Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Wine Tastes Better...

I can't believe I ordered the 6 ounces
and not the 9
What does it mean when the glass of wine taste so much better when it's served to you in a restaurant where you're having sushi alone, than it does when you're at home surrounded by your family?

What does it mean when you drive away from home and you feel yourself breathing more deeply? 
You suddenly feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted?  

What does it mean when you’re driving home after a weekend away and the closer you get to home, you’re overcome with a sense of dread? 

What does it mean when leave yoga class feeling renewed and relaxed but when you get in your car, you can’t seem to make yourself drive home? 

When you finally make it home, you sit in your car in the garage, for a few extra minutes in an attempt to extend the peace for just a few moments more. 
You’re feeling all zen and you don’t want it to end. (Notice my cool rhyme? I should be a rapper.)  
You find yourself cowering...hiding, praying that no one comes to open the door to see why you’re just sitting in the car. 
When my son Kendal, lived at home you could best believe he would be in the garage trying to open the car door to start with the talking and the questions.
You don’t go inside where the people are because you don’t want to feel the energy of anyone who doesn’t align with your own sense of peace.  
You don’t want to hear any requests to give up any piece of yourself. 

What does all of this mean? 

Does it mean your body is trying to tell you something? 
Are you listening? 
Is your soul is begging for peace? 

Peace has come to mean solitude. 
People are often equivalent to a drain of energy. 

Maybe it means that your life is whispering,
maybe even screaming…
Something needs to change.  

Things have changed. 
The boys are adults. 
They don’t need me in the same ways. And yet, they still look to me as their biggest resource. 
I am trying to sit in the back seat and just let them drive, but I really want to get out of the car altogether. 
It’s time. And yet, it isn’t. 
They are autistic. 
The average 20 and 23-year-old doesn't have a clue about what they want to do with their lives. 
My boys are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. 
They are still figuring out finances, saving, driving, and basic independent living skills.  
As much as I may want them to, they don't operate on my arbitrary timelines. 
I have to constantly navigate between leaving them alone to make their own choices and nudging them forward.

I have more freedom than I’ve had since they were born. And yet, I am still so saturated by the experience of being a mother.
What can I say? 
I got drunk on motherhood.
I overdid it. 
There were too many years of no boundaries.
I literally felt everything they were going through. 
There were no lines between their emotional needs and my own.

Too much of anything is not healthy.  
Now, it's like my body and mind is in a state of rebellion.
I feel it physically in my stomach and in my chest when I hear myself saying yes to something that I absolutely know I don't want to do.
I can't do it anymore.
I don't want to do all of the things and take care of all of the people.
I don't want to cook.
I don't want to go to the grocery store. 
(Well, I never wanted to go to the grocery store.)
I don’t want to be everyone’s everything anymore.

I do a fair amount of beating myself up for these feelings.  
But I keep showing up, doing the work through therapy, reading, journaling, listening to podcasts. 
I am treating my mental health like it's a full-time job. I'm getting a degree in self-care. 
I realize that I am allowed to have these feelings and love my family at the same time. 
I am allowed to love myself and make what I want a priority. 

It’s okay to want to love my family from a distance sometimes.
Like from a small apartment on the beach. 
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. 
I felt so much fonder last weekend when I was in Houston with my girlfriend. And my family was not.

The boys need me less, my mother needs me more. I have all kinds of ambivalent feelings about that. Especially, since her need for me is elective. 

Recently, I heard her say, “My daughter is my everything.”

A lot of people would be thrilled to hear those words come from their mother. 
The words hit me like a ton of bricks.
I have been everything to my children for so long.
I have been her world for the last 10 years during one of the most stressful periods of my life.
For years it was like thinking and decision making for at least three people at a time, four if I include my husband. 
He was busy working. He didn't have time for small things like what we should have for dinner. 

I am energy depleted.
I'm trying to restore myself and at the same time avoid energy drains.

Do all of these feelings that seem to be intertwined with my actual home, mean that I am not happy here? 

Well, home is supposed to be your refuge ...your place of solace. 

Home is my place of work...neverending work. 
Perpetual needs of others to be met.
It’s the place where I worry the most. 
It’s the place where I am constantly figuring out all of the things.
Home might be peaceful.
It might not. 
Things can erupt at any given moment.
That has been the case for years. 
The amygdala of my brain is constantly on alert.
P.T.S.D. is in full effect. 
It’s exhausting constantly being on standby for an explosion or an interruption.  

There are other energies that live here. 
They do not always align together. 
They definitely don’t always align with mine. 

Is this why I like being away from home more and more?

I can control the energy when it’s just me to think about.  

Home is a place where I cringe when I hear my name. 
Someone wants something from me.
I am a creative spirit with focus issues. 
Home is not always the place where I can create. 
I create here when I can, but there are little zaps of resentment when my energy is sidetracked. 
My whole life has been sidetracked. 
I'm ready to get on course. 
To stop living by accident, in a state of reaction to the needs of my family.

I’m a mother, a wife, a caregiver to my mother. 
But I didn’t sign up for this latest shift. 
This is overtime.  
It's like extended, sequestered jury duty. They won't let me go home my place of peace.  

When the boys were children, I literally gave them everything I had without thinking twice. 
Autism and depression made their happiness elusive. 
I tried my best to make up for that anyway that I possibly could.  

I will never forget the day I picked Kendal up from school in the fourth grade. 
He was sad. He was crying because his friends were sitting around together being goofy and laughing together. 
He didn’t understand what was funny. 
He just wanted to laugh like everyone else.
He used to laugh together with his friends in the first grade. 
By the third grade, they were secretly laughing at him because of his constant impersonation of Sonic the Hedgehog (which was very good by the way).
By the fourth grade, he found no reason to laugh. 
All he could feel was difference. 

“Let’s go get some ice cream,” I would say, as he cried in my arms.  
“Tonight we will have whatever you want for dinner.” 
Just an ounce of happiness. 
Is that too much to ask for a nine-year-old child? 
I am a mother, still. 
I am a caregiver. 
I give care to others.
I am an empath.
I feel all things deeply.
My family has watched me give and give and give, over so many years. 
They have come to expect it.
It’s a shock to them that suddenly I realize that I can no longer live without boundaries.

Saying yes all time wasn't healthy for any of us.
Saying yes makes people in your care have more expectations and entitlement.
Saying yes without thinking left me empty. 
I forgot how to say yes to myself. 
I forgot that I am a self.
When you are a giver, people are naturally inclined to take what you offer.  
They don’t concern themselves with what you have leftover to give to yourself.
That my dear love is up to you.
There will be no elaborate ceremony where you will be given permission to take care of you. 
This is a gift you give to yourself.

I make the choice to take care of me every day.
I chose to listen to my voice and not allow it to be drowned out by others.  
My happiness is not a destination. 
It is a journey…
and I have a closet full of the most comfortable shoes.