So Much Living To Do
Of late I have felt restless. Restless in my marriage, restless in parenting, restless in my everyday life. Just restless. I cannot calm my mind and I cannot calm my body. At times I feel as though I am suppressing something. Then I realize that something is me.
There are so many conditions that surround marriage and parenting. With marriage comes a partnership. You have to learn to work together; you have to learn how to manage finances and where to allocate joint money; you have to learn to create common goals for the good of the marriage; you have to learn to sacrifice; you have to learn to put your partner first over your own needs and wants – not always but often; and you have to learn to admit when you are wrong and forgive when you are betrayed. It is work. It is hard work. But if you love the person you are with, and more importantly like the person you are married to, the work is incredibly rewarding. But there are these challenges all the same. Sometimes they feel like a very heavy burden that you want to release yourself from. Sometimes… And then there is child (or children) and your sense of self dissipates further. You become parent instead of person. You struggle – emotionally, mentally, and financially. Suddenly you are responsible for the well-being of a tiny little soul. It is frightening. You do your best and try your hardest to ensure your child’s every need is met. Your energy becomes so focused on raising your child that you forget your partner and you forget yourself. You give so much – almost everything you have to give – to your child that you exhaust yourself. And every day you question if you are doing it right; and you question your abilities as a parent all the time. You stumble through your days, trying to make the best decisions for everyone you impact, but you forget to include yourself. You forget to care about yourself. Yes, this is a very common pitfall that I think I’ve fallen into.
I love my husband. I love my child. But I have not been caring as deeply for myself. I put my personal needs behind those that I love. I feel threadbare, tired, and boring. I feel very boring – not bored because I am kept quite busy – I simply do not feel interesting. I was interesting. I know that I once was…
I did things – fun things and crazy things. I remember being silly. I remember being adventurous. I remember having stories to share about the many experiences I had, and the gutsy risks that I took. This is the girl who, never having lived in a town larger than 12,000 people, moved to New York City to study theatre. This is the girl who, with $80 in her bank account and all her belongings packed in the backseat of a Ford Festiva, moved to Toronto to pursue a career in the performing arts. I knew no one. I had no job. But I had faith. I had courage. I made it work. I took risks, I took chances, and I put myself out there. This is the person I miss. This determined, passionate, adventurous girl that I once was. This is the person I want my son to know and be raised by. This is the person I want to be as a partner to my husband. I miss her. And I don’t quite know what to do to get her back.
I fell into the trap of giving so much of me; then, just as I was getting a handle on balancing my marriage and parenting my child, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and breast cancer [within 9 months apart]. After my two cancer diagnosis my life altered. There was a definite shift – an unrelenting urgency for survival – and I have spent so much time focused on my journey toward healing. It was necessary – and is necessary. But I do not want to be defined by the cancers I fought. I want to be defined by who I am. And after cancer it has been hard to find that person – probably because I am no longer that same person – yet the essence of me is still there. I feel that spirit within, and I can’t seem to figure out how to unlock it – how to unlock me. Is this common for cancer survivors – this longing for self but still figuring out how to regain it? I wish I knew.
These past three years I have struggled to parent and to be a partner in my marriage. And I feel stuck. I feel restless. I want to be strong and resilient so that others see that I am okay even when, sometimes, I am not. It is a struggle. It is a journey. And I know that this restlessness I feel will subside with time. It will subside as I continue taking those baby steps. Because I am taking baby steps. I am moving forward. It’s just a very slow progression for impatient and eager me; and my next challenge is learning to rediscover the person that is me. To find myself in this new path that I traverse upon. Because in life, struggle is inevitable. Patience with oneself is imperative. So yes, I feel restless, but perhaps this restlessness is what I need to spur me on and help awaken my dormant self.
There is just so much more living to do. So many adventures to take. I will get there. I know I will.
So Much Living To Do. Published by Crystal Joy Hall