I’ve been trying to ignore it. My body has grown stiff in the denial. I’ve become snappish. Cranky. Prone to waking up angry. As in before I’m even fully awake, the anger, not only awake but crackling with intensity.
What is IT? I’m not sure, entirely. See above, I’m in denial. But when I feel it coming, I have certain tactics that my brain and body employ. Slowly, I become less and less flexible until finally I snap.
Many things run through my mind. Good Girl is extremely uncomfortable with all these feelings. She wants perfection and she pines for the days of last week. Remember, when the girls were happily engaged in your developmentally appropriate hand work? Remember how you made three amazing meals a day? Remember when you were so okay in your skin that you just flowed through your days with ease? She wants that all back.
But it’s not here. What is here is some anger. Some angst. Some isolation. Sometimes I feel like I’m not fit to be doing what I’m doing and I should just throw in the towel, get a job and send the girls off to school/daycare. This is the worst. Its cuts at my core like a knife.
Sometimes I grow tired of always feeling like I’m doing the exact opposite of everybody else (and this is not true, it’s just how it feels). Sometimes I wish I could just be like everybody else.
Sometimes the needs of two small people are so intense that I feel like I can’t breathe or think straight. And on top of that, I’m thinking that it’s all my fault they are so needy.
Sigh. Groan. Ugh.
I think I can trace my steps back, through the past few days, weeks, maybe even month. Slowly but surely, the SHOULDS have made their way back into my life, in a big way. Only, much like ants, they were so small and inconsequential, I didn’t really notice at first. Or they were just so sporadic that it was no big deal. But today, I looked behind the kitchen wall, so to speak, and there is a colony of SHOULDS taking up residence in my very soul!
I remember the day I realized something pretty amazing about myself last summer. In almost every waking moment of my life (as in literally, the moment I awake it starts) The Voice in my head demands “What should I do?” Not in a carefree, curious, “hey, let’s have fun, what should we do today?” kind of way? More like a panic ridden hammered out demand. What should I do? With the assumption, of course, that there is a RIGHT ANSWER to that. Or more like “What should I do. . . (to be perfect)?”
And without me even realizing it, this steady, relentless, beating of self-punishment is back. In full force!
The antidote is clear. Thank goodness.
“What do I want?”
And I mean, down to the little tiny decisions. Like when do I want to get out of bed. Do I want to lay there for a few minutes or get right up? Do I want to make a big breakfast? Or would I rather make peanut butter toast?
I think the reason this becomes tricky is that wants can turn into shoulds on the sly. I keep believing its a want and yet it has shape-shifted. A few weeks ago, I truly wanted to make some diet changes. It felt good, in the flow. But that doesn’t mean in two weeks, I STILL want that. It’s worth a check in. Instead, I just plow ahead with this new set of SHOULDS that arise from it all. Good Girl is addicted to things she sees as perfect. A new cookbook and some new diet rules feeds her addiction. Without knowing it, my mind has created a new contract about food. But is that what I want? Not at the expense of joy. Of connection with my family and friends. Of peace.
It’s been a long day of cleaning up ant carcasses. I’m tired. But I feel relieved. The house is trashed, crap island has become crap mountain, and yet I know I’m on the road to recovery. Perhaps a little more joy will greet me tomorrow morning as I lay in bed and wonder “what do I want today?”