“Just trying to adjust to to single motherhood. I love my son (4yrs) but damn this is hard! I love reading your posts Dusti, they give me hope lol. Even though your across the country, we’ve never met, or even talked I feel like I can so relate to you! Keep inspiring others with your badass self!”

A reader left this comment on a post today, and it sent me straight into tears. Because I get it. Intimately and horribly and painfully.

And I hope I’m not making this look easy.

I am just hopelessly, relentlessly optimistic.

In October, the plan I’d made so carefully for the next six months fell apart about 500 hundred feet from the spot it was supposed to happen. I was lucky enough to be able to land at my mom’s for a couple of weeks in the interim until I could find something suitable. And right now, in Portland’s ridiculously tight rental market? It was basically the first thing that came up in the right price range with the right basic specifications.

The place was an absolute wreck when I got it. It’s not where I want it to be. I didn’t even want to be in Portland. I was ready to embrace rural living, and all the signs pointed to that being the right place for me. That’s still what I want. And now I’m grappling not only with the massive logistical nightmare this has been but also with massive disappointment.

The worst part of it all was that it wasn’t even my fault. If I had failed in some measurable way, I could have at least taken some action to fix it. I could have done something. But no. I read the cards wrong this time. I fell – and hard – and now I have to figure out how to rise strong in this arena.

There’s no pretty place to distract me from the realities I’m being confronted with. The temporary paradise I’d constructed for myself was exactly that, and even though I knew that (and frankly was over the place by the time I left), I had built a little life. It was small, but the details were tended to and I had established a new normal. I thought I was leaving it for something even better. I hope it turns out that way in the end.

I hate to say it but single motherhood is taking its toll. There aren’t enough hours, ever. There are other parents to coordinate with whose level of cooperation varies with the weather. My son lets me know pretty frequently, excellent little communicator that he is, that he is displeased with all of the change. I can’t blame him. My daughter says things that terrify me sometimes, and I’m afraid I’m fucking her up beyond repair with my inability to settle down and be boring like a normal, responsible parent.

I’m doing the best I can. My son even said so. I’m still taking care of myself. I get up, dress up, put makeup on, and bust my ass to keep my business heading the direction it needs to go. I’m inching closer to my dreams, and even though it feels like a snail’s pace sometimes, I am getting there.

Everyone’s telling me I should stop pushing so hard. I’m trying to slow down, cut things back, leave something for tomorrow. But the fact is, outside of continual pursuit of something I’m not sure who I am or what’s left. I feel like I’m moving towards what I want, but really, what’s stopping what I want from changing in an instant? It wouldn’t be the first time.

So here it is. I’m tired. I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m rising. I’m still belting out country music in my room I’m half embarrassed I know. I’m crestfallen. I’m uplifted by the relationships in my life. I feel isolated right now. I know where I’m heading, but I have no idea what’s next.

But my bounce back is phenomenal.

That’s what I’m banking on.

That’s why tomorrow is going to be the best day ever. Because if didn’t honestly buy into that idea, I don’t know if I’d be up for another day at all. If nothing else, I can control my attitude towards life. I can stay open, even when it feels like I’m walking around with an open wound sometimes. I can choose to remain soft. I can choose to be the person I want to be now, rather than wait for the perfect place or house or paycheck.

This is the real appeal of tiny challenges for me. Because when you deconstruct it all, you can break big problems down into tiny steps and action you can focus on. You can make progress even in the face of everything going wrong. Grit is a muscle.

As for me, I’ll be over here trying to work towards some sort of peace. Wish me luck.

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