Secrets, Shame and Growth

Some days (well, many days) I worry that I’ve lost myself.  Or maybe I am just finding myself because I never really had a strong sense of self, not until relatively recently.

Growing up, I was told how to be and how I should be.  A strong student. A wife with a career, but not a career that would ever get in the way of family.  A wife with a husband from the same ethnic community, to preserve the culture and raise children in the same faith.  To be smart, but not too smart as to threaten the husband.  To never, ever get divorced.  To have brilliant little children to parade around for the approval of others, like I was.

It has taken me many, many years to fully appreciate how stifling this was.  I am not angry however – I understand that my parents (my mother in particular) grew up in a certain culture at a certain time in history and with all that baggage, they did the best they could with what they had.

They did better than many in their community – at least they didn’t hire a hit man to take out any of my boyfriends.  Of course, it’s not as if they knew about many of them…but still.  They turned a blind eye to the few shenanigans I engaged in, so long as my marks remained strong.

I grew up to become a pleaser, to no one’s surprise.  And please I did for many years.  When I knew I couldn’t please, I lied in order to please. Give the people what they want, I thought.  It was just easier that way.

I’ve shed this instinct in so many ways.  Shame is a dangerous emotion. But I’m not 100% there.  I am a work in progress.

***

I had a lover for awhile.  Long after my divorce, not while I was married. He was my secret and I was his.  He was at the tail end of a dying relationship and I was in a very active, post-divorce dating phase.  If the timing had worked out differently, we might have ended up together but…we didn’t.  I recognize now that in so many ways he would not have been a good choice.  Still, however I am sad.

I try to figure out this sadness.  Maybe I am sad because he was one of my first truly independent decisions- even if it was a bad one.  Maybe it is because he understood so many elements of my reality.  Maybe it was his intense passion.

***

I really worried once upon a time about my secrets being made public. About the world seeing that I’ve made some bad choices.  I used to fret and worry because this would be The Worst Thing Ever.

But, I have come to realize that there is a heaviness that comes with the keeping of secrets.  A sense of privacy is healthy, but shame and debilitating fear are not.

***

And now I have made some very conventional choices that my mother, in her current state, is unable to appreciate.  It is ironic, that I am living in the kind of house she wanted for me, with the kind of person she wanted for me.  I finally made some ‘good’ choices – but choices for me this time.

***

I don’t know where I and this life where go.  I know that the only certainty is change.

***

None of this is distressing to me.  If anything, I see only possibility ahead.

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Didn’t didn’t done

Never did ride my bike today.  I set myself up, big time.  The boy missed his bus, he ran back home in a panic, off I sent him, back to the bus stop to wait for the next one.  By the time I got my lunch together (and blogged) it was already 8:45.  Too late.

I need to be out of the house by 8:00 a.m. to really do that.

Then I thought, it’s okay.  I’ll get on the spin bike when I get home.  But, just before I left the office, an email from the girl’s school.  She’s having problems staying off her phone in class.  A meeting is scheduled for later this week to come up with a “solution.”

Drama ensued when I got home from work.  I don’t understand her anxiety and what she needs to cope (chatting with her friends online, apparently).

I do understand anxiety.  Big time.  She doesn’t see (or want to see) that her ‘anxiety’ became more of a problem when she got a phone.  I don’t doubt it is part of her constellation- but I hate also feeling like I am being played because really, she just would rather chat with her friends that do school work.

I am weary.  This is only the third week of school.

I feel like I am never going to get back to a world where I have time to take care of myself.  To exercise a few times week.  Maybe get a pedicure, or go out with a friend.  Instead self-care has become about making it through the day so that I can escape with some Netflix and wine before bed.  I know this isn’t right.

I go back to therapy today after a long absence.  I don’t know where to start with A.  We’d only had one session before she went off on vacation. I only have to focus on getting there I guess, for now.

Ok.  Time to get off my butt and moving.  The day is beginning.

Later the same day…

I wish I could say that the day improved. Yeah, I got a few things done.  But then I was like, what now?  I really felt nothing, a true apathy.  I felt super alone.  I started thinking about though all the people who love me, and I care about, and I started to get weepy.  I want to be better, not just for me, but for them too.  I know they worry and love me.  

So, I lay on the sofa for a good two hours weeping, sometimes full-on bawling.  It almost felt good, like I was feeling something, you know?  But that calm that usually comes after crying didn’t descend on me.  If anything I felt tense and anxious.  My son came home from school and found me all teary and puffy-eyed.  He knows what’s going on, I’ve been very open…but I still didn’t like having him see me like that and he probably didn’t like witnessing it either.  I disappeared upstairs to my bedroom for awhile and decided to call my pdoc, Dr. M, to see if I could get an appointment before Tuesday.  Of course, I called 15 minutes after the office had closed.  Of course.

I was tired of feeling uncomfortable and desperate for some calm, so I took some Ativan.  Even with the sublingual ones I take, I find it takes a good hour to really mellow me a bit.  I am calmer now, for sure.  But it is not healing, it is more like a respite….but heck yes, I will take that for now.

Then, my honey G called.  He is so loving, so reassuring.  I can’t wait to be with him tomorrow night.

Tomorrow I will not lie around in sad sloth all day — I can’t — I have too many commitments.  I have a big appointment for D with a new psychologist for an assessment, then plans to help clean up a friend’s basement (something I normally love helping her out with). Honestly I am less excited by that than just by being in the comfort of people I don’t have to pretend to be up with.

I am also experimenting with Netflix.  Some good old escapism.  I started watching Freaks and Geeks but I think it is a bit of a bummer, so I may nix that and move on to something else.  Maybe I’ll go back to Homeland.  I was enjoying that.  Or maybe a comedy would hit the spot.  I think escape is good for my brain…so maybe something way out there…Battlestar Galactica, which I’d started watching years ago and was into.  Decisions, decisions…