I remember when she first told me she was struggling with depression and anxiety, I immediately thought 'It's my fault. I should have been a better Mom. I should have held her more, listened more, paid more attention to her." But then I realized this is not about me and my insecurities over my faulty parenting.
(And for all you new parents out there -- no one does the parenting thing perfectly, regardless of what you see on facebook, instagram or pinterest. Parenting is a dance between absolute selflessness and total selfishness -- I want the best for my girls, but I also want some ME time ... and a big glass of wine.)
My baby girl -- who at 22 years old is no longer a baby, but still my baby - struggles with depression and has for years. I didn't find out about it until recently and when I found out I immediately went into my 'Fixit Mom' mode. I'm the Mom and I have all the answers - right? Nope, wrong. I don't even understand the questions. Depression and anxiety are very foreign to me. I'm the eternal optimist -- always looking for the silver lining in the dark cloud. But depression and anxiety aren't about attitude -- they are about the chemicals in your brain.
My daughter, Paige Snyder Dorman
, has a mental illness. Geez, that was HARD to type. And before I typed it I called her and asked if I should say that. Because she is fearless and brave, she said Yes. I don't want to say there are prejudices against mental illness, but there are -- some of which I have long held. I thought depression was just being sad and blue. I thought depressed people could and should just 'get over it.' I was wrong. Depression is about what is in your brain. Now I don't pretend to be a medical professional although I binge watched Grey's Anatomy this summer and feel as if I'm qualified to do surgery with a pocket knife, some super glue and a stapler. I don't understand all that depression is about. And anxiety? I once thought that could be cured with a glass of wine and an episode of Parks and Rec (somehow it all comes back to me and my TV shows). But Paige's anxiety is something I don't understand -- I'm learning.
I can't fix her because she doesn't need fixing. She is learning to manage her illness her way. Mom can't swoop in with superMom powers and make it all good again with a plate of cookies and a fun movie. Paige has decided to live her life out loud -- and that takes GREAT courage. More courage than I have at my age -- and I much more than I ever had at the sweet age of 22. When I was 22 I was most concerned about what party I would be attending and just how high I could tease my bangs. (I was a thoughtful and wise young woman... or not). While she navigates through the ups and downs of this illness, she's decided to start a blog -- some of it about the struggles of anxiety and depression and some about her life in general.
Take a few minutes to get to know her at website Dear Dorman
-- she's a amazing writer and great communicator. You'll enjoy her and if you know someone walking through anxiety and depression -- point them her way.
Seems like I once had a lot to say... at least 500 blog posts lead me to believe that. I've not written here in a long time. And it's not for a lack of things to share. I have a LOT of opinions on everything from politics and the current state of our government to what's happening on the Walking Dead and the baptism on the Real Housewives of Orange County.
I stopped blogging when it became about creating a message for a platform -- I just flat-out suck at promoting myself.
And truthfully, I didn't HAVE to worry about it before, but when a publisher agrees to publish your book and then gives you some money for that book you feel a bit beholden to beat the bushes for a few sales.
But now, I am blogging for me! Just to write about what I'm thinking (well, I promise to edit some of my thoughts or you'll be reading one thing and off I'll go on another.... aka the Squirrel syndrome!) I want to talk about what I'm hearing, seeing, living, experiencing, feeling, -- and I want to hear from the 6 people who may read my ramblings. I want to talk about the funny and ponder the serious. I want to engage in conversations that are longer than a facebook post or a tweet. I want to write to His good glory not to make much of me.
I hope you'll come along on this journey.... so tell me what do you want to talk about today?
I sailed to the Caribbean at least 30 times in the past eight years -- and I'm probably underestimating that number, but let's go with 30 cruises. Ina few days I'm traveling back to the Caribbean, but this time I'll fly into the Dominican Republic. This time it will be different. This time it's not about cruise ships and balcony cabins. It's not about buffets and main stage shows. This time is different. This time it's about the work of Compassion.
Most of y'all know that I recently came to work with Compassion as a Speaker Relations director -- which is just a fancy way to say I get to do work with amazing people and together we get kids sponsored -- and released from poverty! AMEN! I'm two months into this job and I wake up everyday and say "Thank you Jesus! I love what I get to do!"
While I LOVE what I do, I've yet to see Compassion in action in the field. But that ends soon. And I'm a little nervous. I would like to tell you I understand poverty, but I don't. I have never seen it up close and personal. I would like to tell you that I understand what it's like to grow up in a developing nation, but I can't. I may have a bit of head knowledge on these subjects, but there is no heart knowledge. That's ending soon when I head back to the Caribbean.
It's not lost on me that my first trip with Compassion is to a Caribbean country. It's also not lost on me that a major cruise line is building a brand spanking new port in the Dominican Republic -- I just LOVE how the Lord works! This time I'll see the side of the Caribbean that's not about tourism -- it's about poverty. I'll see a side of the Caribbean that is beyond the walls of the cruise port and the kitschy shops filled with all manner of trinkets and souvenirs. This time I'll go behind the walls to see the real Caribbean. The heart of the country -- the children.
I'm excited, terrified, thrilled, but above all I'm so BLESSED to get to do this. But let's all agree it's going to be one HOT adventure -- after all it is July in the Caribbean, heck it's hot there in November. I can only imagine it's going to be hotter than blazes in July! And I'm giving my hair over to the humidity and just slapping it up in a ponytail.
Can't wait to share all the adventures!
I tried to come up with a clever title for this post..I thought of "And So I'll Say Goodbye for the Summer" and now that song is stuck in my head. Then I thought "It's All About the Goodbyes" but does Megan Traynor (or however you spell her name) really need anyone take offs on All About that Bass. I think not. I don't anyone needs to hear anymore All Abouts -- be in Bass or Anything. So, now that you know the details of my title decisions, I'll move on.
Today at 5pm Central time I ended a season in my life. I am no longer employed at Premier Christian Cruises (or Premier Vacation and Events... whichever one works for you). I've loved my time at Premier. It's been a huge blast and a great blessing. I counted it up and I've sailed 35 times in the past eight years. It's been so much fun -- and sometimes a LOT of work.
I recently found a journal I took on my first Premier Cruise -- I was BRAND new with the company. I've not met or worked with anyone yet. I sailed alone and while all my cow0rkers were kind and sweet, they all had friends and family sailing with them.... and of course they all knew each other. I didn't know a soul. In the journal I wrote
"I'm lonely. I don't know anyone and they don't know me. No one invited me to explore the island with them, so I sit here alone on the deck. But that's okay, because this is the only time I'll be brand new. Soon, I'll know everyone and they'll know me. We'll spend time together then. For now, I'll just wait."
I'd forgotten all about that journal and all about those words and feelings. I'm leaving Premier after eight years! I'm the second most senior employee at the company. I've not been lonely on a cruise in a long, long time! In fact the cruises were always like reunions -- with my co-workers, the bands, the speakers, the owners and all our wonderful volunteers! I'll miss all those faces and all the hugs.
I'm off to be the new kid on the block -- and not the cool, boy band kind. Just the newbie. I am so THRILLED to be going to work with Compassion International as a Speaker Relations Regional Director! And not just thrilled, I stand in AWE of God who made it all happen. After all, I'm not the cool kid... and this is like the coolest job EVER! And it's such a great fit for how the Lord created me! Working with talented and committed speakers who have a passion for making a difference in the lives of children in poverty.
And the team I'm working with... well, let me just say I'm a bit stunned -- they are just amazing! And I've only gotten to meet one face to face but I've talked to others. They've welcomed me with open arms. I'm so ready for this new adventure. I've loved my cruising life, but I know that Compassion is where the Lord has placed my feet. He has work for me here and I'm humbled that He would allow me to do such work.
It's going to be a crazy, fun, wild adventure -- and I'm going to promise to do my best to blog more and share the details for this journey with you.
I'm just trusting God and jumping off the cliff!!
I was going to title this post 'It's all About that Shirt' but I think the internet is just slap tired of the 'It's all About ...' references. Not to say that I'm tired of them or of the song It's all About that Bass. I LOVE that song! It makes me laugh... 'cause I ain't no size two, either. Not really sure that I can Shake it, Shake it.
But back to the shirt.
It's just a chevron top. Nothing special -- unless you factor in the vertical chevron striping -- and I love a vertical stripe!
The only special thing about this top is it is the very first thing I bought when I decided to have weight loss surgery. I ordered it back in January of 2014 -- two months before surgery was scheduled. It was to be the item that I would wear once I lost my weight -- my inspiration piece. My goal. My something special. When the box arrived I rushed to open it and out came this adorable black and white top. I loved it from the moment I saw it online, but the reality of it was even better. BUT it was way too small. Certainly, I knew it would be too small. After all it was the top that I hoped to one day fit in.... but after looking at it I thought "NO WAY! This will NEVER fit me. EVER. Why did I order a medium? Why not a large? and WHY oh WHY are the sleeves so tiny?" I hung it in the closet and tried to forget it existed.
Surgery came and went. My weight dropped. My clothing size dropped. But I still couldn't fit into the 'inspiration' top. It just hung in the closet with it's SUPER Skinny sleeves (who are these SUPER SKINNY armed people who wear these tops?) and seemed to mock me.
I went on with life -- I worked, laughed, loved my family. Worshipped God. Served in my church. Released a bible study (with my two DEAREST friends, Melinda and Karen). Life marched on. And you know what happened? I just didn't care about that inspiration shirt. I bought it as a symbol of what I wanted to achieve -- but my life is about more than just a goal or a number or a scale or a top with skinny sleeves.
Life is about the God you serve. Life is about the people you love and about the time you spend with them. I decided to LIVE life and guess what? I finally fit into that inspiration top -- but those sleeves are just too tight, still!
So I encourage -- embrace the adventure of this life. Love people. Love God. Laugh. Have fun. Let a life well-lived be your inspiration... not a skinny sleeved chevron top!