Mutu's Forbidden Fruit
An interesting discussion on women in their 40s in America, experiencing mid-life challenges and anxieties unlike the women who came before them, and likely afterwards, from Oprah.
There are times where I’m overcome with joy about this new life I’m building for my daughters and me, life with my hubby, my career that is going well (or not so well on some days).
There are times where I come to work and nestle safely in the retreat from the anxiety of my personal life, where I feel confident in the choices I’m making because work choices are so much easier than personal life choices, because it’s not personal, it’s work. (Or so I thought.)
And then there are days that as soon as I open my eyes, my stomach is filled with anxiety and I can barely get out of bed (like the women in the article), a holdover PTSD reaction to the stressors of an ex-husband who finds fault in everything I do, with my growing daughters (especially the tween), who I fear has fallen into a pattern of emotional care-taking with her father, with my elementary aged little sister who is still learning to manage her emotions that she wears so openly and lovingly and frustratingly on her sleeves.
That I’m not making life better, but worse. That even though I know it’s a marathon, I’m losing the race. That I’m screwing up, both at home and at work. I’m barely hanging on with my fingernails.
And then something sweet will happen; like a cat will come knocking at our door, and for twenty sweet minutes, the girls and I drop out of the busy morning routine and show our furry friend some love and kindness and milk (lactose free, apparently is okay for visiting cats). Who nestles us with meows and walks among our legs like she belongs there. Who settles down watching for our return (and who hasn’t come back, but we’re still hoping, lol).
Or big sister is home from school with a fever, but when the drugs kick in, she’s okay and decides to carefully meld a pair of earrings out of wire and fancy pliers and beads and crystals, which she gives to me, and I wear them the next day.
Times where I’m able to cradle my anxiety-ridden baby self who thinks mom, dad, sister, brother, anyone close will disappear, and recognize that is the root of my anxiety, and I’ll figure out how to take a big, giant breath, and soothe and comfort and relieve the fear deep inside.
Times where I’ll stand proudly in my shoes, knowing it’s okay to struggle, that women in my place and my peers have been afforded opportunities the likes of what hasn’t come before, my mother working as a single parent in a male-dominated corporate structure, paving the way for me, and now I’m paving the way for my daughters. That these lumps of anxiety are part of the course (at least my course), that going to the moon was never going to be easy, and it’s okay to ask for an oxygen mask or three. Or some shots of whisky. That huddling up to anxiety part of the days is actually a normal reaction to the complications and challenges that I’ve faced and continue to face.
I hope I can figure out how to help my daughters be strong and confident in their choices, opinions, thoughts, feelings. I hope I can help them navigate our complicated world full of pain and beauty, equip them with decision making skills, with love, with boundaries to protect them from harm. My wish for them is to not feel debilitated by anxiety, like I am.
I wish there was a magic wand. I wish I could make anxiety-laden troubles magically disappear. I guess the only way through it, is through it. I guess I have to accept the crazy and ride it to a better place. I hope doing our best is good enough.