My Emotional Baggage

I hate the spotlight.  I hate receiving gifts, awards, praise.  I like my role to be a nurturer, a giver.  I hate asking for help.  I like to try to accomplish everything myself, partially due to my need to be in control of situations and partially because I hate burdening people.  Hating the spotlight and not wanting to burden people have kept me silently dealing with a problem that until today, no one knew I had.  Not my family.  Not The Big Guy.

 I am not good when it comes to my own emotional wellbeing.  I was raised in a household where you knew you were loved, but it was never said.  No hugs and kisses were given just because.  My parents gave my sister and I the world, minus the whole emotional aspect of it.  I grew up suppressing a lot of how I felt, my thoughts, dreams, and feelings.  Now, as a 30-something year old adult, I am still suppressing my feelings for fear of burdening those around me and for fear that the bright light of the spotlight will shine on me if I speak up.  But alas I have realized that I am tired.  I am tired of feeling alone.  I am tired of not being able to rid my mind of these feelings that are slowly eating away at my self-worth.  I am tired of my own emotional baggage.

 For many years, The Big Guy have lived happily ever after with our five children.  Although legally not married, The Big Guy is in all aspects of my life, my husband.  To make it a lot easier on myself and less confusing on those who read my blog and twitter timeline, I refer to him as my DH.  One of these days we will get around to making it legal.  I was previously married and brought three of the kids into the relationship.  The Big Guy was also married and brought in the remaining two children.  I hate the word perfect, but our life is pretty damn close.  Our blended family has worked.  We are a family of seven that has gone through, faced, and overcome more tragedy and challenges than most people will ever face in their entire life.

 The Big Guy’s wife passed away.  We were neighbors when this occurred.  Their sons were young.  I was separated from my husband.  I was finally free from the control, jealousy and insecure grasp he had on me for seven years.  The Big Guy was lost.  We were both at a place in our lives where we didn’t know what tomorrow held.  We both had children who were going through traumatic life events.  We became friends.  The Big Guy and I spent hours on our front porches, talking, crying, and laughing.  We each became an emotional support system for one another.  Our children who were already very close friends became even closer.  They too relying on one another to face and overcome the tragedy that had occurred.  As the days and then moths past, The Big Guy and I became best friends.  And then one day, we were in love.

 This is usually where I end the story about how our family came to be.  The Big Guy is my Prince Charming and every day that has past has been better than the day before.  I am living the fairy tale that I dreamt about as a child.  But I have demons.  I have feelings and emotions that fester in my head.  I try my hardest to silence them.  I try my hardest to ignore them for fear that if I let them out, I will be looked upon as a horrible human being.  But keeping them silent isn’t helping.  As the days and years pass by, those cooped up emotions and feeling have grown louder.  I am ready for them to be released, with the hope that I can free myself from their burdens, their negativity, the hold they have upon me.

 I have never been one to believe in things happening for a reason…until the first time I said I love you to The Big Guy.  I feel horrible for thinking this.  I feel horrible that two of my children had to lose their mother for me to realize that I do in fact think things happen for a reason.  I sometimes feel like I am a mistress to a ghost.  And I don’t know how to not feel this way.  I don’t know another 30-something year old person who is living the life I am living.  I don’t know if what I am feeling is normal or crazy.  What I do know is although I deal with all of this silently, I also feel like the happiest girl alive.  The Big Guy is my rock, my best friend, my everything.  He unconditionally loves me.  He unconditionally loves my children like they are his own.  The love I have for all five kids sometimes makes me forget that I did not give birth to all of them.  For some reason or another, the seven of us have perfectly molded together into one unit, which is, a family.

 But I hear the whispers in my head.  The words telling me I am, and will always be second.  This time of year is always the hardest for me.  This time of year holds the date of her death, their anniversary, and of course the holidays.  I feel selfish.  What I think and feel is nothing compared to the pain that The Big Guy and the boy’s feel.  And that is why I silently suffer.  The guilt of feeling the way I do eats at me.  I feel lost this time of year.  I don’t know whether to back off or keep our daily lives normal.  I don’t know if it is okay to want to cuddle for five extra minutes in bed on a certain date or if I should give The Big Guy space.  I don’t want to feel selfish, but at the same time, I am the woman he is now with.

 For years, the one thing I have instilled upon the kids is this:

 Every human being will face some form of tragedy, heartbreak, loss and challenge in their life.  Life will never be fair and easy.  But no matter how big or small the challenge that faces you is, you are strong enough to not only overcome it, but to make something positive come out of it at the end. 

 I know I need to listen to myself and live by this mantra.  The one accomplishment I pride myself on is the fact that all five of the children have overcome their tragedy.  They have grown and matured after being handed a shitty hand so early in life.  These five kids have looked tragedy in its face and walked away with more poise, strength and character than most adults would.  These kids experienced what rock bottom is and fought their way out with the love and guidance and support from The Big Guy and I.

 For the past few years I have put my heart and soul into making damn sure that our five kids were able to live a normal life that all kids deserve to live.  I have made it my goal in life to not let death and divorce and all the other negative crap they have gone through define who they are as people.  I have spent countless hours listening, talking, holding their hands and drying their tears in order to release the negative thoughts, the pain, and the heartbreak.  My goal of once again seeing that light in their eyes, the smile on their face, and that innocence return, has been met.

 And now it is my turn.  I don’t want to feel like a mistress.  I don’t want to live a life trying to live up to a ghost.  I want to not look away when someone asks The Big Guy and I how we met.  I want to be free of the ghost that I carry along with me.  All of my feelings of doubt and selfishness are brought upon by me.  I know The Big Guy loves me.  I know he wants to get married.  I have to remember that.  I have to remember that no matter what relationship you are in, there was always someone before you.  Yes The Big Guy’s marriage abruptly ended and yes there will always be a place in his heart for his wife, but I am here now.  He wants me here.  He has never given me a reason to feel the way I do or think the way I think.  I am responsible for all of this.  I have to nurture myself.

 Will these feelings every truly go away?  I do not know.  I can say that getting these thoughts out of my head and onto paper has already helped.  They are no longer cooped up, consuming my thoughts.  Death is something we all think happens when you are old.  We never think it can happen to us at such a young age.  But it can.  And it does.  And let me tell you, it changes the way you live your life.  The small shit doesn’t matter.  The amount of money in your checking account seems less meaningful.  The amount of toys the kids have means nothing.  What matters is how you spend every second of every day.  And I am tired of wasting my seconds on my fears and baggage.  I want to be able to once again enjoy every moment of the holidays.  I want to cuddle that extra five minutes with The Big Guy.  I want to live the life I have tried so hard to give back to the kids.

 And I will.  I know I will because at the end of the day, I have everything I ever wanted.  I have my fairy tale.  I have my Prince Charming.  I have my kids.  I have a really great life.  And at the end of the day, nothing else matters.

 My emotional baggage is my tragedy and just as I told the kids, I can overcome it.

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