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Emerge

In years past I haven’t been one to choose a word on which to base the upcoming year. I’m not a bandwagon jumper. I don’t make concrete resolutions. Sometimes I formulate an idea in my head that I want for the months to come, but it’s likely forgotten by February or March. But this one came to me in a dream, or more like a drive to the grocery store, and I had to sit up and pay attention.

2012 was a good year. Despite the fact that I didn’t seem to be able to remember much about it, I did some amazing things. I attended three small, but inspiring conferences. I stood on a real stage and read one of my most heartfelt and emotionally exhausting pieces to an audience of nearly 200 real people. I trudged through 12 miles of mud and obstacles and lived to tell about it. I signed on and started training to run my first half marathon, coming up in March. And in between all of those events, I shared some wonderful times with my family, from road trips to lazy Sundays.

I feel fortunate that I was able to take part in these things, but something is still missing. I feel disconnected from myself and from real life in general. I feel discombobulated. Unorganized. Disheveled. Let’s see how many more synonyms I can look up. Basically I feel like I am constantly grasping for something just out of my reach. My calendars are half filled, although my days and weeks are booked. My house and mind are cluttered in a way that makes me feel like I am drowning. I can’t remember a thing, and I can barely finish a thought.

I found this on my nightstand. From the wide, caffeinated eyes to the wild hair, I can only guess that it’s me.

I’ve been trapped in a fog. For almost 5 long years. My dear friend Christina has coined this the Kid Fog: the haze that often overcomes parents of small children. We’re so busy caring for these little people — and let’s not pretend that they aren’t more demanding than a drill sergeant on a bad day — that everything else falls by the wayside. We maintain our home just enough to keep it from imploding. I scramble to get everyone dressed and out the door on school days. We have plans for things we want to do, then get caught up in the monotany of day to day life. My goal each morning is to get through through that day. I rarely look ahead to the next, even less the upcoming weeks or months.

But I need to emerge from this fog.

I came home from those three conferences with pages filled with notes and a head filled with inspiration. But that’s where I stopped. I haven’t instituted any of the tips I learned to help tweak my site or better my writing. I haven’t set goals for myself, much less mapped out a plan on how to reach them. Even pieces published here on this blog are often written quickly and with less thought that I would like. See, I enjoy being inspired. I’ll nod my head along with the best of them, but when it comes to taking action…well, it all goes on the backburner because the three squeaky wheels are getting all the grease.

I must say I’m tired of it. I’m tired of squinting my eyes through the fog and struggling to see what’s next. I’m ready to see again, ready to make plans and set goals and forge a path to what I want to come next, even if it’s tentative. I’ll still welcome the happy accidents of life that often surprise us (unless that happy accident includes a baby. Then I would like to choose another path please).

But am I supposed to wait for this fog to lift on its own? Won’t that be like waiting until you’re “ready” to have kids or waiting until you’re “ready” to jump into that pool of ice water? (Hint: you will never be ready for either.)

My word for 2013 is emerge. Instead of waiting for the Kid Fog to lift, I’m ready to emerge and start collecting more bits and pieces of me. I want to DO more, but that doing has to be productive. I want to feed my mind more. I want to see my friends more, start journaling again, read more, write more, run more, clean more (yes, you read that right). I want to see more, take my kids more places, experience more of my wonderful city through them. I want to spend more time with my husband. I want to live my life, not just get through my days.

2013 has a lot in store, and honestly? I need to get my shit together. I have a new writing gig that I’m very excited about that I’ll annouce soon. My first half marathon is coming up in March, and I plan on running more races after that. Christian and I want to complete the next Tough Mudder Austin in April, even though I’m still terrified of the electricity. If I skip it, I skip it, but I want to see if I can push myself like that again. I plan on not just surviving this summer with my kids, but enjoying it, as it will be our last summer before Rachel and Claire start kindergarten, and I want to soak up every ounce of them before sending them off. And let’s face it, I’m a much better mother when I’m not consumed by said motherhood 24/7. I think we all are.

All of this sounds overwhelming in a time when so many others are choosing to simplify. But that thing that I’m constantly grasping for that is just out of reach is my life beyond the fog. It’s the me that I haven’t been able to tend to or pay as much attention to in the almost 5 years since having children, these sweet and wonderful girls who fill me with so much love, yet zap me of all of my energy and brain cells. It’s the me that needs to be there as they grow older, and in order for me to be ther for them, I need a little of myself back. I’m selfish like that.

So. 2013. You. Me. Emerge.

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
35 Comments
  1. It doesn’t sound overwhelming, it sounds exciting. Go girl

  2. Shared this! Great wisdom, Leigh Ann. :)

  3. You can totally do it…I have faith in you Leigh Ann! I know exactly how you feel about the “fog”. I have ideas, plans, desires and they all get pushed aside with the daily hustle and bustle. I too am wanting to try to get out more and do more, rather than just making it through my day. I am not good at time management so I will have to work more on planning my day and actually doing the things I want to get done. I started a little early with the entertainment center makeover and reorganizing and rearranging Cheyenne’s room. She is really enjoying it and I am almost done!! I think you can do it and I’m so excited to see what you can accomplish and cheer you on! XOXO

  4. This is perfect Leigh Ann. Needed to be said. I think there are a lot of us who feel the same. But don’t forget to really look at everything you are doing. It’s a lot! Don’t forget to stop and give yourself a pat on the back at least once every other day! ; )

    • So right. I don’t want to discount my current role as mom at all. Just need to know that it’s okay to be me again. And maybe get a little more organized along the way!

  5. 1) Waiting for the fog to lift would not have worked for me. (Then again, my kids are somewhat more challenging than yours in some ways.)

    2) Isn’t simplification supposed to be about unloading what you don’t want to free up resources for what you *do* want? If so, then looking at what you want and striving for it is not the opposite of simplification. If that’s not what simplification is, I’ve been thinking about it all wrong.

  6. Holy cow…could I ever relate to this post!! I have a 20-month old and the fog is THICK in our house most (every) day. I love the idea of committing to emerging from the tired…the chaos…the infinite “To Do” lists, and finally feeling more sense of self and a little more control over my own life again. Cheers to truly emerging this year! I’d say we both deserve it! Best of luck to you!

  7. It does get easier as they get older too…but only if you allow it and work at it. I learned that the hard way. I definitely let the fog hold onto my days for way too long and missed out on seeing some things that were right in front of me. Once I put myself in motion to find the sunshine, the fog lifted. It returns every now and then but the days are far and few between. Just remember to keep your focus on emerging and you will! :-)

    • Thanks so much for that outlook. I know I’ve told myself this before, that I’m ready to crawl out from under the muck, but I haven’t worked at it. I like how you describe it as putting yourself in a position to find the sunshine.

  8. My youngest of four children is now 9, but “fog” is a FANTASTIC way to describe what a majority of the first part of my marriage was enveloped by. I married a man with two children from a previous marriage, I got pregnant on our wedding night and we got full custody of my stepkids one month after we were married. So, the first year of my marriage I had to adjust to instant family and first-time motherhood all at once…then we were pregnant with baby #2 when our #1 was only one year old….pregnant and/or breastfeeding and full-time stepmom for the first four years of my marriage – I would say that was a pretty thick fog. There is literally an entire year of my life I barely remember because I was so sleep deprived (the first year of #2′s life). I don’t think the fog lifted until our youngest was 7! Did I mention I got my bachelor’s degree during all that insanity, too? I’m finally working in my profession and now entering a new fog – working mom fog – husband lives/works out of state right now and so it’s me and all four kids – ages 20, 15, 10 and 9….Emerge is a great goal, because I have definitely entered a new state of fog…Thanks for opening my eyes to it. Walking zombie is something I will strive not to be this year! :)

  9. You go, girl. I’m greeting 2013 feeling much the same way you are – discombobulated and foggy. But unlike you, I don’t have the gumption to set and commit to a “word” for myself this year. At this point, I just want to kick this flu bug and feel better.

    Baby steps.

    • Kristin, no fun to start off the new year sick! Take care of yourself and get better. Accountability is one of my weaknesses. But I think you’ll know when you’re ready to commit. :)

  10. I felt that way the whole first year of Luke’s life but came out of it last year. Of course he’s also more self sufficient so it’s easier. I am trying to do more cleaning too bc a clean home = a clear mind IMO. I can concentrate on other things when I’m not worried about the dirty floors. I applaud you for doing this and ill be a cheerleader for all of it. It’s so important to focus on ourselves. Motherhood wasn’t meant to be martyrdom. You are still who you were before, just better. Own it!!!!

    • Amanda I think my messy/kid cluttered home is one of the reasons my mind is such a mess, so I agree. I can relax a little more when my house is clean. Possibly related: I can’t relax very often. Thanks for being my cheerleader!

  11. I love the word emerge – it’s proactive and I think you’re going to do very well this year. I’m excited for you!

  12. You’re absolutely right, you deserve to emerge. Do it! We’re on your side, and can’t wait to see what comes.

  13. Wow girl, I love this!

    Like seriously LOVE it!

    And I’m rooting for you from here – can’t wait to see where your emerging takes you!!

  14. YEAH! Just wanted to chime into the chorus and give you a virtual back-slap for such a great word, attached to specific visions. I love that it implies creativity, but also health and fun-having and a bit of sass, too. And, omg — tell me how Tough Mudder goes. I’ve kind of always wanted to do it (OR the Color Run) but haven’t managed to talk my man into it yet!

  15. I feel like you just crawled inside my head and described how I feel. Exactly.

  16. I relate. Completely. I know you’ve had to listen to me whine about it before.

    I’m not a word-of-the-year person, either, but if I were, I’d steal yours. Emerge. Beautiful word!

  17. Yes. Yes. I so know what you are talking about. My husband and I were just talking tonight at dinner (over the voices of two little ones) about needing to emerge from this fog. We have selves and marriages that need tending to as well. And you are so right that if we tend to those things, we are better mothers (and fathers) in the long run. Thanks so much for writing this so honestly and beautifully.

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