Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Own Hero

A week ago I was so angry with my husband. 
I felt like I was just done. 
I can’t do this anymore. 
I’m tired of this life. 
I’m tired of living with the choices that I made 25 years ago when was young and too dumb to know anything about who I am, or who I wanted to be. 

Turns out marriage isn't anything like what you see in the movies. In fact the other day, I was watching one where the heroin passed up a chance to travel around the world with a very rich, handsome, lover. She wanted to wait for real love --the one who she would marry, and live happily-ever-after. I wanted to scream at the television, "Girl! you better get on that jet! It ain't all it's cracked up to be!"

We got married when I was 28 years-old.  
What the hell did I know about life, motherhood and being a wife? 
I was a self-employed, entrepreneur who saw no limits in this world. 
I thought that I was tired of the party life. 
I was tired of the dating game. 
Apparently, I was tired of being independent with the freedom to travel wherever the hell, I wanted to, whenever I wanted to. *rolls eyes at my younger self 

Cut to today, and I am a completely.different.person. 
Next month I will be fifty-two years old.  
On June 4th of this year, we will celebrate 23 years of marriage. 

Together we have raised three sons. The eldest is 28, (my step-son). We also have a very high maintenance 21-year-old with autism and a cocktail of other diagnoses.  And finally, we have my 18- year-old know-it-all who also has high-functioning autism that comes along with a shit ton of anxiety which makes him really fun to live with. 

I have pretty much made these children the focal point of my life for the last …forever. 

And frankly, and I am just plain tired of them …all of them. 

I know you’re not supposed to say that out loud. You’re probably not supposed to think it either, but I do. 

I’m surrounded by all of these men and they are so …for lack of a better word, male.   Sometimes I look and them and wonder, who they are and how the hell did I end up here? 

So the nest is almost empty. I thought I was getting close to being done. Who am I kidding? In my head, I am done. This shit is over! O.V.E.R.  The whole marriage, and motherhood thing ...I am ready to check out! Sayanara! Arrivederci! I'm out! 

Not only am I burnt out, I am burnt to a crisp!

But then I wake up and I realize, this job is NEVER really over.  
Raising two boys with autism has been like raising six children.
I have the right to be tired. 

I thought raising teenagers was hard. Well, it is! 
The transition to adulthood is just a whole new mixed bag of nuts. The teenage, silly high-school problems are over. 
Now the real life decisions have to be made.  
Who are they going to be in this world?
Will he be able to finish college? 
Will he at least get some kind of a post-secondary education so that he can be independent? 
When will they conquer the skills of daily living? 
When will they ever be able to manage their everyday lives without help? 
They are both so different, with different strengths and weaknesses. 
When will the dust settle?
The ups are higher. The downs are lower and have heavier consequences. 
They are boys. It takes the average boy a little extra to grow up. Add anxiety, mood disorder and autism to the mix and you can multiply that extra by ten

And then, scratch the record! 

Now, I’m in the throes of taking care of my mother who at 77 years-of-age, is beginning to lose her shit a little more each day.  I have yet another puzzle to piece together. 
I am scared. 
I am overwhelmed and frankly, a little pissed off that most of this is on me. 
She lives in my house and my brother is thousands of miles away. It doesn’t even matter if she didn’t live here. 
I am her person.
I am everybody’s freakin' person!
I am the anchor that keeps them all from floating wildly across the ocean 
Only I’m drowning in the process. 

So for a week I only spoke to my husband when it was necessary.  I was angry even though he hadn’t done anything particularly egregious.  I mean he’s a man. He says stupid things when he’s stressed. We think differently —so very, very, differently.  He is practical to my artistic, go-with-the-flow. He is the no, to my every yes
I don’t know how we haven’t killed each other already. 

He takes my sarcasm and humor very personally, which subliminally makes me even more sarcastic. Our relationship is a real piece of work -or is it a work of art? 
I’m not sure. 

He gets on my very last nerve with his incessant talking and I get on his nerves with my jokes. But basically, he is good.  He loves me and wants nothing for the best for me. He wants me to be happy. He is loving and faithful. We have never had any major marital issues. 

I’m sure he’s frustrated when I am not happy.  He wants to be my hero. Only, in this case, he’s in over his head. He can’t do it. He can not be my hero because he is not responsible for my happiness. 
My happiness belongs to me. 
I have to be my own hero.

So yesterday, the sun came out. It had been cloudy and cold for a number of days and apparently, so was my heart. As the sun burned away the funky fog and clouds that had been hovering over me. Suddenly, I could see.
We had a conversation, where I thought I would tell him all of the things he had been doing wrong. But in the course of the conversation (or should I say, in the course of him talking and me listening) I realized that he hasn't been doing anything any differently than he has always done.
It is me that I have been unhappy with. 
I am unhappy with what I’ve allowed to happen to my life. I have allowed a big part of myself to completely disappear behind the cloud of my obligations and duties to this family. 

It is was through the darkness —depression and that week long funk, that I was able to find the necessity to look for the light —to figure out that I actually need to be my own light. No one can do it for me, and no one can take it away from me.

I can not tell you today exactly what I’m going to do to find the parts of me that have been erased, but at least I know now that a part of me is missing.

I have to do some exploring —some soul searching.  It’s up to me, and no one but me, to get out the road map to find the peace and the freedom that I need to make myself whole again despite my situation and my obligation to my family.

The biggest obligation I have is to myself. 

I think I'll keep him.