It’s Monday morning, the 4th day of my “week off.” I woke up early, took the kids to school, worked out really hard at the gym and then found myself leaning up against the kitchen counter in my sweaty workout clothes while I waited for the espresso maker to heat up, switching frantically between apps on my phone in a desperate attempt to find something to fill me up. What the hell am I doing? I am so tired. Deep-into-my-bones tired. Something that feels like a week or a month off won’t cure, isn’t curing.

Over the last few weeks everything has melted down, like nuclear meltdown. There are a hundred people needing me and pulling me and asking me questions and waiting for replies and needing things that only I can do and I’m wondering how I can do it all. Because I really want to do it all. Every single bit of it. And I’m trying to figure out if I can… how I can. Josh got mad at me the other day, “Why do you take care of everyone but yourself?” I don’t know. Why do I want to be all things to all people? I think it’s time to go back to therapy.

It seems like every single thing in my life is weighing on me, even if it shouldn’t be. It feels like my brain ping-pongs back and forth, back and forth between all of the things I’m worrying about. So many things feel like they’re really, really hard right now. Work and money and clinic and kids… oh the kids… I’m pretty sure that Josh has mascara on the shoulder of every tee shirt he owns. Last week I mustered up the courage to say the scary words, “I’m really not OK.”

I’m looking at my house. It’s filthy. Like really, really filthy. I don’t remember the last time I had the energy to really clean it. Right now there’s a moth on the floor that the kids squished last week, with bright green guts plastered to the floor boards, shouting to me that I should have cleaned it up days ago. I’m so tired.

I need to get my sprinklers going. I don’t know how. I hate asking for help. I hate being a single mom. It is SO HARD. I hate saying that because I hate thinking what my life would be like if I were living the alternative.

I think, now that it’s been two years, that I am starting to feel the secondary pain of getting divorced. I’m past the heartbreak and the loss and the grief (and also the grateful buoyancy and relief that freedom brings) and now I’m onto realizing how trained I’ve been to expect rejection at every turn. How shocking it is when Josh takes an interest in my life, that he’s there, always there, no matter what. I can’t get used to it. I feel really, really damaged. Now I’m grappling with trying to figure out how to have a relationship with a healthy person who loves me with everything. I just seem to flinch every time he makes a move. And I’m scared. All the time, scared. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it DOES work out? What if I make the wrong choice.. again? Can I trust him with my heart and my life? I want to… so bad. These questions run through my mind everyday, all the time, always. And underneath it all is this tiny thread of hope, gold and shining. Maybe I can make a good choice this time, maybe things will work out for me, maybe I do deserve this and maybe I can actually have it? Maybe? Really?

I’m watching the kids feel, really feel, the weight of having divorced parents. And I can’t fix that for them or take it away. It is so hard. We bring our kids into the world and all we want to do it protect them from the inevitable heartbreak. Instead we are the ones to break their hearts. This doesn’t feel very much like winning.

I’m reading books by authors that I love and I just get angry at them. Rickelle had to remind me the other day, “Everyone’s life looks charmed in a book.” They talk about walking through hard times surrounded by their families and I don’t feel surrounded at all. I keep mourning things I lost a long time ago. And I have to keep reminding myself that I am surrounded, just maybe not the same way other people are. On a particularly rough night a couple of weeks ago, Josh sent out a text and my people showed up around a campfire in my back yard. I sat there tired and fragile and they took turns talking about who I am to them and how much the love me, filling my empty heart back up. They reminded me: I AM loved, I DO belong to something bigger than myself. I CAN trust. They won’t leave.

My propensity is to feel alone. To feel like I have to do everything by myself because the past has shown me that asking for help doesn’t always end up in getting help. I’m so used to taking it. Taking disrespect, taking burdens, taking extra work, taking responsibility… that I don’t know how to let someone else carry the burden. I don’t even know how to hand it off. And I don’t know how to trust that I will actually get help, in the way I need it, when I do ask for it.

I’m sitting in this space of not knowing how to fix anything, but knowing that I can’t keep going like this. I don’t know how to ask for help and I really need it. I don’t want to give anything up, but figuring out how to juggle it all is weighing so heavily on me. All the things I need or want to do are feeling overwhelming when I think about doing them all by myself. I don’t have any answers, but here are all my questions.

So, really, I guess this is just me saying, I’m not even going to pretend right now that I have it all together.

Category: heart, ouch 4 comments »

4 Responses to “help”

  1. Leah Rice

    Brutally beautiful. Saying it doesn’t fix anything, but does release pain. Thank you for being brave enough to write the words we all so often feel. I am here for ANYTHING you need. I love cleaning dead bugs :)

  2. Iris

    Oh dear, it is hard to hear that you feel this way. But I want you to know that you are such an inspiration and role model to me and certainly to others… not because you do everything you want to do and perfectly, but because you aspire to so much, and you act with authenticity. The self-awareness you show here is sure to lead to improvements, little-by-little.

    One thing I am sure you know deep down is that there is generosity in giving, but there is generosity in accepting help, too. Letting others help, letting them show they care through their actions, is something you can do in service of others.

    Another thing you should know is that your skills and responsibilities are so varied and integral that delegating, sharing tasks, stepping back… this is an exercise in mentorship, in fostering skills in the people around you, in giving others an opportunity to push themselves, to excel, to try something new. When you trust others, you can accomplish more together, at least when things work as they should.

  3. Shenan Putnam

    I feel ya. I’m a single mom again (probably only for 6 months but…) and as for the rest…sigh. Here I am 8 years after the tragedy that was my first marriage, now in a beautiful one, and I still struggle with my past and the ghosts that seem to linger. Some months I feel whole and healed and then something will click and all of that is replaced with guilt, unforgivness, exhaustion, and a feeling of hopelessness. I wonder then…will I ever be ok. How many years will it take to erase the pain. Best of luck to both of us. I have to trust that we will both get there, to our own promise land.

  4. rickelle

    beautiful. totally beautiful.

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