You'd think I'd know by now. I'm 33. You'd think I'd have it sorted out by now, but I don't. There are days when I can't even answer the basic question of whether I want to live at all or not.
And that's where I have been this last week. Wondering if I wanted to live at all. If it wouldn't just be easier to pack my bags and call it a day. To melt away slowly into the dark silences and not have to face another day. It's been a while since I was here. And it scared the hell out of me. After all, what kind of a mother is willing to leave her child behind in that most absolute, most scarring way?
A mother who isn't perfect. A woman who isn't always feeling strong. A girl who doesn't feel all that brave when the bright sun shines in her eyes every morning. I thrived on being told how strong I was. On how beautifully I had sailed through my divorce. What a brilliant job I was doing of raising my son. And as each compliment healed a wound, it also inflicted another one. I had to live up to that image of the strong, perfect mother. Whether I felt it or not. So much pressure built around it that I tried my best to brush aside all the little dark spots, all the lapses into sadness. I had to be little miss sunshine after all and ride away on my pink bicycle with my son sitting on the carrier and happy little puppies chasing us. I had to be the golden sample, the one who got it right.
That's a lot of pressure to put on anyone. To put it on yourself borders on madness.
Since one of the mandates I set for myself when I started this blog has been to be 100% honest, I'll say at the outset that I have considered packing my bags and taking the road out of life before. But it was different. In my younger days it was an inability to handle life. When I finally realized I would have to leave my marriage it was the feeling that I would not be able to face another day with my sense of self shattering into a thousand pieces.
This time it was a wake up call. Letting me know it's ok. It's ok to not be a perfect mom. It's ok to hate your kid for a while. It's ok to hate that your life is so different from what you'd wanted. It's ok that sometimes you're such a stark raving lunatic that your son looks scared shitless when he sees you. It's ok to cry as if every breath is draining out of your body. It's ok to curl up and feel a depth of sadness that you never knew existed. And it's ok to stay there for days, as many days as you need. It's ok to hear Everybody Hurts on loop. You don't have to be strong. You don't have to have your shit together. You don't have to be there for everyone. You just need to show up for you. And the rest is ok.
When all the drama was stripped away, all my body and mind were saying was TAKE A BREAK. Sit down. Breathe. Just leave everything else behind for a while. And a week later, slowly, I am crawling out from under the covers. Have I figured it all out? Do I have all the answers? No. But I know this, the search never ends. Every day I will redefine who I am. Each day I will be someone new, and that's also OK.