I had stuff to do, but really not much time. So instead of being productive, taking a walk, making phone calls, running errands…I just froze. I literally watched some birds in a tree fighting for branch positions.
People keep asking me if I’m OK. They say it with a little head tilt sometimes, and I know it’s out of concern.
I don’t really know how to answer.
“I am doing better,” I say. “Things are good.”
And that is true.
Every morning I get up, do laundry and cook breakfast. I pack lunches and get my kids off to school.
I have set a budget, cut out Starbucks again (a major feat for me) and have focused on really listening to my children when they talk to me.
My house is clean, mostly, and I have started crocheting again.
All good things.
But there are lots of unhealthy choices I am making. I have lists of things to do and really no desire to actually do them.
What I do, instead, is just pour myself into being a great homemaker and mom. I do everything I can to make their lives easier and keep them happy.
The entire time I am doing things, however, this very ugly voice likes to whisper truths to me.
“You are so lazy and fat. Why can’t you take a walk every day? You have time. You are just lazy.”
“You know people who work 3 jobs AND do all the things you do. Maybe you are too stupid to do anything else.”
“Do you realize how freaking lucky you are? You are privileged and you sit around and whine about your life. You are a spoiled brat who doesn’t deserve friends.”
“Don’t meet with people. If you talk to them, they will find out how boring and ignorant you are. You’re a fraud and it is just a matter of time before you are found out.”
“Your kids are going to turn out to be entitled assholes if you keep making their lives so ‘easy.’ You need to stop it. You are not helping.”
These things do not motivate me to do better.
But the loop plays anyway and I just freeze and watch birds out my car window like a moron.
The other fun thing I have been doing is allowing myself to be drawn into other people’s chaos and disorder. I get wrapped up in it and spend more hours than I care to admit thinking about them and wishing for them to be happy.
I can’t do it anymore. I have said this before, but now I have to make it stick.
I have to.
This is not healthy for me and I don’t end up helping them anyway.
The craziest part, is that I have really amazing people in my life that always take a backseat to the drama. I never have time for them because I wrap myself up in all this other stuff.
I think I’m starting to understand.
It’s ugly people.
You might want to look away.
First, I am drawn to the chaos because I NEED to feel special. I want people to rely on me and trust me. I’ll be the one person you can turn to. I’ll be there when everyone else turns away from you.
Notice how it’s all about ME in this situation? It is not about them at all. I need to “save them” so I can feel better.
I can feel superior even.
Ugh. That realization hurts.
Secondly, I am scared. Fearful that I am so damaged that I am not worthy of true friendship.
So. Not. Cool.
I don’t think I am a terrible person. In fact, I like me. I try to find the good in everyone and I REALLY do want to help others.
Trouble is, I don’t know how to do that and I am really bad about boundaries and saying no.
As a result of all this, I have pulled back in the last few years from everyone that I was close to. I have shrunk down inside this depression and kept others at bay. I make excuses and hide behind my kids.
But I am trying.
Really. I am.
My kids had a break from school and I invited over someone I admire and who inspires me. I was nervous. She had never seen my house or met my kids. She is a loving, caring, kind and amazing person. She is the kind of woman I want to be and who I should be around.
The fears were gone the second she came through the door. We had such a lovely, comfortable tea party.
It was so nice.
Last week I invited myself and my kids to another woman’s house that I adore and who I see as an incredible role model. I was very nervous, again. But I fought past those fears and did it anyway. I am so glad I did. I ended up being able to help her re-home her dog to some friends whose dog had died.
None of that would have happened if I had stayed tucked inside and safe.
But I have so much work to do still.
I was supposed to attend an Oscars party. I was excited and looking forward to it all week. I love the Oscars and have never watched them at a party before.
As the days got closer, I started wrapping myself up in self-doubt. I worked myself up into a frenzy of nerves.
“I don’t know what to wear. I have no idea what appetizer to bring. What if I say something stupid? What if…?”
Some friends stopped by a few hours before the party, and I used that as an excuse to just not go. No time to get stuff together, I have to cancel.
My husband knew I really wanted to go and tried to convince me. But I froze. He watched the Oscars with me, but I kicked myself all night. I should have showed up in my sweatpants with some bananas and just not stressed about it. Ugh.
This is stuff you are supposed to have learned in your teens or early 20s…yet here I am.
I see people try with me. They invite me places, they offer to help me and they are kind beyond anything I am worthy of…and I often blow them off.
I don’t mean to.
It just happens.
When I think about myself in the past, I don’t see myself as this introverted person who fears everything. But as I get older, that is exactly who I am becoming. All social occasions now are hard for me to face. I am so scared of what will happen that I’d rather have regret then face my fear.
It’s ridiculous nonsense. All of it.
To all my friends that keep trying with me, please don’t give up. I love you. I do. You have no idea how much. Your phone calls, hugs, texts, FB messages, even (since I’m being stupidly honest) your FB “likes” of my pictures, all help.
I don’t know what happened that made me become this fearful and stuck. Not sure it was a “thing.” It just is.
Yesterday, my daughter and I were waiting for her brother to get out of school. I didn’t want to walk on the campus and talk to people. I was just not feeling like I could do that. I wanted to sit in the car and space out. She was not having that.
She convinced me to take a walk with her. It was a short walk. We walked about five minutes to a spot where we could glimpse the river. She found her favorite hill. She kept going to the top and running down full speed.
“Come on mom,” she said. “It’s so fun! You might crash into a tree, but it’s soooooo fun!”
I climbed to the top of this tiny hill. I saw all the ways this could end bad for me. I could trip in the mud. I could sprain my ankle. I could fall on my butt.
I took a deep breath and ran down as fast as I could.
It was worth it.