This morning Erin wrote a blog post asking everyone to write about something of some substance. What she’s looking for is some personal information, something revealing about yourself that you are willing to expose on a raw level. Something emotional. Something about you.
Well, I expose myself all the time and so it was hard for me to come up with a topic to meet her requests…lol.
I guess the topic of my post this morning is going to be about how much I’ve changed. We’ve all changed, really, some things for the better and some things… not so great. Then, we have things about ourselves that we miss.
I miss me so much these days.
Growing up, I had three stellar older brothers that I lived with and they were perfect in every way. I spent my whole life trying to be seen in my parents eyes as my brothers were but I failed time and time again. It drove me crazy.
Outside of my house, though, I was one of those people that other people are sort of jealous of. I was extremely well rounded and good at pretty much anything that I did. I excelled at everything that was asked of me and my life was very busy and full. I was never the best at anything, but I was good at it all. I played a lot of sports, was very artistic, could sing alright, dance, was very smart…. teachers really liked me and other kids always picked me first to be on their teams in gym class. If it needed to be done, I did it very well.
I wasn’t arrogant, though. In fact, I was quite the opposite and gave myself a very hard time. If I hit a home run every single time I was at the bat, I didn’t care about the teammates cheers or the coach’s proud glow… I cared only for the high fives I got from my dad on the sidelines. I was willing to do anything for those high fives, no matter what the cost to my body and I was frequently injured on the soccer field, keeper gloves covered in blood making the dramatic save, another $200 keeper shirt ruined for the cause, being removed from the field and forced to change uniforms and nothing ever hurt because in the stands, if I squinted enough through the blinding stadium lights, I’d see my parents cheering wildly.
Those lights are a real nightmare for a goalie as they make it very hard to see the ball, but when you look at the crowd and see the glowing ring around the ones you aim to please so much, you learn to love them. Like halos on angels.
I caught on to what each of my parents loved the most and I perfected it. My dad loves art and my paintings hung framed in the school hallways until years later, I discovered that my father had had them removed and they were now hanging in his house. I discovered this after we had become estranged and it was the little things like that, that kept me hoping for forgiveness that would never arrive. As a person, I was too much for him to handle and he held on to me in my artwork and remembers me from the paintings on the walls.
My mother kept every piece of my writing without me ever knowing it until I found it in one of her bottom drawers after I had had my first child. She loved to hear me sing, another thing I never knew until adulthood. My dad’s high five’s were so valuable to me and from my mother, I had one real moment where I knew she was proud of me.
I tried out for cheerleading and once the week long try outs were over, I had to call her to pick me up. I could hear the anxious sound in her voice as she asked me how I did and when I told her I had made the squad, she gave me my one memory of her where I felt on top of the world. She showed up at my school with balloons and was just glowing her fool head off as she hugged me and I thought that maybe I had finally done enough.
But for every great thing I did or could do on the soccer field, on the baseball diamond, on the sidelines of the football field… for every great work of writing or masterpiece I produced, every note I sung on key, I was a screw up after all. I was too emotional and I made bad choices and they cost me everything. I lost my my family and I lost my desires to impress.
I was very easily convinced that I was shit and once convinced of such a thing, you stop trying to be anything other. If I was shit… I would excel at it and be the best pile of shit I could be.
So, yesterday, when Dean gets home from work he finds me on our balcony, tears pouring from my eyeballs and he sits down and holds me and tells me that it’s time for me to talk, to tell him what’s going on and all I can say is, “This is not me. This is not my life. This is not who I am. Where did I go??” and I just sobbed because I feel as though for everything that I am or was and for everything that I can do, the things that are truly important to me I cannot achieve.
I’m not the star athlete anymore. I’m not the singer or the artist or the cheerleader and I’m not the screw up. What I am is a wife and a mother and a person who knows that I could and should be the best fucking wife and mother on the planet because I know what I’m capable of.
But it’s my entire life coming back to me and I’m hitting brick walls. I can do everything right and the outcome is still bad. I can be loving and supportive and patient and all the things a wife should be and it doesn’t change anything. I can be wise and encouraging and try to teach my children all the great lessons of living and they do nothing with it. I feel as though I am sitting in the middle of a tornado just watching the destruction around me, powerless to stop it. I feel like my identity is being taken from me.
When I am sitting with Dean asking him to let me in, telling him I am here for him and he chooses to shut me out, make decisions without me….
When I do four hours of homework with Matt every night and he goes to school and flunks every test….
When I cuddle and kiss boo boos and they tell me they hate me….
When I teach about non-violence and encourage them to open up and they shoot me down…
When I show patience and they use it against me…
When I cook just what they asked for and they tell me it’s not right…
When I stress about giving them the perfect Christmas and they complain that they didn’t get the one thing I forgot…
When I warn them of the dangerous outcomes to their actions and they ignore me….
When I spend years working to build strength and depth in them and their eyes are empty….
When I preach compassion and they hit others…
When I talk to them about helping change the world and they demand that I buy them things…..
When I teach everything that’s important about humanity and they do the exact opposite….
When I tell them they can and then they don’t even try…..
When I fight and fight and realize that I’m fighting alone…..
I feel like I am failing.
And so I cried and cried to Dean and admitted things I’ve never said out loud not to anyone, because the shame of who I am now is too much. After years of never giving up, years of fighting for change… I did finally give up. On myself.
And I’m not sure how to feel about it.
I feel like someone who was in agony has suddenly died. I feel sad and relieved at the same time. I miss me and I want me back, yet I enjoy the numbness.
I cry because things are not good and I’m defeated. It’s out of my hands and I can’t make it right by stopping a ball in midair or by painting a picture.
So, I don’t pick up the brush and I don’t stop the balls. I just stand here picking dandelions in the outfield and watching life whiz by my head to become other people’s home runs.
And I wonder when I will want to play this game again.