces, so he knew a thing or two about getting stuff done. So for the next five months, I don’t care if any of these things are actually good or even totally finished. I just want to get them done and out there.

Honestly, things I don’t think are great get made and are either popular, make money or both, so who am I to say what’s good anymore? It’s just my job to make it.

Other things I’m hoping to gain from this is to figure out what I actually like to do and to spend less of my downtime consuming and more time creating.

Some of the list items are to finish creative projects I’ve been working on and some of them are things to challenge me to get outside of my normal way of thinking.

Here’s my list to complete by the end of May (I’m giving myself an extra week):

  1. Write 30 songs (at least five different genres)
  2. Write 30 pages of a screenplay or 30-minute (technically 22-minute) television pilot.
  3. Write 30 pages of a musical
  4. Write 30 pages of a novel
  5. Write 30 stories from my life or family member’s life
  6. 30 posts (by me or other people) on wordfromyourmothers.com.
  7. Write 30 jokes/sketch ideas
  8. Complete 30 visual art projects (painting, hand-lettering, tattoo designs, sewing, etc.)
  9. Release 30 minutes of a podcast to the public
  10. Post 30 Etsy listings
  11. Write 30-minute “Ted Talk”
  12. Record and post 30 one-minute pep talks.
  13. Watch 30 shows (both live and recorded performances)
  14. Read 30 well-researched articles about unique subjects
  15. Broadcast for 30 hours on Twitch
  16. Work on/give feedback on 30 projects that aren’t mine
  17. Have 30 significant one-on-one conversations with 30 different people
  18. Resist 30 impulse purchases
  19. Get rid of 30 items
  20. 30 days of unique outfits (not repeating anything in my closet, minus underwear and maybe shoes)
  21. 30 days of wearing outfits from the same 15 items
  22. 30 meals I’ve never tried
  23. 30 different kinds of exercise
  24. 30 small acts of service
  25. 30 seeds planted
  26. 30 projects I haven’t been putting off around the house done.
  27. Learn a phrase in 30 different languages
  28. Learn 30 new phrases in Italian
  29. Learn 30 new words in English
  30. Do 30 things that make me say, “I’m scared, but I’m going to do this anyway.”
  31. Do 30 push-ups
  32. Play trombone for 30 minutes

Other things:

Write 30 minutes a day.
30 minutes of self/spiritual care a day.

I’ll be documenting this on my Instagram @theseriallover to hold myself accountable. Feel free to follow along.

Some people think this sounds like a lot, but, honestly, if I was in school I’d be writing/creating way more so I think it’ll be good.

I Wrote My Way Out

I don’t know what to do. My brain and my body feel like they’re imploding on themselves. I have had a headache for days, heartache for years. I’m broken, but I know I’m not. I feel totally inadequate. And then I remember someone was going to trust me to watch her children (whom she loves) for an entire weekend. I feel unlovable and then I look at my phone to see messages from people who know I exist and invite me to things. I feel untalented and then I look at the things I’ve made, with my own brains. I know being depressed isn’t my fault, but I also know it causes me to lose things I love. It’s a companion I know I could learn to libe with, but it’s also a plague that’s destroying the life I want.

It’s a constant battle between heart and mind and the result is an aching soul.

I’m sitting here in what must be Depression, because how can a sadness worse than this exist? Maybe for someone stronger than me, it is possible to be sadder, but this feels like my limit. I feel like my veins are filled with lead. My arm feels too heavy to raise. And it’s too boney. Why are my elbows so boney? My heart is heavy and somehow empty at the same time. I am the heaviest shell of a person you can imagine. I had barely hold my head up and everything in my brain is foggy. But the creative thoughts don’t stop. I’m filled with ideas I cannot execute because my body won’t do what my brain tells it to.

And it’s not me either. Because me is a person who jokes around constantly. I used to think “vibrant” was a great word to describe me, but I feel desaturated. The world has a grey tint to it. I only wear sunglasses with brown lenses, because I hate looking at the world with a grey tint.

So I have to do something. People are suggesting things like therapy, books, and medication, meditation, yoga, diets. I’ve tried them. I’ve even preached about them. But nothing is actually working for me. I know I could (and will) try harder and retry some of those things that help people. But different things work for different people.

So what can I do? I love yoga and therapy and all that. But as I’m thinking, I hear it, in the suave voice of Jamael Westman (sorry, Lin), I wrote my way out.

I wrote my way out of hell
I wrote my way to revolution
I was louder than the crack in the bell
I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell
I wrote about The Constitution and defended it well
And in the face of ignorance and resistance
I wrote financial systems into existence
And when my prayers to God were met with indifference
I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance

Hurricane on Spotify

It doesn’t matter if it’s good. It’s what my brain wants.
And maybe if it is good. I can have the same effect that this song has had on my life.
Maybe one thing, I write one day, without even thinking much about it.
Could change someone’s life.
And in that case, it is worth it. It’s worth losing everything. It’s worth working through the pain. If I can write even one sentence, one line, that helps someone not feel how I feel right now…If I only write one sentence my whole life that helps someone. If I never make a penny off it. It is worth it. Another Hamilton line comes to me at times I need it most, Just stay alive, that would be enough. Thanks, Lin.
In the eye of a hurricane
There is quiet
For just a moment
A yellow sky
I was twelve when my mother died
She was holding me
We were sick and she was holding me
I couldn’t seem to die
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it (I’ll write my way out)
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it (write everything down, far as I can see)
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, wait (history has its eyes on you)
I’ll write my way out
Overwhelm them with honesty
This is the eye of the hurricane, this is the only
Way

And it’s selfish too. Because it makes me feel better. Maybe selfish is a bad word. It’s a win-win. I wish I didn’t keep forgetting. I am so blessed to have a talent/love that is totally free for me to do. I can write on paper scraps. I can write on my own skin. I can write on the internet with potential for people around the world to read it. It’s the easiest, most beautiful thing. I can do it by myself or with other people. I’m lucky to have something that’s so easy to love. And it gives me hell, but I sometimes think it loves me back.

Here’s the remix version:

Note: My therapist also suggested I write more, so she gets some credit too.

Original

Thanks to the WordPress app I can write this tiredly as I lay in bed. I don’t really need to write anything but I don’t want to ruin my streak.

Today I’m thinking about how we get more original content. We can say we don’t want remakes and all that, but they make money so obviously someone wants them. People are annoyed with the female remakes, but it just goes to show that someone can’t make a heist film with all females without linking it to a franchise. I will take smart females anyway I can get them, but I wish they could stand alone…Or if you’re going to connect it, at least give us a Clooney cameo for the female gaze.

0/4 Tony nominated musicals were original ideas. I haven’t been impressed with anything I’ve seen from Mean Girls. Frozen, well, we’ve all seen/heard it a million times already….Literally. Though I do think it translates well to stage if it’s anything like the one they did at Disneyland. SpongeBob SquarePants… The Musical. On Broadway. Not as bad as you’d think and seems to have some cool elements, but, it’s still SpongeBob.

A Band’s Visit is based off a movie, but one from 2007 that is less mainstream and gives Middle Easterns a chance to shine. So I’m about that, and would love to see it.

There are some great revivals on right now. But original musicals seem to be dying out. What happened to the days when ALW could write a story about Cats doing who even knows what. That was based on a book. But it’s weird enough to feel original.

Groundhog Day, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory didn’t last.

Matilda is one of my favorites but that’s because the songs and choreography go all out. Waitress is lasting because Sara Barreilles is a genius. Making musicals based off movies (based off books) is fine and can work out great, but are we forgetting how to write, and more importantly appreciate original musicals?

Book of Mormon did great and is, ironically enough, not based off the book at all.

A Quiet Place made tons of money. La La Land… I mean, I didn’t like it, but I’m a minority. The same guys did Dear Evan Hansen, which I also don’t like but it swept up the Tonys last time.

So we know originals can succeed. But producers are still afraid to take that risk. I think there’s room for both.

Some is Better than None

The one thing I regret (I try not to spend much of my life regretting, but it happens often) from my struggles with mental and physical health is being afraid to even try.

I would say no to things because I didn’t feel like I was up to the task. What I wish I had done was just attempt a modified version of it. Maybe my issues kept me from being able to do as much as other people but I could’ve done something. I could’ve gone and seen how it would’ve gone. I was so afraid of embarrassing myself or not being able to keep up with everyone else that I just declined.

I thought everyone would have more fun if I wasn’t there holding them back. I hope none of my friends who struggle with things feel that way. I want you to come, even if you just sit in the corner and watch. I want you to come and be with us. I want you to suggest things that would be fun for you. I hope you don’t worry about being lame, like I always did.

I recently was all gung-ho to do a 30-day ab challenge and it made my body hurt like a mother. So we’re back to yoga and gentle stretching and walking…Yeah, walking. So lame. I’m young. I want to be sprinting up mountains. I want to be able to touch my toes. But I can’t. Some days I can’t get out of bed. I can’t eat everything I want. I am, in fact, kind of lame. But, I think it’s okay. I wish I was better about owning my lameness instead of trying to hide from it.

I am Lauren Laws. And I am lame.

And as I start working with my body and mind and it’s lameness I start to make progress towards less lame-ness. I’m getting a bit repetitive in these posts, but there really is a power in working with your weaknesses instead of against them. Constantly focusing on the negative seems productive but ultimately stops you from progressing.

I love writing, but I hurt my arm, so I’m writing only ten minutes at a time and doing a podcast. When I can’t get out of bed, I try and work from bed. When I don’t feel up to doing something I try and do something else. It’s not easy. And some days I literally don’t do anything, but most days I wake up feeling like I can’t do anything that day and by the time I go to bed I realize I have done something. And, again, I know other people have it way worse than me, but maybe some of the same principles can apply.

Stop beating yourself up. And don’t give up. How can you work within your limitations?

Permission

I’m laying in bed at midnight. I gave myself permission to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. tonight even though I had more to do. But I can’t sleep.

So I wanted to talk about giving yourself permission.

There’s a theory, that I’d link to if I wasn’t writing this on my phone, that talks about the different parts of us that determine how we feel and how we see the world. The easiest way is to think of it like Inside Out.

So when I feel sad, my brain immediately jumps to all the reasons I shouldn’t be sad. So it becomes a battle of anxiety instead of just sadness. It’s sadness + I can’t feel sad because people have it way worse + oh man, now I’m thinking about everyone suffering around the world + but I am still sad about my sad thing + omg single moms how do they do it + but I’m so sad it hurts, like a giant weight in my chest + there are people on lists who need heart transplants and that must feel awful for them and their families + I can’t feel sad, it’s not that bad. Etc etc etc.

This is… Not helpful. You have to feel the feelings as they come and not rationalize them away. They’re like a small child that’s begging for attention and will calm down once they get some. If you are sad, angry, happy, excited, let yourself feel those things. I rationalize away happy feelings sometimes too. I can’t be happy because x,y,z is going on in the world.

Feel what you are feeling. Express what you’re feeling. Don’t feel like you have to feel anything else. It’s natural to want to suppress bad feelings and to tell people “everything will be fine.” Or “You’re better off.” But the dismissal of feelings will just cause them to come back later, usually stronger than before.

Grief has become a friend of mine. Grieving is a great word because it implies there is purpose to your sadness. Let yourself grieve. The loss of a person, a job, a project, the life you thought you’d have. Let yourself grieve small things that don’t seem important enough to grieve, because the only validation you need is that you’re feeling it.

I’m to the point where I cry in public. It’s terrifying and embarrassing. But when they come, they come. And I actually recommend it because after a few times you just stop caring. Wear sunglasses and carry tissues with you at all times.

life.

Trigger warning: More suicide talk.

Okay, ten minutes. I’ve been on a roll-ish with this but tonight I’m drawing a blank. I want to talk about suicide, but everyone else already is…And I want to have a solution, but I don’t have one.

If I’m being totally honest with myself, which I usually am not, I have had suicidal thoughts. I’ve felt stuck in a body and a life that seemed hopeless. I have felt like I contribute nothing and so I wouldn’t be missed. I felt not good enough. These things are definitely not true. I have a really, really great life. I have had a great life my whole life. I have always had friends and family who care about me. But feelings don’t always listen to reason.

And that’s why I’m not sure how to help people. I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s their fault if someone close to them commits suicide. Yes, reach out to people, yes, be supportive. Yes, share the hotline. But it’s just not your fault if someone takes their own life. I have a huge network of support. It has definitely helped. But it doesn’t stop the waves of negative feelings from coming.

The worst part about trauma is it breeds more trauma. When someone dies it affects the people who care about them. Depression not only takes a life but it ruins more lives and it spreads. We can’t let fear win.

I think if you’re depressed you should look for every solution you can to feel better. But don’t be too hard on yourself if they don’t work. Someone who got to travel and eat delicious food for a living was depressed. It may be that having everything won’t stop you from feeling like you have nothing.