My mind is a tangled mess. If I was asked to verbally articulate what’s on my mind, I’d probably start at the middle or the end, instead of the beginning. Of course, I don’t know what the beginning is anymore. Is it 2011 when I realized I was alone? Was it last November when I shattered? Was it yesterday when one errant thought sent me reeling? Let’s start there.
I have been so heart-wrenchingly lonely lately. I have wonderful people who care about me, but I miss an element of what I had before. I miss full submission. I miss fully bending to another’s will. There are those who would allow that from me, but I don’t have it in me to give them that, as much as I care for them. That alone makes me feel awful – as if I’m taking them for granted, using and abusing their heart.
But I recognize now that I miss feeling complete devotion to another. It’s not something that can be found just standing around waiting for me. It’s something that has to be cultivated; it has to be nourished and tended until it blossoms. I know that, and I miss it desperately.
When I realized what I was missing, I had a thought – am I ready to open my heart fully again? Am I ready to let go of the past? Am I ready to stop feeling so frightened? Am I ready to love someone new?
My stomach immediately tightened. Bile rose in the back of my throat. Waves of nausea and heartache, both, hit me like a truck. Tears filled my eyes; my heart began to thud heavily in my chest. No, I’m not ready. Not yet.
A weight that I hadn’t noticed before sat a little more heavily, though. Mentally, I looked around at my life and became very sad. I don’t have balance in my life right now. I’m all mom, all career – both, at the same time – all the time. There is no personal life – other than what I’ve cultivated over long distances. An aside here – I am 100% grateful for what I have created for myself. Without certain people in my life, I’d be worse off than I am. I recognize that I am genuinely cared for and even loved.
Tonight, I was supposed to have the opportunity to feel like I imagine other people feel on occasion, enough that they may take it for granted. I was supposed to go out, at night, with someone other than my children or friends from work. This was something new. It was something I should have done in my 20s, even when I was married, and it almost never happened. It’s something I don’t have the opportunity to do often. To go out and have a good time, there’s usually a 3-4 (or more) hour drive involved and a week of stress over who will watch my children and how much will that cost and the absolute guilt I feel about leaving them with family that I should be visiting or paying someone to watch my children for a weekend just so I can have a good time. Not that I’ve done that in months – since last September, actually.
Tonight was supposed to be something “normal.” I let myself get excited about it, planning it in my head – I even knew what I wanted to wear, how I was going to do my hair. I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve yesterday. Until the email came late last night that the plans were off. Nothing bad, just life getting in the way. I’m used to life getting in the way.
A normal person would probably shrug it off and find something else to do. In my world, right now, there isn’t anything else to do. The one other person I would go out with was the one willing to babysit for free – much needed after working all day today and paying the other babysitter for that service. I considered going out by myself tonight. But eating dinner alone or going to a movie by myself on a Saturday night, knowing I would be surrounded by people in groups or on dates, depressed the hell out of me.
I let the sitter know that plans changed, and I did what I do nearly every Saturday night – movie night with the boys. Sounds sweet and wholesome, doesn’t it? It can be. It should be. Then why did I cry all afternoon before I picked them up? I felt like such a child, feeling upset over something so small.
To me, and to people in the world like me, it isn’t small. It was an opportunity to feel like the rest of the world. A life of my own, an opportunity to be something other than mom and career-driven professional woman. It was an opportunity to feel that way in the real world, not just in the posts of a blog or through text messages or chat boxes. It was my chance to go out into the world and just be a woman or a girl or a whatever I am. I felt cheated of something.
I realized at some point that it wasn’t really about going out at all (back to my original point – see how this becomes tangled??). It was about interaction. Simple interaction. I miss something that I’ve never actually had. I miss simply having someone be a part of my life and interacting with them on a day-to-day basis. Conversations at the dinner table, hugs and kisses when I leave, a hand on my cheek or on my hair, a head in my lap while watching TV, someone who brings me a glass of iced tea because they know what I like, cooking for someone. It’s not even about going out to dinner or going dancing or drinking or clubbing or whatever.
I had that, and I didn’t, in my marriage. My marriage broke long before I ended it. We were that couple that didn’t speak much when we went out, because we didn’t have much to say to one another. We didn’t go anywhere as a couple because we were so broke that we couldn’t afford to go anywhere. We didn’t really enjoy much of the same stuff, and at some point, we stopped trying to care about what the other liked.
So I miss something I haven’t had since I was probably 20 and too young to understand how precious it can be. But I miss it more now that I realize I’m completely alone – in a physical sense. Mentally and emotionally, I can reach out right now, and there are people who will reach back and hold on. They are treasured beyond belief. But like most people, I miss what I don’t have.
And it’s got me all tangled up.