I’m struggling this week. Not with weight loss, that just seems to happen. I’m struggling with life.
It’s been a week where a lot of old emotions, hurts and memories have been kicked up. Scars opening, scabs ripped off. Sometimes I forget that life isn’t always easy and that even breathing can be hard.
I feel jangled and raw. Look at me the wrong way and I’ll either burst into tears or rip you a new one, maybe even both. Like a poorly tuned violin my nerves are screeching, scalded by my thoughts.
Everything is just too much and I just want to stop. I need to escape. Escape from clients, family, my own body that seems to be letting me down just when I thought I was giving it better care.
It reminds me how important it is to seek help. Trauma never goes away, it just abates and it is amazing how quickly the fear, sadness, guilt, remorse can resurface – even 20 odd years later.
I’m lucky in that my workplace, while incredibly stressful at the minute, is also full of amazing, strong, empathetic women who get that sometimes you just need to fall apart to then come back together stronger.
And I will, it just might take a little bit longer to get the pieces to fit again.
Today I will have been married for twenty years. Some of those twenty years have been happy, some unhappy, some hard some easy. Some of the time I haven’t wanted to be married.
When we got married I was not quite 21 and my husband not quite 25, babies by todays standards. We spent 9 months as a couple then baby one arrived and we became a family with all the issues that go with parenting.
We’ve had some tough times. A brother being diagnosed with cancer, an unplanned pregnancy, a child being diagnosed with a severe vision impairment, losing a brother to cancer, losing a 6 year old nephew to a swimming pool, my mental and physical health break down, and lastly two more children being diagnosed with the genetic vision impairment.
We’ve had some wonderful times. Children being born and growing into wonderful little people, through surly teenagers and into great young adults. Holidays camping in some sublime parts of Australia. The thrill of planting our own veggie garden and watching our own chooks fluff around our own yard, well ours and the bank.
We’ve fought, we’ve made up. We’ve wandered apart and come back together.
All up, marriage is hard. It doesn’t just work and I can’t honestly say we will make another twenty years, or even twelve months. Dealing with the conflicts and issues of sharing my life with another person, whose views are frequently poles apart from mine as helped shape me into the woman I am, for better or worse.
Although I can’t say I’ve been happily married for twenty years I can say I’m glad I’ve made an effort to stay married.
I have a friend, a smart savvy professional woman. She is younger then me, 31, but she has made a decision that she doesn’t want children. My immediate reaction is omg – you’ll get over it, your biological clock will start to tick loudly and you’ll change your mind. Then I stopped and thought – what a huge amount of courage it takes to make that decision.
It actually isn’t selfish (another of my initial thoughts!). Her reasoning is that whatever she does she wants to do wholeheartedly. For her, her professional career is an extremely important part of her self. Having a child would require compromise on both being a professional and being a mother, she isn’t prepared to be half hearted at anything.
In todays society we are often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There is so much pressure to be a mother and yet we are also expected to participate in the workforce. For many of us financially we have no other choice but to reenter the corporate world after children, often in male dominated careers where it is difficult to break into the boys club when you have to make sure you get to child care by 6pm and then spend the evening cooking, arbitrating, educating and soothing.
Honestly, the more I think about it the more I applaud her decision. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but I know I’m not a perfect mother and they have had to make sacrifices for my career. Unfortunately for them they didn’t get a choice. Hopefully, regardless of my intense mother guilt, they won’t spend years in a therapist office talking through abandonment issues caused by having a selfish career orientated mum. Instead they will celebrate the fact that they had a strong, inspirational mother who pushed them to be self sufficient and showed that with a bit of determination you can achieve.