Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Quick, hit publish before you regret it

Where do I belong?

I think maybe this is the question I've been asking myself my whole life. I had two lunch tables in high school, and would float back and forth between them, never really sitting still anywhere long enough for anyone to notice what a freaking mess I was.

And now, here I am, 38 years old, and I still haven't really figured out how to be in the world. I go to PTA meetings, but I'm not really part of that group. I am a substitute teacher, which means I can float in and out of teachers' lounges without anyone ever really noticing me or seeing me. I post fluff and memes on facebook, funny things or heartwarming things. I make jokes about my life because if I'm laughing then I can't get hurt.

I'm freaking lonely, guys.

A month ago, I went to England, and I didn't tell anyone except my parents who were watching my kids and my neighbors who were getting packages from my porch. I don't know why. Because if I admitted that something exciting was happening, people would think badly of me? Because I was afraid of wanting anything?

I am tired. I am tired and I haven't even been doing anything. I am in this house by myself, pretending that I do something that matters, pretending that I am a person of substance, when really I'm just living on the surface of everything, trying to be small, trying to be just likeable enough that I don't offend anyone, trying to not get hurt.

I'm tired of not existing.

I want to come back.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The dark

There are days when nothing seems important, where everything seems disappointing, where my motivation to do anything is completely absent.

I've been having a lot of those days lately. I know enough to know that that's called depression.

I woke up this morning and went back to bed. I didn't feel like a human being until at least 11. It's the first day this week I haven't had somewhere to bring my kids first thing, haven't had a way to keep going through the motions and playing at being an adult.

So I didn't. I just full on fell apart.

I'm tired.

I'm tired of being tired.

Summer is hard, dude. My kids are either at home asking me to do something and wrestling each other to the ground, or are being driven around from event to event. I don't have time to think. I don't have time to breathe, let alone to read or write.

And then I stop for a minute to breathe and think and I realize that's much worse.

This is the dark. I've been living in the dark for a while now.  I've been improving my night vision instead of turning on a lamp.

It's time to ask for help with the lamp.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Between

I woke up this morning at 6:30 with a 6 year old nestled against me and an 8 year old standing over me, telling me that my alarm had already gone off twice. Blurry eyed and without emotion I climbed out of bed and, with both of them velcroed to my sides, trudged downstairs. Made them breakfast. Found them socks. Snuggled a little. Put them on the bus at 7:50.

It's almost 10:30. I couldn't tell you what I've done since then.

So much of my life feels like a failure lately.

I remember being good at things. I remember being funny. I remember being a good teacher, a good student, the person people looked to for advice.

I remember being the person who sat with kids at lunch when they were all by themselves.

I don't know if anyone else remembers that me.

I looked through old pictures yesterday, trying to piece myself back together, trying to put together the story of who I was. There were no pictures from before I was about fifteen, and the ones from then paint a complicated picture. They show the person I know I was, the girl with the heart who created her own circle of comfort. But they don't show the person she was running away from, the person that was hiding inside her, the one who knew that nothing she ever did could be enough. I need to look back further to see that, and I don't have anywhere to look.

I signed up for an online memoir class yesterday. I wrote in my journal more than I've written in it in the past year. I also spent way too much time on facebook, searching for ghosts, for names of people who I only remember, who I tried not to remember for years, who almost certainly don't remember me.

And I don't even know what I was spending too much of this morning doing.

I feel like right now I'm in between. I feel like nothing in the world is going to make sense right now and it's painful. I don't know where I'm going and I'm not even sure where I am. But for now, I want to keep writing. I think that's where all the answers are.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Fragments

Yesterday morning I woke up with a start. I'd dreamed about a boy I went to elementary school with, who hadn't necessarily be a friend. His name, a name which I probably hadn't thought about it in twenty five years, floated into my head and lodged there.

I knew him since we were six. He had always been very popular, at a time when I was decidedly not. He had often given me a hard time when that was what everyone else was doing. But, in the end, around the time we were in fifth grade, I'd seen something different in him. A gentleness, a kindness, compassion. A heart there where I hadn't realized there was one before. I'd met his little sisters and saw that he adored them, and maybe that was the moment that I decided he wasn't who I'd assumed he was. And when we started Junior High, and bigger boys on the bus had picked on me more viciously than I was used to, he'd sat beside me. He didn't say anything, didn't stand up to the older boys, but he sat next to me in a way that felt protective. I've never forgotten that.

Except. Except I had. Except I'd forgotten him completely, hadn't thought about him at all in so many years. When I started Junior High, I'd found a group of friends for the first time who really thought like I did. I'd belonged in a way I didn't know was possible before and so had left behind most of my elementary classmates, who probably never wanted me anyway.  I had found and created a group that made me feel, for the first time, seen and heard and known. And then, at the end of seventh grade, I'd moved away.

My life, it seems, is remembered in fragments.

I feel like I've had so many lives. Elementary school separated from seventh grade by what seemed such a new beginning and opening into the world. Seventh grade separated from eighth grade by distance, by a move which was completely traumatic at the time and from which came some of the most meaningful friendships of my life - and of course, also my marriage. High school separated from college, college from grad school, grad school from my first year teaching. That year separated from the next year when I lived in Indiana, separated from the three year long lifetime I spent teaching in Texas, separated from the now in which I am a mother, a PTA mom, a Girl Scout leader. So many lives. So many fragments. So many puzzle pieces from which to work out who I really am.

Brene Brown says that we orphan the parts of our story that don't fit with our vision of who we are. I don't know. I don't know if that's why my life, my memory, is so broken apart.

But I want to put it back together.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Deserving

My therapist asked me last week why I stopped blogging. I told her that I just kind of ran out of things to say.

She looked at me for a minute in silence and then said "So, if it's because you're afraid, then you should probably look at it. If you're just not interested in it anymore, then that's okay ... but then again, losing interest in activities you used to enjoy is pretty much the definition of depression."

Womp.

There's so much to tease out. I criticize myself, I can't live up to an expectation based on something I did once, at the peak of my writing, when I'd been actively in it for a long time. I worry about what other people think of me, I worry that other people aren't seeing me at all.

But fundamentally, at the core, there is shame. Shame at the idea that I think I deserve to have a voice. "Who are you?" the shame says, "Who are you to think you deserve to be heard?"

I don't know. But here I am.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

They looked at me like I was stupid. I'm not stupid.

On Thursday night, I was volunteering at my daughters' school. I walked in confidently, like I owned the place, and walked right up to the principal and asked if she knew where the PTA president, my neighbor of 8 years, was.

She stated at me blankly, and my neighbor who was standing right next to her said, "I'm right here."

It was such a small moment. I'm probably the only one who remembers it by now. I laughed, hugged her, and made fun of myself.

And I haven't stopped thinking about what so idiot I was since.

This is my worst fear. That people will see me as stupid or crazy. Because deep down I'm afraid it's true.

I make fun of myself when I forget to put coffee in my coffee maker because if I laugh at myself first, then I am in control. I apologize exaggeratedly for every little mistake. But mostly, I stay small.

If I hadn't talked to the principal like I thought I deserved to be there, then I wouldn't have embarrassed myself. If I never post on Facebook about anything that matters to me, then I never have to worry about being judged.

I'm tired of failing. I'm tired of being an idiot and a clown. But I'm also tired of playing small.

I wish I didn't care what people thought. I wish I wasn't so sensitive. I wish I said eff it instead of crying in my bathroom. 

I'm not stupid. I'm really now.

Friday, March 8, 2019

People

Do you know the feeling of being both lonely and peopled out at the same time?

If yes, welcome. Welcome to the club, sweet sensitive introvert. Come sit with me. I have coffee. And I won't talk.

It's been a long week. I had company, I had volunteer commitments. I had places to be and people to see. And to a lot of people that probably sounds amazing. Fun. High energy.

All I want to do is curl up in a ball with a blanket over my head.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE volunteering at my kids' school. I love being their Girl Scout leader. Being in a room with all of those kids, and even their parents (sorry grown ups, you really do make less sense to me) gives me a feeling of wholeness.

And it gives me the equivalent of a hangover.

I walk out the door and all I need to do is hide. And rehash everything that I could possibly have said or done wrong. I spend hours completely drained and also beating myself with a mental stick. What are all the things I did wrong? What is everyone saying about me as soon as I leave the room?

So. It seems bizarre to say I'm lonely. I've seen people every night this week.

But it's just been so long since I've been seen.

I am lonely. I am longing for connection. And I want to do get that connection without having to leave a dark room or in any way risk humiliating myself.

Sometimes, that makes the Internet wonderful. But it also makes the Internet dangerous. Because when I come to rely on pocket friends to meet my emotional needs, I withdraw even more in "real life." Even when I'm out in the world doing real things, I'm not completely there. I'm not sharing myself with the people around me. Because it's so freaking scary.

But, the Internet isn't enough. And I need connection. I need to be seen. Which is going to require peopling.

I'm just going to spend a few more minutes under this blanket first.