Hanging On

This is me.

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Barely hanging on. I am trapped inside life. Everything feels wrong right now. I feel stuck and panicked. I feel like I can’t break free of it. I feel like everywhere I turn there is no escape.

Trapped. Trapped by problems. Trapped by my inability to fix them. Trapped by obligations. Trapped by everything I can’t do. Trapped by everything I have to do. Trapped by parenthood and daughterhood and wifehood and lifehood. Trapped by my lack of time. Trapped by my lack of freedom. Trapped by my lack of money. Trapped by my inability to speak sometimes. Trapped by how desperately I want to close myself in. Trapped by the fact that I can’t. Trapped by the staggering amount of To Dos.

I am whiteknuckling my way through life right now.

I write this now, not for sympathy, but because I know so many of us are living this way. It feels silly to write this down. It feels navel-gaze-y and self-indulgent and wallowing and ridiculous. But it also feels necessary. So many of you feel this way, too. I know it. Your fingernails digging into every surface so you can just. hang. on.

This is part of motherhood, I think. We are responsible for taking care of our children and of their well being and of their lives and of their behaviors, but then we must also take care of our lives and the time-consuming, exhausting minutia that goes along with all of it. Doctors' appointments and registration for school and bill paying and vitamin giving and lunch making and dentist going and dropping off and picking up and taking care of partners and other family members and keeping the house cleaned and laundry done and remembering birthdays and birthday parties and gifts and where the hell did that paperwork go and don’t forget about that worrisome email you have to reply to and what about the insurance and you have a deadline tomorrow and that play date and also don’t forget to go to the grocery store for milk.

Meanwhile, people are shooting each other for existing and what is this world.

It is so much some days. So much.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I hope I’m not. Some days it all piles up, towering so high you can barely see the top and how close you are to toppling all of it. Some days you can’t figure out how to fit another thing, but you know you have to. Some days, it feels impossible. And then you wake up and do it again, removing a few things from the pile while still more are added.

It’s so much.

It happens that my pile has been particularly heavy of late. It happens that the world has been particularly heavy of late. It happens that my pile toppled right on top of me yesterday and I didn’t know how to get out from under it. I’m still in there, not quite ready to dig myself out. I just want to sit in here for a while despite the chaos and mess and the way things feel terrible… because it is quiet. I am alone in here and it doesn’t seem like things can get worse. If they do, I can’t see it from inside this space.

I know this isn’t sustainable. I don’t want to sustain it. As much as I want to hide and run from my great pile of life, I can’t. As much as I want to close my eyes and ears against the world when it feels like this, I can’t. It’s still there. It’s all still there. And in the long run, I don’t really want to. Not really. But I do wish there was a reprieve. A break. Some room to breathe. There’s not yet.

It’s so much.

But it will ease up. It always does. Sometimes my pile is light, and sometimes my pile is just as heavy as it is now, but I can carry it. I remain steady. This is life, after all. Ebbs and flows, great waves before the tide pulls out again. I’m inside it now, too close to see where the wave will break, but it will. It always does.

Until then, I need to dig my fingernails in a bit deeper and just hang on. Those of you in this with me: Hang on. Hang on.

About Shannon

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