It’s there in the morning, when I’m most vulnerable, stirring back to consciousness – especially if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. It follows me to the bathroom where I splash cold water on my face & say ‘good morning beautiful’ to the sad face in the mirror. Why does it surprise me that a compliment – a talisman, really – slightly boosts my spirits?
My actions happen under duress as I lay out my yoga mat and lay down to stretch. The thing is fierce now – practically yelling at me, telling me to give up, just go back to bed; sit down and do nothing. Why bother?
Hate’s litany joins in, and I battle this every. day. I manage to get some exercises in, but don’t complete my whole routine. My new task is rewarding myself for progress, not focusing on how much I think I suck.
Today’s epiphany isn’t new, but newly remembered: I worked myself out of a job when my son grew up and left. It’s wonderful that I managed to foster a productive, beautiful, kind human. He’s bright and independent – and I am empty.
I wouldn’t change how things are except to be alright. I failed to take care of me by solely taking care of him. I was it. A single parent – who had lots of help – but my child was my everything. I showed up for him when my constant demons told me it was too much, and I soldiered on. I cried through making meals sometimes, or house-cleaning, or the myriad unending tasks – but I did them, and I can’t seem to muster the same resolve for myself. I don’t matter as much as my child did, but my work is changing that.
Perhaps getting out of bed, splashing water on my face, doing my PT exercises, getting dressed, and brushing my teeth are as much as I did for my child, even if minute in comparison?
Whether or not I’m doing the best I can, I’m still failing to fully show up for my life – for what’s left of it.
Raising my child is still the best thing I’ve ever done, and while admirable, it’s not my whole life. He grew up, and so did the other children I watched for several years, but childcare is not my passion, even if I’m good at it.
Childcare is thankless and lonely. If you do a good job, who cares – it’s what you were supposed to do. There is no recognition ceremony, no severance package, no pension. Transferable skills are laughed at – even though there are many.
Grief moves to the side when something rewarding and motivating takes up more space, and though I engage in singing, writing, and acting, I’m not making a living through those passions. Friends have gotten book deals, national singing gigs, or paid and recognized acting jobs, and I’ve got to make a new choice because those passions are a dry well for me.
There is an answer, but whatever it is has to happen soon, and must move my grief so I’m not pushing through it every day – so that every day doesn’t look the same.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current