July 21, 2013
It was Wednesday afternoon around 11:54am when I finally hit a wall. For weeks I’ve been on a tailspin with my stepchildren in town, working non-stop, attending events and maintaining a lackluster workout regimen. If I wasn’t in a meeting or running an errand, I was cleaning the house, doing the dishes, folding the laundry or cooking dinner.
I was lacking sleep, surrounded by paperwork, on chat with the cable company while my youngest was holding onto my leg crying. I texted my best friend expressing my erratic emotional state and she gave me the go-ahead to ‘let it all out’ – and so I did.
I cried because I was tired, frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed. I cried because it felt like my entire life is dedicated to caring for other people, whether they are my kids, my husband, my elderly residents, my employees or my extended family. I cried because I didn’t know when this feeling would ever end – if I would ever be able to wake up and have nothing to do, no emails to write, no room to clean or no person to call – and the paradox I would feel with the loss of action in my life.
I cried because I felt weak.
In that moment I thought about the little girl I once was, who was nicknamed the ‘little mommy’ growing up because I cared for my siblings, cleaned the house and made school lunches. I thought of the mornings in Junior High when I would wake punctually at 4:55am to iron my mother’s clothes, prepare her breakfast, pack her lunch and ensure she was out of the house by 5:35am for work. I thought about how I juggled overloading my units each quarter at UC Davis while staying committed to my clients as a personal trainer in college.
And then I thought about the day I left my life.
I thought about the quiet days I spent as a young working woman in the bustling city of San Francisco. I was free from the responsibilities that made me grow early as a child – but in that same moment, I also lost all the symbols that I related to on a daily basis. I was no longer a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend or a student. I didn’t have familial obligations, relationship worries or academic pressures.
I was just me – but at 22 years old, I didn’t know who ‘me’ was.
I realized I was everything my mother wanted to become. I was everything society influenced me to desire. I was single, fit and beautiful…a college graduate, a beauty queen, a corporate employee…
I was everything to everyone – but me.
I began the struggle that would become the most significant game changer of my life. I underwent a debilitating eating disorder, I became 30lbs overweight and I started documenting my innermost thoughts online. I would often cry, wishing my mother would hold me…wishing that God could see me and realizing that the longing to be nurtured and cared for was an unusual but common feeling. Looking back I know that while I was in my mid-twenties, my heart wanted to revert back to being 7-years-old…when my mom used to cradle me in her arms and my dad would hold my hand. I wanted to feel protected just long enough before the weight of the world – and the challenging things I would see and feel – didn’t force me to grow up before my time.
I cried the other day because I was unveiling who I was – once again – in the path of intense resistance.
In our life’s path, who we become mirrors who we see in the reflections of our adversity.
While struggle came early, that discomfort made me grow. ..and while my recent days have been hard, I know that my strive will develop my strength, for we are only given what we can endure.
I’ m not perfect. I’m not supermom.
I’m striving – and in this strive, I’m developing my strength.
I cried when i read this because this is my life. After a few bad years i find myself so severely depressed and overwhelmed that it is hard for me to get out of bed. The moment i was old enough to work i got my first job as a nurse aide working in a nursing home. Then after i had my oldest son it felt like i was caregiving from the time i opened my eyes to the time i closed them again every day. I have never really stopped to take care of me. This has really hit home and is truly inspiring. Thank You!!
Candace so many women are right there with you – you are not alone, but the good part is that today and every day you wake up choosing to make time for yourself, you are one step closer to manifesting whatever your dreams may be. God Bless you!
Hola, me siento sola, vivo en Colombia y no salen las cosas bien…. como siempre la economia un poco forzada y mi corazon cada vez mas triste….estoy casada y con dos hijas y me entristece no poder conseguir un trabajo que pueda dar tiempo a mis hijas como ahora lo hago, pero la depresion me ahoga……
i saw the picture with you and the three boys read the comments and some of your own on you site.. depression isn’t something that comes and goes with me it’s everyday a fight just to get out of bed to put on clothes not to mention all the other things that most people do in a day without even thinking how hard it might be for others……the you are not alone isn’t quite true,,,,,, i was in my house very seldom left it and would still be there if it wasn’t for a bit of luck… it has been ten years that i went to another persons house alone,,, and that just happened on wednesday….. it was fun but still that overwhelming feeling of wanting to go home and needed to leave,, the sadness knowing that if left or stayed that no matter how hard i tried,, i would feel guilty for staying to long or because i needed so bad to leave…. there are lots of mes’ out there,,, i know i have several i type with all the time and for one she has to fight so hard just to send me a message… weight for me isn’t something i can really do anything about,, i can’t eat things like foods with yeast in the or others like peanuts or corn that have mold in them naturally or mushrooms and such… so with very little money other than for bills and we don’t live on anything other than what my son’s dad makes at work,, so food has to be bought that isn’t costly and will be filling.. so the things i make for my son and his dad are the things that they eat and i have to also…,,, just be careful when you talk of depression and such.. for many of us we get the just get over it or those who say i’m so depressed with life but i’m sure it will fade,,or it’s just in you head,, remember it is in our heads but like those with a physical disease … those of use with depression are fighting ourselves every day,,,,, and those who take meds… it still is a battle just to make it through a day let alone doing what has to be done.
I started to look at your FB and in turn your post here, after reading that you had been called a bully for posting the cover shot of your book. The curiosity was why would anyone take offense; even though I know how small – comu’n as my wife Maria would say – people act today.
I’ve only looked at a little of what you post, but it’s more than enough to know that, if it were possible, Maria and I would include you, your husband, and your three little squirts in our life. We don’t get to meet enough good people, and when we do, we usually invite them over. Wishing you guys were in our neighborhood (Hollywood. FL), wishing you the best, and it’s always reinforcing to me to find wonderful people in the world.
Ms. Kang, I am glad I found your website. Thank you for opening up your life to others. God bless you with continued success. I add your family and you to my prayers and ask that you add my family and me to your prayers. Respectfully, Marian Coffman.
I am a Mother of two boys & my neice: ages 11,7 & 6…I have major depression & found this very encouraging but yes I always make an excuse. I haven’t went to the gym now going on 10 days. I need the courage, empowerment & motivation that I lack. I don’t know how to get out of this groove. As I love my kids unconditionally, I am 31 still seeking ‘me’ also. Where did you start? How? Or with someone or just yourself? Any advice would help! Finding ‘me’ had been a journey that hasn’t truely started because I too get so caught up caring & doing things for other & setting myself aside for later. Please help with any advice. I know exercise & eating good did help with energy but somehow someway something gets in my way! Help?