Let me tell you.
I am tired.
Weary, bone aching tired.
I know you are, too. I see you and I hear you. And I know your road. Even you, who thinks about commenting or emailing me, who sits in the background and on the fringes, who thinks of reaching out, but doesn't. Because you just don't know. And you discount yourself. We've both been here before. Do it. You'll be glad you did.
I am compelled to keep writing--even if it is only for me. It does feed my soul to hear occasionally that somehow my words, openness, rawness is touching someone somewhere. And I share resources, thoughts, experiences and others' blog posts that touch or reach me here, or on Facebook. And I'm ok with the push back from some people. I know there are people who think we Christians should keep our dirty laundry pile of sins, failures, hurts, disappointments, illnesses, etc. out of site--and especially out in the world for others to know. I know why you think that. I also know that the world has already read our mail. They see the dirty laundry poking out that you think is hidden well. They might trust us more if we didn't pretend like it wasn't there or we didn't know things need attention--and that we really aren't any different than anyone else.
And for those of us who have lived a lot of life, hard life, we don't have energy any more to wear masks, to paint pretty pictures, or to keep up with pretenses--or the laundry. We've learned the hard way that this takes energy from what really matters. We know time is fleeting. We want to know quickly and up front--who is going to believe in us? Who is going to support us? Who is going to stand or sit with us? If you are not these people, we can't expend much time or energy on you at the moment. Because we don't have it to spare. And we have very strong BS meters and little tolerance for it.
When you experience crises on top of each other, you live in crisis mode. And that mode is about pure breathing. One breath at a time. Forget one day at a time. You don't get a haircut or your color done for months--and the gray has doubled in a matter of weeks. You get dressed only because you have to get the kids to therapy appointments & everyone's tired of your ratty pajamas. Occasionally you eat, but mostly Dr. Pepper floats. Survival mode comes later when you can think about going through the motions and attempt to do so. For your spouse. For your kids. You do things that are expected but with little heart. You put up the Christmas tree and buy a few presents even though you'd like to sleep through it this year.
As you move out of these crisis survival modes, it is scary. The ground is not stable. You don't have a normal any more, because everything changed. All at once. You want to be out of it, but you also know how quickly you got here. And you don't want to go there again. So you are cautious and move very slowly. There are people who believe that we want to stay here or choose to stay here. I don't know any, and I know many now, who would never choose to stay here. And we are all ready for it to pass.
We want to see in color again.
Sometimes you can't fully leave this place, because it's just too soon. And maybe it can become a habit as some believe. I also know that sometimes we walk out of this stage, and we can look back from where we are. And, YAY!, we have moved forward and this feels so much better to all of us. The problem is that we can fall back into crisis mode, not because we like it or because it feels safer--because it really doesn't.
Sometimes we fall back into crisis survival mode
because our tank is just too low,
sitting on empty.
When you experience crisis after crisis, every bit of you drains right out. For a long time, you cannot fill that tank back up. Because wave after wave crashes on you. Knocking you down. So you stay where you are in a small puddle on the floor. Even as we begin processing and healing, which takes a lot of time and energy, there still isn't enough to put any extra gas in your tank. Right now, with some stability and progress and good times and victories, my tank rarely gets very full. I do have some extra in my tank, but it's not enough.
There just hasn't been
One instance of instability, concerning behavior, backsliding with your child and your tank is completely empty again and it feels like you're in survival mode again. Even though you don't want to be here. We know that this could be the beginning of the downward spiral again, or it may be a short interruption in progress. But we don't know that yet. And you need other people to know and to fill. But we don't often ask. Or we ask a time or two, a person or two, and then give up.
Because it's too much or we're too much.
So, I'm reminding you and mostly myself today that we need each other. Your emotional box is as full as mine. And your grief shelf is not empty and still needs attention. We still have something for each other. Today, when my tank feels empty again. When a child's behavior is escalating in a concerning way. And the child knows it is happening and doesn't like it or want it. But the child doesn't have complete control over it.
And is as afraid as we are.
- Being with my people, my 2 friends who have walked with us in these stages, helps fill my tank. Always.
- Sometimes its the surprises and/or surprising people who put a good amount in your tank. Someone today, put some gas in my tank. Someone who doesn't know me. Except through an internet connection. Who purchased a tunic I was looking at and gifted it to me. Just because. Y'all, she doesn't even know me or my story. But she was moved, not by me, and willing. I've never met her. And I will pay it forward some time.
- Time away with my man fills my tank. Even though it's a bit rocky and scary right now, the tank's warning light is on. So, I'm tagging along on a business trip of Keith's next week. And I'm going to see dear friends in Connecticut and then spend some days in NYC. By myself. While Keith is in meetings.
- Me and Manhattan. No schedule. No clock. No rules. Alone time is good, too, especially if you're a social introvert like this girl.
Even though leaving always is anxiety-producing for me initially, as if I do literally hold everything and everyone together and everyone keeps breathing and not dying if I do everything and balance everything perfectly.
I'm reminding myself again, because it's not my natural instinct that I need my oxygen mask. Without it I'm no good for my kids.
So, I'll take my Xanax (because I really like the ground) and get on that jet plane.
And come back better with something in my tank.
So I can put something in yours.