Guess this is my new Sunday ritual. I used to go to church on Sundays but now that feels like a stupid ritual. I prefer meditating, enjoying the peace, nature, the silence in the house while the kids sleep, the sound of the wind chimes that I have hanging at both entrances to the house, the birds chirping, the wind blowing, the clock ticking.
*takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly*
I can't put a finger on it but Sunday mornings as a single parent are the hardest, loneliest, scariest times for me. My bed is empty. There's no one there to hug me or kiss me awake. No quiet pillow talk, no snuggling, no plans for brunch, no one to make coffee for, no discussions of how to spend the day as a family, no Sunday paper to share. Just, one more day of how to make it through without feeling lonely, overwhelmed, listening to Sissy scream at me, AB pacing and talking and pacing and hugging and pacing and WG inviting all the neighbor kids over to play until she melts down because she can't actually deal with that chaos for more than few hours. And me? By myself, no adults, just another week of responsibility staring me in the face, my coffee getting cold, my loneliness haunting my thoughts and hugging myself hoping that human touch from at least my own arms will warm me up.
I lie to myself until I believe it (and sometimes I still don't believe it). I tell myself that this will pass. I tell myself that I'm a strong, amazing woman. I tell myself that I can do this. I tell myself that I'm not truly alone. I tell myself that I am worth it - worth the effort, worth the price, worth the sacrifice. I tell myself that I'm beautiful and funny and smart and loveable. I tell myself to look around me and see all the wonderful things I've created and done with my life. I tell myself that I am a loyal friend, a hard worker, and that I'm patient, kind, giving and selfless. I tell myself that when people think of me, they see all of these things in me and more.
Then I collapse into a heap and cry and cry and cry because I don't believe it. I WANT to, but I don't. I know it's true but I don't feel it. I hear the words but I don't see it. I give until it hurts because I want people to give back but that's not how it works, is it? I should be pouring into myself with the same measure of love and respect that I give others but that feels counter intuitive. It is the nature of abuse - to never believe that I am worth anything, to take blame when things don't go well even though I've done nothing wrong. It is the lies of the years of abuse that haunt me and tell me in a louder, stronger voice that I am flawed, unlovable, worthless, wrong on all accounts, need to atone for my misdeeds in order to get the good things I want, to believe that if I give enough I will finally be worth something.
Which is why church doesn't really fit in my thought process anymore - Christianity as whole is set on the premise that if we do good, we will have good things. It's one more abusive paradigm in my already challenged, hurting soul. I can't. I just can't do that anymore. I fight so hard to keep my head steady as it is.
I wrote this poem in November. It still applies. I wish it didn't. I wish I could get past this hurt but no matter how hard I try to shake it off, it just keeps hurting, I keep feeling lonely, I keep feeling scared, I keep feeling like I'm missing something that will make this life turn around for me at last. I know that just last week I was writing about hope. I still have that hope, but today that river in my soul is muddied and murky with all the sediment and runoff from the hard things in life.
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Just hold my hand a little while
let the fear leak out my shoes.
Hold a tissue to my tears
Let the trees be my muse.
Don't say a word, the wind will talk
It whispers hope to me.
Please don't look me in the eyes
I fear what you might see.
A warm embrace might do the trick
Then I can smell your love.
The fear pummels my every thought,
A punishing iron glove.
I'm sorry that I'm broke this way,
Filled with doubt and anxiety.
I know you're never out of reach
But alone, don't let me be.
So hold my hand a little more
Please don't leave my side.
And tomorrow I will laugh again
My smile bright and wide.