My job is a good match for me. Working in news, dealing daily with the reality of “others” allows me to avoid dealing with my own. I can feel the grief of the family of a murder victim. I can feel the pain of homelessness and hunger. I can feel the overwhelming loss of a house fire. What I do not have to do is experience the pain of my own life.
It never occurred to me this was happening until I read a blog post about destructive behavior. The writer of the blog talks about the importance of letting ones self “feel” and “experiencing the pain.”
The past four years have been really crappy. For me. But, by comparison, say, to the family whose toddler was the innocent victim in a drive-by-shooting… I don’t really have anything to complain about. Or to the homeless people living in an encampment down by the river… honestly, do I dare quibble? No. I don’t. I suck it up.
I also suck it up because, as a mother and the “head of the house” I’m expected to put on a brave face. I wouldn’t dare let the kids know just how crappy things are or just how bad I “feel.” So, day-in-and-day-out I deny my reality. I deny myself the opportunity to experience the pain.
My mother died last fall. Again, I had to be a pillar of strength. In the months and weeks leading up to her death, I had to be the strong one. There was no time to let my guard down and feel any pain. After her death there was the planning of the memorial. Still, no time to be in pain. At the memorial, aside from being numb to the pain at that point, I had to “be there” for my grieving children. And in the months after her death… I don’t dare cry for fear of upsetting my kids.
I want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner and experience the pain. I want to cry and grieve. I want to be angry. And not just about my mother. About all of the crappy things that have happened to me over the past four years. Lost my best friend. Lost a job. Lost my marriage. Lost my mother. Anyone ONE of those things would be enough for any ONE person. To have them all happen within such a short amount of time. It’s too much. It’s too much, IF you don’t take the time to experience the pain, deal with the feelings that come, and move on.
I have managed to stuff all of those feelings down. I’m ready to experience the pain. I want to deal with the feelings and move on. I just don’t know how.
– J. Ela