“If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment.”— Brené Brown
I've been struggling a bit lately. A lot of things rolling around in my brain, most of which I can't control. There's been this dull sense of unease for a little while that I couldn't place.
Then Sunday night, I went out to work for two hours, leaving the girls with DH. The ripples in my brain turned into waves and I spent the whole weekend worrying. Would I do a terrible job at tutoring? Would DH have a terrible time with the girls? Was I doing the right thing?
(The answers by the way are No, Kinda Yes, and To Be Determined.)
Then yesterday, the witching hour struck me hard. My husband had to work late; my baby wouldn't stop screaming unless she was eating; my toddler was whining, grabbing my leg, and pushing every button - both literal and figurative - that she could find.
I couldn't breathe. And that's not entirely a metaphor.
My first reaction was to scream "Can't everyone leave me alone?" The baby seemed unphased as she continued to nurse. The toddler froze, pouted, then threw her book at the floor. Immediately ashamed, I started to cry, causing her to curl up on the floor.
I wanted to disappear, to run away, to hide in a closet and not let anyone see me until I had my act together.
But I didn't.
I tweeted that I was overwhelmed, that I couldn't breathe. I asked for help and validation, and I IMMEDIATELY wanted to delete the tweet, I was so ashamed of having said it. People would think I was silly for talking about my breathing. They would be disappointed in me for asking a ridiculous question, for not having it all together.
But they didn't. They weren't. They said "Me too."
And I put the baby in the swing, walked away from the whining toddler, put on Tiny Dancer, and sang as loud as I could while I finished putting dinner on the table.
It didn't fix anything that was wrong. The witching hour still sucked. The stuff that's been stewing in my mind is still there.
I still suffer.
But I'm not alone, and I'm not doing anything wrong. And I am capable of acting in spite of my feelings. The baby can cry and the toddler can whine, and that will totally suck, but it won't really damage any of us.
And if I need to reach out every damn day to be reminded of that, I'll do it.
And that's what I'm doing right.