Keeping It Real
As I’m trying to work from home today, fighting a migraine and feeling suffocated and overwhelmed by life, my daily BlogHer newsletter arrived in my inbox. In it, it asked “What have you never dared to admit on your blog?”. Clicking through to the related link, I began to read a ripping-the-band-aid-off honest post from Heather at Come what May and Love it. She challenged us to write about something that people don’t know about us or share something in order to keep it real.
I felt like she was talking directly to me.
So here goes, Heather. I accept your challenge, and thank you for the inspiration.
1. If was keeping it real, I would tell you that I am scared to death every day that I am a horrible parent to my daughters. And every time my ex husband says something negative about my parenting, it just reinforces those insecurities deeper and deeper in my heart. I don’t feel good enough for them. I feel like I’m the reason that my youngest daughter has anxiety and OCD issues – that some how, something that I did along the way has broken her wiring inside of her head and made her this way. The guilt and shame I feel because I’m constantly wondering if someone else could do it better or should be doing it better cripples me to the point of immobility some days. Only medication makes those days bearable.
2. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I still haven’t gotten over losing my dad. I hate living in my house because this was the last place he was before he died. Everyone tells me that I should be comforted because I was with him and that it happened the way it did for a reason. I call bullshit. I hate that I watched him die and couldn’t do a damn thing to save him. I hate that the couch I pulled him down from to give him CPR is still sitting in my basement. And I hate that his wife made me be the one to tell the doctors in the emergency room to stop trying to bring him back because she was too weak to do it. I resent that people in my family have made me the bad guy because I’ve refused to tolerate the poor treatment I received from her after my dad was gone.
3. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that what little family I have really doesn’t speak to me. When there are issues within the family or any kind of drama they usually assume that I’m in the wrong, regardless of what the reality is. Rarely has their been a disagreement about something that wasn’t turned around and blamed on me. ”Well, YOU should have done this differently.” Well, YOU did blah. blah, blah which is why they reacted that way.” ‘This person was going through THIS, so it’s okay that they treated you that way.” The words the have labeled me with – snob, bitch, trouble maker – are like a knife in my heart. Never, ever have I claimed that I was perfect or without flaw. But it’s not always my fault. I think I’d actually pass out from shock if my family actually said “Wow, I just treated you like crap. I’m sorry.” My father raised me to speak my mind and not be a wallflower. If I’m a jerk, I’ll own it. But if you’re a jerk, I expect you to own it and not lay the blame at my door.
4. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I loathe living in this house. Not just because of reason #2, but because this is the house that my ex-husband and I picked out. This house is full of memories that push me down like an elephant sitting on my head. I want out. At the time of my divorce, it seemed like the best idea to stay in the house with kids that were 4 and 1. Four years later, I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking. It’s too large for me, it’s too much for me to keep up with, and I’ll never really get a fresh start while I’m sitting inside of its walls. I’m petrified to move, to completely upheave my daughters lives and take them from the only place that has been their constant. Their schools. Their park. Their friends. How do I tell them that I can’t do it anymore in a way that makes me not sound like a crazy person to a little girl that’s five or eight? That I just want to wipe the slate clean and make something that is MINE. And OURS. Every time I feel like I’m doing something to set a good example for them, to teach them a life lesson about women being strong, taking chances, trying new things, it seems to backfire and cause more hurt to them.
5. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I stay in romantic relationships longer than I should because I don’t believe that I deserve better. My head tells me that I am worth more than what’s been given to me, that I am entitled to demand equality in a partnership instead of always being put in the parent role. My heart whispers that I’m not good enough for anyone to stay with long-term, so I should just settle for what I’ve been given and stop rocking the damn boat. My head tells me that I want someone to take care of me, to relieve me from the constant pressures of taking care of everyone around me. My heart whispers that I don’t deserve that. I’m envious beyond comprehension of my friends that have partnerships; a spouse to lean on, relationships that are free from the day-to-day drama that borders on the ridiculousness; someone to care for them, protect them, love them. My heart whispers in the dark that I’m not worthy of those things, and that I should get used to being alone.
6. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I’m terrified of failing in my business and standing on my own financially. I feel like I’m not smart enough, not organized enough, not driven enough and generally not “with it” enough to pull off this venture and I’m going to fall flat on my face and financially ruining my family. Because I had a nice divorce settlement and it’s been a decade since I worked a corporate job, my inner voice questions whether starting a business was just my way of delaying the inevitable return to work that faces all single parents with one income. Most days, I can push it aside and stay focused on the task at hand. But other days, I lie in bed eating cookies and watching talk shows and reality television until it’s time to pick my girls up from school just to get my brain to shut off.
7. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I am not as organized as I appear to be. My house is a mess – not cluttered but dirty because I never have time to clean it. My yard is starting to look like “that house” in the neighborhood – you know what I’m talking about. The one that you look at next to all of the others and say to yourself “Oh the poor neighbors! Why can’t they keep it up?”. My dining room looks like a laundry room slash storage area because it is the default dumping ground for things that need to have something done with but I don’t have time for. I used to be the person that mailed out birthday cards to everyone – now you’ll be lucky to get a “Happy Birthday” post on Facebook from me. And I’m not even going to discuss my office that I can’t even work in because it’s so full of other things that don’t belong in there that I am forced to work at the kitchen table.
8. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I live in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to my friends. I have an amazing tribe of women that I love dearly. That understand this crazy thing called blogging and social media and don’t ridicule me or make me feel bad about it, either publicly or privately. I adore them. I think that I am a pretty good person to be friends with. I am loyal and generally will do just about anything for someone who I call a friend. But I’m in a constant state of fear that I’ll wake up tomorrow and they will have decided that I’m not the person that they want to be friends with anymore. Everyone that’s really been important to me has left eventually. I’m just waiting for them to figure out that I really am all of the horrible things that my family and the inside of my head says I am so they can go hang out with someone else that’s better. Funnier. More interesting. A better friend.
9. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you I’m disgusted with how much weight I’ve gained in the last two years. I busted my backside to lose all of the baby weight from the last child (without picking up smoking again), gave all of my “big girl” clothes away and swore that I would never go back. And I did. I’ve stress eaten 40 pounds back on my frame and I’m repulsed when I look at myself in the mirror. I hate getting dressed for a function because I feel awful in everything I put on. I’m sick of shape wear now being an everyday thing so I don’t look awful in everything I put on. The clothes I bought in March to wear to BlogHer in July didn’t fit and I had to get the next size up. I blame everything for it – stress, the kids, my job, the state of my life – but the truth is that I have no idea how to stop shoving food in my mouth. I’m embarrassed to go back to the workout studio that I love because I don’t fit in to my workout clothes. It’s now become the thing that I do because I am unhappy. I keep telling myself at this point, what’s one more cookie going to hurt? I’ve stopped getting on the scale every morning because I’m scared of what the number will say. The last time I weighed this much, I was growing a person. She’s turning five in 8 days, so I really can’t call it baby weight anymore.
10. If I was keeping it real, I would tell you that I am petrified of publishing this piece. Afraid of the judgement. The backlash of being honest about how I feel. That people will look at me differently. Despite my constant protests of not giving a damn about what others think of me, I do care. Probably too much. But if you are reading this, I found the strength to press the “Publish” button and I’m probably sitting in a corner somewhere, cringing at the thought. I managed to rip the band-aid off and show you the ugly wound underneath and I will try to take a moment to be proud of myself. It’s damn scary.
What would you say if you were keeping it real?