I am… still here

I am a mother trying to do her best
I wonder if my mother felt this way too
I hear people tell me that I’m not her- that I won’t hurt them like she hurt me
I see my happiness but I can’t always feel it
I want to do right for my children
I am trying so hard every single day.

I pretend that I am not always hurting
I feel like a liar and a fake
I touch their cheeks while they sleep
I worry- of course
I cry and hate myself too often
I am a woman trying to be a person

I understand how lucky I truly am
I say that I will keep myself safe
I dream of what quiet could feel like
I try to stop thinking and follow the rules that I set for myself
I hope that my children don’t hurt like I do
I am proud of each day I live to give them a mother

spirit driftwood

 

This “I am” poem is the third iteration I’ve written.
The first two were in 2013. You can read them here and here

Linking up again for Old School Blogging. Thanks to Kim @ makemommygosomethingsomething.com for the inspiration.

I see me in you

Saw an old friend yesterday. He made an offhanded comment about his mother yelling at him from heaven for walking on wet grass in white socks. His mom died of cancer a few years ago. He really loved her.

In the car later, I told my husband that I feel bad for our friend. I actually said, “If there is any holiday that’s going to make you miss your mother, it’s Passover.”

My husband asked me if we were still talking about our friend.

Why could I connect the dots of his pain so clearly? While mine were still stuck in a rorschach ink spill.

I spent much of my life trying to be emotionally self-sufficient. I learned that needing emotional validation was a weakness. Yet, I gain so much comfort from reading other blogs and books. The feeling of “me too” is so powerful. Someone told me once that we read stories to understand ourselves. Maybe in hearing eachother’s words, we can finally see ourselves.

One of the most powerful effects of group therapy (both in person and through online portals) has been the opportunity to feel empathy and worthiness for others and thereby for myself.

I remember sitting in a room full of other mothers and their new babies. They each spoke of their feelings of worthlessness and despair. But I could see them each as beautiful women who were deserving of love and belonging. I could see their worth but not my own.

When I read Brooke Shields’ book Down Came the Rain, on her experience with postpartum depression, I could see parts of myself that I didn’t know were there. She wrote about how hideously ugly she felt. I thought that if someone so clearly beautiful could feel that, perhaps I wasn’t actually as hideous as I felt either.

So, to all of my dear friends who are locked in a struggle with your own broken brains… I hear you. I am writing so that you and I can both read these words and try to make sense of where we are.

We are not alone. We feel alone but we are here to catch eachother and to write letters to eachother that allow us each to see ourselves and love ourselves.

I love you all so much.

"The Delivery" by Amanda Greavette
“The Delivery” by Amanda Greavette

My insides are all wrong

There is a fat old lady with a mustache
using a thigh-master on my lungs.
She is too fast and too slow- never in rhythm.
I beg for mercy.
She can’t hear me over the television.

My eyes are controlled by
A few stupid fairies who still can’t make sense of the world.
They like to draw on the backs of my eyeballs
and poke me with their tiny arrows.

My brain is actually one of those plastic globs
made to look like fatty tissue
that they keep in doctors offices
to teach kids how much 5 pounds of fat really is.

But my heart is real.
A young girl curls her naked body around it.
She is cold and hungry and sad.
Sometimes the heart warms her,
sometimes she freezes it.
She won’t let me near it.

Somewhere deep behind my pancreas,
There is a crazed woman locked in a tiny cage.
I’ve shoved her deep down
But I can hear her…

I feel guilty keeping her in
She knows I can hear her
She knows that I care
She pleads her case
Over and over.

She tells me that she is the real me.

She can never be free.

Clip from League of Gentlemen of Tubbs screaming "my insides are all wrong!"

There are no words

How do you describe a flavour that has no taste?

There are no words to describe this heavy pain that I am carrying. It is intangible. It is invisible. It has no flavour, no smell, no colour. Even I cannot see it. But I know that it is there. Sitting heavily on my chest.

Everything seems fine. I seem fine. I feel fine. But then, suddenly, I’m not fine anymore – I’m insane. I’m about to burst, I can’t bear it another moment. And then, just as quickly as it came, I’m fine again.

Insight is an interesting thing. I take some comfort in the memory that it will pass, but there is still fear in the knowledge that it is sure to come back. I can’t quite describe what ‘it’ is right now. It is not the overt tears and overwhelming emotions that it used to be.

Now it is just a very quiet, subtle death that happens inside me sometimes while I go about my day in my very lovely life. Like I’ve just died and no one can see and I don’t want to let them know because it will only cause them pain. And I know that no good will come from bothering them with this temporary death. So I’ll just try to smile. or not. But either way, I’ll just keep moving forward, doing the things I’m supposed to be doing.

And I will remind myself that it is helping them- my facade. My presence here, looking okay, acting like I’m not in so much pain, it’s good for them. It’s what they need – to believe I’m okay, even if they sort of know I’m not. And it’s not like I’ve got anything else to do anyway. If I’m just sticking around for their benefit, I may as well make them feel good about it. As much as I can.

This just hurts so much. I can’t measure it. I can’t express it. I can’t even cry. (The tears just won’t come.)

What more is there really to say?

My life is great. I have everything I could ever ask for. And I am numb to it all. fin.

drawing of a woman with a colourful beam shooting onto her back.