I do my best to not post too many stream of consciousness-type posts on this blog, simply because I find that they can be really hard to relate to for some. For others, however, they can be extremely relatable, and I felt compelled to sort of share a bit of my internal journey over the past 5+ years of motherhood and trying to find my place in the middle of it all. When Ryan and I got married and almost immediately found ourselves pregnant with Spencer, I’ll admit that I felt like I lost myself a little somewhere along the way. I sort of lost my individual identity. Instead of being “Missy Moore – swimmer, writer, newlywed,” I was suddenly “Missy Moore – Army wife and mom.” That’s daunting. Those new identities so easily blanketed everything else that I felt that that was it. That was my new role. That’s all I would ever really be, and I was content with it…mostly. But I was also lost. This, my friends, is how getting lost helped me find myself.
Let me give you a little bit of a timeline for context, okay?
In 2014, Ryan and I got married. We had a baby. We moved across the country to Fort Drum, and we bought a house.
In 2015, Ryan went to Korea for 6 weeks. We found out we were pregnant again.
In 2016, we had our second baby, and we found out Ryan was deploying.
In 2017, Ryan deployed. I had two small children alone. Our dog was hit by a car. Both boys were hospitalized. I ran a marathon, then I destroyed my knee.
In 2018, I had knee surgery. We moved across the country JBLM. We found out we were pregnant again. Ryan left. Then came back. Then left. Then came. Rinse and repeat.
In 2019, Ryan deployed. I had our third baby. We moved to a new house. I was diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease.
You get it. We’ve been busy. I’ve been busy. And somewhere in the middle of all that, I kind of lost myself. I was a mother, a wife, and a copywriter by day. Day in and day out, I fulfilled those roles to the best of my ability but I felt that, in some ways, I’d settled. I, personally, no longer existed in the equation, and I let that play out in every aspect of my mental health, my lack of self love, my body, and so on, and so forth. I stopped putting myself in pictures. I hid from the camera, I shied away from a lot of things because I didn’t really feel like I, personally, fit into the picture.
When Ryan deployed in 2019 though, I knew I needed to change something. I wanted to find myself again. I wanted to find my passions, and I knew I had to put myself back into the frame – both literally and figuratively. Motherhood and the military can be all-consuming, but it’s important not to let these roles overwhelm your individuality, as well. 2019 and 2020 have been landmark years for us as a family, as well as personally. When I lost my job in April, there was a small part of me that felt I was losing yet another piece of my identity, but I’ve almost felt a bit liberated in the process, as well. Sure, it’s scary not having solid, full-time employment, but I’m also loving the opportunity to freelance, and I’m loving the opportunity to chase down personal dreams and goals.
I’m hiking with the kids, going on adventure after adventure, and each time, it’s further impressed upon me. This time is so fleeting. While the day-to-day minutiae of life can overwhelm, you have to make time for joy, and you have to make time for yourself. So, I have. I’m finally running again, five or six days a week. We’re hiking every chance we get. I’m running down passion projects with joy and enthusiasm again because I have time to do so, and it’s time to put myself back in the equation.
Sometimes the most important life changes come from a place of the unknown. They come from a rock-bottom, soul-crushing identity crisis in which you’re forced to admit that you don’t know who you are anymore. And it’s from those places that you can rebuild and find yourself again. I’m a work in progress, but I’m finally finding (and making) the time to focus on myself so I can better focus on all the joy and living in life around me. I see the physical manifestations in finding myself in weight loss, as I learn to love myself and appreciate the journey I’ve been on. I’m starting to feel better and, in turn, I look better because that joy is creeping back into every corner of my life. I see emotional manifestations of finding myself in a greater appreciation for the hardships and for the challenges yet to come. I’m not longer the victim, but rather the author of this journey.
While this journey may resonate with some but miss the mark with others, I wanted to take the time to share how getting lost helped me find myself because sometimes – you just need to hit the bottom to bounce back up.