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Learning to Trust Myself
There are lots of changes going on in the Blizzard house.

by Dena Blizzard

I thought by August I would be sipping mimosas on the beach or soaking up the sun by a pool somewhere. Instead, I’m contemplating moving, my son Dean is leaving for college and Chardonnay Go (our new board game) is growing. It’s all good news, so I’m not complaining, but it’s a lot.

I don’t mind change at all. In fact, I search it out. When my life feels stagnant or I’m unsure of my next step, I like to “shake the tree.” That’s what I call it when I make a move that requires some type of response from someone in the universe. But where we are right now—Dean lost his bed (we needed room for our growing company), we are looking at bigger houses across town and Dean is packing for college—well, that’s even a lot for me.

Change is hard even when good things are happening. I find myself staring at my yard longingly (like a weirdo) thinking about all the kids in the neighborhood playing outside on summer nights. I sneak mental pictures of Dean laughing or hanging with his sisters because I know everything will change in just a few shorts weeks. It’s made me appreciate everything a lot more, but I worry about whether things will be as good if it all changes. I’m sure that’s how everyone thinks about change.

When I’m really scared, I think about this great story I heard about lobsters. (Ignore this next part if you’ve heard it. But how many lobsters stories do you know?!)

There was a professor speaking about change and anxiety and he told this particularly interesting story about how lobsters grow. He said that when lobster are born (hatched? I don’t know, not important to the story) they have a shell. They grow into that shell and it protects them for a long time. As the lobster continues to grow however, the shell will become tighter and tighter until it starts to suffocate the lobster. The lobster will try and ignore it, but as the days progress the lobster will become more and more uncomfortable. The lobster knows that it needs to leave this shell and become vulnerable in order to grow, but it will fight it until one day it’s just too uncomfortable and the lobster will be forced to leave its comfortable safe place and become vulnerable.

The lobster will need to take shelter while it grows (molts? I don’t know, not important to the story) and will eventually emerge with a better shell. The lobster will go through this process numerous times throughout its life—growing, fighting to stay in its comfort zone and eventually having to become vulnerable in order to grow.

I think about that stupid lobster every time I’m scared to grow. I think about all the times I’ve fought change because I just didn’t know what the next step was. I think about all the times I’ve cried driving home from a job that wasn’t good for me but I didn’t quit. I think about all the times my boss spoke about me in third person, right in front of my face, because he thought so little of me and I didn’t quit. I think about all the times I was told that no one wanted to hear about my “mom problems” on stage and that I should talk about “dating or subways” and I started to believe them. At some point I had enough. I knew I wasn’t growing. It was time to get rid of my shell (my security blanket, job, career) and make a change. I didn’t know what the next steps were, but I did know it was time to grow.

That’s where I am now. It’s time to grow. For me, my family and Dean. It’s scary. It’s unknown but I’ve learned to trust the process. Trust that I’ll get my shell back. Trust that I’ll be in a better place. Maybe I’ve stayed at crappy jobs too long. Maybe I let people talk down to me because they were my boss. Maybe I doubted my abilities but I learned from all of it. I learned that I could take some risks and be OK on the other side of it. This is where I am at the end of summer. Filled with questions. I imagine that’s how our kids will be feeling soon as summer winds down and we begin the back-to-school rush.

I’m going to do my best “lobstering” and trust the process. Trust that I’m uncomfortable and it means it’s time to grow. And just when all the changes seem too much and the mad rush for back to school begins, trust that the best way I can think to deal with it all is to make a “Back to School” video, drink some vodka in a local Target and we can all have a collective laugh together over the chaos of motherhood.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Google “Back to School Rant” and enjoy some One Funny Mother.)

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 5 (August 2018).

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