Grab a box of tissues, click on the post title, then hold on to your seat.
(In my blog post) I hastily tossed out words, trying to capture a snapshot of what I was feeling at that instant. I wish now that I had been more deliberate, had taken the time to elaborate more fully. That’s what I’ll try to do here. Bear with me, please. The original post is indented, my explanation of each part below.
I try to figure out when it all started. Maybe the key to the end lies in its birth. Birth. Heh.I am often guilty of following rabbit trails: The word “start” leads me to the word “end” which makes me think of “death” which somehow leads me to the word “birth” which I associate with the birth of my son. I usually recognize that the connections I make aren’t necessarily obvious but all too often I fall into the trap of assuming that everyone else thinks the way I do and that I don’t need to explain what the fuck I’m talking about for others to get the full picture. It certainly sounds like I am blaming you for my depression. I am not.
Four and a half years later, I'm still resentful.I am resentful that my memories don’t live up to the Madonna and Child image that I had envisioned. I wanted so much to be that “natural mother”. To be bathed in an ethereal glow with a choir of heavenly angels singing “hallelujah” as I gazed tenderly down at the babe at my breast. I am resentful that no one bothered to share with me that it just isn’t that way all the time. That I’ve had to spend so much time wondering what was wrong with me, why I was such a failure when in fact that isn’t the case. The horrible truth is this: Motherhood sucks. Literally. It sucks away at your very soul. It leaves you grasping. Gasping. It keeps you up all night and makes you want to bury your head under the pillows in the morning. No matter how detached you try to keep your own baggage, it keeps spilling all over your best intentions and all those things that your brain and heart and gut tell you not to do, you find your very innermost primal instincts urging you to do. It's not about me or my pride, you tell yourself. But it is, oh, it is. It's not deliberate, you remind yourself. But it feels so calculated, so determined.
Spoil or stunt. Hover or disengage. Coddle or break.
You bounce from one extreme to the next, hoping, praying that it all averages out to some sort of balance. You hear the voices, that nonstop chorus made up of well meaning sisterneighborfriends cutting you down, shaking your already pitifully unbalanced house of cards. Maybe she's right, you think. Or she could be right. She could be onto something , you think, but that totally negates what she saiddoesthinks. You’ll never be the best at this rate. Although, really? It's not the best that you’re even shooting for. You’d be more than happy with good enough if the line of good enough would stop drifting. Sometimes you wonder if you've ever seen it at all or if you're so far away that you've really just been chasing a shadow. Maybe you're headed in the wrong direction altogether. When do you know for sure? And when is it too late to turn around and start over? No one ever mentioned that side of it. No one ever hinted that while there are blessed moments, motherhood is too complex to be simply defined as a blessing. I'm resentful that such a big piece of the picture was glossed over so easily.
Angry. Furious.I am angry that I was so caught up in how it was “supposed to be” that I tried to force it into something that it could never be. Ours is not the close family of sisters sharing shopping trips and cruises. Even if proximity would allow for that kind of involvement, I don’t know that we would have that kind of relationship. There are no Rockwell paintings depicting the American Dream that include a family that is really three different families bound together by common genetics. Of siblings spanning close to two decades with god only knows how many foster children thrown in to fill in the gaps.
Of all the times to choose to voice your "concerns".In the middle of an already emotionally tense time, you said some things that were thoughtless. “Thoughtless” meaning not fully thought out. I believe you when you say that your intention was not to hurt me. I believe that your motivation was to be genuinely helpful -- to encourage me to consider things I might not have considered, to play the “what-if” game because you believe(d) that I could have a happier, fuller life if I were to make different choices. Your timing sucked.
Seven (whoops, eight) plus years we'd been married and in all that time, you never said a word. You never once acted like there was anything about him or me or the two of us together that bothered you until the three of us sat down to order Chinese the week before our son was born.And I was naive enough to believe that just because you hadn’t said anything to my face, you didn’t have a problem with some aspect of us. Nevermind that you and I had spent countless conversations discussing the shortfalls of the relationship of others. Yet another thing I wish I could undo -- all that time wasted on putting others down to pull myself up. It’s beautifully karmic, I suppose, that it turns out that you were engaging in the same kinds of conversations about me.
I don't even remember who didn't get what. I just remember the grilling in the days following. Having to explain, to defend our relationship. Doing everything in my power to prove to you that my decision to marry him was acceptable on the eve of giving birth to his son.Why, oh why, was your approval so important? I hate that I was so insecure in my own choices that I felt compelled to find a way to change your perspective. I guess the good that came out of it was that in the long run I rediscovered what it was about my marriage made it work so very well for us. I’ve played those conversations over and over in my head, recognizing more clearly each time what it is about Josh that first drew me to him. And? I’ve come to the conclusion that if I had it to do all over again? If something were to happen to him and me, and I were in the position of looking for someone else? I’d be looking for someone just like him. We’re not perfect, but together? We’re pretty damn good.
Those seeds of doubt that you so carefully sowed? They took root fast and quickly began to choke out every remaining blade of self-confidence. Pestilence. Soul-sucking. You were supposed to be there to support me. You cut me down at the knees and I've been questioning my every move since.You did not cause my depression. Some toxic combination of personality, circumstances, and perspective put me where I am today. Possibly some genetic predisposition. Your poor timing simply served as the catalyst to get the ball rolling. Postpartum hormones, the exhaustion that goes hand in hand with raising a small child, a limited support network, not recognizing in time that these things were not normal and that I wasn’t, in fact, somehow broken because I couldn’t manage them all on my own -- too much everything and nothing at the same time, that’s what pushed me over the edge, headfirst into a spiral of hesitancy, guilt, and self-doubt.
You ended your phone call to me by saying that you would always be available if I needed you. But the thing is, I don’t. I don’t need you. It would be comfortable, enjoyable to have a great give-n-take kind of relationship with you. But it is not necessary. Our lives are not intertwined in such a way as to make it necessary. This is not yours to fix and you can’t help me with it. This is a journey of self. Self-discovery leading to self-assurance and, hopefully, culminating in self-reliance.
I am sorry that I angered and embarrassed you with my post. It was thoughtless, immature, and cowardly for me to call you out in a public forum without first approaching you privately. I recognize and accept that our relationship has been irrevocably changed as a result of my actions. If there is something that I can do to repair your feelings, I will do so happily and willingly. I will be more respectful of your feelings in the future, bringing any grievances to you before sharing them with others.
Because my offense to you was public, I feel that you are due a public apology. I will send this to you first, privately, then publish it to my blog. It is yours, of course, to share it as you see fit.
posted by susan at Tuesday, May 18, 2010
One of Dr. R's favorite ways to pass the time
while I am snuffling incoherently on his couch is to ask me questions intended to get me to be more reflective and less reactive. At least I think that's the purpose. Maybe he's just trying to distract me so that I will STOP. WHINING. ALREADY. Last session he kept asking me "But who is nurturing you?" I rattled off the poor souls who are currently being sucked dry because they haven't yet had the sense to run away or pretend they aren't home when I call this person and that person and her and her and him and threw in her for good measure. Don't want it to seem like I'm over burdening any single person, now do I. He nodded, as he does when I've given him an answer but not quite answered the question, but didn't push it. Which was odd because he's nothing if not pushy. But we were nearing the end of our session, so maybe he just didn't want to get me started again. The tissue box was getting dangerously low. "Allergy season" and "therapy" must ring beautifully in the ears of KCWW, Inc shareholders. But I digress.
On my way home I was struck with the realization that I didn't, couldn't, count myself in that list. Blah blah blah, epiphany, blah blah, resolution, blah blah blah, squared my shoulders and decided that needed to change. If I'm going to have a chance at beating this monster, I probably better start taking better care of myself. Better sleep, better food choices, more sun and exercise, etc. And topping the list, being a little less rigid with myself. Yes, the kitchen floor probably does need to be swept daily, but it's probably not going to catch on fire if I wait until after I've had my coffee. I am not a horrible lazy slob because I choose to eat breakfast before cleaning out the litter box. That sort of thing.
I did pretty good with it through the end of the week and then through the weekend. By Monday morning I was almost reflexive as I shooed away the muttering gnat that wanted to remind me that it was 10:30 and all I'd done was put together a (rough) blog post that I didn't even take time to re-read and edit before publishing. Sloven. Shoo, shoo. Go away.
Tuesday = more of the same.
anal careful about the amount of screen-time that I get when Aaron is home, though, so Wednesday morning looked decidedly different. Balancing what needs to get done with what won't make me pull my hair out because he's along is sometimes tricky. But the service bell in the Jeep had been dinging for almost a week and mygod the buildup of bug-guts on the front of the poor thing! So off we went for a day of car maintenance.
All of that and an oil change for the low, low price of $39.99. Wednesday was shaping up to be a pretty easy-going day.
As I was paying for the
I briefly contemplated whether or not it might be just as appropriate to light the whole fucking thing on fire and start over with something, oh, I don't know, WITHOUT A RATS NEST IN THE ENGINE? Sadly, we'd never make it home in time for lunch on foot, so I signed the receipt for services rendered and headed for home.
We parked the Jeep at the curb. A short 3-block walk away.
Nap time was spent typing in one variation of "how to get rid of rats in your engine" after another into Google. Nap time was cut short because OH MY HOLY FUCK THERE IS A RAT'S NEST UNDER THE HOOD OF MY CAR, THE VERY CAR THAT WE HAVE BEEN PARKING IN THE GARAGE THAT IS ATTACHED TO MY HOUSE BY A DOOR THAT SEEMS ALTOGETHER VERY INSUFFICIENT CONSIDERING THERE IS A RAT'S NEST UNDER THE HOOD OF MY FUCKING CAR!!! A trip to
We perused sprays and powders, baits and traps, and finally came home with a bottle of granules guaranteed to encourage the little critters to rebuild somewhere else. Josh disposed of the nesting material when he got home
I'm totally okay with having to climb over the console to get out. Sometimes a girl has to be flexible like that.
posted by susan at Monday, May 17, 2010
For me, the hardest part of writing has always been coming up with a way to start. I generally know where I want to go -- which witty little anecdotes I'll throw in along the way to keep the journey lively and what my big close will look like. I've always been proud of my writing; invigorated by the way the words just seem to wrap themselves around each other, painting a picture. Whether or not the reader sees the same picture remains blurry and vague and somewhat inconsequential. It's been a long time since I had a paper returned to me, marked up with suggestions for improved clarity and punctuation. My (appropriate) use of punctuation is abysmal. I tend to write the way I speak and I'm never quite sure if I just said a comma or if that was just a breath so I could keep going.
I wish I could take you on a tour through the inner workings of my mind. I wish I could take a tour through the inner workings of my mind. I'm not really sure what exactly goes on in there, but we would all need ear protection and there would be absolutely no way anyone could board the tram without signing a waiver re: injuries due to not keeping hands and feet safely inside the tram at all times. There would also need to be something about "participating at your own risk. Management does not assume responsibility for any lingering emotional or psychological trauma blah blah blah".
posted by susan at Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I thought I had neglected this space long enough that I would be posting essentially anonymously again, so I was somewhat shocked by the handful of emails I got in response to my last post. The free version of Sitemeter that I've been running must only list certain types of visitors, keeping full disclosure for paying members. Whatever. The bottom line is that I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to reach out to me.
posted by susan at Monday, May 10, 2010
posted by susan at Saturday, May 08, 2010