I’ve been working my @ss off,
trying to boost my finances
for what will come.
I’m tired, overhwhelmed,
my body aches, my mind is fuzzy,
and I’m flooded with a sense of futility.
And it hits me…
I’m doing what my
grandmothers and grandfathers did…
I am struggling just to get by.
I thought when I married him
I’d be taken care of.
I’d raise our children
and take care of the house
and he would take care of us.
But that dream was shattered
in an ugly, unkind way.
How can my faith in life be restored?
My family struggled through
the Great Depression.
And countless ancestors before them
struggled through poverty, famine,
sickness, and endless toil…
and through it all…
they somehow survived to procreate.
And so I was given a chance at life.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been given this chance.
If I had known I would end up here,
wondering where I’ll live
and if I’ll have the mental fortitude to keep going,
I’m not sure I would’ve signed on.
What’s the point of living
when you’re struggling just to get by?
And I’m being asked to take on
and even greater challenge…
be strong for my progeny,
give them a reason to keep going,
pretend through it all
that I’m good at this,
that I like this,
that this is all ok.
Hats off to all the single moms out there
who managed to pull this off…
you deserve an award for your performance.
But frankly I resent being here.
I resent the weight of this burden.*
*I just want to acknowledge that in comparison to many, many people on this planet I am doing quite well. I currently have food, clothing, shelter (for now) and access to resources that could be of help. I recognize that all my whining and moaning and complaining about my situation here might elicit absolutely no sympathy at all from people who have been through far worse. I’m just sharing how I feel. I don’t expect that my feelings make sense to anyone. I’m just sitting in the middle of my own suffering wishing I could get away from it. Maybe one person out there knows this feeling. Maybe one person out there now knows that they aren’t alone.
When you’re 42 years old
with two young children,
celibate for the last two years,
yearning for human contact
but trusting no one…
When there’s just $35 in your checking account…
and your AC has been broken for two weeks
and there’s a wiring problem in your house
necessitating running extension cords
from your refrigerator and freezer
to outlets in another room…
When you’re feeling
tired, angry, and lonely,
but you’ve made a commitment to sobriety
to try to claw your way out
of this pit you’ve fallen into…
When the only direction you can go is up,
but you’re so damn depressed that breathing feels hard—
HOW DO YOU FIND THE STRENGTH TO CLIMB?
Friends, that last question is not rhetorical. I quite literally want to know how YOU, you who have made it through tough circumstances and who have come out stronger, how YOU did it. I need some hope. Please share your experience, strength and hope with me.
Afraid for what awaits
in the emptiness
of my once shared space.
Grieving still what was…
wondering when I’ll be set free
from this self-imposed prison.
What do I need to do to let go
all the way?
The way this works,
if there is one shred of holding on,
the whole thing takes root again
and grows stronger than ever before.
I need grace
to help me let go all the way.
Alone, in the dark.
What’s the point of going on?
Swallowed up by grief.
Was there ever any up?
Was there ever any connection?
was there every any loyalty?
Was there ever any life?
Before he dropped the bomb
I had a regular, consistent gratitude practce.
I recorded five things every night
for which I was grateful.
I had been doing this for years,
and had already filled multiple books
with my nightly gratitudes.
After he dropped the bomb,
I expanded my practice.
When my mind was telling me my life was over
and that I’d never be happy again,
I recorded twenty things every night
for which I was grateful.
I began to count the smallest things
the way the sun rose,
the way my child’s voice sounds,
the taste of soup,
the temperature of the wind.
I realized that those “little” things
are enormous in their beauty
and their presence.
I realized I could be more grateful.
I started to realize that happiness
is a choice I make every day.
I’m into my healing process.
I can thank him for dropping the bomb
and blowing my old life to bits
so that I could create a new life.
I’m still working on forgiveness,
but that is another poem.
Just when I think to myself
I’ve got this, I’m better,
I’m back down on my knees
by the side of my bed
sobbing the Serenity Prayer
to some Higher Power
I hope exists
but whose presence
I cannot quite feel
in those moments
of deep sadness and disconnection.
I turn back to my breath.
I sigh out the deep pain,
but it keeps coming,
the tears keep coming.
Is there no end to this?