I have felt a tug in multiple directions all of my life; like different pieces of a vast puzzle all intricately fitted together. As I have evolved into the person I am today, I have a wide array of interests. Especially after I got married and became a mom, my interests expanded, but some of my old favorites remained. When I was a young mom, I felt I had to hide parts of me. Afraid some would judge me or think of me as a bad mom, I kept those sections a secret. I hid my love for heavy metal from certain other mothers, worried they might think of me as a careless mom. While around religious people, I often worried about their thoughts of my personal beliefs, so I always kept them to myself.
I write about our blended family here, as well as The Huffington Post, being a middle-aged mom on various sites, I write about mental health issues on The Mighty, and on my other site I share my photography and write about abandoned places. Not all of my readers on the sites carry over to one another, so I have always kept them separate. Generally speaking, the same people who like abandoned photography don’t always read mom-blogs about blended families. Middle-aged moms don’t usually listen to Slipknot. At a recent appointment, a doctor found out I planned to attend a rock concert with my kids, and I led her to believe I was only doing it for my children. In the moment, I knew she would not have approved by the look on her face, so I went along with it, and I felt horrible about myself when I left. I was not true to myself, I thought, as I swallowed the gravel in my throat. I hid who I am from her. People once told me I would grow out of my love for loud, heavy music, but it never happened. I love a wide variety of music. I can listen to Harry Connick Jr., Justin Timberlake one moment, and Korn the next. It does not make me a bad person or a bad mother. I am different than everyone else. None of us are cookie-cutter-moms, not really. All of us have differences the outside world rarely sees; you know the stuff I’m referring to, the weird things only your close friends and family see. I’m more of a confetti cake mom with an entire rainbow of colors, and I should be darn proud of it! It’s okay that you might prefer Taylor Swift to Rob Zombie, we can still have a cup of coffee together and discuss our children. It is perfectly fine to have your own interests.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
There are other aspects of myself I’ve learned to contain over the years from various people, at certain times in my life. Shards of my past I’ve felt ashamed of so I concealed them; special talents I possess that I hid to make other people feel better about themselves, because I thought bragging would be rude or worse, I put myself down.
As Leslie Means wrote in one of her articles, I’m Done With Sorry, “Guys, I’m sick of apologizing for being me.” I have been in this incredible group of women called, Her View From Home, where I have felt supported, nurtured, and more welcome than I have in years. In addition to these wonderful women, I’ve also learned so much from the other people in my life. I believe we are a reflection of one another. We can choose what to reflect back upon the world. What will you mirror to your world? What will you project toward your children? Will you teach them to accept everyone for who they are, even if you don’t understand or agree ? If your answer is no, imagine what will the world look like in ten years if everyone decides to teach their children shame, deception, and more hatred in lieu of acceptance, love, and kindness?
I suddenly realized I have spent years of my life, and have wasted countless energy worrying about what others think about me, when most people honestly do not give it a second thought. Really, most people are living their own lives worrying about their own stuff. The big epiphany happened when I looked at my oldest daughter and thought, she is officially a senior now, and I have one more year. We don’t have an infinite amount of time. Our time eventually runs out, and this incredible young woman I have been entrusted to raise looks at me as an example. Do I want either of my daughters to hide parts of themselves from the world in shame? Absolutely not. I want both of my girls to be proud of every single part of themselves; the good, the bad, and the ugly (although as their mom, none of them is truly ugly to me :-)). The only way I can really teach them this is by example. I am terrified more than anything of messing this motherhood thing up. One of the first things I do when I wake up every morning is thank God for my children, and then I pray I don’t mess anything major up for them today. Every single day. Before I go to sleep every night I thank God for giving me another day with my family, and I pray for another day. No matter how bleak things may seem, we are really so lucky.
I am finished with hiding who I am from anyone, because I am an example for my girls and for other women.
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” -Audrey Hepburn
Trish Eklund is raising her two daughters of thirteen and sixteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife. Trish is the owner and creator of Family Fusion Community, and Abandoned, Forgotten, and Decayed, a photographic adventure in the abandoned and the forgotten. Trish is also regularly featured on Huffington Post Divorce, Her View From Home, The Mighty, and Making Midlife Matter. Trish also has an essay in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz. The first book telling the story of blended family life from the perspective of the stepkids. Trish’s photography has been featured on Only in Nebraska. Follow on Instagram, Facebook, Facebook-Family Fusion Community, and Pinterest.