Monday, November 29, 2010

An Unbalanced Post

I am choosing to come clean. I was going to write a private email to a dear friend, but the correspondence so far has shown me that my only choice is to be completely outed because that's why I started this blog in the first place. I have, in a way, been hiding from it because to write here is to tell my story. I worried what people would think instead of trusting that I'll find a way to say it.

I have been feeling different. Different from everyone else, and therefore, afraid to say what no one would "get." But how can anyone get it if I don't share it? And I also know, deep in my soul, that others can relate, in their own way.

Seeing Next to Normal again this weekend helped me to see that, too. Because I shouldn't be able to relate to a mother whose baby died. I shouldn't be able to relate to a husband who is willing to stand by this woman, even as she falls deeper into the depths of depression, despair, bipolar disorder, and even herself asks him, "why stay?" I shouldn't be able to relate to a 16-year-old girl who was deprived of her parents who were lost to grief, to simply surviving the day. But I related to all of them because no matter what our circumstances, we all experience the range of emotions that is simply being human. So while you may not be divorced, while you may not have children, while you may not struggle from paycheck to paycheck, I know that you can somehow relate to some of this. Maybe not in this moment, but sometime, through some experience, you have experienced this sense of feeling alone, of feeling different, of feeling like no one gets it.

Part of me, too, is ashamed of feeling this way. I have so much, I know. I am so lucky in so many respects. I have wonderful friends, wonderful family, a job I actually love that is as dependable as a job can be, and while I have money issues, I know that so many have it so much worse. I actually do know that I can pay my rent every month. I do know that some choices I make for what I call "quality of life" aren't needs, but wants. And I do know that some problems I have are self-inflicted.

So this isn't a "pity me" post, but rather a "this is me" post. I do love my life, but I want more.

I know that there's still a lot of work for me to do to achieve some of my goals and missions, but at the same time, I'm fighting the resentment that I feel for somehow never doing enough. Like a petulant toddler, sometimes, I just don't wanna. I feel like I certainly do my share of basic responsibilities every single day, and sometimes I just want to feel like that's enough. And that's not to say that I don't take downtime because I certainly do, but I want to take it without also fighting the guilt.

The guilt. The guilt is the overriding emotion that affects everything. I spend ten minutes rationalizing to myself that it's okay, I can spend $1.29 on a new song, or taking the time to read a book that's not for a Book Club or assignment is okay because I can't really focus on "serious" reading anyway. Or even when I am doing something productive like washing dishes that it's okay to tell Riley that I'll listen to her story in a few minutes when I'm done.

It feels like every moment that I'm doing something, I'm also spending trying to fight the guilt that I should be doing something else. I even feel guilty that I don't spend enough quality time with my cat! Or convincing myself that it's okay to be doing whatever I'm doing.

And then there are the really embarrassing things to feel guilty about; for really wanting a netbook so that I can sit on my couch to read blogs, for buying myself lunch at work instead of going home, for buying myself an avocado.

And I feel guilty for feeling guilty because I am not a bad person and while I could be a better mother, I know that my kids are nourished both physically and emotionally. 

I started this post thinking that I had something entirely different to say. I feel guilty if this post lead astray.


Penelope said...

Sending love and internet hugs. You're a wonderful person, a wonderful mother and I think we all tend to feel guilty about something. Though when it is the overriding emotion, that tends to suck the pleasure out of things. It's always about finding balance, truly, and I think we have seasons of feeling put together and seasons of feeling overwhelmed. xx

MindyMom said...

I think you're right that no matter what the differences, healthy people can relate to others struggles in some way. Notice I say healthy, cuz only healthy people have empathy.

I'm sorry you feel this guilt. You do your absolute best and your best is better than a lot of other people even try to be - even me, I'm sure - but I don't feel guilty at all. The way I look at it, if I didnt treat myself every now and then there would be absolutely NO ONE taking care of me. And that my friend, I think most single moms can relate to. Treat yourself, enjoy it and try not to feel guilty about it because you deserve it. That is not being entitled and selfish because you have your priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone has that guilt. And if they don't from time-to-time they're a little too self involved. ;)

BUT you do need to do things for yourself. It's important. Think of it as a personal reward for everything you do for everyone else. You deserve it!

Erica said...

ah the guilt - I hear you!

jenn said...

I'm with you on the guilt. I wish I knew how to get past it, but I don't.

Unknown said...

Let it all out, girlfriend. Really — it's good to see that sometimes it's not all balanced, all of the time. Also, as a mother I can see where we always feel like there is more we can give, but you're an amazing mom and it just oozes out of the your posts in a very genuine way.


Danielle said...

Yep, I feel guilt too. Not in the same way as I think you are right now but in a different deep, highly unhealthy way.
We both need to let it go and just be ok with what is, what was and what is to come.
I have your back and if you figure it out, pass it my way. I will do the same.
BTW, I agree that you are so far ahead of some of us! XOXO

Tara R. said...

I think that guilt is a normal emotion. I feel guilty about losing my job and not being able to find something else. I want more too, but I think even if I get it, it won't be enough.

Just keep doing the best you can, striving to be a better parent, and better person, there's no shame in that.

Debbie said...

I completely agree about life and how our experiences can help us have some amount of insight into others' experiences, even if they are not exactly the same. Obviously no one can "know" what someone else has gone through, but the range of human emotions can be very similar from one crisis or experience to another.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to what you say - but I also think it's quite normal. I think part of the guilt comes from the media telling you exactly how to be a perfect person... I'm a bit of a perfectionist myself but I'm trying to let that go because honestly, what's a perfect person anyway? I think as long as your children feel they're being looked after well, and you're happy, there's nothing to feel guilty about, right?


LunaNik said...

I can totally relate to this. My sister and I often discuss how we feel guilty about the dumbest things. I can't buy myself an eyeshadow from the drugstore without guilt...that cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in the morning, goes on and on. I think it's a woman thing cuz my hubs, no matter how selfish he is being (and trust me he has his uber-selfing moments) NEVER feels guilty. What's up wit that???