sometimes it’s hard to breathe

(I’m okay.  I wrote this post back on my bad weekend, but didn’t publish it.  But, since this is my place, and I’m trying to stay honest, and since there’s been a whole lot of crickets on this site lately, I decided I’d publish today).

 * * * * *

I’m tumbling down again.  I feel it happening but I can’t stop it…I don’t know if I even want to stop it.  I do know that I hate it when my children see me like this; I guess that’s something.

I’m overwhelmed.  I’m suffocating.  There is no quiet place in my mind, no sanctuary in my home.  My home is my problem.  Usually (I think I am learning) these breakdowns begin there (here).  Quite simply, I am being strangled by my surroundings. 

My father was a finder.  We would be driving down the highway at 80 kilometres an hour and something would catch his eye.  He’d screech to a halt, throw the car into reverse, and backtrack until he could get out and take a look at whatever treasure had found its way roadside.  The LP that introduced me to my first rock and roll music?  The Salmo-Creston highway.  The watch he wore to my wedding?  The Hope-Princeton.  My dad salvages everything, from loose screws on the street (which pose a risk for passing tires) to lost logs from a boom, drifting by the on the ocean in front of his house. 

My husband is a keeper.  He has sheets of loose-leaf paper with the names and statistics of every player in the 1992 NHL draft; he has his dad’s old 45 records, even though we’ve never owned a turntable.  He has trophies he won in pee-wee hockey, and medals from every fun-run he’s ever finished.  Yellowing newspapers with his own articles, and newspapers with once-important or interesting arts or sports or home and garden sections.   He keeps socks and underwear that are full of holes; he keeps an ever growing pile of clothes, neither clean nor dirty, on a chair beside the bed.  A pile of receipts and tags and scraps of once-important papers clutters the surface of his dresser.

My oldest daughter is a free spirit, whose artistic license looms large.  While I want to decorate her room with perfectly placed matching frames, she wants to hang up her own works of “art”:  hastily drawn scribbles or variations of her name scrawled across a recycled page.  While I want her to classify her treasures into matching, labelled boxes, stacked neatly on shelves, she opts to use old cereal boxes, each one containing a amalgamation of everything.  She plays gorgeously and independently, spreading herself out from room to room, a trail of makeshift toys and games in her wake.

I can’t live in this environment, and yet the alternative exhausts me.  Sometimes I just collapse and look around, and then collapse again, more profoundly.  I don’t know where to begin, and once begun, I’m not permitted to stop, because the moment I stop it all starts again, the muddle reproducing like germs in a Petri dish, breeding, growing, expanding…

I become a bad mother when this happens.  Not a bad mother in the Catherine-calls-herself-a-bad-mother-but-is-really-parental-awesomeness-personified but a really bad mother, who throws tantrums and cries and runs and hides.  Completely ineffective, utterly destructive.  At these times I feel thoroughly alone:  my children don’t understand; my husband doesn’t care.  I am blind with rage and frustration and total desolation, and I take myself somewhere to be alone for a moment so that I can muster up the will to come back into this realm.  But when I get to that alone place there is still more stuff and more work to do and no solace and nowhere further to run away.

This isn’t beige; this is black.  I know I’ll come out of it eventually, but just as surely, I know it will happen again.

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5 Responses to sometimes it’s hard to breathe

  1. Leia says:

    Have you seen (or read) The Secret? Might help you gain some mental perspective. It’s helping me….and you know where I’ve been.

    In the mean time, I’ll be thinking of you.

  2. mamatulip says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. Seriously. It makes me feel so much better knowing that there is someone else out there who feels and thinks and goes through some of the same things and emotions that I do sometimes.

    You’re not alone. :)

  3. Oh, I find myself in this spot so often…With four males in the house, it’s so out of control sometimes. I go back and forth between giving up (despair) and throwing little shit-fits. Neither are very constructive. I’m still a work in progress, I guess. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Valerie says:

    Glad I’m not the only one that can’t seem to EVER fully relax due to the chaos inside my home.

    Not that my definition of chaos is what someone else might call chaos, but I think you may relate due to your comment about your daughter and her “art” versus your desire for matching frames. Yep…that’s me!

  5. Pingback: a new and favourite happy place | RhapsodyInBeige

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