14Mar

Picture of [Im]perfection

As you may have guessed, the last couple of days have been rough. I never know what might be a trigger until I’m rubbing my eyes on the other side of a long tunnel, emotions bloodshot, wondering what the hell happened. Thank goodness for work. I’ve heard distraction recommended as a coping strategy for PTSD sufferers, and it was actually a relief to have to get out the door early this morning and focus on teaching a class. It snapped my mental energies back to the here and now, and it always does my soul good to be around people and places who don’t remind me of anything. Later, an irrational translation client had me laughing (I apparently “ruined” the central Italian landscape with my un-poetic word choice and grammatical consistency; I guess it’s true that the pen is mightier than the real world?), so I think it’s safe to say I’m back to myself.

I often wonder how these episodes are going to end up affecting my girls. I worry that seeing me sad and struggling to cope will traumatize them, but at the same time, our conversations during the hard times are incredibly precious. The girls know that my sadness is only occasional and has nothing to do with them. They know their mom is human and fragile and willing to be honest with them about both. They also know love. They’re experts in it already, and their hugs and notes and daughterly concern add up to the most healing treatment plan I can imagine.

Thank you for your encouragement too. I always ricochet between feelings of stupidity and feelings of guilt whenever I let on that I might not be the picture of psychological perfection (might not, mind you). Authenticity will probably always be a struggle for me considering my background. However, Jennifer pointed out that naming something is powerful in lessening its hold, and I’d like to think that writing about it goes a step further—aims typeset floodlights into the shadow, illuminates the sniveling nightmare, and says I’m not afraid to expose you (even if I am). I’d also like to think that my honesty with the girls will help them flip the tables on their own fears one day, though hopefully with less neurotic two-stepping. More than anything, I’d like to think that my ability to write this today means that love is the one winning this struggle.

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7 comments

  1. The ability and courage to write about this is a beautiful blessing, that i’ve often wished i had. I keep hoping that someday in the duture i might tell the full story, just to have it out and never have to cover it again. I suppose you may already know, but although some things never really change, the episodes will get better. It will not always feel like such a mess.

  2. You have to forgive the poor grammar and misspellings. I believe my phone has a secret agenda against me 😉

  3. Thanks for writing this, I’ve been really spiraling downhill the last few weeks, and it always makes me nervous when my girls see me crying so much.

  4. “flip the tables on their own fears one day…”
    i love that.

  5. I suspect that your girls will have many many less fears to deal with, simply because of the incredible example you are providing when it comes to honesty and courage.

  6. your sweetlings will grow up knowing both the raw reality of life but also the tenderness of a mama’s true love. this legacy is irreplaceable and guess what. you’re the only one for this job, and you are incapable of messing this up. you’re doing great…and by modeling for them what it is to acknowledge all truth, even the uncomfortable pieces, you are instilling within them very healthy values.

    i ache that it sucks for you, though.
    love you.

  7. Hannah – “although some things never really change, the episodes will get better.” I know this is true, but it always helps to be reminded. Thank you. (I owe you an email!)

    YM – ((Hugs)) If I have any encouragement for you, it’s for myself too. I am positive your girls know they’re loved, and I’m also positive that’s one of the best gifts you could ever give them.

    Beka – 🙂

    Liz – I do hope so. It’s actually my biggest consolation to think that they’re not going to have to deal with the same issues one day. Different ones, sure, but not these. It helps.

    Rain – I know all too well that it is possible to mess up parenthood, but I’m determined to do the best job at it that I can. Love you too.

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