And the rain starts (Photo credit: Yogendra174)
WE are so tired, my heart and I.
Of all things here beneath the sky
One only thing would please us best–
Endless, unfathomable rest.
We are so tired; we ask no more
Than just to slip out by Life’s door;
And leave behind the noisy rout
And everlasting turn about.
Once it seemed well to run on too
With her importunate, fevered crew,
And snatch amid the frantic strife
Some morsel from the board of life.
But we are tired. At Life’s crude hands
We ask no gift she understands;
But kneel to him she hates to crave
The absolution of the grave.
A lifetime of trying to be “enough,” has taken its toll. I’m at work, unable to concentrate or quiet my mind. That’s all I seek, really. Quiet. Within that quiet will be joy and peace-finally peace. How many times can one keep getting up off the ground or unfolding oneself from the fetal position? When is one simply allowed to give in, wave the white flag? All my energy and years of effort have been for naught. I feel no wiser than I was 10 years ago. If anything, I am more confused and cynical. I’ve tried to live an authentic life-to be who I am and say to hell with those who don’t understand. I’ve poured my heart into raising my children, into making a shared life work with R, into being the best I can be at my job. Again and again, I’ve prayed for peace, strength and wisdom. I have moments where I feel those things. Then out of nowhere, the clouds will come and all I see is darkness and my own inadequacy, and I’m battered by the storms of my failures.
My 20’s involved my letting go of an abusive lover, realizing I was a raging alcoholic, struggling through a grueling nursing school program that was more like boot camp, and oh yeah-getting married. I also had my first child at 27 and finally graduated college within a year of his birth. Much of it sucked but parts of it were glorious (i.e. giving birth to my beautiful boy). I wasn’t sad to leave my 20’s behind and move gracefully into my 30’s. During those years, I had three more boys, left my husband of 16 years and found love with R. I entered the world of the “work outside the home” moms and learned to stand on my own two feet. For the first time, I paid the rent, bought a car, forced myself to show up daily for a job I hated, and had all those other responsibilities that make one feel self-sufficient and adult. I also began my struggle with depression, although I did not realize it at the time.
Now here I sit at 42, wondering how in the hell I became this age. I don’t think I look 42. People tell me I don’t look older than my mid-30’s (god bless them and Botox), and I certainly do not feel 42 most of the time. I mean, c’mon, I have a nose ring for chrissakes! I listen to rock music (loudly), recently discovered I like Eminem and drop the F bomb more often than I probably should. I’m a mom of 5 fabulous kids, I work in a very granola crunchy environment. My mom seemed old at my age! She was repressed and conservative and all the things I am not. She was a Southern Baptist and the worst curse word uttered from her God-fearing lips was “damn!” She couldn’t have possibly ever had sex.
The thing is, I always thought I would move into my later years with grace. I could easily see myself in my 60’s, working in my garden, traveling, imparting wisdom to the younger generation, and not worrying about the lines on my face. The reality is that I still hope to continue to grow and become more enlightened. I’d like to keep working in jobs that truly help other people. I wish be the best mom to my kids I can be, and a good mate for R. I just don’t want to get older while doing so! I don’t want my body to become flabby or my face to sag. I still need to feel sexy and vibrant and desired. Hell yes-when I buy my non-alcoholic beer in the grocery store, I want you to card me! And go piss off if you do not! I cringe when anyone calls me ma’am. They mean no harm, I know. They’re just being respectful. Yet when I hear it, in my mind they are just saying “you’re really old.”
I feel as if I am being dragged kicking and screaming into an age that I vehemently oppose. My parents always said about aging that “it’s better than the alternative,” and I understand that logic. Hell, maybe I’m just vain and I need to get over it already. I should focus more on spiritual and emotional growth and less on what I look like. I’m not a shallow person-never have been. So why am I struggling so much with this? Where’s the elusive grace I’m supposed to have at this stage of my life? Why do I care so much if others me attractive? All those 20 somethings I’m so envious now will one day be my age, too. It happens to all of us lucky enough to survive this long. I guess I’m just surprised by my reaction to it. I never thought it would be painful to say goodbye to my youth. I just don’t know how to say goodbye to it when in my head, I still feel so young.
I consider myself somewhat bohemian. I listen to my gut for guidance and don’t put a lot of stock in what others tell me I should believe or do. However, even having this hippie nature, I also like to know what to expect on some level in my life. I don’t like rigidity, but certain consistencies make me feel a sense of security that is meaningful to me. I like knowing, or at least hoping, that there are certain people in my world I can count on no matter what. I have had so much drama in my life over the past five years. I obviously wanted it to be there or it would never have made its presence known. I called it into being. So now I am and have been on the vibration of drawing that to myself. It’s time to break the cycle. I need peace. I need joy. I need love and acceptance. I need to not just be loved, but to be truly liked, flaws and all.
I’ve handed my power over to my work, to my mate, to all these external people rather than holding on for dear life to it and calling it my own. Those of you who have followed any of my posts know I’ve had major relationship and depression struggles for some time now. Add to that the work stress I’ve been dealing with and frankly, I cannot take any more. My stomach is burning more often than it’s not, I’m taking Valium on a semi-regular basis (when I’m out of my kava root supplement) to help level me off. I keep saying I’m going to get back into meditating, but then I self-sabotage and don’t follow through. I commute three hours a day, work full-time, then go home to take care of my 5 kids. I adore them; they are my soul and my blessings. Each and every one of them were wanted and treasured and always will be. The fatigue is worth it for them. My children are the only people in this lifetime I’ve known who love me unconditionally and I love them unconditionally. Thank God for them. I watch them grow, hear how intelligent and funny they are, and know that they make the world a better place with their presence. They add meaning and richness to my life. I wish I could say that this knowledge makes all the petty (and even gut-wrenching) stuff less painful, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest. The internal pain has been immense. My long buried eating disorder has surfaced, my stomach burns whenever I think of something stressful, and I even thought for sure this time that R and I would split.
We’ve tried to get past his infidelity, but then the past month we just shut down completely. It started with an argument and a “you’re not hearing me, you’re not meeting my needs” kind of talk, and then we basically became co-parents and roommates and that was it. Now we are finding our way back from that, but it’s all so tenuous. I realize that some relationship just aren’t easy-they’re volatile and passionate a lot of the time. There’s always the hope that “This time, it’ll work. We’ll make it.” We’re communicating more, and trying to do this without arguing. We’re also trying to really “hear” the other person. These are all positives and signs of improvement. People can grow, right? Or do we ultimately revert back to our fallible, neurotic selves? How do we fully give our heart back to someone who has broken it so many times before? And if we do this, does this make us completely foolish?