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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

There is a Song Inside of You Yet

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Yesterday, I caught myself singing.

Now this all by itself may seem small or inconsequential, and it probably is to anyone but me. But, you see, I used to sing all the time. It was a quirk of mine, one of many, and a poor choice of one at that because I am a terrible singer, all throat and no melody like a man who smoked for too long and now has to try to hum a tune out of his tracheotomy hole.

But no matter, because I sang anyway. And the songs themselves, well, they were not even songs as much as jingles, little ditties I made up on the spot about whatever I was doing at the time: changing a diaper or feeding the dog or peeing or contemplating the awful state of modern politics. It pleased me greatly if they rhymed, but this wasn't a requirement, and likewise if they made sense. Mostly I gave myself a little peppy soundtrack to my life, because we all need the things that help us make sense of the world, right?

Anyway, somewhere along the line I stopped singing. I don't know when it happened exactly, and I don't know if it was a sudden ceasing or a slow trickle down to nothing like when I turn my bathroom faucet off. All I know is the singing was one of the first things to go and then other things followed: my social life and my yoga practice and my sleep and my self-care until recently I took a look around and realized that maybe the reason I felt so lonely was because I had dug myself so deep into a hole that no one could even reach me.

In short, I was depressed.

Scratch that- I AM depressed.

So a few weeks ago I threw up a rope and called out for help and got myself, finally, on some meds. It's not my first time doing so but it's my first time in a long time and I had put it off and put it off because I had started to buy into all that crap about how if I just thought the right thoughts or ate the right foods or made the conscious decision to be happy I would be fine.

But that's some dangerous bull right there.

So when I sat down next to my babies and heard them running and playing like it was coming at me from far away because it was--because I was down in that hole, you see--and I missed them so ferociously that it threatened to crack me open, I picked up the phone right then and called my doctor and said: "enough. Let's do this."

It has only been a little while and hopefully it won't have to be forever (although if it does, that's okay too) and I wasn't sure anything of note was even happening at all yet until I was standing in my kitchen yesterday scrubbing the crust off of the cookware and there was a throaty voice rumbling in my ear and I was like "hey, I know that voice."

"That's me."

And oh how I had missed me! As soon as I had done it I wanted to do it again, and again and again, until I had thoroughly frightened the kids and annoyed the husband and made myself giggle and dance a little impromptu jig across the kitchen. And I've been doing it ever since, singing little dumb made-up-on-the-spot diddies, although I'm trying not to do it at work or in the public bathroom stall or the checkout aisle at Target because I don't want anyone to think I'm having a seizure or shoot me with a stun gun.

I don't mean to imply that it's as simple as that either, there's a lot of work left to do and I can still feel sadness so deep inside of me that there's a hollowed-out space where it sat so big, and life is still flinging its best shit at me like a deranged short order cook, but I do want to say this:

Even if you are there, deep in the hole where it's so dark that maybe you forgot it could even be light; even if you can barely make out the sound of your people playing in the room where you're sitting; even if you feel all alone and teeny weeny and like no one can see you when they walk past:

What you feel right now is real.

It is not your fault.

This is not where it ends.

There is still a song inside of you yet.

And get some help. Your people need you.

Liz is a writer, blogger, teller of stories, believer in truth, and mama to four. She shares her stories on lizpetrone.com and all over the Internet, and recently finished a sloppy first draft of her first book. She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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