I sat there in gymnastics, tears streaming down my face, hand trying to shield anyone else from seeing me. It was bad enough my good friend was watching. She had her hand on my back and, at that kindest gesture, I felt the tears coming on stronger. I am not a crier. Not anymore. Not since getting rid of the stress of my ex-husband in my life. But after three years of dealing with everything as if I have strength I don’t, I have finally hit the point where the emotional dam is breaking. I can’t hold it in anymore and it is coming out despite my best efforts. I am simply overwhelmed with life.
I am not sure what it took to crack the tough exterior I willed myself to live with for the last three years. It could have been a hurt feeling from a friend who was not who they said they were. The constant need to take care of a child, a house, a dog, a blog and a life that we all can be proud of. I don’t know. But something is seeping out. Something born of too much responsibility and no one to take care of me.
For three years now I have done it all. In hindsight, I should be really proud. If you ask my friends, they say I am thriving since the divorce. Struggling massively the first year or so, I have fixed my financial issues, taken care of an older house that is always in need of repair, helped my kids grow, taken them on vacations, spent quality time with them, adopted two dogs who needed a home after abuse, reconnected with old friends and grown my business and started to do things for myself. I have ‘thrived’, as they say, refusing to allow my kids to live a less exciting lifestyle just because they are being raised by a single mom.
I have also dealt with the divorce, which was so ugly that the scars radiate mistrust and pain still today, fought, yet again, to save my house from a greedy ex, purchased a new car, replaced the entire air conditioning and heating units in the house, happily paying cash, updated the house massively, hired and fired employees, dealt with the loss of some friendships that were decades old, held my kids as they cried, held them as they laughed, helped them succeed when they thought they were failing, handled every holiday, meal, outing, stress with their friends that they could throw at me and managed everything I have had to manage with a smile.
But it is still not enough. I still have not done what I feel I need to do. My house, though thoroughly cleaned once a week, and picked up daily, is an unorganized mess. I have too much stuff in it and I feel like it is closing in on me. Despite taking 6 full lawn bags full of stuff out of this house before Christmas, I still feel like it is overly cluttered and ‘messy’ all the time. Attempts to organize have been futile. With a job that takes 10 hours or more a day, kids that need my undivided attention if they are not in school or sleeping and a host of other things to think of, I can never seem to carve out the time to actually do anything about it.
My work life is awesome but there is the daily stress of being ‘good enough’, the competition among us to get the best clients, the constant pressure to come up with something creative, to shine in a world of flashlights. The feelings of inadequacy when you see others succeeding and are so proud but wonder why you are not. The feeling that if I get up from this desk when the kids are not home, I might miss out on becoming what I yearn to in this online world. It is a daily pressure I happily take on, because I love it. But it comes with the guilt of not wanting to relax or take time for me because I might miss something and lose it all in an instant.
And then there is the loneliness. The deep ache in my gut for someone to be able to call to talk to. Not a friend, of which I have amazing ones, but someone who knows me intimately, can hug me, caress me and love me on my hardest days. The need to feel like I am not in it all alone all the time, the knowledge that I am worth someone’s efforts, time and energy.
Truth be told, I am the barrier to actually dating someone for more than one or two dates. I am very careful with my kids and don’t want to see them go through, again, what my ex did with his second wife. They are still confused and asking questions and I refuse to add to that. So I can only see someone when my kids are with him. Add to that the need to get things done while they are gone and my time to date is very limited. Plus, because I work from home and am so focused on my children and their lives, I simply can’t find the time to get out and actually meet someone. But despite all of my logic, the loneliness and emotional toll it takes on me is palatable.
I don’t know exactly which stress, which all seem so minor compared to others, has the tears streaming and the self esteem falling, but the cracks are starting to show. When the emotional dam breaks I am sure I will fight it tooth and nail. But maybe, just maybe, if I can make it through, the rainbows that come from the showers will remind me of how truly lucky I am and erase the sadness that seems to be plaguing me these days.
Being overwhelmed with life is normal, after all, but letting it hold me down is not an option.