We all change as mothers and mostly over time, in general. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the woman (or person) I have become or am becoming. I can’t decide if I like her, or if she’s who I really want to be. I find myself in a constant struggle to reclaim my past philosophies and ideas.
I think I liked who I thought I was (or was becoming) before I began my parenting journey. I thought I was stronger than I’d ever been and my confidence was at an all time high. I thought I could conquer anything I put my mind to. And that I would be the best I could at whatever I did.
I don’t feel like that today and I’ve been exploring the reasons why. Last night, I took that 16Personalities test that someone shared on Facebook. And the results sort of caught me off guard. I didn’t really read the complete description, but almost each letter was the complete opposite of what it had been from the last time I took it.
E– Extraverted vs I – Introverted
N– Intuition vs S – Sensing
T – Thinking vs F – Feeling
J – Judging vs P – Perceiving
So, I have been thinking even more about why there would have been such drastic changes in my results, aside from maybe me not answering the questions honestly. Mostly since I feel like I answered them as honest as possible each time.
I’ve suffered quite a few losses over the past few years and feel like they are having this drastic affect on my personality and judgement. I second guess everything and I try to tame my anger.
From the time my first was born, so was this instant fear of letting him see me angry. Having him witness me at my worse. His life becoming affected by others not wanting to associate with his mother. I was afraid to nurse in public because I didn’t want to curse anyone out in front of my baby. I was nervous about getting too close to other moms in these new mommy spaces because I didn’t want them to see me in any negative light. I just wanted my child to develop relationships with others and me just fade into the background while watching him develop into an amazing human.
But, at some point, I got lost in it all. I found people I could relate to on levels I couldn’t with my family and existing friends. I found people who wanted things for their family that I felt were right for mine. I found the opening to a world that I thought only existed in my thoughts.
Of course, that world wasn’t as awesome as I thought it was. And I spent a lot of time dismissing the signs. Because I was already in too deep and I had a network and resources like I could have only imagined in the past.
Not even a year in, that world came crashing down. I learned that the community that I helped to build saw me as disposable. That without my willingness to hold them up and continue to take on all of the obstacles placed in our path, they didn’t feel the need to go out of their way to support my needs. They thought they were “helping” and serving myself and anyone else involved. However, that is not how it went.
I was lonely and felt discarded. I put so much trust in a lot of these women and they didn’t know how to trust me or provide me with the care I needed.
But, I survived.
I found my way to another group and all was moving in a promising direction. I was more tame in my expressions and I felt I had to be the best version of myself. I suppressed a bit of myself by not speaking up on issues here and there. But, I did think it was for the greater good. I needed this community. No one else understood me like this. No one else could help me work through these parenting struggles that I was facing.
We built friendships. Friendships that I thought would last. Not sure how long, but long enough. I thought that even though I had issues, that the issues were no greater than any family (or friend) issues I had faced in the past. Even coworker related issues. They were just a side effect of human interaction.
I suppressed some more.
Last year, my brother took his own life. It caught my whole family off guard. We kept him on life support for 5 days. This happened on a Monday and the machines were turned off that Saturday. I held so much back for my family. I don’t feel I got the proper opportunity to mourn my brother. He was gone that Monday and I couldn’t express it. I had to be respectful of everyone else’s mourning process. I had to respect that no one wanted my mom to stress and not tell her that her son was dead. I had to smile in front of my niece and nephew and watch them beg their father to wake up because they just thought he was sleeping from being sick. I had to stand there while his wife practically cursed me out because I had the audacity to ask what her game plan was when addressing their children. I had to stand there in complete support of her while no one stood there for me.
I spent the next day or two in bed trying to grasp the situation while still being responsible for my 3 children and taking care of their medical issues. I had to mother. I couldn’t fully be me. And when those machines were finally turned off, I let out a deep breath. It was over. But, I couldn’t feel anything. I didn’t know what to feel. I still don’t know what to feel.
We didn’t have the best relationship. My brother and I fought constantly and didn’t offer the respect either of us needed or deserved. It hurt so much listening to his so called friends, at his memorial service, refer to him as their brother. It angered me to know that these people were so present in his life, but didn’t take the time to know what was going on with him. They thought they knew him, but they didn’t really know him. They knew what he wanted them to know and allowed him to hide behind that mask he created.
He deserved more. I wish he knew that.
I lost a lot over the last few years, my brother, my dignity, my confidence, a little faith, a whole piece of me. I want it back. Or I want to re-build some of it. I don’t want to be so scared or timid or cautious of others.
That second community that I worked so hard to help build, they discarded me too. In a worse way than the first. I can’t let that happen again. And I can’t allow them to have taken the best of me.
I need to be strong. And I want to show my children that they are capable of this strength too. I wish I knew where to start…