There isn’t really a “Once Upon A Time” here, so I’ll dive right in, and try to spare you some of the boring details.
I am the child of an alcoholic mother. Pregnant at 19, she blamed me for “ruining her life.” My father was there, but pretty emotionally detached, as he had his own baggage to deal with (that story is more than another blog, it's a book!) I saw a lot of things that children shouldn’t have to see, like the inside of bars, friends of my parents smoking pot, and the violent rages of my mother and the altercations between her and my father. It was truly not a good situation, but I try not to dwell on those dark days. I am just thankful that I came out alive – and sadly I truly mean that.
My aunt and grandmother had me in their care the majority of the time. They knew the neglect that was happening, but back in the day, it was a different world. It was much harder to remove a child from those kinds of situations. I spent weekends with them so my mother could go out and drink. When I was small, this was no issue for my aunt, who was struggling with infertility and welcomed the bonding. My cousin didn't come into the picture until I was 7. My parents finally split when I was 13, and my grandmother was awarded custody. I saw my dad about once a week, and my mother slipped out of the picture and into her own selfishly addicted world. My aunt divorced a year later, and she and my cousin moved in, so my nuclear family consisted of Gram, my aunt, my cousin, and myself. So there we were, the grandmother and aunt filling the role of mother; the cousin, like a brother.
I was always pretty independent. I got good grades in school; I didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd. My worst offense in all of my high school years was detention for excessive talking. (shocking, I know!!) I understood very early on that you could make things your excuse, or your reason. I knew I wanted a life different from my parents. I knew that some way, somehow, I would overcome what I was born into and create a better existence for myself.
Yes, I knew I wanted better, but to what degree? Life kept happening. My uncle committed suicide my freshman year of college. This threw my household into an emotional frenzy. Suddenly, the “parent” figures in the house had gone off the deep end…and I was pretty much left to fend for myself. It drove me to seek solace and “normalcy” in the man who is now my ex-husband. I SO craved a family like his with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and big loud holidays, and I so desperately wanted to be loved, and be someone’s NUMBER ONE. My own family was fighting its demons, and I just wanted out.
I immersed myself in being HIS someone. I let my dreams fall to the wayside, thinking that simply being a wife and a mother and being nurturing and domestic would finally reveal the sense of fulfillment I’d been seeking.
Clearly, none of that worked. Even in knowing I wanted something better, I fell into a romantic relationship much like the one I had with my mother. I kept thinking that if I loved them enough, they would love me back and give me what I so desperately craved. WRONG!
After 15 years together, eight of which we spent married, and having three kids, my ex-husband walked out. Today, I realize what a gift that was, but if you had seen me immediately after, you’d know that I truly thought that I was dying and that I’d never be able to go on.
Well here I am. I have survived. I am not a drunk. I am not a failure. I’m not a bad parent. There have been far worse heartaches than giving a bad relationship the boot. Death. Illness. Job Loss. Been there, done that. I’m still standing. I’ve gone on…but my Once Upon a Time still hasn’t brought me to a Happily Ever After. There are still HUGE pieces of the puzzle missing. I know what they are for the most part, I am just trying to figure out how to get from here to there.
I know that the greatest burden that I have borne through all of life’s struggles is with feeling alone. I rage against not having a mom I can call when I need a shoulder to cry on or some advice that infuriates me but I know is right anyway. I find myself frustrated and in tears when there is no one to call when I need help with the kids. I am exhausted when I am the only grown up in this house and I’m struggling to provide and make decisions for my kids. I still mourn the literal loss of my Gram, and the absence of the parent/sibling relationships that I so desperately needed with my aunt and my cousin. I can’t wrap my head around my continued singleness, and yes, I wonder when my Prince will come.
And yet, here I am. On the days when I want to retreat, or throw my hands up, or just scream…I still DO. I get the house clean and the bills paid and the kids fed. I volunteer extensively. I entertain and spend time with friends. I have INCREDIBLE relationships with my three children, and with my friends who have become my family. I have abundant blessings.
WHY THEN, even after all of that, are there still days that I am angry or sad? HOW can I not feel the sense of accomplishment in all that I have overcome? Why do I not take pride in what I have created, and credit for all that I do every day?
WHY? That is the question. Usually I write and I can find an answer. By the time I’ve reached the summary, I have a solution to whatever is plaguing me. Right now, I have no answer. I don’t know how to fill the emptiness. I don’t know when I’m going to realize that there is nothing I can’t do, and that I really have a lot to be grateful for of my OWN DOING.
I do feel better to have put this into words. It swirls around in my head endlessly. Maybe now that I’ve tapped away at these keys and let it out, I can move on.
I have more writing to do today. I am making a list of what I really want. Today when I write it, there will be no what if’s, maybes, or last times. It is going to be a list of what I am going to manifest in my life. I don’t need to decide how, I just need to know what I want. As I’ve already proven through what I’ve overcome up til now, if it is meant to be, I’ll find a way. I always do.