This past month has been a difficult one for me; it has been hard to put it into words. I was stuck and couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. I was in a dark place emotionally where I didn’t want to do anything and everything I felt and thought was negative; no matter how much I tried to be positive, there was this underlying ugliness that I couldn’t shake. I could feel myself slipping into a depressive state and I was stuck on how to help myself get out of it.
Being a single parent is hard. I have to be the mother and the father at the same time, regardless of the fact that my children do have a father. I have to be strong and supportive to my kids, even when I have little to give to myself. There is no one to share the responsibilities of life with – the physical, emotional, and financial demands – and yet, this is the life that I have chosen for myself. After 30+ years of thinking of others first, it has taken a toll on me and I just get tired.
This past month, I have been somewhat on my pity pot, not feeling good and tired of the day-to-day struggles of life. In days like this, it takes everything out of me to do the most basic of tasks – I have to tell myself to get up, to go to work, to cook and clean – let alone to push my kids to do what they need to be doing. I do what I have to do to be able to take care of my kids, but beyond that, it is like pulling teeth to get it out of me.
This week, I went to my son’s parent orientation for high school and was reminded again of what good kids that I have raised. It is truly a blessing to see that your hard work and sacrifices are making a difference in their lives and they are growing up to be good people – that you have done a good job despite all the difficulties that life brings.
In my pursuit to understand what I was feeling, Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” is a beautiful song and resonated with me on a couple of different levels. First off, I have to state that the message behind the song is not what I am speaking of, instead it relates to my internal struggles.
With that said, in the video, there is a part when he falls below the surface of the street and he is trapped there with the world passing him by. This imagery captures what it feels like for me to be in the midst of depression. I am aware of everything but am struggling to tread water or free myself from it’s darkness. It takes everything from me to pull myself out of it. The lyrics:
- I know you got a little life in you yet, I know you got a lot of strength left – is the message that I have to tell myself continuously when I need to do those basic tasks.
- I should be crying but I just can’t let it show/go – is the struggle to be strong and how it feels to be numb to my emotions at the same time.
- I should be open/hoping but I just can’t stop thinking, all the thing that we (I) should’ve said that we (I) never said, all the things that we (I) should’ve done that we (i) never did, all the things that we (I) should’ve given but I didn’t, oh darling, make it go, make it go away – is the mental insanity that I can’t shake and the guilt that I feel for not being a better person and parent; I want nothing more than to make these thoughts and feelings go away but I can’t shake it free from my core being.
The last half of the song is a message towards myself; when I became pregnant at 14, I was a child myself – I hadn’t yet been able to discover who I was or would become; I hadn’t learned to love myself or forgive myself for my mistakes. I chose to bring life into this world and didn’t yet understand what this world had to offer. I had to grow up and start thinking of my birth child and yet, I hadn’t stopped to think of my inner child and what she needed from me. What hit me the hardest is that I had failed my inner child, neglected her needs and abandoned her before she was ready to face the world; I had to ask for her forgiveness that I wasn’t there for her the way that she needed me.
I know now that I have to learn to love and nurture my love child within, just as I would my children that I chose to bring into this world; only then may I find a little bit of peace and acceptance for myself.
I know it won’t be easy, but then again, when is personal growth ever easy!?