The State of Me

(This post is so desperate and whiny I’m only allowing Lisa to read it. It is the bleak continuation of my phone call to her last Friday, when I completely lost my shit and cried her ear off.)

So, I’ve had a kind of lousy summer. Lots of emotional lows, rage, insecurity, crises of confidence, perhaps depression. I’m not sure. I do know that I’m frustrated and bored and lonely a lot of the time. I’m lonely, but I am almost never alone, which is a weird catch-22. I don’t get to sit on the john alone; I don’t get to shower alone. This list of things I can’t manage to do, or only barely manage to do (rarely) is as long as my arm: 

read a book
talk on the phone
use my computer
visit people
get invited anywhere
work out
masturbate (never)
watch adult-oriented TV/movies
make love to my husband
clean my house
reorganize my life, my surroundings
leave the house

Around here, it’s always damage control, reaction, crisis management. Never planning, thinking, dreaming, or doing what I want to do. Every single thing I put my hand to can be and will be interrupted at any moment. I start and stop things all day long. I can barely finish a sentence or a though before I’m pulled in a new direction. I never finish anything. I am surrounded by evidence of my failures.

Taking care of other people 24/7 is extremely draining. I feel worn out, bitchy, lost, hopeless, desperate, cravings, isolated, broke, starved for attention, and did I mention loneliness? I would like to recuperate. I would like to spend some time and energy on me and on my marriage. 

They say it takes a village to raise children. And I have one, sort of. I have friends who love me and my kids. I have family members who help us out once in a while. I pay friends to babysit so I can earn a meager living and so I don’t fucking LOSE IT and do something I’ll regret. When my kids get sick, my village shuts down for the duration, like a ski slope in August. Those who do come around are punished for their generosity: They get sick, too. “Thanks for comin’ by and keeping me from hanging myself. Right. Yeah. It’ll never happen again. Of course. Don’t mention it. We’re happy to share our germs. Enjoy them!” Ian keeps going to work, for which I am both eternally grateful and desperately resentful. And here I am, alone with two screaming, miserable, snotty, spoiled, hurting, bored, needy human beings. Makes me fucking crazy.

(Only right this second, I am actually alone. The kids are briefly out of the house. If they weren’t, I’d not be able to write this diatribe.)

This insanity is temporary. It will get better. I know that the summer is slowly winding down to a close and Lucas will go back to school. I know that Asher will only be 18 months old for a little while. I know he will grow and become more independent and less clingy. I know I won’t always be breastfeeding and using my body as his major source of comfort forever. But this is a slow process. There are 24 hours in every single day. I am on duty 24 hours every single day, but for an hour here or two hours there. In a good week, I might get 10 hours in which to work, when the children are both gone.

So my kids aren’t the only ones who are needy. I’m needy too. Trouble is, I need the opposite of what they need. I need to spend time with my friends, who are too afraid to come around when the kids are sick and the chips are spilled all over the floor. (And I UNDERSTAND why, but it still hurts.) I need my parents, but they are out of the country—returning today, thank God! I need my husband, who does everything he possibly can while he’s home, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I need him alone. I need us to build up our marriage. I need solitude and sanctuary for me. I need a change of scenery. I need to exercise (yes, it’s been 12 days since I’ve been to the gym!). I need to go places and do things I’m interested in doing. I need to dance and breathe and LIVE.

I know what I need. But I don’t get it. There aren’t enough resources, helpers, volunteers. The village I need is scattered and empty most of every day. And I am angry. 

I don’t think this is what I signed up for.

One Response to “The State of Me”

  • dakini_grl
    August 13, 2008 at 9:18 am

    And yea so you walk through the summer of rage and crazy. It’s important to own it, and I’m glad you can. That’s so much a part of getting through it. I applaud you for being willing to tell me.

    I’m also sorry that your support system has folded up in this sense. I wish I had an easy answer.

    And honey. This is my opinion only, but please: stop beating yourself up. Don’t blame yourself for not knowing what you signed up for or how you are reacting. You hold yourself to extremely high standards. Things are bad enough now without you slapping yourself around because you don’t measure up to some inner sense of perfection and how things should be.

    The kids aren’t dead or beaten. You aren’t a valium addict. The house still has all its windows. You can still laugh with a little piece of yourself and a little boy who shaved his legs for fun. You still try. You still love. Some tiny seed in you knows this won’t last forever.

    Let that be enough for now. Screw the rest.

    Like I know from raising kids. I know. But I love you, and am thinking of you. Call again if you need to melt down, I will try and answer.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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