I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I’ve never known how it feels not to write. My early journals were filled with plans for a farm I wanted to own with my best friend, Holly. In later years, I documented the fights my parents used to have and endless tales of adolescent hormones. In my late teens I wrote of my amphetamine rages, my anger at my mother’s cancer-riddled demise and my subsequent grief. I wrote of thoughts of suicide and wishing I could start over.
And through all of those crumpled, tear-stained pages I still held the belief that one day it would all make sense, that I would understand it all and be able to make peace with who I was. But that day never came, and I find myself here now, twenty nine years old and I’ve realised that I’m never going to feel ‘adult’. I’m never going to wake up one day and have it all figured out.
What I did realise though, is that maybe if I feel this clueless and as if I am stranded on an island of potluck and chance, then maybe other women do too. Maybe other women suffer with anxiety, and wonder whether they’re capable of raising their own children, or whether anyone values them as anything other than a mother.
So here I am being honest. These are my stories over the years.
When I think of my mum, I look back to see a woman who was merely disappointed with humanity – the phony friends who promised to keep in touch as she moved hundreds of miles away, the nasty, cruel things people did to each other, the disappointment of not being where you thought you’d be in life. And so she drank to alleviate the pain of loneliness dancing in her heart.
And in reality – is it reality? Or do we just need reasons and excuses for keeping people on pedestals because the truth would hurt even more than our idealised version?
I feel so lost sometimes. I’m not sure I am cut out to be a mother. When I look at the years ahead, I wonder if I can even manage it at all.
I look at the lives of other people and they always seem so much more together than me, they seem to have more fun, be more in tune with their husbands, be more natural mothers. I know that we only see the best of people; we so rarely see the ugly sides of them that they reserve for behind closed doors, but I cannot help but feel that I am lacking, that I am not all that I should be. I am desperately writing, trying to find a train of thought and even as I write this someone is calling me, needing me, wanting something from me.
There are a thousand things running through my mind and not one single strand of thought seems to be clear and concise enough for me to make any sense of it.
A year ago tomorrow, a friend lost her three year old boy. I could write about it over and over, trying to pick it apart, to make sense of it, to make peace with it. I could write about the tears and the helplessness, watching someone break apart in front of you. But it’s useless. Sometimes writing is nothing but an exercise in self-pity and indulgence. It doesn’t change a thing.
Even in grief, the world keeps turning.
And I am as helpless and hopeless as I was when I first learned how to write.