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.
Was there ever any up?
Was there ever any connection?
was there every any loyalty?
Was there ever any life?
I just want to be a good mother.
I try so hard.
And at the end of the day,
I lose it sometimes.
I lose it with my kids
when I’m tired and they’re tired.
There used to be another adult around
who’d step in
when I couldn’t anymore.
That adult is gone.
When I’m tired and sick
there is no one else to take care of me
I’m tired of taking care of myself,
tired of being alone.
I want help.
It’s in these moments
that the anger wells up
if I don’t stop it.
I get angry for being thrust into this place
of missing my kids when they’re not here
and overwhelmed when they are.
I’m tired of this mess, this story.
I can do so well for hours and hours.
I can be proud of my mothering,
the balance I manage to find.
But at the end of the day
I’m tired and they’re tired
and sometimes I just lose it.
and so much to do.
My mind keeps heckling me,
I need to do this and I need to do that…
but I’m so tired.
I’ve been up since 4:30 am,
going since then,
and my body just wants rest.
But how will I get it all done?
I tell myself I love myself no matter what.
I try to believe myself.
I take another breath.
I remember that it can’t all get done at once.
I take another breath.
I write this poem.
I’ll celebrate this win,
remind myself it will be ok.
I’ll breathe again,
and figure out what’s next.
Kids woke me up at night.
Lost my temper. Yelled.
Too angry to sleep.
Tossed and turned all night.
Morning came. Groggy.
Meditation was a joke.
Worried my teaching would be compromised.
Taught two yoga classes anyway.
Grocery store, card declined,
scrambling to scrape up money;
a girlfriend lent me the rest of what I needed.
(Had to drive to her house to borrow a card
and drive it back again.)
Turned it around,
read the kids a story.
Snuggled my son.
He said he loved me.
Then he said he loved his dad.
The he said he loved the other woman.
He said her name as we were snuggling.
The kids went to their rooms. To bed.
I lost it again.
I was slamming and screaming
This isn’t fair!
I don’t deserve this.
Slamming and screaming.
Don’t traumatize the children.
I asked my husband to get the kids.
I told him I needed to get help.
He came and got them.
My daughter cried;
she didn’t want to leave.
I tried to reassure her that I’m going to be ok.
I was trying to reassure myself too.
Spoke with two recovery friends.
Feeling a little better.
Trying to rest now.
Wish me luck.
I need to forgive.
I need to believe.
I want to live.
But I want relief.
These feelings are too much.
They will swallow me whole.
I want to escape my mind,
but I cannot.
Caught in the trance of unworthiness*
Wondering what to do, where to go,
what to say and to whom,
which book to read,
what action to take,
how to stand, how to sit,
how to walk,
what to eat,
what to drink,
what to wear,
who will understand
all these questions, these doubts,
There is a darkness,
an unspeakable horror in me,
clawing to get out.
It visits me in my dreams at night
and wakes me up.
I feel exhausted by these nightly hauntings.
I want release, relief, respite
from being tossed around on these huge waves
in the infinite ocean of consciousness,
the surface of which
has been stormy for quite some time.
I’m tired of the turbulence,
tired of this endless transition
from what was familiar
into a new life that I cannot see or fathom.
They say I’m at the helm.
They say I have the power.
They say I can change my narrative, my perception,
They tell me I’m better off without him.
This is just talk,
and I am tired of being thrown about endlessly
on enormous waves out in the middle of nowhere,
no land in sight,
on a flimsy vessel that is sinking fast.
I have nearly drowned a thousand times
in the dark waters of my psyche.
Why do I keep thrashing my way to the surface?
I want a safe harbor, a home,
a place of belonging,
a tribe who knows and loves me.
Why in the moment when I most need connection
does it seem that no one is there?
Why with all of this love around
does it not show up in the way I’m wanting?
More questions than answers,
and afraid to go to sleep
because I know what waits for me in the darkness:
than any human should bear.
*Spiritual teacher Tara Brach talks about the trance of unworthiness in her book Radical Acceptance.