In a comment made on my post Children Need Their Fathers…Duh!, D.A. Wolf of Daily Plate Of Crazy mentioned our “happiness’ culture.” This got me thinking about the quagmire that anyone in the midst of trauma finds ourselves in. We all know the platitudes. We know that everything works out in the end and that a good attitude is key, but we also can’t repress and deny the genuine pain and dis-ease we experience when faced with huge life changes that include upheaval and loss.
Probably the primary triggers of my acute phases of depression have been my realizing that I have failed to stay positive and graceful, I have failed to provide a utopian environment for my children, I have failed to “manifest” all that I desire for my children. This sense of failure is an abusive vacuum that in an instant sucks all hope and innovation out of me. I have learned to recognize when it’s happening and immediately shift my focus. Still most days I ward off feelings of inadequacy not just for failing to create the stable life for my children that I had envisioned but also for failing to buck up cheerfully and be a TEDxTalk sensation by now.
If these are precious moments to cherish, how do I reconcile that I must spend them doing so many things that I have to do, but don’t want to? How do I reconcile that I’m human, that I am plagued with insecurities and fear despite my awareness that those are useless traits that crush my spirit? For now, I keep seeking balance; to express my truth, to try to find humor, to honor the pain that both I and my children experience, to exercise regularly (essential), to force myself to remember what feels good, what I like, what inspires me. I have worked hard for and am very lucky to have two children who openly and articulately express their feelings and sometimes it’s not pretty. Often I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for them to shut the hell up and move forward. It would certainly be easier on me. But, I know that denial and repression breed more insidious and evasive internal beasts.
So, as I try to accept my own range of feelings, I get lots of practice doing so for my kids. I don’t talk them out of their sadness or disappointment, just listen and understand and occasionally and very gently present another perspective. But, damn, I sure would like to be done with this limbo, this slow burn, this endless unraveling and provide some semblance of a stable upbringing for my kids. The clock is ticking as their childhoods whiz by and I can’t keep up. But I know that panic and negativity will make it harder. Breathe, do what I can and be as present as possible in the moment, for better or worse. Oh, and laugh!! Laugh at the absurdity! Even in the most traumatic times, there can be humor! In my case there is so much funny!!! Just takes some time and distance to recognize it and write about it. More to come…