I can hear it even now,
the voice in my head
saying everything I do is wrong,
nothing I do is right.
It’s an old voice,
an anxious voice.
It’s the meaning I made
when as a child
my broken heart sought reasons
for not receiving the love,
I wanted and deserved.
But there is no blame.
There is this moment
and a brief space of clarity
where I can remember…
If I can hear the voice
and I can repeat what it is saying
then the voice isn’t me…
It’s just a habit. It’s an echo of the past.
My intellect can articulate this clearly,
but my body needs time to catch up.
It feels sad and mopey and droopy today,
like everything is wrong
and nothing is right.
How can I bring the clarity of my intellect
to bear on the traumatized inner child
who waits and waits and waits
for it all to be over,
that she is the one who is causing all the torment?
Healing isn’t linear and instantaenous…
and it takes time.
Now if only I could relax into the process
of awakening and remembering
the truth about myself…
If only I could land in a place
where these painful thoughts
no longer determine the color of my days…
That would be a miracle.
Feeling a little lost, out of sorts these days.
I couldn’t be bothered to write
the last few nights…
what has happened to me?
I return a bit sheepishly,
feeling guilty for dropping my routine;
it’s been the one thing that has held me up
through the transition into single motherhood.
I remember the wisdom of my teachers.
Begin where you are.
Only this moment matters.
You’re doing fine.
You are enough, just as you are, right now.
My mind loves to point out
that although I can articulate my teachers’ wisdom,
I’m not necessarily so great at embodying it.
Oh well. That’s why we practice.
We remember that we can keep trying,
again and again and again.
I was really hoping the fog would clear
but the weather was dreary again
and my mind mirrored the soup
I saw out my window.
My patience was thin
my fuse was short
and pretty much everything
felt like too much.
Really, all I wanted to do
was curl into a ball
and sleep the day away,
but someone had to feed the children.
Someone had to make sure they completed their schoolwork.
Someone had to keep the kids off the electronics
Someone had to hear their questions,
and put out their fires,
and divert their attention;
someone had to ask them to step outside
and get some fresh air.
Someone had to make sure that they bathed.
Someone had to tuck them in bed.
Someone had to tuck them back into bed
after removing the iPad from the closet.
That someone was me.
That someone needs to go to bed.
I was too tired last night
to even think about writing.
I did think about it…
And that’s as far as I got.
Even the thought
But I haven’t missed a day in a while
wasn’t enough for me to push through the exhaustion
and string a few words together.
Now I grieve the loss of yesterday’s poem.
What would I have written
if I had had the strength to stay awake?
On the mend…
drank broth for the first half of the day to regain my strength.
It struck me what an unconvenience being sick is,
and how I frequently take for granted my good health,
and how moments like what I endured yesterday
serve to remind me how fortunate I am
to be a person who is healthy most of the time.
Now I’m just so tired,
after getting my kids back from their father,
and doing the single mom thing all day,
the meals, the snacks,
throwing them outside to soak in the springtime,
diverting their attention from electronics,
encouraging connection with the earth,
getting them to read, and practice their music,
and make something with their hands…
all of this takes energy, and I am depleted.
I pray I’ll sleep well tonight.
This mama is tired beyond words.
You know when you go to sleep angry
and wake up angry
and try as you might to change it
you go through the day angry?
And then you feel depressed
because you’ve been angry
and the anger is exhausting
and you’re looking around at your messy life,
wondering when you’ll have the energy to get organized,
but then you remember that you’re a single parent,
and there’s already too much to do,
and so you look at the mess and think,
What will take away the rage,
the fatigue, the sheer exhaustion?
What will make all of this seem ok,
so that I can get up and do this again
(and again and again and again and again)?
How many days like this
until it won’t be like this anymore?
Tonight, I feel solidarity
will all single parents everywhere
who just want some help,
because it all feels like too much.
The resistance rises up.
Wanting to be more energized, less tired.
Wanting to feel more confident, less worried.
Wanting to feel more supported, less alone.
Wanting to feel more peaceful, less stressed.
On the heels of the resistance, stories…
Stories about injustice, mistreatment,
a wish for vindication, retribution.
I can feel my body contract.
I know this thinking isn’t healthy
and I feel powerless to stop it.
I know I need to pray,
and even this evokes anger
and the question
Why do I have to try so hard?
I guess I haven’t really surrendered yet.
I guess I’m still trying to control the moment.
I want to let go.
Lord God, show me how to let go.
I’ve had this lingering cold since September,
finally went to the doctor yesterday;
she wants me to squirt stuff up my nose,
gargle with salt water, and rest.
I’m tired of feeling draggy,
tired of living surrounded by boxes,
tired of being tired.
So today, I rested.
And it’s nuts what the voices in my head tell me.
Don’t be lazy.
It’s not so bad.
Look at your house! It’s deplorable.
You should be ashamed of yourself!
My overworking made me sick.
And now I’m trying to get better…
but somehow I’m not allowed
to do the things that will help me get better?
Another voice speaks.
Discern the voice of truth.
Listen a little more deeply.
Hear the song of being.
Let yourself heal.
Kids came back today,
and it took all my energy
to help with homework,
and get them to bed.
(And tidy and take the trash out
and moderate arguments
and put them back in bed five times.)
I want to cry out like a wolf,
I want to be heard by other single parents everywhere.
I want them to respond to my cries,
my messy wolf pack,
saying You aren’t alone.
I hear you.
I feel this way too.
Howling in the dark together
raising a ruckus
strength in numbers
Can we change this heaviness together?
I don’t know.
I’ll just keep howling
until I can sink into sleep.