Running on Fumes

Dear Readers,

     I had originally posted this as a note on my Facebook page a while ago, but I thought it would be great to post it here after comtemplating Donna’s situation more last night. I hope you enjoy it, please don’t forget to visit my sponsors and leave your comments. Thanks ❤ Crystal

A woman’s spirit is a fragile thing. No matter how tall we stand, nor how strong we plant our feet, the slightest unexpected breeze often can uproot us a bit and leave us unsteady. We often seem as though we can carry the world on our shoulders while beautifully dressed and happy to do so. Sometimes, we might even believe that ourselves and do just that without the slightest appearance of a bobble. We shroud ourselves in disguises of smiles and stilettos and continue up that hill, carrying that world, right atop our shoulders. All along the way, feeling the internal struggle. Wondering if we can. Feeling the fatigue. Feeling the isolation. Feeling the doubt. Feeling as though we will never make it. And we wonder why we have committed ourselves to such a feat. The answer comes as a small whisper “If I don’t, who will?”

     At the end of the day, we can at least see the top of the hill and we collapse in small victory when we reach the very top. Falling asleep amidst piles of unfolded laundry & half washed dishes, looking at that world we just carried. It has been carefully placed back on its axis and continues to rotate in a quiet and happy hum. In the morning, we disguise ourselves again in our silly shrouded smiles, pick the world back up again and look up to see how far uphill today’s battle will be.

     Over the last week I have been run into the ground. I am not asking for praise, just a place to share. I have an incredible need to do the right thing. I think many women…and men…especially moms though, feel the need to do the right thing. We must provide for our families physically, spiritually and emotionally. When our cups are full and we are energized, feeling loved and well cared for ourselves, it is easy to take on that world. We take our full cup and pour a little here….a little there….some over to that one… taking care of other people we encounter during the day. Sometimes we pour a little, other times we need to pour a little more. Every time we pour, our cup becomes a little less full. Sometimes we pour so much, that we forget to refill and our cup is empty. That’s ok, though! I can do it….only a few more miles and I will be able to fill up again. I will be able to rest, recouperate, refill. I can make it twenty more miles on fumes. Fumes of love and passion for who I touch, mold and shape. They need me to meet their needs. How crazy does that sound??? But it’s true. How many of you women out there find yourself running on fumes yet knowing you have quite a distance to go before you can get your cup full again? Let me ask you -and myself- this….What can you possibly give to others if your cup is already empty?
There has to be a way to find solace in the storm. I’m about to celebrate my 38th birthday and you know what I want to do most? Go to bed! I want to take off the disguise, find a nice quiet corner and just cry myself to sleep. And when I wake back up, I want to just lay there and watch HSN for a few weeks. That’s the only thing I know to do these days in order to release the stress and the weight of that world on my shoulders. Well the crying thing, not so much the HSN thing. Just seemed to fit!

     So I guess what I am asking… what do all of you do outside of prayer…when you have been running on fumes for weeks to refill? When short trips to the salon and women’s conferences don’t seem to do it, what do you do? What can I do? What can my friends do? When you can’t hit the brakes because you’re metal on metal, how do you stop the train? One time I prayed for adversity so that I would be closer to God. Since then, things really have been crazy!! And I must admit, I do pray ALOT more now. Talk about answered prayers. (I have to kind of giggle at that. Probobly the craziest thing I ever prayed for)
Please share anything and everything you are willing to….And thank you in advance for thinking of me and everyone else reading this in hopes that we might be able to use what you share to refill our cups.


6 thoughts on “Running on Fumes

  1. I have to say I know that feeling all to well. In January our 4 month old son died. That was already added to our full plate of caring for children with a life threatening disease, my husband had lost his job, and his father had died in November leaving tons of family drama behind. Nothing could ever prepare me for the tragedy of finding our son in his bed and had returned to heaven. This took a toll on our entire family and caused many rifts leaving my husband and I feeling more alone than ever before. I was unable to return to my high demand job but found when the company let me go because of such that I would be left fighting with unemployment for weeks on end and still have not resolved it. Somewhere in it all we found out we were expecting a new baby and also that my husband’s unemployment benefits would be exhausted. Right now with no end in sight to the chaos and things happening to our family left and right I often feel that running on fumes feeling.

    The one thing I can say is to give yourself the ok to be human…this is a hard thing to do and a lesson I am still learning. Many people said I have changed but it is more that I have realized I cannot do it all and now just work within my limits which leaves many others fending for themselves. I pray all the time for the ability to just survive and take another breath at times for it seems impossible some moments. Somewhere in all of this I have found a way to try to keep things in perspective. Will worrying really change the outcome? Am I doing all I can do? That does not mean more than what you are really capable of at the moment. If yes is the answer than I have to put it in Gods hands because I know I can’t do any more than I already have. Sometimes it takes a stronger person to admit they cannot do it or just don’t know how. It is harder to be weak and allow others to see that human part of you. Getting through one day at a time and sometimes one moment at a time can be a true triumph and we have to recognize the small things matter!

    Somehow my husband and I have grown closer rather than apart and learned to cherish the small things. We have what we need not necessarily what we want. Together we have reevaluated where we want our lives to be and what is truly important to us. Our little family is the most important thing of all and the rest of the world comes after no matter what others think or say about us. Sometimes we have to step back and realize that there are many others in a worse situation and to remind ourselves we volunteer time at a food shelter. We have also donated many of our sons things to those in need in Ecuador to find a sense of purpose in something tragic. We can’t change that he is gone but we can make something good of a bad situation. Often times I find that is how we make it through the day and through those moments we are working on just fumes. Somehow the rest of it all just falls into place. Listen to and seek that inner peace we all posses but often times ignore or forget exists. I don’t know if any of this makes sense but wanted to share how we make it through the moments where our world seems as if it is caving him and we are running on empty.

    • Birth control is a blessing, imagine previous generations when turning to your partner for physical release and emotional solace meant the looming pressure and fear of pregnancy. I feel it needs to be said that adding another person to the mix might not be the right choice for everyone at the time…Science has helped liberate us, and now the struggle (might be) is coming to terms with taking oral contraception and the church…but the relief of the pressure and stress, knowing you can turn to the delightful physical comfort of your partner, without creating a baby…thats a powerful thing.

      • With all due respect, Rebecca, some women are unable to take birth control or it simply just fails. The following site shows the fail rate percentages across all types of birth control. I think the point of Nicoles post was to point out that it is difficult to ask for help when you are overwhelmed and how she has struggled with her personal situation. Not really about the failure of her birth control or lack thereof. That is a personal-sometimes spiritual- decision every couple must decide on their own. Everyone’s journey is different, some more complex than others, as we are all put on this earth for a different reason. The article focuses on how to unwind, how to unplug and how to replenish your energy when you tend to carry a heavy load so as not to completely burn out. Not so much about the personal choice of birth control. It’s nice to know that we are not alone in times of darkness and I appreciate the courage it took Nicole to share her grief in such a public forum. Rebecca, thank you for your comment sweetie….you know I mean this with love! The butt ugly truth of it is that I think you missed the point of the posts.

      • I agree with Crystal where this is concerned. Even on birth control we have gotten pregnant. For those who it works for that is great but it not the answer for everyone for many reasons. However, our daughter was planned but none of this other stuff was planned prior to deciding that we were ready for another child, things to happened in our lives after the fact. At the time you make a decision it is the right decision for you at that very second but a moment later may not be, we cannot see the future and what it holds for us. As long as the decision was not made with the intent to harm it was well intended and that is all that matters. Mistakes and life trials are what bring us all wisdom, understanding, and compassion.

        Sometimes bad stuff just happens to good people and you have to find a way to live life among the chaos that comes your way. There are also times when some of the hardest times and most horrible circumstances become the biggest blessings in life for an individual but at the time it may not seem that way. For some people planning life goes exactly as the envision it and for others, like my family, things just don’t work that way. Birth Control has nothing to do with our current situation and we cannot wait to welcome our blessing despite all the other trials we face. There does however have to be a point in time that you have to learn to just say you are above being able to fix it all and the things constantly being thrown your way. We just cannot control everything and thinking so can just add more stress to an already difficult situation taking up what little energy we do happen to have away.

  2. Nicole,

    First of all, I am so sorry for your loss and struggle! I’m so glad that you and your husband are such a great team! Support is vital!!!

    I love what you wrote! This comment is so important : “Sometimes it takes a stronger person to admit they cannot do it or just don’t know how.” For me, it took a LONGGGGG time to realize I couldn’t do it on my own! Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do and I think it’s the first thing I always FORGET to do!

    PS…THANK YOU for sharing your story!

    • Crystal,
      Sometimes I think we are all expected to be super mom, wife, sister, aunt, etc. I don’t know if it is something that comes from society or our on perceptions. Often times I feel we don’t even realize admitting we need help is an option and was why I brought it up. Saying you cannot do it is not saying you are weak but rather you are strong enough and confident enough in your own skin to know your limits. We would never allow our children to undertake something that was well beyond their abilities without some sort of support or help.

      I also feel letting our children and others see these moments and being honest with them when life is a little crazy allows them to know when their live seems like that, it is ok. None of us are alone in the chaos we call life even if our personal circumstances are different. I never give my children adult problems but if I am having a bad day I will surely admit to it and tell them how I am feeling. It allows them to be able to communicate more effectively and when they are having a bad day know that it is ok to be human and be upset or make mistakes. It helps to also realize success is not measured by if the outcome is what was planned but rather the effort put forth dispite what happened in the end. I feel that recognizing these things during those moments you fell like you are running on empty can be what helps you to make it through.

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