Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Heavy love

So I have been thinking a lot about my quest for peace and sanity.

Niblet and my husband have been my central tether to functionality, I don't kid myself otherwise.  But I got to thinking in my shower (a long, hot, environmentally wasteful shower if I want to get all confessional about it), about my own parents.  Who generally rock.  But who are also difficult in many ways, because both suffer from a deep-seated depression.  And when I got old enough to understand them - to understand the "IT" that they each individually battled (and they battle IT in different ways), I was dumbstruck with the realization that I was central to making them happy.  Me alone.  This isn't the narcissism of an only child speaking, trust me, God, I wish it was.  No it's just the blunt, honest truth in hearing my dad say stuff like, "the only thing that turned out right in our lives was you"  all the fucking time.

Heavy, right?

And as I basked in the steam, I got to thinking about Niblet, and her life as an only child.  How, yes, OF COURSE she makes me happy, exuberant!, but how I didn't want to put that kind of pressure on her.  If there was ONE thing I could alter in my incredible childhood and adolescence, it would be the knowledge that my parents depended so much upon me for their happiness.  They are really nice people, but neither of them have close friends.  They both have their interests sure: Mom, a former ballerina like me takes two ballet classes a week - impressive at 70, right?  And Dad, now 68, is a tai chi instructor on the side who could kill you with his pinky if you tried to jump him in a dark alley (no seriously, the little dude used to carry nun-chucks - don't ask).

But what I came to learn when I moved away from home and married and settled in my own little piece of Victorian paradise nestled on a hidden woodsy street, is that my moving away really brought them down.  It wasn't empty nest syndrome.  I honestly think it was more like, "the person we enjoy most in the world isn't here with us anymore."

Which returns me to Niblet.  And my own deep deep grief.  And how I don't want her spending time worrying about how to make me happy, because she needs to know she just does.  She needs to know that I will be ok if she decides she wants to (gulp) move to a different city.  She needs to know that I have a world outside of her to protect me from the monsters hiding under our beds at night that prevent us from sleeping. 

The trauma and consequent depression of the past three and a half years have wrecked my friendships.  Not irreparably, but to the extent that I just feel really shitty.  I've been so MIA from people who I used to lean on.  RPL didn't just steal my babies, my dreams of a larger family.  RPL stole my voice.  It's hard to call your BFF since college, who now is a plane ride away in the midwest, when you're not sure whether you're going to burst into tears at any moment...when all you have to offer her is small talk, because if she asks you an innocuous question like "are you ok?" you can only respond in the silence of despair.

So tonight I wrote a letter to my BFF, who is a plane ride away.  Kind of luddite of me I know, I mean hello, there's email, but I used fancy paper and everything and it felt nice.  Cathartic.  And I just wrote and wrote and kept writing in a probably illegible cursive stream of consciousness rant: about my sadness.... about the fog that I am pulling myself out from.... about the formal PTSD diagnosis.... and about how I missed her.  And how I missed myself.  How I want to find the old me, the one who called all the time and giggled on the phone and made her feel better when she needed it.  The one who could muster the emotional strength to do more than send cute text messages.  The one who could climb out of any pit of hell and laugh in yo face about it.

Sending the letter is a start, I think. 


  1. There is a really good episode of This American Life with Molly Ringwald. She is a rainbow baby and she talks about the pressures she felt as a kid and ho that influences her parenting. You should listen to it while you're still thinking about these things. It is in act 3

    1. Oh wow, thank you for this. It's right up my thought alley right now, especially as Niblet turns 7 tomorrow.

  2. I lost my shit when G started kindergarten. Full on sobbing in bed at 11am. I so want to be stronger than my mother, I don't want G to think for one second she needs to protect ME. That's MY job. And I think, obsessively, about the fact we only have 12 more years as an intact family. J and I are going to need to take up rowing, or tandom bike riding, something. I mention it to him, that we're going to need hobbies and such. He says; We do! Sex!
    We're doomed. 😂