We took the kids camping last week. I wasn’t sure how my two princesses would cope being away from WiFi and electricity, but they completely surprised me! They loved sleeping in tents and cooking on the tiny gas stove. Even when we got caught in a wind storm and one of our tents got ripped to shreds they treated it like a huge adventure.
Losing one of the tents meant that all 4 of us had to squish into the same tent, which would have been fine if it wasn’t for the hail and thunderstorms, bucketing rain and howling winds. And the fact that our tent is apparently not waterproof anymore. A year ago I would have demanded that we pack up and go home as soon as the first raindrop fell, but I surprised myself and enjoyed the chaos. I didn’t freak out when we got caught up the mountain in a thunderstorm and had to race back down to safety, I didn’t panic when the tent collapsed or when all our gear got wet. Instead we all just kinda got on and made the best of it. Honestly, it was one of the best family trips we’ve had in a while.
I don’t know if it was being surrounded by nature, or the fact that I’m so well medicated, or that I’m feeling so burnt out that I just couldn’t be bothered to care but I loved the whole chaotic experience.
I have decided that my next purchase is going to be a pair of noise canceling headphones. Or ear plugs so that I can stop hearing the kids argue about nonsense. They will be the best of friends, happy in each other’s company when suddenly, all hell breaks loose and they start screaming and screeching at each other. And at me. Cause obviously I have to choose a side.
It doesn’t help punishing them, all it does is unite them against me. So I’ve started ignoring them, or even better just hiding away from them. Generally they sort themselves out without any bloodshed. Parenting is hard!
A week ago we watched as a political protest turned violent and erupted into rioting and looting. We stared in horror as images of burned out shopping centres, factories,and medical centres and mobs of angry people flashed across our screens. My kids asked if they could sleep in my room cause they were scared of the sounds of gunshots, sirens, and screaming coming from our usually quiet little suburb.
Then the fear mongering started. The endless messages and voice notes about how the violence was race related. How we would be murdered in our beds. How the government is trying to kill all of their “enemies”. And then it got worse. We started running out of food and fuel. People queued for hours only to be sent away empty handed. You could smell the fear and desperation in the air. It smelt like burning rubber.
Then out of the ashes came hope. Ordinary people banded together to protect their homes and businesses. The community came together to clean up after the devastating fires. They shared food and resources with each other.
But the feel good insta posts didn’t help my anxiety at all. I had to take a break from all social media because I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t function because I had to know if we would be safe. I had to be ready. I packed “go bags”. I don’t know why. We had no where to go. All the major roads had been closed. The fear and anxiety pushed me to a place where I no longer had feelings. I just felt numb all the time. And it didn’t scare me. I was perfectly functional but not ok.
It’s not over. Sporadic violence is still breaking out all over the place. I’m starting to feel like more like a person again, which is good. I hope I can keep it together enough to get through the next week.
Today I woke up and realized that I’m happy. Content. At peace.
It’s a strange feeling not feeling stressed. I’ve been under so much pressure for so long that I’ve forgotten what’s its like to actually be relaxed. Not be concerned with work and responsibilities. Just living in the moment.
It’s a long run ing joke on our house that we are always planning holidays and never actually going anywhere. This time I actually booked our accommodation. I didn’t just look up nice places and then decide that we lost probably wouldn’t get leave or the kids would have activities. I made a booking and paid. And now we are here. A little slice of paradise.
I am officially no longer scared of COVID. I’ve been so scared, anxious, and tired for such a long time that I honestly just don’t care anymore. Not that I’m going to do anything to put anyone in danger, but I’ve just reached the point where I don’t have the energy to be scared of COVID anymore. There are too many other frightening things happening in the world right now. My scare switch has overloaded and has tripped.
Now I’m just sad. Sad and tired. It’s an all encompassing tiredness. It’s kind of like being in mourning. I’m mourning the life we lived before. I miss the freedom and choices we used to have. And I’m worried that we will never have those freedoms again. The freedom to make plans and just do stuff. Not worry about curfews, finances, social distancing.
I want choices. I want to be able to make plans and choose to cancel those plans cause I would rather stay at home and watch tv. I don’t want to be forced to cancel my plans cause of lockdown. I want to be able to run and line up at the staring line with other runners and hug and give high fives at the finish line. I want the kids to be able to go to their ballet classes, and have play dates, and sleepovers. I want date nights!
I miss the person I was before. I miss the innocence of our lives before the pandemic hit. I feel guilty for not enjoying spending all my time with my family. I feel ungrateful because we still have our health, jobs, and each other. How can I feel so sad if we have all these things that so many other people no longer have? I’m just tired. Tired of being tired.
The kids are growing up too fast. Both of them have restarted school this week. I think it’s been harder on me! They are being so brave, facing obstacles on their own. I wish that I can step in and protect them from the big bad scary world, but I can’t. I hate it. I know i cant protect them forever, I just thought that I would have a little more time to prepare myself.
Beauty is an odd thing. Everyone sees beauty differently. For some people, it’s in the imperfect, for others it’s in the big things. Lately I’ve been looking for beauty in the quiet moments. The moments between the big events, those quiet little pockets where you just breathe.
This weekend I found a beauty filled pocket. The kids were playing in the garden late Sunday afternoon so I made some coffee and just sat and watched them. They played soccer, screaming with laughter as they tripped over each other and rolled on the grass. Their dad came out and joined the game, their laughter filling the air. The shadows crept closer but they didn’t let that stop them, they played and played until the night came.
The beauty isn’t in the dirty feet or shared joy but in the fact that the moment was so short. That perfect combination of golden sunlight, children’s laughter, the creeping shadows, and the perfect cup of coffee will never be replicated again. And it was the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen.
It started with a dream, I dreamt of a little girl running through my bedroom. 2 days later I had the results in my hands. I dreamt you into existence.
And then it started.
I read news reports about girls in a country halfway across the world, being abducted and sold into slavery because they prayed to a different god. Their stories filled me with horror. And then rage.
I heard about a politician who was trying to police women’s bodies, telling them that their reproductive rights did not belong to them. I became incandescent with rage. I stormed against the injustice that you might have to face one day.
The suffering of every woman became your suffering.
I will smash the patriarchy for you.
I will burn down city hall.
I will fight every injustice
I will claw my fingers bloody breaking down the walls that they construct to keep you down.
My love for you has no borders, has no end. I loved you from before your first heartbeat and I will love you after the last breath has left my lungs.
I will move continents to keep you safe.
I’ve been doing really well since I stopped therapy and anti depressants. But today I forgot.
I’ve forgotten what anxiety attacks feel like. Either I’ve gotten really good at managing my anxiety, or I just haven’t been in a situation where I felt anxious. Today I spiraled. It was a small thing, I asked my husband a question and he didn’t answer. And I stressed and fretted about the non answer till I exploded into a mess of emotions and heart palpitations. Because obviously it’s my fault that he didn’t answer me. Logically I know it wasn’t my fault, he is a notoriously bad communicator. But I still stressed and freaked out.
It sounds stupid, but it was simply the last straw. There have been a lot of things completely out of my control the last few months and the pressure has finally got to me. None of the things are particularly stressful on their own, but combined they are doing my head in.
So I’m taking a step back tonight. I’m not available. Don’t ask me questions and don’t expect anything from me. I’ve forgotten that I’m not superhuman. I’m not a one-man-band. I can’t do everything on my own and I have to remember that I’m allowed to rely on others. If they let me down it’s not a reflection of my skills, it’s them. I’m not responsible for everything all the time. Especially not tonight. Tonight I’m only responsible for me.
We’ve had some massive changes in our lives since the last time I posted. We’ve slowly restarted with our renovation, the Husbeast and myself have joined a running club, and I’ve become a part-time-single-mom. The Husbeast was offered his dream job, international travel and problem solving, all in one easy package. It’s great. It really is. He arrived home on Sunday and he’s already gearing up for his next trip. It’s freaken great. If I wasn’t so exhausted I would be smiling right now, I promise.
I’ve gained so much respect for all the single parents out there, it’s so hard being both good cop and bad cop. My biggest struggle so far has been trying to do everything. All the chores, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dropping off, picking up, going to gym, keeping the kids occupied, going to work, looking after the dogs, wrangling the cats, trying to fit some running time in…. it didn’t go so well. It actually went better than I thought it would but it took a toll on me. I had lots of sleepless nights while stressing about getting everything done. I can’t help it, I stress about small things. And I hate feeling like a failure. Even if everything went perfectly to plan I would still feel like I let my kids down cause it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.
I guess that will be my goal this year, cut myself some slack. I don’t have to be perfect all the time, I’m allowed to fail, I’m allowed to disappoint other people, I’m not responsible for the behavior and opinions of other people. Cause being a part time single mom is hard, and I’m only human.