I need therapy. Or a divorce. Or maybe just a very, very long vacation.
I love the idea of my life. But mostly I have set up my life so that it sucks. And I say that with the full realization that it could suck so much more--like if I were sick or homeless or (God forbid) had lost a child--but more than one therapist has told me that I have permission to want more for myself, and so I frequently find myself indulging in bouts of self pity which, of course, do nothing to improve my circumstances.
For the past nine years I have lived my life in fear of what my children will tell their therapists about how I ruined their lives (because, of course, I have lots of my own experience doing this) and running myself ragged trying to prevent them from even needing therapy in the first place. Because I imagine I have this kind of control. I imagine that, somehow, I have it in me to be the Perfect Mother--if only I'd try just a little bit harder.
And I have spent much of the past eleven years trying to be the Stepford Wife that my husband has always wanted. Not surprisingly, I have failed miserably at this too--though certainly not for lack of trying.
And so, at 41, I find myself at a crossroads: I have high blood pressure, 80 extra pounds, and a heavy heart. I don't write anymore, I don't sing, I don't laugh, and I love only desperately--out of fear, not joy. I have always worried that my children will be ashamed of me--or come to hate me for one reason or another because I am so much less than what they imagine I should be and wish that I were--but now I am terrified that I won't even be around to watch my children grow up at all.
And yet, I feel too exhausted and paralyzed to figure out how to take my life back, though I have visions of what it would look like...
I want to write freely and go for walks outdoors and read endlessly in the back yard and eat only lovely, delicious homemade masterpieces that I cook myself. I want to practice yoga every day and learn to play beautiful, haunting ballads on the Irish tin whistle (and sing those same ballads with complete and total abandon), and I want to enjoy my children and I want to be adored by my husband and I want to have the energy to nurture my most important friendships.
But I don't know how to say "No" to my children and really follow through: No, I won't let our lives revolve entirely around the neighbors. No, I won't pay for and take you to music lessons that you don't practice for. No, I am not buying you that/taking you there/signing you up for that. No, you may not treat me that way!
Because then I have no hope of ever being their Perfect Mother.
And I don't know how to feel okay being me around my husband--not that I even know who I am anymore...
If I ever did.
I can see well enough to know that my life has so much amazing potential...
I just can't seem to stop spinning in the wind.