exploring life and love with pictures and words

Spitting out the bitter pill . . .

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Sitting at my desk on a very hectic Monday, fast and furiously typing emails, my cell phone lights up and a text appears from a girlfriend, You’ve been pretty quiet this weekend are you OK? Still typing, I smile realizing that she is referring to my social media inactivity, happy that someone is checking on me. Funny how we notice a friend’s absence from Facebook or Instagram, wondering if they have dropped off the planet. No photographs to mark the day’s events, no pictures of amazing food or trendy cocktails. More than a few times I’ve sent private messages to friends, asking Hey, where are you?? What’s up? You OK? I am always relieved to receive a quick response, All good, just busy. But every now and then a quiet, slow response emerges, the little voice that tells me privately, I’m having a rough time, lying low, can we meet up? Today I am that person.

After two consecutive weekends of truly beautiful wedding celebrations, my social media exploded with pictures of wedded bliss, and then all was quiet. True, I was pretty pooped, and needing desperately to catch up on my sleep, but the celebration high was followed by feeling a tiny bit low. The happiness I felt for these two accomplished young women and their families was heartfelt and at times overwhelming as I cried throughout the ceremonies, from the I do’s to Dads toasting their little girls with beautiful words of love, praise and admiration, I felt only gratitude as a witness to such joy.

Late in the day, I received a second text from my girlfriend, Hi you doing OK? Worried. Realizing I had never responded to the first message, I send a quick text, I’ve been swamped, more later xox. I did have some odd lingering feelings and I knew if I got a message off to her I would feel much better. We share a similar story, something that links our hearts. We can express our feelings without judgement on this particular topic; we are each other’s safe zone. Later in the evening, I send her a private message, more comfortable writing what is in my heart than saying the words out loud. I tell her that I loved the weddings. I had a great time, genuinely happy for my friends, thrilled to share their joy, but a bit envious that everyone is so fucking happy.

Writing these words I feel bitter, whiny and ungrateful. In this moment, I want to be in their shoes. I want to shine in the light of my children’s happiness and share it with all my friends, but this is not my life right now. For now, when asked about my children, I smile and say things like, he’s making progress, I think he’s better, or I think this is best for her and she’s going to be alright. I pray for their happiness and tell the Universe I trust the bigger plan for them, when really I just want the Universe to get its shit together and make it happen now. Damn it, their fate is out of my hands.

While in my heart, I know I did the best I could, my default mode is to blame myself, and my brain tells me I could have done a better job.  I rehash my parenting, my choices along the way, and feel sure that somehow I could have protected my kids, prevented their heartache. I should have provided a better foundation from which they could build a better, happier life. My girlfriend tells me she understands exactly how I feel and immediately all is right in my world. She reminds that nobody has a perfect life, It’s impossible, she says. I am finished whining, and I have to agree.

My kids are great people with good hearts, compassionate and caring. They never miss an opportunity to tell me they love me, or thank me for being a good mom. This should be what matters most to me; these words alone should fill me with happiness.

I have always said my ego was wrapped up in being a mom. I wanted my kids to be perfect so that I appeared perfect. I wanted them to make choices that were important to me, choices that looked good so that I would be judged favorably. Funny . . . . as much as I tried to prevent it, like me, each of my kids, in their own way, made choices leading them down a tougher path. And while I want desperately to clear the way for them, it would be unfair for me to rob them of the lessons learned along the way, the feelings of accomplishment and pride as they blaze their own trail.

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. I will never find mine, if I keep expecting it to look like someone else’s.

Thanks girlfriend for crawling in the hole with me for a few minutes and giving me the boost I needed to climb back out again.  You know who you are. 🙂

Xoc

ps . . . dear friends, please keep inviting me to weddings . . . i love you

9 Responses to “Spitting out the bitter pill . . .”

  1. jmd12340

    I, not unlike you, have spent time watching and participating in other people’s moments of joyous commitments. I always hope their ventures prove more fruitful than mine have. My son is 22 now, I think after seeing the foul relationships I have attempted to make work, he is in no hurry to get married. He has a charming young woman that he has been dating exclusively for several years. She may have gone through a similar situations as my son or is extremely empathetic. There is no rush to get married, in fact, they don’t even live together yet. I hope my experiences won’t prevent him from taking that leap of faith. Even with all the pain my relationships have brought me, I’m very happy that they transpired, because without them I would not have my son, and I would not be who I am today.
    There are days I feel lonely and jealous that others are making it work where as I could not. Most days however, I am proud of the man I became and realize that I can be happy without hoping to find the one who will complete me. I am complete with just me and GOD. If GOD wants me to be with someone, it will be done. It is better to be alone and happy than to be with someone that makes your life a living hell.
    We deserve to love someone that loves us in return.
    Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Bare Naked in Public

      Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comments. I have to agree . . . I learned the hard way that being alone is better than being with some one who makes you feel alone. Take care 🙂

      Like

      Reply
      • jmd12340

        I have been following your blog for a while. You seem to wear your heart on your sleeve in the blog, this is much harder for me to do in person. Thank you for your kind words.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. calensariel

    Though certainly not in your situation, I, too, know what it feels like to want to be judged by how my family looks and behaves — as if that’s the soul purpose I was put here on earth, to shape and mold this unit. Besides the fact that it’s BS, it can also spill over into your other relationships and make a mess. I slipped into “mom” mode with Plato the other day! OMG! Couldn’t believe I did that. He laughed about it, but I was humiliated. When do we get to the point where we finally believe it’s ok to just be ourselves and let others be who they are? In this mode I get so stressed because I tend to be hyper-vigilant. Does any of this ring a bell?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Bare Naked in Public

      Yes!!! It’s been a hard lesson for me especially in relationships. I’m always trying to fix things, fix people. It’s a hard habit to break. I find I do it most often with my kids – always giving unsolicited advice. However I have such an awareness now. I do it less and less often.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Phyllis kerlin

    C – you brought joy to the table at those happy events and now you’re bushed. I’m with you, girl. I keep watching BIG HAPPY go by me while I search out little happy things. Truly, I think the practice we both have put into noticing small gifts of joy is courage-making. Strong, we are. Soulful, we are. Noticers of small miracles, we are. We would not be any of these things if not for the quiet around us and small wondrous joys would stop showing their faces to us. You have a legacy and so do I and it’s weightier in value than any parade of happiness ever would be, because it’s shy and precious and privately addressed just to us. Love you so much… P.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. judy

    What a lovely way to end my day. Reading your post. Today when I taught 3rd grade the word “perfect” was used. I felt compelled(so did)to tell these precious 3rd graders that nothing is perfect…..especially not people. You do your best and try your hardest and that is what is important. Forget the word perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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