There will be some of you that read this post after my last one and say, “Dyan’s depressed. It’s finally gotten to her.” And there may be a grain of truth to that. After all, how long can a chick smile and pray and act as if life’s just gone on without a hitch in a situation like this? Well, I’m not depressed. A bit sullen, yes, but not depressed. You see, I literally don’t have time for that. Dylan needs me to be strong and so strong I must be. And I’ve been doing well with that character, Strong Dyan.
Strong Dyan thinks critically about this impossible situation. Strong Dyan gets up every morning, thanks the Most High for blessing her with this day and then decides what she’ll accomplish. I usually give myself at least three things that must be done which can range from ‘do some laundry’, ‘return a couple of phone calls’ and ‘get some work done’ to ‘think positive’, ‘pray’ and ‘remember to brush your teeth’. Depending on where I am emotionally, the list varies but the outcome is always the same, the core three tasks are always completed before I close my eyes that night. As some of you may know, I work for Karmic Management, which is an entertainment company that produces international concerts, festivals and tours. My best friend, Carmenita Cornish-Helligar is the CEO and after months of hard work, she and I are finally reaping the benefits. But what all that good news means is that I’m at the busiest time of my life from a professional standpoint. And what that means is that on top of all that I have to manage with Dylan’s situation, I now have the other responsibility to assist my best friend and business partner in establishing the roots of what is going to be a great and successful business. It’s a tall order and for Weeks 5, 6, 7 and this current Week 8 of my journey, it’s been a bitch to manage.
The biggest obstacle I have with finding the balance between work and life in my current situation is that they are both equally monumental. Now, of course, the argument can be made that one is of significantly less importance than the other. And any of you that know me know that I have my priorities in order so there’s no question that Dylan always comes first. But having said that, I must say that it is difficult to leave work alone, to simply put it to the side. Because at the end of the day, I am the head of my household, am not a Rockefeller and so must earn a living to support myself and my daughter. As I write this, I’m literally robbing Peter to pay Paul and that’s no way to live. Actually, I HATE living like that and doing so makes me extremely depressed. Unlike most people, I’m not afraid to admit that I like making and having money. I don’t see it as evil – not even a necessary one – and know that it’s not only needed to survive in the world that we live in but is a definite part of my vision of success. I like having choice in life and choice is costly. I made a decision a long time ago that my success would always be tied to the amount of choice I have in my life. That didn’t change with Dylan blessing my life 6 years ago. All that did is motivate me, put my priorities in order and allow me to focus and create a plan. The next step in actioning that plan took a while, but once I started, I vowed not to stop. So although Dylan’s brain injury was not a part of the plan, it is now more reason for me to ensure that I work hard to provide me with the choice needed to ensure that she receives the best care possible in the world.
Pressure, absolutely. Impossible, absolutely not. So the last couple of weeks I was forced to gain perspective on my work/life balance. And what I had to admit was that there is none. NEWS FLASH: there is no such thing as work/life balance. Whether you have a spouse, a family member, a nanny, or a daycare or school that assists in taking care of your child while you work, there is no such thing as a 50/50 split between work and life. What you do is your best. You do your best to be 100% at parenting and 100% at your job. You do your best to remember the little things that matter to your child like asking how their day was and really listening to the response. You do your best to focus on the task at hand when you’re preparing for a meeting or are in the meeting. You do your best to be as close to being two places at once as possible. I’ve gone to an award ceremony in the morning, a meeting when I got to work, a lunch meeting midday and then back to school to assist with handing out cupcakes all in the same day. And that type of day happens for most parents: moms and dads. Because as much as most people want to think that men are okay with being given “the out” by society, every dad does not feel okay with not being involved or as involved as mom. I’ll speak on this incorrect assumption in another post. But for now, back to my life and what I’m facing. I’ll speak on the misconceived notion that you can completely balance your work and your life and still overachieve at both at another time.
So as I mentioned, it’s Week 8 and as I write this I’m coming up on a week since I gave my notice at Karmic. Yep, I threw in the towel. I quit. The pressure had finally gotten to me and something had to give. I didn’t want to leave it behind but I had no choice. I could no longer deal with the expectations I had of greatness along with all I had to deal with daily with Dylan’s health and then also keep a straight face and be Strong Dyan. So last week Friday, I got angry for the third time since May 13th and decided which part of me had to go. It’s been a strange week since then. Karmic had really become a part of me but what I was left with was my thoughts about Dylan and about life and I realized immediately that I’d made the right decision. Not because I now had more time with Dylan that had not changed. What I had more time with was myself. I realized that with all the work that I’d been doing, all the pressure that I’d put on myself to do what I could to make things happen with Karmic were ways for me to avoid my thoughts. And it had worked for a time but now, it was time for me to face it all. So here goes.
I’m angry. I’m fucking pissed off and am really tired of the rollercoaster that I’m on. I’m tired of being strong. I’m tired of keeping it together and most of all, I’m tired of hearing that this is going to be my life from now on. In this very moment as I write this, I know with all my heart that I will die trying to change this reality. I will have Dylan back, I will have my life back and I will be in a place where I’m working toward the future I planned for her. Am I setting myself up to go crazy?? Maybe. But all dreams started somewhere, right. And right now, I refuse to believe that the current state that things are in are supposed to be all that is for Dylan and I. Nope, it can’t be right. God’s got too much planned for us. You can’t tell me that Dylan won’t speak to me again. That she won’t laugh again. Well, you can tell me, but I won’t believe you. I just said to the social worker at the hospital that I refuse to give in to this as my new reality and it’s the truth. So I’ll keep working at not being depressed, at not getting too down about things, at not always acting like everything’s alright. But most of all, I’ll keep working at being me.
I’ve been told that I’ll change. That my outlook will change. That it will get easier because I’ll get used to it. Those people just don’t know me. They don’t know Dylan. They don’t know or understand the life that I’ve led. Well, Dylan baby, I guess you and mommy are just going to have to show them. We’re going to have to make them watch as we fight everyday. As we not only fight to be strong but that we also fight to be happy. To be at peace. To be ourselves.
I feel like this post was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but I guess for right now, that’s my new normal. Hi, everyone, welcome to our next leg.