Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Owning All My Truths

When I was 11 and my parents divorced, I learned the hard way that you lose friends when you show your true self, with all your flaws and brokenness. When you are sad and unsure and insecure and depressed and questioning the world. Kids don’t like to see that chaos. And neither, sometimes, do adults.

Oh sure, you say, that’s not how “true friends” are.
Not adults.
Sometimes, however, they are.

And I certainly say that now with a more accepting and forgiving heart than I had at 11 while watching friends blow me off as I struggled with my collapsing world. We all have our own journeys and sometimes we can’t walk fully with another the way they might need us to. I’ve been let down and I’ve let down others that I truly cared about. And as I have navigated the waters of being codependent, I’ve worked with boundaries and not feeling responsible for taking on- perhaps even feeding on- the need to be needed, to be the knight to sweep in and try to “save” everyone. I’ve let relationships fall away that I didn’t feel were mutually healthy and I’ve patched together a few that I know are a bit feeble, but that I’m not ready to give up on.

I do have close friends that I’ve let in, that I let myself be totally honest with and with whom I trust and relax enough to show myself in all my multifaceted glory- the good, the bad, the ugly, the stream of profanities. And I am still the kind of gal that wears a bit too much of my heart on my sleeve and speaks out a bit too freely. I’ve gotten better over the years- being a fundraiser will teach you that. Or maybe it’s worse. That’s an interesting debate. Is learning how to function in society, to conform to expectations a sign of maturity or simply defeat? I could argue it both ways, but then I am someone who dwells often in the multiple shades of gray. Not unsure, just comfortable knowing that truth and knowledge are fluid and subjective.

On Facebook I have a lot of friends who like to read my happy or snarky comments and observations. It makes me happy to make them happy. It’s a varied group of folks, from professional contacts and long-ago elementary friends with just the merest sliver of connection, to the closest of friends and family. I can be silly and explore my flair for the absurd and dramatic in 420 characters. There are hints of my life, hints of my ups and down, but they are like glimpses into a viewfinder. As well they should be. As protective as I can sometimes be, I am also quite guilty of the “overshare.”

But I promised myself that this blog would be for me. For my true self. My honest expressions. To please no one. To only try to explain and explore my own psyche and not play with and hide behind silly words. To be a place of seeing who I am. A place that I can change my mind and remake myself without having to defend it to anyone. And someday a place that I can share with LittleMan so that he can know a version of me that he wouldn’t otherwise.

Today was hard and I am writing here to explore why that was. It was the third day of school for LM. The routine is already set and is successful and comfortable. After I dropped him off I felt overwhelmingly lonely. Since I love my quiet introverted time, the feeling still surprises me. I know that it rationally makes sense- I have been uprooted again, to a place without friends or family. I don’t have a job or colleagues yet and I am also unsure of exactly the path I want to take. I know that these things will change with time. But once again, I am not going to shove down my current feelings. I am not going to try to wipe them away without feeling them fully. I get so sick of our society wanting that. “Get Well” as soon as you are sick; “Smile” as soon as you are sad. Let’s allow ourselves to examine the dark even as we walk towards the light.

So I’m not going to fake it, even as I know that the feelings are fleeting and soon will pass.
“The night can revel in utter darkness for it knows the dawn is near.”

As I drove to Starbucks this morning, I chewed on the lonely.
Examined it.
Tasted it.
In many ways it felt almost like the heartbreak of a break-up. I found myself thinking, “Aw, this was the special place we went to last week.” And “LittleMan would love this car wash.” And as songs came on the radio, I felt that familiar strain of it being “Our Song.” Songs that we like to sign to together. Songs that reminded me of him.

How strange, I thought, that these feelings feel so close to that of a break up. But instead of quashing the thought, I explored with it.

I carried this child in my body. Grew him. Nurtured him. Accepted him as the gift that he is and daily he acts as my proof of God’s love. I love him more deeply, more completely than any emotion I’ve ever know. I did not get to spend as much time I would have liked as he has grown. I had to work, to support us all. I don’t get that time back. And now this huge milestone reminds me of it. And reminds me that this is (maybe, could be, probably) my only chance for these moments.
My only child.

I feel deeply. I examine the world intensely. And here, at least, I will not paste a sticker on it and pretend to be otherwise.

I am proud and excited for my son. I am happy that I made the first day so great that he keeps saying that he wishes every day was the first day. I am excited to get to participate in his class and school. In fact, this job search that I am going to reluctantly embark on will be different from any I’ve ever taken. I am not looking for a specific job this time. I am looking to maintain my most important job of being Mother and filling the rest of the space with whatever else I will be.

Perhaps that too is a part of this feeling of regeneration. Facing the fact that I have no more excuses to hold me back from seizing a bit more life. No one ever said that the phoenix didn’t experience grief as it burned to ash.

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