This article was originally written in 2010. It is dedicated to the many military spouse sidekicks who are there to support each other when military life gets crazy. Thanks go out to all my fellow supermoms – you inspire me each and every day!
Over the last couple weeks many of the people I’ve talked with have uttered the words “I’m Done”, and I would just arrogantly think to myself “puhleez”. Think differently, take action, replace the negativity…. OK OK OK , jokes on me I get it. You’d think I’d learn that whenever I think I have uncovered the “right” way to “be” I am quickly brought to my knees and am given the opportunity to grow in whatever area I “thought” I had mastered.
And then a couple of days ago I uttered the words “I’m Done”. As I did I clapped my hands over my mouth and burst into tears. I was done, cooked, fried however you want to say it I’d had enough of the military life. I was tired, and well nothing else could describe what I was feeling but the words “I’M DONE” and they captured my state of mind perfectly.
You see, last week was hard. Within one moment I went from looking forward to a weekend visit with my daughter to scrambling to find a friend to pick her up from the airport as I followed my son who was being transported by ambulance to the hospital. I can’t begin to share with you the fear and helpless feeling when you see your 17 yr old , on the verge of unconsciousness, unable to speak or recognize who you are. I can’t begin to tell you the best way to handle telling your husband who is half way across the world, that our baby isn’t ok. I can’t begin to tell you how to comfort your daughter as she runs into the hospital not knowing what is wrong with her brother. And that was just the tip of the iceberg…
But one thing I can tell you is that in the moment when military life takes you for an unexpected ride, something interesting happens; you get super powers.
I’m not kidding, you get laser focused. You are stealthy, you ask the right questions, you act quickly, you do what you need to do and you do it in a way where people stand at attention. You are “cooking”, and your basic needs are put on hold. You aren’t hungry, you aren’t thirsty, the outside world doesn’t exist. And nothing else matters, you are superhuman….I mean who knew you could go almost 24 hours without peeing, TMI TMI…. I know but bear with me here I’m trying to make a point.
When we experience a period of intensity like we have never felt before, we do things we never knew were possible. We act instinctively, powerfully and with a force that many wouldn’t recognize. And we do so for as long as we need until the crisis is averted…… then we come back to reality, and like magic, the Kryptonite appears as if from nowhere, and we’re done.
It is at that point, the point when we’ve got nothing left, the point where not even Superman could pick up his head, that the words “I’M DONE” come out of our mouths. I’m done perfectly explains it and no amount of “mind chatter” can alter the feeling at that point (That’s the humbling aha moment in case you missed it). But how can we be done? Why? Because we are human and we can only go at superhuman speed for so long. And I’m no different.
After “taking care” of life for 5 days I was beyond done. I had nothing left, no reserves …..nothing. For me, as I’m sure is the case with most, I didn’t know what to do, or where I would get the energy to continue on….and all I could think of was I’m done. I’m done with deployment, I’m done with El Paso, I’m done I’m done I’m done….And the tears came and all I remember thinking was that I can’t do this anymore and as I put it out there to anyone who would listen I blubbered “I’m Done”.
And then a funny thing happened….no sooner had I muttered the words and wiped the tears, did I realize that the words “I’M DONE” don’t really mean that we’re done. I realized that these 2 simple words were in actuality a way for me to let the world know that I was tired and needed a break. It was a way to ask for what my body knew I needed even tho my mind couldn’t register it. It was like the scarlet letter saying “I’m not superwoman” I need some help with this one…
In that moment, I realized that when we utter the words “I’M DONE”, and really mean it, what is happening is that our true selves are crying out “Please help me”. It’s almost like an unspoken language that instinctively all human beings “get”. When someone is at that point, everyone around them knows what to do, and they step in. As if by a wave of a wand, the resources, miracles, and support come. It may be a call, a prayer, a meal, an act of kindness but with each thing each person, you gain strength and slowly you know that you aren’t done and you can continue on.
In this week, I have realized that stating that we are “done” is really just a way to acknowledge and describe our state of mind. It’s an indication of where you are at in that moment and a prompt to ask for help so that you can regroup, recharge and move forward once again.
As we move through these next few weeks, I don’t know what will transpire. You see we’re still in the middle of it. But I do know that “done” is a state of mind that doesn’t really work for me, but I now realize I can use that state of mind to identify what I need and ask for support if my superpowers seem to be fading fast……
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com