On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Sunday, January 19, 2014

When the Happy Well Dries Up

It is a cruel game of the gods and universe to suck dry the Happy Well just when I was basking in my reflection of the shimmering waters.

I have spent the last month crying nearly every day.  Sometimes sobbing.    There have been moments of happy, true, but so much of it has been overshadowed by my grief, anger and loneliness.

My overwhelming daily responsibilities have caught up with me, once again.  Try as I might, it has become increasingly difficult to wade through the challenges with the same positive energy and fervor I had just a few months ago.  I am acutely aware how much I need other positive people in my daily life and then painfully stung by the truth that I have so few available to me within my real world circle.

Happy mornings and fun-filled evenings have kept me living, breathing, smiling but it has not been upon my own strength that I have found that hope.  So I grieve that I have still, STILL not found the strength in myself to be happy without help of another.

And I grieve that, try as I might, I really LIKE the help and hope others give.

It is an indeterminable loop, it seems.  If I can not rely solely upon myself, then I will be a drain and burden on others.  But if I rely solely upon myself, then I crack from the weight of the burden.  Surely there is a balance?  I have yet to find it.

This year I turn 40.  The proverbial midlife crisis, that I thought had already swooped in and devoured me in the divorce and thus was breezing past me, licking my face with the last few blasts of stiff wind, has just now settled in and taken root.  I have no health insurance.  I have no retirement. I have no benefits.  I have no savings.  I live day-to-day, month-to-month.  I have the responsibility of parenting two disabled persons for the rest of my life.  I am alone every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed.  And all of it rests on my head.

Some people have said I'm incredibly strong and amazing and awesome and such.  Which is a lovely compliment, indeed.  But I can't be Atlas, carrying the weight of the world ad nauseum.  I am female.  I LIKE being feminine but I have the hardest time balancing femininity and my responsibility because I have to be so strong all.the.time.  I want to be pretty and cherished, loved and petted.  Adored and fawned over.  Sometimes.  Once in a while.  That seems so impossible when I'm carrying so much.  And when I'm alone, even more so.

I understand that life is life, that we all have struggles and burdens, that there is not one soul that treads the Earth without turmoil, loss, heartache and pain.  But I also understand that there is a path in life that I can find that will make the journey less burdensome and more happy.  I know this because I've had a taste of it, because I have within me the power to sustain my joy and hope AND carry my burdens.  I just have to find a way to do it by myself.

I have some big plans ahead, and although I'm running on empty already, I'm going to dig that well deeper ONE.MORE.TIME.  I'm going to find that underground spring under the bedrock of my despair, tap into it and watch my well fill again. 

I have recently learned that there is so much life out there to live that I have not experienced.  I'm on a quest to capture it.

I have learned that there are amazing, wonderful people out there that are just as eager to be positive and pour into other humans as I am.  I will join hands with them and commune in like spirit.

I have seen that my children and I can be happy when I do these things.  I will hold that truth close to my heart and I will not stop until I see it's fruition.

As I sobbed myself to sleep Friday night, my eyes swollen, my pillow soaked, my head throbbing, I settled myself with the final image of happy, like-minded people dancing, singing, laughing and simply living, enjoying each other and life despite the trials while we sat around a blazing fire.  I put myself into that scene and soaked up the positive energy and at last I slept.

1. I am not going to Orlando Retreat this year.  I will be using that time away from home for ME only.

2. I am applying to as many schools as I can find in the North East U.S. that have a Graduate and PhD program in education and preferably in states that will accept my GA provisional certificate and my years of education experience so I can continue my career while I go back to school

3.  I am doing some final repairs to the house and finding someone, anyone, to buy out the principle and my former spouse's remaining equity line borrowed against the house

4.  I am getting myself and my children to a new life, to the amazing friends I've made over the years so my real-life circle of people becomes broader and more stable

5.  I am embracing the hope and joy I have tasted and running toward it, blindly maybe, but running full tilt.

I can not, will not, am not capable of, carrying this burden by myself in Georgia, with challenged children whose needs go unmet, in an economy that I can not get MY needs met and living a lifestyle where I am alone all.the.time.

A beautiful friend, who gives such wonderful hugs, told me several months ago that I am so, so, so worth it.  She said that she hopes I find someone who reminds me of that truth every minute of every day just how true that is.  Today, I am going to be that person for myself.  I am going to tell myself every minute of eery day that I am worth it.  I am enough. I am not alone.  I am.

And then I'm going to go find my happy and steal it back from the Universe and the gods that think it's so gosh darned funny to let me have a taste and see the beauty of it all and then take it away from me again. 


Cinch123 said...

I love ya....I will be here to help do what you need me to do! Always!

Integrity Singer said...

Thank you Cinch. Love you too

Ranger said...

What I find so wonderful about you is your frank and honest acknowledgement when things are hellishly hard, of wanting to give in, but having the stubborn determination to always get back to the surface. You have a belief that you WILL beat it and you work towards it, it's that strength of character that is remarkable.

I share the 40 year midlife crisis this year, it is hard.

Peter C Nuttall said...

God hears angry prayers too

Howard Kurtz said...

“…I'm going to go find my happy and steal it back from the Universe…” – Good to hear that from you. Facing a midlife crisis, undergone divorce, raising your kids, and more can be quite the challenge. A meltdown is understandable. What you need is an outlet for all that stress and anxiety. This is one effective way to free/release yourself from all the negative thoughts inside your mind and heart. Anyway, I hope you’ll finally regain your happy place and confidence once again.