Why do people insist I have to be happy all the time?
I'm sitting here on my computer — as I usually am — trying to decide which task to tackle next on my never-ending, always-growing to-do list.
As I so often do, rather than select an email to return, bill to pay or pile to organize, I pick up my phone (again) to text one friend or another about how I can't take it anymore, and how I am totally lost as to what to do next.
My friends respond as friends do:
"What are you talking about?"
"You're killing it!"
"Look how far you've come and how strong you are! Just keep doing what you're doing! Your day is coming, Babe!"
Of course they would say these things. I would, too.
Here are the facts:
2. I built a new career for myself from scratch. Not only did I "survive", but I built a stellar reputation and CV even after the dissolution of what I thought would be a life-long partnership with the person I thought would be my life-long best friend. (Not bad, considering I come from a vastly different educational background and skill set than most established professionals in my field.)
3. I've done and continue to do truly good work for people in the most pure sense of the word. I make myself available to others as they endure what will be one of the worst phases of their entire lives.
4. I have kept and will continue to keep my beautiful children happy, fed and afloat emotionally and financially — despite an irrevocably complicated and difficult co-parenting relationship between myself and their father and their own loss of community following our divorce.
5. I keep myself looking hot, sounding smart and talking funny — even on the days I feel like complete and total shit.
But there other facts that no one sees:
1. I spend about 60 percent of the time I'm not with my kids crying. Not because I miss them (I do, just not the point), but because I finally can without them there to witness it.
2. I live in total and abject fear that my current client will be my last and I won't be able to buy groceries next month.
3. About four hours into each day, I'm hit by an exhaustion so completely and utterly weighty that I think there is a good chance my brain function may actually tap out.
4. I let relationships of all kinds malinger and fall away, even though I care deeply simply because I just can't make one more call or start another email today. I just can't.
5. I miss the mom I used to be.
6. I miss the friend I used to be.
7. I miss the woman I used to be.
8. I miss the worker I used to be.
9. I miss and I miss and I miss and I miss and I miss ... and it just doesn't stop.
And in the middle of dwelling on the missing at some point I catch myself and think — so the fuck what?
Here I am.
My kids are happy today. I bought groceries tonight. I kick ass at what I do - and the people who matter to me know it. I got out, and I started over.
The house I left behind was gorgeous and the stuff was pretty, but I am still warm and clothed and I can do it with style, so it's all good.
My family is awesome and supportive and I will be OK.
So, I just am.
You will be, too. I promise.