I feel like I’m on autopilot, just barely hanging on most days, and yet there are also so many good things. When our emotions are raw and we feel like we can’t take any more pain in one area, we are often closely attuned to other emotional experiences which we might otherwise ignore. I call this “and yet”, because when I’m broken and hurting in one spot, I have the chance to find places to grow and be inspired if I will open my eyes to look for them.
I spoke to someone at Ava’s school who can help her with her recent bout of anxiety during the lock down last week. Recognizing that my daughter needs help that someone else can provide better than I can came much easier to me this time around. I sought out this person’s help at the beginning of Ava’s Grade One school year, when she was feeling unsafe during the lunch hour when her teacher would step out to eat.
At that time it felt like a personal failure for me to ask someone else to help my child. After a few visits to this counselor, Ava was back to herself again and she found new skills to help her manage her fears. This time around, I didn’t hesitate to ask for help because I could see Ava needed it, and the entire process was simpler. I’m confident she will get the help she needs.
I have also come to the end of my own abilities when it comes to managing the memories and emotions I am trying to walk through. The grass has simply grown up too high, and too fast around me, and I can no longer see where I am going. I too am afraid. And so I have made several appointments with the same psychologist who helped me see what was happening in my relationship with William this fall. After one session with her, my mother-son relationship was transformed, and I am still amazed at the difference it has made.
I want to find my way out of this scary place, and I know I need help to do it. I wish I could go today instead of early March, but knowing that the appointments are made is the first step to navigating my way with confidence again, and I can be kind to myself in the meantime. I don’t mind pain when I know it’s taking me somewhere, and I believe that it will all be worth it in the end. We can’t run from our past, or ourselves, for very long before it catches up and tries to overrun us. I want to be one step ahead, and not scrambling to catch up, and I need help to get there.
It’s always been torturous to admit that I’m not strong enough to make it on my own. It doesn’t mesh well with my personality, or my carefully constructed fiction that I can manage anything. Embracing the need and the cry for help is a completely new experience for me, and with it comes this flailing fear of embarrassment, and yet there is beauty in the ashes. I see things differently now. Vulnerability is part of strength, and it’s okay to make it visible.
I want to show my kids this puzzle piece of who I am, so they are not afraid of their own feelings of weakness and doubt. It’s acceptable not to have all of the answers, and to stumble from time to time. I don’t want them to pretend that they are okay when they are bleeding inside. I did that for most of my life and eventually you have to pay the piper, and I can tell them from personal experience that it’s better not to wait until you are thirty-eight to do it.
Sometimes it’s hard. We walk uphill and we need to rest but the world continues to move forward and we have no choice but to move with it. It hurts, but there is also beauty and moments of joy that will fill you with hope and excitement. Pain, and yet happiness, where you least expect it and when you need it most. Pleasure and pain are hopelessly intermingled in this life, and when one is with you so is the other one, if you will watch for it to visit you. This provides hope when it seems dark at the edge of the horizon. And yet. And yet. And yet.