Monday, April 9, 2012

The beginning of the end

When Gary and I met, we were in college. I began university with the full intentions of becoming an interior designer. God had other plans. He called me to go on a mission trip to California one summer. I went thinking how inadequate I was to teach children's camps all summer. What did I know about kids?? Well, God worked in my life that summer and I ended up coming back after the summer to change my major to Elementary Education. This was such a difficult decision for me. I cried a lot, talked to my dad for guidance, spent time in prayer, but in the end I knew I was supposed to do it. I even had a hard time with my academic counselor who told me I was one of the most dedicated students and she didn't think I should leave design. But, I knew God had some reason for leading me in a different direction. The next year, I discovered what that was --- Gary!!! I would never have met him had I not followed God's plan for my life.

I still had the desire to be a designer, but I settled into education as my career and when Gary and I married, it was my life.

We were so happy as a married couple, but we knew that staying in Mississippi probably wouldn't help us to extend our family. We moved to Georgia, away from friends and family, but we knew it would be for the best.

After moving to Georgia, we really began to focus on trying to get pregnant. I came off of birth control and we thought we were moving forward in life. We both ended up with good jobs and we started thinking about buying a home to settle into. Of course, the home we bought was a four bedroom home (to fill with children) and the neighborhood was family friendly with a ton of amenities. Most of the families on our street had children and were still growing their families. We felt we would fit right in. Little did we know that it would take this long and we still wouldn't have children. (Married 2005, Move to Georgia in 2006, home bought in 2007, still not pregnant in 2012).

We went through a stage (at least I did) where I started thinking I didn't like my life the way it was. If we weren't going to have children, why did we need a big house and why did I need to keep teaching? I began to have visions of grandeur in my head of becoming a designer who had silk drapes and beautiful furniture and who got to dress stylishly and meet with clients all day. I wouldn't need to worry about anything- I could just throw myself into my work. People wouldn't wonder why I didn't have children because I was going to be successful. I even began to think we needed to "divorce" all of our friends and get some friends who didn't have kids. We could hang out with them freely and not have to worry about discussing why we didn't have children.

After a lot of discussion with Gary, I decided to go back to school to pursue design. I took classes at night, on Saturdays and online. I was very busy and I thought only about school. I stayed up late on the weekends and did homework and I even took a class that was all day Saturday. I put all of my effort into my designs and my job and thought about nothing else. Gary was a champ during this time because he saw how "happy" I was getting back into my art. But, I was pretty distant during this time and he did a lot on his own.

I graduated with all A's!!! I was so happy and proud of myself for this accomplishment. I was successful at something. I was so focused that several of my professors asked to use my work as examples for future classes. I began to think about not teaching and starting to work as a designer seriously. But, the idea that I was not pregnant and had no children came creeping back into my mind after I had a break for once. I didn't have school to focus on anymore. I thought I could just move forward, but the idea that I had been unsuccessful at getting pregnant brought me down. I had no self esteem. My work from school didn't give me that and I didn't feel I could go on interviews and meet with clients because I was somehow broken. I did start painting again and began to sell my paintings, but I did not pursue a job in design. At this time, the economy was also against me. We decided I should keep teaching to pay off some debt - one of which was my design degree.

People around me began to see a change in me, especially Gary. He couldn't wait until I could quit teaching so he could have me back. He saw how stressed I was and how truly unhappy I had become. I knew I had somehow lost myself in all of this. I used to be an empathetic person who saw beauty in others. I had become a stressed out and very angry person. I needed to find myself again.

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