“I grew into it. It grew into me. It and I blurred at the edges, became one amorphous, seeping, crawling thing.»
Over the last few weeks I’ve received a lot of emails from everyone. Asking if something was going on, why I seemed to jump ship on all my blog posts and if everything was OK. And for all you concerned friends in the virtual world, I appreciate your kind words and your cares.
The truth is, I’m not completely OK.
To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve really been completely OK.
Physically, things are fine. My body is strong, flexible and durable.
The problem is the emotional. My emotions are erratic, unpredictable, spontaneous. My highs keep getting higher, but the lows are so much lower.
It’s not that I’m depressed per say, I suppose, I’m just out here, floating, trying to figure out what on Earth I really want.
When you become a wife and mother, suddenly there are all these people’s feelings, desires, emotions and well-being that come way before your own. And that’s not a bad thing; but it can be exhausting. It’s gotten to the point where sometimes I can’t even figure out what I’M feeling, without assessing the current mood or status of my husband or children.
And it’s not them or their fault, I’ve been this way my whole life. I’ve spent so much of it seeking approval from whoever was at the top of the chopping block that at 28 years old, I look in the mirror and I’m not sure what I see anymore. Is it me? Is it Amanda? Or is it just mom; just wife; just daughter; just friend.
Do you know how it feels to look into a mirror and not understand the reflection staring back at you?
For the first 22 years of my life I made a large percentage of my decisions based on what I thought the most important people in my life wanted for me — my parents. I looked like your normal, average high schooler, I kept my hair long because I know my mom liked it that way, I played softball because I was good at it and it was the easiest way to connect with my dad (and keep him on my side if I ever needed it) and then I went to college because that’s what you do. You graduate and go to college.
I majored in English, which is probably the first decision I made for ME, independently; because if mom would have had her way I would have studied chemistry or genetics (I was in honors science in high school and had quite the natural ability for it). For the nine months I was away, I was free to experiment with myself more, to figure out who I was outside of my parents’ daughter. I would pierce various parts of my body, dye my hair 100 different shades under the sun … all until it was time for me to go home. And then I would resolve to become the daughter I was supposed to be again.
When I graduated from school and moved out with my boyfriend (now husband), that was the second major decision I made on my own. But in making that decision, while relieved of the burden to be what my parents wanted, I now had another person’s worries to consider. Now, I wanted to please my boyfriend.
And so it’s continued from there, except now I have the expectations of two children (who mean the world to me) to live up to as well.
I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault. No one is telling me I have to live my life like this or be this way, I simply am. My parents didn’t force me to do things, my husband is incredibly supportive and understanding and I have a massive support system between family and friends. It’s just something I’ve somehow ingrained in myself, something that I’ve allowed to take over my life. And after 28 years of doing this, there’s something inside of me that’s starting to stir. Something that’s no longer content with living my life by all the things I think I’m supposed to do.
This isn’t to say I’m going to runaway and disown all the important people in my life, but rather, I need to find a balance. I need to find a way to figure out where my family’s wants and needs end and where mine begin.
And this is hard. It’s hard because I feel guilty. I feel guilty for making people worry. I feel ashamed for being so broke. And I feel utterly swallowed up by all of these feelings.
There are still good days. Plenty of good moments sprinkled through all days, as well. I just, I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But these feelings that I’m sorting through, well, they keep changing the path on me. So just when I think I see the light, I have to take a left. I’m tired of all the turns.
I debated writing this, which is why I’ve been silent for so long. I’ve been faced with these emotions for so many years now that all the times I’ve swallowed them back down, they’re now just spewing out, constantly.
I debated opening up this piece of my world to you. But I feel like there are so many people out there suffering from whatever it is, the absolute overwhelmingness of life, that it seems wrong not to talk about.
We can’t get better, can’t figure it out, can’t even begin to try to solve it, if we don’t start talking about it.
Silence isn’t always golden, especially when there is suffering involved.
«‘Can it be I have not lived as one ought?’ suddenly came into his head. ‘But how not so, when I’ve done everything as it should be done?’ he said, and at once dismissed this only solution of all the enigma of life and death as something utterly out of the question.»
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