I won’t lie. This season has been difficult for me. Finding a balance between being a wife, mother, daughter, employee, and friend has been exhausting to navigate. There are days that I want to lay on the ground and just give up.
The last few weeks the world was burning around me. Around us. Around my family. The fire was literal. Often times it was metaphorical.
That fire struck a chord. It shook me. It made clear something that I’ve known for a long time. It’s something I try to hide but now that I’m a parent it seeps through the cracks.
I’m afraid all of the time.
What do you have to be afraid of?
I’m afraid of hurting the teeny tiny’s teeny tiny body, I’m afraid of breaking his spirit or ruining his kindness or childlike wonder, I’m afraid of not being enough, I’m afraid of not leaving him a world that is safe/good/alive/kind/functioning enough. I’m afraid I’m poisoning him unintentionally with the food we eat, the water we drink, or the air we breath. I’m afraid I’m melting his tiny brain with the radiation from various electronics around the house or the wifi (it doesn’t help that he’s started noticing the phone and TV). I’m afraid of the forest fires, drought, and war, and there are some days that I question whether or not I’m a selfish turd for bringing him into a world that is such a cluster fuck. I’m afraid of school buses, bullies, and sheltering him too much. I’m afraid I won’t let him explore enough, get dirty enough, or play hard enough. I’m afraid he will be lonely, awkward, picked on, that he might be mean, get his feelings hurt, or be afraid. I worry that he might be too privileged or spoiled. I worry if he finds himself in a scary situation, will he know what to do and will he tell me if something happens? I’m petrified of the general unrest our country is experiencing. I’m terrified that one day he could disappear. I’m terrified of losing him. I’m sick to death and terrified of all of the things I cannot possibly control.
The Blame Game
Part of it is that I’m generally just an anxiety ridden person. Some of it has been conditioned from being too connected, from being too invested in social media and other sensationalist media. Some of it is because 2016 has been a shit show of a year. I’m sure some of it is hormone related.
There are times the fear snowballs with such fury that it sends me into a downright panic and it’s a wonder that I don’t see my therapist more than I do. It’s only because I’m time and cash poor and she’s a busy lady. So my mom friends get midnight texts–because one of my favorite ones lives on the west coast and that’s super convenient because she’s a mom guru and up at midnight my time–and my husband talks me off ledges while I try to get it together.
And my son doesn’t ever for a second think that I’m ever doing anything other than what’s best for him. He doesn’t know I’m plagued by fear on his behalf. He doesn’t know that there are days I’m terrified that the world will crumble to pieces before he ever reaches his fifth birthday. He is my grace. Unless I’m lollygagging getting the boob out when he’s ready to eat and then you’d think I was killing him or starving him to death. This has earned him the nickname Tiny Tyrant. Patience may not be his virtue, but he looks at me with hope and that makes me feel like we all have a chance and like we can turn it all around. Still the anxiety creeps in…
God, all I want is to do right by him.
So what am I going to do?
These days I’m a big believer in putting the energy you want to receive into the world. There are times that this is borderline ridiculous for me to believe because I generally can’t stand people, am annoyed by everything, and have a bad attitude. I’m trying to improve myself for myself and in part for the boy. Self discovery and maintenance are important. This attitude towards life also seems reasonable to me: if you’re in a constant state of believing bad things will happen, bad things will happen. I can’t live in a fearful place everyday anymore. I don’t have the energy to be that anxious anymore because I have to put so much energy into raising my son, working, being a wife and daughter, and finding time for myself. I can’t do any of those things if I waste my energy with my anxiety and fear in dropping the ball somewhere. I’m trying. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I’m trying. Some days I feel stretched by it. Some days it feels easier to be overwhelmed.
Writing that out makes it seems like a high-pressure, counterintuitive, and stressful way to come at managing my anxious thoughts. It is a little.
With the fire the rains came, help came. I’m hoping there is something to ease my mind. Metaphorical rain.
I want to go into the New Year with clear eyes and a full heart. (Any FNL fans out there?)
So I will count my blessings. I will focus on self care. I will see my therapist. I will go speak with my doctor and make sure I’m still on the right track. I will ask for help. I will manage this fear.
In times of crisis, I find comfort in this quote:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” — Mister Rogers
It speaks volumes, especially living in the Volunteer State where the Red Cross has to tell people to slow their roll because they can’t keep up with the donations and the Queen Mother Saint Dolly Parton promises to take care of her people.
There is still good in the world.
Tell me, how do you manage your fear?