I just want to start off by saying that I don’t usually swear. Not in my writing, anyway.
I’m not a prude by any means, but there is something about reading curse words in an otherwise well-written piece of writing that makes me cringe a little and think, Awww… Why did you have to go and ruin it? I’m not sure if you share this pet-hate as well, but if you do I want to apologize in advance. I will be saying one swear word in this post. It’s just that I can’t not. I’m sorry.
Yesterday, I lost my shit.
I lost it so bad that it splattered under couches, up walls, and through our entire backyard. Some even fell into the toaster, I’m sure.
I can’t be sure how it happened, really, but I suspect it was a gradual undoing. Gradual as in 6 months of broken sleep and needy babies and isolation and mind-numbing repetition and all the damn hard work that goes into mothering. Lately, I haven’t felt like writing, and that’s usually the first sign that I’m on a slippery slope towards emptiness. What triggered my breakdown was Joel saying he would be back home in ten minutes to cook me breakfast, only to see his sweet little face walk through the front door two hours later. To be fair, he got caught up helping his family with some things, but in those two hours, the greatest of furies raged inside of me. For the first time ever, I wanted to run away from it all. For the first time ever, I didn’t want to be a mum anymore. Terrible, I know, but the truth. When Joel arrived home, I yelled abuse. I sobbed. I cursed. I flung insults at him until I was red in the face. Then, when the fury wore off, I just lay there weeping.
There was too much and too little going on inside me to make any sense of my feelings. I knew they had something to do with motherhood and yet I was burned nearly all the way out to understand what was really wrong. Because the thing is that I resent doing everything on my own and yet I resist any help. I envy the diversity and freedom in Joel’s life and yet I choose to spend every waking minute with my baby. I want out but I can’t leave.
It’s not the freedom I’m lacking that makes me feels crazy; I can have time away whenever I’d like, really. It’s the intensity of the attachment. It’s the feeling that comes when you have grown a baby inside you and it frightens the living hell out of me.
This morning I found these words which a friend had emailed to me a few weeks ago:
How can someone separate you from me: your soul from mine?
Distance makes no difference,
The kite may float and fly where it will,
but at all times, it is attached to someone’s hand.
Bihari Lal (1505-1663) Indian poet.
I remember reading these words for the first time and thinking how beautiful they were; how deep the bonds of a great love can be. However, this morning when I re-read them, a knot gathered in my stomach and I realized that this was what was wrong.
I either wind the string so tightly around my wrist to keep the kite close by that it ends up drawing blood, or I want it completely severed from me. There’s no middle ground.
So I cry and yell because none of it makes sense and because I don’t know how to fly this kite any other way and because it’s all just too hard and because it’s easier when you don’t feel so much. I begin to think that I’m just not cut out for this mothering gig, and then I compare myself with other women and it just gets worse and worse.
As you can imagine, Joel tends to find these kinds of scenes challenging. When he asks, “What exactly is upsetting you?”, I wail, “EVERYTHING. It’s you and your freedom and you don’t help me and I’m tired and I just can’t DO this anymore”. When he says, “Do what?”, I yell “This! Ella.” When he says, “But Rach, you don’t want my help with Ella”, I snap back, “Exactly!”.
This, obviously, confuses Joel because this, obviously, would confuse anyone.
So, yesterday, he listened as best he could. He fought back when he needed to. He tried very hard. And when it was all over, he marched my crazy little back-side to the car, buckled me in and told me I was going to the gym and I was not to return for a whole hour.
And it was the best thing he could have done, because sometimes you just need someone to break the cycle you’ve got going on in your own little head so you can step back and gain some perspective.
And you know what?
I didn’t miss her. I didn’t worry about her. For a whole hour, I listened to really, really loud music and I ran really, really fast and I remembered how really, really good it was to be me again.
We’ve all got kites to fly and some can just take a little bit of practice to get the hang of.
Love, me x
P.S. The next post will hit your screens on Friday and I have something exciting to tell you. Brace yourselves, lovelies!
Image from here.