It’s 11:06pm on a Sunday night. Which means that I really should be in bed… you know… sleeping.
But here I am, on the couch writing because I know myself well enough to know what will happen if I don’t. It will start with the fan. I’ll crank it up to high in an attempt to freeze myself into a blanket cocoon… which will eventually turn into me sweating in said blanket cocoon until I rip all of the covers off and lay there face up staring at the ceiling. I’ll eventually get up and shove the Kleenex box in front of my alarm clock so I don’t have to stare at the green numbers slowly ascending until they reach 12:59am and then roll over to 1:00am. So I don’t have to count the hours of sleep I will get; a number that will slowly decrease. I’ll eventually reach the bargaining phase. That’s where this dialogue kicks in:
“If you get up at 6:00am, even though it will only be 5 hours of sleep, you can have a Starbucks.”
Yeah… that’s an actual thing.
I treat myself like a 4-year old in a bargaining agreement with their parent for compliance.
Spoiler alert: Even if I don’t get up at 6:00am, you can bet if I don’t meet that goal I’ll still be saying “Venti Caramel Latte with Coconut Milk” faster than beach goers exiting the water when a shark is in the area… you’re welcome for that visual – because hello, I’ll be running low on sleep.
So here we are. It’s now 11:14pm and I’ve got my headphones in listening to “For King and Country on Spotify”; blue headphones in.
Let’s do this.
And by let’s do this, I mean please for the love of God let me fall asleep when this little writing session is over.
So here we go…
Tonight’s Late Night Confession is brought to you by Acme. You read that correctly. I am a child of the 80’s, which means I grew up watching cartoons; good cartoons where giant anvils fall from the sky and land on things or the Coyote.
And that’s how I feel lately. I’ve been running like the Coyote for so long and I have a giant anvil that has now squished me; as it turns out, in real life anvils are kind of heavy. They can’t just be flipped off.
There are a lot of things I carry that I just don’t talk about. Today… who am I kidding… for the past week…s…. weeks… okay maybe months… I’ve just gone about my life. Most people have no clue what these things I carry feel like. They don’t know what they entail.
And they don’t ask. I do however, feel like people assume.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am now sitting here in the midst of this.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of a journey that I did not want; a journey that I fought… hard. (For further details see my blog posts from around this time last year… especially the post regarding The Burning Bush).
For the past year I’ve been walking down a road that quite frankly is dark. What is happening in Minnesota is dark. One person even went so far as to say to me, “It’s just dark.”
Yeah… no shit lady (Ooo we’ve hit the no filter hour)… is not actually what I said. Instead what I did was internalize it all and start to question the very journey God had begun to lead me on.
So here I am; a year later. As I’m typing this I can tell this is what has been bothering me, because I’m already getting sleepy.
It all comes down to this.
The government is stomping on my dream. And my dream is not just to own a Nature Early Childhood Center.
My dream, is to create what I had in my childhood.
My dream, is to create a community where people can be real.
Where families have support as they walk through hard times.
Where educators, those whom I employ (I hate that phrase by the way – employ – blech)… where I can take care of them.
Where I can take care of my family.
And I can literally not do any of those well right now… because the government is destroying it.
And that’s the truth… and yeah… it’s dark.
Haylee and I compiled over 3,000 pages of documentation compiling Public MN DHS records of child care centers and our elected officials in the area literally don’t care… and our Governor has let these people he appointed keep their jobs. Their actions demonstrate that they don’t care. So I live in fear every day that I will break some unknown rule that licensors literally have cart blanche to interpret as they see fit. So yeah… it’s dark.
Then there’s the health insurance and wages that those who are educators at Here We Grow are so deserving of that I cannot provide. Because we are over taxed and insurance is a disaster in Minnesota. Yeah… kind of dark.
My husband and I literally live paycheck to paycheck. Who the hell would want to own a business in this state right now? Yep… I know. Dark. Shame on me.
And then there’s my family that I live nearly 500 miles away from and it’s just a really hard time right now.
All of this leads to why I cannot sleep at night.
I actually am terrified of publishing this post because I don’t want people to think I can’t do my job.
Because I can.
But the reality is, everyone wants to sing Kumbaya and just ignore the darkness.
But I can’t. The reality is, God is the light and sometimes we have to walk through the darkness, but we have to trust, that He is the light in that darkness.
We have to trust that He is using this for our good; but more importantly, that He is using it to bring people to Him.
And so, I took action steps; joined the fight to get elected officials in office who actually care.; which of course comes with its own set of complications because some people don’t exactly care for our President. And you know what, the dude needs to as my friend so eloquently says, “Not Twitter from the Shitter”. Agreed. He says things that he would be better off not. But I do overall, like most of what is being accomplished.
So, go ahead… mow my hard signs over. Oh wait, someone already did that.
This past year I’ve walked through some really hard things. Most recently publicly discussing my experience with sexual assault in the midst of a very tense time in American History (isn’t there always something tense going on in America? Just saying….)
Here’s what I’ve come to embrace… well sort of… I definitely smacked it, dodged it and tried to put up a fence to avoid it… but none of that actually works long term… so here it is:
God has a plan. I do not know what it is. He knows what it is. I don’t like not knowing what is coming next, but I have to trust Him in this journey.
And as an ex-overachiever… almost… that’s really hard for me.
My whole life I’ve always been the person who says “yes”.
The person who doesn’t want to offend anyone, so instead forfeits her own comfort for others.
I’m a work-aholic, please-aholic, sacrifice-my-own-comfort-so-everyone-else-can-be-comfortable-aholic.
I can’t ever recall a time in my life where I didn’t have at least two jobs since the age of 14… and I’m going on 34 years old.
There was even a time where I had a morning waitress job, public school job, and night waitress job, while going to grad school… and oh hey, bought and was renovating a house… at the age of 22.
The overachieving gene – it runs deep – oye.
But after nearly twenty years, I’m starting to realize the power of saying “no”.
Not in a mean way. But in a… “here are my boundaries” way.
Do I get emotional sometimes? Yes.
Do I sometimes get maybe too emotional? Yes.
But I am human. And quite frankly, there comes a time, when all of the appropriate channels have been tried and you have to “go rogue”.
For me, it was when an elected official in our area went too far and crossed a line when his wife contacted someone whose child attended Here We Grow, about me. This same elected official who literally did not nothing aside from give me his phone number during the legislative session…. 3,000 pages of DHS Data highlighting the reason for the Child Care Crisis and this dude was handing out his digits. This isn’t “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”; licensing isn’t going to wait in my entrance while I phone a friend.
So yes, I did get emotional about that little stunt. Because noone seems to want hold anyone accountable. We’re just supposed to lay down and take it.
And a few years ago, I would have.
But not anymore.
So here I sit, 11:49pm at night, writing a very emotion filled blog post.
I am not sorry.
I will not apologize.
I believe the government is too big in Minnesota… in America.
I believe that it is my responsibility as a business owner to provide benefits to my employees, and I believe that more government involvement through “Single Payer” or “Universal Health Care”, whatever you want to call it, is not the way to go.
I want less Government, not more.
This past year I have walked through some really hard things.
I have lost friends because of my views and some have opted to take their business elsewhere.
I’ve also gained friends.
I’ve gained business; more than I’d ever imagined.
I’ve learned far more about politics than I ever wanted to, but God led me to meet those who I have for a reason. He works through them too.
I’ve learned to lean in to the discomfort.
I’ve learned to have the hard conversations about why I have political signs in my yard at my business.
I’ve grown even closer to my husband.
I’ve learned it’s okay to take time away and be with my family.
I’ve learned to be unapologetically me.
But above all, I’ve learned that the only one that I have to answer to is God.
And at the end of the day, I will fall asleep tonight knowing that when I finish praying “The Lord’s Prayer” and the prayer of my childhood that I still say to this day, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”, that if I should die before I wake, the Lord my soul will take.
I will still have days I struggle; days where I will feel crushed by the anvil of other’s opinions – other’s desire to control how I live my life or judge me for the decisions I make – but I’m learning to leave behind my overachieving ways and to be comfortable with what God has called me to do.
It is a daily struggle – to remember who is writing my story and to not try and grab (who I am kidding some days or even weeks I rip) the pen out of His hand- but this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Time for bed… because 6:00am will come fast… and Starbucks….
“God, You don’t need me, but somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me, somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life and the way it should go
Oh, God, You don’t need me, but somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me, somehow that frees me
To open my hands up and give You control
I give You control”