I am terrified.
I realize, after thinking about these last four months since my mother’s first hospitalization for falling and injuring herself, that I am terrified that the rest of my life (or at least my mom’s life) is going to be about me trying, and failing, to be enough to everyone in my family.
I’ve spent so much time with fear being my primary emotion: first, as a young girl, worried about us not having enough money, then as I aged I began a two decade long obsession with what people think of me and do they like me and am I okay and who do you want me to be today? I was a career code switcher, trying desperately to dance for approval in front of whomever is in front of me at that moment.
It was awful.
When I got sober, my fear turned inside out, and I realized that it was controlling me and everything I did. I still felt fear; I was consumed with a toxic mix of ego and self-hatred and I was afraid – particularly at work – all. the. time. But I did the painful and painstaking work you have to do to move beyond letting the fear own you.
While I struggled again with fear during my infertility, and certainly during my pregnancy with Tori, those fears were simple and tangible and they weren’t self-directed. Even now, this fear that I won’t be enough, isn’t really internal. It’s practical; I literally do not know if I will be enough.
I am bad at this stuff. I’m inherently selfish, and I want to do things I want to do like get haircuts and have dates with Charlie and go on vacation and go to dinner with my friends. I don’t want to have to stay home so my mom isn’t alone, or wait a few more weeks until the bills are all paid to get my hair done, or pay our mortgage instead of going on a family trip. There’s a petulant three year old inside of me that is stomping her foot and yelling, all day every day.
I feel trapped.
I don’t like myself when I’m like this, and I don’t like the fact that I beat myself up when I do it. (see what I did there?)
I try to take little moments; go to my room and lie down and watch an episode of the old Law & Orders from the 1990s (I find them soothing, I don’t know why). I stay up after everyone else is asleep, just to read. I go back to bed after Tori goes to school for an hour to get more rest. I let myself eat food that comforts me, even though it’s stopped my weight loss (but no gain, thank god).
I’m also blessed with some of the biggest life cheerleaders in my friends. I don’t know how I’d survive without the group of women I jokingly call my “sister wives.” I owe them my sanity.
But what I really want is to dump that selfish three year old and practice acceptance instead. But I’m fighting to remember that before acceptance comes awareness and then willingness, and only THEN comes the peace of acceptance.
So today, I think, I will practice patience. And remind myself of love. Because when it comes to love, I’m the luckiest woman alive.
For now? I’m just going to breathe.