Motherhood transformed me. My identity changed. Now it changes again. I have constantly reinvented myself over my lifetime.
As a pre-med biochemistry major at UCLA, I was miserable and suicidal. Then I studied part-time at a community college, biding time to find my direction. Finding a niche as a legal studies major at UC Berkeley, I tried to reconcile my inner turmoil with very high professional aspirations.
First I worked as a legal assistant, then went to graduate school, earned a master’s in psychology and became a psychotherapist, only to crash and burn. Recovering from that breakdown, I re-entered the workforce as a temporary file clerk in the commercial real estate industry where I had ten years of success.
Trying to balance work with motherhood, I failed miserably, and ended up hospitalized in a psychiatric unit with rapid cycling and mixed symptoms of bipolar disorder. After months of partial hospitalization, I became a reluctant stay-at-home mother on disability.
What does an overeducated and reluctant stay-at-home mother with a recurring sense of calling (or a manic and delusional symptom of bipolar disorder, depending on one’s perspective) do with her mind? Why attend seminary, of course, which I did on two separate occasions and on two separate occasions had to quit due to symptoms.
Here I am writing my story again. To what end? To reinvent myself once again – not as someone who is ill, but as someone who fights and loves and writes and has hope that new chapters of her life lie ahead.
I have a voice that must be heard. I have a message to share and share it I do. I am not just my son’s mother. I am not my diagnosis. I am able. I am able to affect change. I wield power. I am a mover and a shaker. I do not whisper. I ROAR.
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We are caterpillar and butterfly,
The snake and the shed skin,
The Phoenix and the fire.
“Life is change, how it differs from the rocks.
I’ve seen their ways too often for my liking.”
Yes. Cyclical rebirth, after cyclical metaphorical deaths is the way of nature, with deaths and births and seasonal change.
From “It’s Allright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” by Bob Dylan – “he not busy being born
Is busy dying”
I wish I could’ve Loved this post instead of merely Liking it. I think the moment we stop re-inventing ourselves is the moment we start to die inside. Keep the faith, lady!!
Well, thank you. Looking forward to the future. My son is 17. Empty nest may actually become a reality…
Yes, there is a downside. I’ve mellowed a bit. My roar is that of a mature lioness, not an adolescent. I’m medicated, so for the most part, it is no longer symptomatic or exaggerated by hypomanic fueled rage.
Thanks for your continual support!
Thank you. I do not mean to dismiss the very real financial impact of no longer having an income. Disability can lead to poverty and to homelessness. I hope and pray that you have the support network needed to keep your family sheltered, fed and healthy. That is where extended family often comes into play. My husband makes enough money to support our family. My life would be much different if I didn’t have his support or before him, the support of my parents when I had a breakdown at thirty and could not work.
Good one! Keep roaring!!!
Congrats on your successes. And good luck.
I hear ya, Kitt. I also roar, and it has gotten me into much trouble over the years. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love this.
💥💥💥 Glad to hear you are okay. Very good first person narrative of your awesome journey, Kitt. Good image of “Leo”. Believe even a “Rogue Bull Elephant” could hear the “ROAR”. God Bless + Namaste !!!
Made me cry a little. I could be president g*d damn it! But your personal journey IS your roar. My country doesnt have that kind of disability here and I am primary financial carer to my kids. And now to settle down with less than the big pay check I used to earn. But I can do this. Because you and counless others have the strength to find a way. I am sad, very sad, but so inspired by your post.
It was first published in another form on Stigmama.com. Not sure if or when I may want to pull together my writing for publication.
I’ll have to check her new site.
Oh, I love this! I hope you get it published somewhere!
Well, she has a new Stigmama site but didn’t include the archives. You could always re-submit. I agree that it’s a good idea to pull your writing together into a printed form, my roaring one! Xo
Always discovering more about myself, others, and the world we share. Thanks!
This is an old post that I revised. I’m still writing in third person. Just haven’t posted my next “chapter” yet.
All right! Re-inventors tend to become writers or teachers. (I think.)
Find something that stimulates you intellectually, creatively, and socially. Writing, blogging, and social media all help me. I also volunteer for NAMI and have attended Meetup’s for writers. I’m now connected to my local writers’ group.
Thanks! I first wrote a version of this for Stigmama, but that site is no more. I guess that’s a reason to pull my writing together into a printed form. Don’t want it all lost to the ether.
Go Kitt! Well written, and I think it is your heart verbalising your journey so that you can ‘see’ within it what does make your heart open. Which part of your journey makes you ‘feel’ happy, something you really enjoyed doing. Go there.
Or, is there something that you would like to try to do differently, a better version of what went before. Your currently writing about your journey, why not blog about the in’s and out’s of real estate.
Follow your heart into something new that you ‘feel’ right about. You will be surprised in how it will wrap you in its interest. Yes, it will still make you tired, but all work does…but more than that, it will be a good tired because your heart is in it 😀
Enjoy your adventure, you may be surprised what you will discover…even in yourself <3 😀
👍 Thought your previous plan intended to experiment with posts in third person narratives. The heat and muggy weather nailed me over the Labor Day weekend. Think you may have been touched as well. Creativity is intelligence having fun. You are doing quite well, Geeky Goddess. Thanks, Kitt !!!
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
Kitt roars – serial re-invention is not a flaw.
From one serial re-inventor to another, roar on Kitt, roar on.
I know exactly how you feel. I am getting increasingly restless in my role as mother drawing disability. I have one young child left at home and wonder if I will have the energy to finish parenting her before I suffer from complete burnout as a mother.
I love this post!! Keep roaring!!!
I couldn’t help but think of a song….first I thought of “Eye of the Tiger,” but that wasn’t quite right.
Then I found the song “Roar” by Katy Perry. I’ve been a fan of hers, not recently, but in the past some of her songs (i.e. “Wide Awake”) have REALLY spoken to me when I was manic and couldn’t sleep. I was fascinated by her marriage to Russell Brand, famous comedian/author/MH advocate w/bipolar. I digress. Proud of you, Kitt, for sharing your ROAR with us!!!! Keep it roarin’!
Here is her video for “Roar” and it’s kind of fun to watch: