Sunday, February 09, 2014


I have a confession. I love the Pioneer Woman and NieNie.

And I hate them, too.

Okay, so it's not a real hate or anything, I promise. See, I am drawn to confident, beautiful, creative, fun women. I find them inspiring. I like to read about women who push through hard things and do it while loving and caring for their families. I like women who put family and faith first and use their talents to uplift people around them. Ree and Stephanie aren't the only women who inspire me. Michelle inspires me, Melissa inspires me. As do so many others. So many.

But then I find myself envying them. To the point that I begin to loathe myself, and so I have to take breaks to re-set my mind and get into a healthy place before I can find myself reading their stories again.

Because the truth is that I can see my potential but I'm not sure how to get there. I'm not envying these women because of their tastes and styles. I don't envy their particular situations. I envy their ability to do things. Not the famous things like writing books/articles or being on television or being recognized --I envy their ability to get out of bed and accomplish things. I envy the gardens they grow, the parties they plan, the guests they include, the opportunities they are given. I envy what they do with those opportunities, and how they take them to make the world around them better. Safer. More beautiful.

We are all different and we all have different talents. I know that I will never be more than who I am, and that is okay with me --until who I am limits myself. Yes, that would be my mental illness, I know, but it feels like such a cop-out (even though I know it's not). The truth is, it feels as if the very potential of my abilities is being sucked out away from me, even as I try to pull it back inside. As if I'm running, poised, stretching forth to reach the safety of a handrail, all the while grasps of sticky black tar are pulling be backwards.

There are so many things I want to be and do and so many of them are incredibly conducive to being a homemaker. Gardening, cooking, canning, meal planning, sewing, knitting, keeping house, organization, scrapbooking. My grandfather was a rancher, and I feel very close to his mother, my great-grandmother.

Her name was Sarah...

It was a different time, then, with all of the men to feed, the cattle to raise, the chickens, the gardens, the blizzards, the water, the outdoor plumbing, the childhood death, the basic necessity to live and live and finding that the only way to live was through all of the hard work which was forced upon them. They knew no other way! It was this way or death. There was no money in my family, no money that would produce servants and tea times with doilies and needlework aside from what they needed as they patched quilt after quilt. Bottling food, collecting the eggs, kneading the dough, lighting the fires... Sarah did that herself, and as the children grew, they helped her.

I have that rancher's wife embedded deep in my DNA, and not just from Sarah. My grandmother married Sarah's son and was a rancher's wife. My mother was a rancher's daughter. So many others in my family (all sides) were farmers and ranchers, pioneers who worked hard simply because there was no other choice.

I have told my children, told my piano students, told anyone who would listen that anything worth having in this life will take hard work. Marriage? Hard work. Family/children? Hard work. Testimony? Education? Musical or athletic ability? Hard work.

This is why, when I see inspiring women doing so many wonderful things and then look in the mirror and see myself limited --oh, so limited --I feel so much more pain, so much more black despair. When the effects of my disease wreak havoc upon my motivation, my mobility, my desires, my dreams, my hopes, my innate core to work and improve to be just a bit better than I am... I fall back into the chasm. It seems so hopeless. I can see it reflected back at me, the disappointment in my children's and husband's faces. I can see this hollow pit of senseless... sadness.

I know I live in a world that indulges the least amount of work possible. I know how easy it could be to use my illness to cover up a lazy woman. I have asked myself the countless questions over and over and over as to whether or not my inability to work hard was due to my disease or due to giving into the "easiness of the way..."

And I still don't have any concrete answers.

Anyway. Those are my musings tonight. Take them or leave them, it's really okay.

P.S. I've contacted a psychiatrist. This is huge. I'll let you know how it goes this week, dear reader. Thank you for cheering me on, for praying for me, for thinking of me. I promise to return the favor as soon as I can. I want to be the one giving. And soon. 


cheryl cardall said...

I had to stop reading Nie Nie. Love her and her courage and inspiration for pressing on through hardship. But I couldn't help but read and really envy her lifestyle. But then I talked with someone who knows her and she makes a ton of money from the blog, she has help with her kids and has people flocking to her to endorse their products. I will never have than lifestyle (and they are building a brand new gorgeous home). I will never have that financial freedom or extra people to help etc. So I just stopped because I don't need the envy or the comparison. I don't need to constantly compare my weaknesses (or just my life which isn't a weakness) with her strengths (or privileges).

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I deeply identify with the restrictions of mental illness. It is such a burden to have so many righteous desires that are just outside of your have the passion/drive/need to create, improve, & learn, without the ability to accomplish those goals. Dude, I totally get it. And I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, it sucks.
I love you Cheryl. I'm proud of you for asking the hard questions, and for striving to accept that sometimes the answers won't come in this life. <3