Desperate For a Break from Reality: Why I Had Elective Surgery to ‘Get Away From it All’.

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I had more liposuction a few weeks ago. Unlike my first surgery last year to aid in recovery after two difficult pregnancies and c-sections, this surgery had nothing to do with my body. In fact, my body image has been quite positive lately. I work out on a regular basis, my clothes fit well and for the most part, I feel okay in my own skin. No, this time I elected to go under the knife because I knew it would award me a one week, guilt-free vacation on the other side of the anesthesia. I know it sounds crazy. It was.

My career revolved around a conflict-riddled environment, a law firm that I ran with my husband, Harry C. Marsh. Our office handles roughly 300 real estate closings a month with 4 offices and 16 employees spread throughout the Charlotte, NC area. I was in charge of it all. It was a work environment where every day I invariably had to go to battle with clients, Realtors, employees or contractors over any number of issues. It had slowly worn me down. I needed a break.

As I’ve said before, the only self-worth I’ve ever found in myself was through my work. That’s why after my second daughter, Caroline, was born and when she was only 6 weeks old, I enrolled her in daycare and went back to the office. I felt like I had to. My guilt and anxiety drove me to.

But, I wasnt ready. Caroline had Colic and I was sleep-deprived. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

At night, the baby would be crying and my 3-year-old toddler would be fighting for attention as I tried to process closing files, respond to emails, and also keep the employees motivated. All the while, always flirting the line of a nervous breakdown myself. My husband used to say I looked “shell-shocked” every time Caroline cried (which was all night, every night for the first six months). And even though those times are long behind us, I still don’t think I’ve quite recovered now. The effects of those first months still haunt me.

I was an introvert with no free moments alone to recharge my own energy. From 8 am to 5 pm, I was busy fighting battles in the office. From 5:30 pm to 10 pm, I was busy fighting battles at home and in my head. Everyone around me, always grasping and clamoring, needing something more from me; my children, my clients, my employees, my parents, my husband. The guilt was all-consuming. I even picked up smoking again (a habit I had dropped in college 10 years ago) as a means of survival. A quick excuse to step out for 10 minutes, unperturbed.

To say I felt like I was drowning is an understatement. I was dying.

My husband, Harry C. Marsh and I have always made a great team. He has always been able to see the big picture while I have been able to execute the details and accomplish the nitty-gritty work. It’s how we grew so quickly. We worked side-by-side in the same office for 5 years (even though we had other empty offices we could have chosen to split up and work from). Our energies would often feed off of one another, good or bad. The problem was that during the bad and stressful days (pretty much everyday the past 2 years), those energies came home with us and we would continue to talk about and feed off one another’s toxicity as the night wore on, much to the detriment of ourselves and our children. We never escaped it. So, as I would attempt to parent the kids, mind halfway somewhere else, Harry sat at the computer, putting out fires and dealing with crazy sellers and investors. Our work never stopped.

As the kids have gotten older, things have gotten easier at home. I now get a full night of sleep and Caroline doesn’t cry nearly as much as she did during those first months. At least her cries now have meaning and purpose, a means of communication, a problem I can solve and fix. So, in that regard, things are much easier. Yet at the same time, they have still been damn hard and I’ve just been so tired lately…

Therefore, I elected to have non-necessary liposuction surgery a few weeks ago in an effort to get a break from it all. As a full-time working mom, I was really that desperate. I knew it would afford me a week of guilt-free, quiet time at home with no crazy drama or emergency closings, no screaming, no crying, no people to deal with… Just a week of laying in bed, watching Netflix and reading books in a quiet house and no one would bother me. Heaven on Earth.

The closer I got to the surgery and the more people I had to tell about why I was going to be out, the more insane I realized my plan sounded. That I was so eager to put myself through a painful surgery in effort to get some type of semblance of peace. It wasn’t normal. When I realized this truth, I knew something had to change; I couldn’t keep going the way I was going.

I realized I was in the wrong industry.

Unlike my husband, who thrives on drama and resolving conflict, I HATE it. It stays with me for longer than the average person, festering and causing internal mental anguish far longer than it should. I FEEL things more strongly than others do. Always have. Always will. I’m not cut out for conflict-heavy work. I’m just not.

And, that’s okay.

Life is too short to be so miserable. No amount of money or recognition is worth it. The life I was living before, was not a life worth living.

So now I find myself here, taking things day by day, focusing on my family and myself, trying to pick up the distorted pieces of myself and put them back together. Growing.

Who knows where I’ll end up or what I’ll do do. I’m still trying to work that out myself.

All I know is that I am human. I am broken. And, I am working on healing myself one day at a time.


  1. What a complete pic of your world! I too went through a period of time working around the clock at a job career that no one really seemed to care about but myself. Today, as you well know, I suffer from the damaging effects of working years at least 12 hours a day and then taking the job home to worry more. Stress is a great killer of spirit, vitality, and soul. So here it is for what it is worth, go slow, take time, ask for help when you need it, and you eventually come to terms. Hang in there, you are a wonderful creative spirit with a loving family. Blessings

  2. Such raw emotions, know that it takes an incredibly strong person to “run naked” that way through a room full of onlookers.
    You have my respect and admiration young lady!

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