It’s a Crisis of Confidence Party and You’re Invited!

I’ve been hiding in my hole.

Do you have a hole? Please tell me that you have a hole. In my hole, I play All For Leyna by Billy Joel over and over again.

WTF, right? Unrequited love is not what ails me, but whatever.

Sometimes, I have to get in the hole because it seems like the only safe place. I’ve never been great at protecting myself from the slings and arrows of ordinary life. I run around the world all exposed until I’m saturated, then run away and hide.

With Billy Joel. Because that makes sense.

Also? Exhausting.

I don’t love it in the hole, but it’s a trap as much as a refuge. I can’t leave until it’s ready to release me.

Inside the hole (and outside of it, too), I think too much.

All the people who know me even a little bit are now screaming DUH!!! into their computers. Ignore them.

Because I think too much to the eleventy-hundredth power, plus some more.

This is (finally!) my 100th blog post. It took me a year and change to get here. I’ve been thinking for two weeks about what I wanted to write for my 100th post, about how to sum up this past year of blogging, what I’ve learned, how the blog has changed and how the blog has changed me.

Blah blah blah. I have no fucking idea. I have more questions now than I did when I started.

I feel pulled, stretched, yanked. I love the blog; it gives me a place to make sense of things, to force my very unorderly life into orderly lines of words.

And yet.

Who the hell am I? Why do I do this? Any of it?

I’ve recently tried to expand my blog-reading repertoire and when I read blogs by other parents who are raising kids with special needs, I feel almost hopelessly ashamed of myself.

Where did I ever get the idea that it’s OK to be so damn negative? Why do I think that I have it worse than anyone else? Why don’t I take it all in stride? Why don’t I write more often that I’m grateful, happy, filled with joy? That I wouldn’t change a thing?

Because that wouldn’t be true.

Turns out? Blogs are not magical identity-generating (or altering) machines.

If I pull back and take a look, I know that I am juggling too many balls. I keep dropping one, or 3, or a dozen. I am too many different kinds of mom (step; non-custodial; regular); I have too few resources, both external and internal; I put too much energy into some things and not enough into others; I abandon things that nourish me in favor of things that nourish others; I abandon things that nourish others in favor self-indulgence; I never get enough sleep; I always eat too much; I pay too much attention to my pain and not enough attention to joy; I am always out of balance somewhere, somehow.

Always. Never. Never say never. Never say always.

This symbol means many things to many people, but it means one thing for me: you can’t pull on one of the three spirals without changing the other two. The three spirals represent body, mind, and spirit, the three facets of the whole.

The whole me.

The triple-spiral that is me? Not nearly this tidy and even.

I try to ignore the people on the periphery who are clamoring for more, more, more, the people who are on the outside of the inside, the people who do not know and will not try to understand.

They find their way in, though. I give them space in my brain and they yammer yammer yammer on about how I need to do more of this, be more of that. They are so noisy sometimes that I begin to hate them because hate and anger build walls. I want higher walls, more ways to protect myself from all those slings and arrows.

I want to do and be all the things they want me to do and be.

There is too much, too many, too deep, too broad, too wide. I eat more, sleep less, try harder.

And it all unravels some more.

My house makes me ashamed, and I write about it, hoping that I am not alone, but it is so far beyond a frustration with the act of cleaning that I don’t know how to express it.

Brian deserves more of me.

As do Jacob and Abbie.

As does Spencer.

As does my grandma.

As do my friends.

As do my parents, my in-laws, my extended family and beyond and beyond and beyond.

I miss my church. I don’t know if they miss me. I’m glad they don’t pull at me, but I wonder.

Carter is a bottomless well of need. How deep and wide is the anger in all of us about that? And how much do we hate ourselves for that anger?

In and out, in and out, it weaves, then tangles, then makes knots so complicated and strong, we will never find our way out.

And I want to scream blood from a stone! You’re trying to get blood from a stone!

My parents struggled. There were issues. Like every person caught up in the self-help movement of the late 80s and early 90s, I thought I would do things different. Better.

God forgive me, I didn’t know.

God forgive me.

I steal these hours at the computer, turn up the music, and use letters to make words, lay the words down in lines, try to untangle some of the knots.

They are unyielding.

I know that I deserve as much as anyone else; I know that I have to put on my own oxygen mask first; I know I know I know.

And I come face to face with my wanting, my desire for Something to Call My Own.

Something that says, definitively and loudly, that I matter. I was not born for these people, am not a sacrifice on the alter of Carter’s illness, am not the servant of other’s people’s expectations and anger. I am not a player in other people’s stories but the author of my own.

Author of my own story, and also author of many stories: big and small, funny and sad, light and serious.

Because there are other voices, too, the ones that say, if you want to Matter, if you want to be One of the Important Ones, you must amuse and delight. Be positive! Make them laugh!

You are not enough, were never enough, can never be enough.

And the not enough is also a being too much. My body speaks my truth: there is too much of me. I do not want so much as yearn; am not angry so much as enraged; am not sad so much as despondent; am not joyful so much as euphoric; am not hungry so much as famished, voracious, ravenous.

In 100 posts, I have committed again and again to tell my truth.

But often I get lost on my way to my truth. Is the truth in the not enoughness? Is it in the too muchness? Will I see it? Will I find it? When I get there, will I believe that I matter?

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Do I dare?

Do I dare disturb the universe?*

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45 thoughts on “It’s a Crisis of Confidence Party and You’re Invited!”

  1. Wow, your posts so often take my breath away with their depth.

    You never have to pretend here. Life can be happy and funny but it too often isn’t. It’s your honesty and openness that brings me back again and again.

    Thank you for sharing your world. Even if it is sometimes a dark one.

    1. So often, I strive to be a person who skates across the surface, but that’s not me. Why do we try so hard to be who we are not?

      Thank you. I love you, and love having you in my world, dark or light or in-between.

      1. Truth is a slippery bitch. It is one thing one day and the next day…whomp! totally different.

        The truth confuses me.

        There is my truth, there is my children’s truth, my students’ truth, my husband’s…

        I don’t always look on the bright side. Most of the time, my glass in not only half empty, the stuff left inside the glass may or may not be blood (mine or someone else’s, who knows?). Some days the sun floods the world with a golden, mellow light. Some days it is so dark that I can’t see my own feet on the path.

        Arwyn is right. You are not alone.

        1. A slippery bitch! Yes! I always make the distinction between my truth and The Truth – very different things. The Truth never changes, but my truth is all over the map.

          Sigh. I’m so often beaten over the head with those sayings – to look on the bright side, to see my glass as half full, blah blah blah. It gets tiresome. Truly.

          Thank you.

      2. Your writing is so powerful and I look forward to each blog. I told a friend to follow you because you can make people laugh some days and then make them cry on other days. That is a gift, my friend.

      3. Well, I for one am glad you dared to disturb the universe and tell us truth. Negative, positive, whatever–I don’t read a single other blog that makes me think–and rethink–as much as yours does. Happy 100th post; you have a faithful reader for however many hundreds more you write.

      4. “Because there are other voices, too, the ones that say, if you want to Matter, if you want to be One of the Important Ones, you must amuse and delight. Be positive! Make them laugh!”

        And to those people we say a merry, “Fuck you!”

        What if your story isn’t amusing or delightful? What if it is powerful and sometimes wretched, but brave? What if laughter is sprinkled in sparsely, lightly, in ways that make it almost jewel-like in its rarity?

        To anyone who suggests that that story is not Important, we say a merry “Fuck you!”

        Truth is seldom pretty, never wrapped up neatly, and doesn’t come with a big, bloody bow.

        But like laughter and humor sometimes, it is very very rare. And equally precious.

        Happy 100th post.

        I will be with you through many hundreds more.

        1. I read your comment on my phone last night after I’d gone to bed and all day, every time I think, “I ought to…” or “I really should…” I remember what you said. And then in my mind I’m all cheerfully shouting, “I bid you a very merry fuck you!” And that? How can I not laugh at that?

          So many, many thanks for your constant support.

      5. I’m sorry you seem to be going through such a rough spot right now. I think we all have holes we hide in…some of us just do it less often. Not because we are “better”, but maybe because retreating to the holes are harder for us.

        Hang in there!

        1. Yes, I think we all have ways that we protect ourselves. Some of those ways are healthy and some are destructive and I think most of us have some of both.

          Thank you.

      6. I love reading your post. You are such a beautiful writer. It amazes me the beauty of your words. Thank you for sharing your life.

      7. Adrienne… The struggling that we all do to find self worth takes us in so many directions. The struggle to stay afloat in our own lives – to appear as if it is effortless in order to dodge sympathy and empathy and judgment. The life you lead? Is a difficult one. We have talked before about “strength” and how, really? That isn’t the right word for it. When it gets thrown at you and you deal – is it really strength? So I won’t use the word strength – though it does seem the most appropriate. I will, instead, use the word endure. You have found the ability to endure so many things!

        In this space – you need not feel obligated to “make us laugh” or be less “negative”. You simply need to express. Honestly express YOU! The you that brings us all back here week after week to read YOUR words. And YOUR words… They are enough! Not to little, not too much… But just right. Right here. In your space. You write about the one thing we all care to know… The honesty that is you. Perfectly you.

        Happy 100th post! Keep ’em coming woman!!! Don’t change a thing!

      8. And another reason (as if there needed to be one) why your blog resonates so much with me. That feeling of being pulled out of yourself so much that you begin to feel as if there is nothing left of you to give yourself…only this year did I find the way to start taking that time back, and for the most part, at least one day a week, I have. And I don’t regret it, not one bit because it makes me a better person and a better mother. If I take those few hours on Saturday morning to go ride my horse and be me, do something that’s about nobody else but me, I can breathe in and out and I can go back home and pick up my kids and mother them better. This blog, I think, is for you what my riding is for me. You have a writer inside you who needs to be unchained for a few hours to tell your stories, to find yourself in the words that pour out through your fingertips onto the screen. The wondrous part to me is that when you do that, when you let that piece of yourself loose, it touches the rest of us and there are so many times that the words you write create some sort of healing in the people who read them. They touch a chord of something unresolved or needing validation, and they do something good. I hope that at your keyboard, there with the music playing and eking out your soul-time, that you understand that what you do touches so many others before it comes back to you.

        1. I read your comment on my phone while I was waiting for Carter to come out of school and by the time he got to the car, I was a snivveling, soggy old mess!

          Because yes, exactly, and I think I know part of what happened: I’ve been participating in this blog improvement program thing and I think it’s a great thing, but it was the wrong choice for me! I lost track of the why of this thing and got caught in the how.

          I need to write. That’s all; I just need a place to tell my stories, many of them sad/scary/ugly, but many of them light/happy/funny. And the fact that people come here and read, and sometimes share their kind words and stories? One of the greatest gifts the universe has given me. Thank you for helping me remember that.

      9. Girlfriend, sometimes truth is ugly. People who only write uplifting words of inspiration and peace are only sharing part of their truth with the world. It doesn’t mean they aren’t penned up in their own holes. When I’m in my hole, I prefer the Little Shop Of Horrors soundtrack. 🙂

        1. Maybe I’ll try LSOH next time. Feed me, Seymour!

          I don’t know what gets into me sometimes. I’m suspicious of people who are ALWAYS upbeat, who seem to have no pain to share. But somehow, I tied myself in a knot about NOT being the kind of person who freaks me out.

          Thank you. Many, many thanks!

      10. Here, in this space, the only person you truly need to please is you.
        Coming here to see you is a choice that we make.

        It is your authenticity that brings us back, whether you’re making us laugh or cry or both.

        Just be you…let it all be organic.
        We’ll be right here.
        Love you.

        1. Sigh.

          Thank you. So, so much. I’m coming back to myself, remembering what I’m doing here in the first place. I lost track of my original purpose and I’m so grateful that you helped me find my way back.

          Love you too, my beautiful friend!

      11. Um, I love that you quoted TS Eliot. Also? I feel like “not enough” frequently. And that is why we are here…in these spaces…to disturb the universe. To be ourselves.

        I will be around to read millions more of your posts. I am so glad to have found your space.

      12. As a parent (NOT of a special needs child), I feel like most of my life is lived in order to raise my daughter the way I feel is right. So, lots of my life is boring, aggravating, irritating, and rushed. Then I get the smaller moments of the joys of parenting, when the loving bond I share with her makes me happy. But it’s like a 80:20 ratio here, and I often think of how grateful I’ll be when she’s grown up and I can have my life back again.

        It always seems to me that I’m the only parent who feels this way –that parenting is mostly hard work, and I’m not sure I’d choose to do it given what I know now. Other parents I know make it looks so easy, and as if they love every minute of it. And I think our culture has pushed the “parenting is the best thing in the world” line so much that most parents don’t ever want to admit that it’s not so great to be a parent always. This is why I love Brain, Child magazine so much, where I first read your story –I feel so relieved to read that there are other people who don’t necessarily like parenting all the time.

        So, all this is just to say that if I get an 80:20 split, you’re getting a 99.99:0.001 split. I think you’re remarkably positive given the life you get to live right now –you manage to find humor in many things, and I think all your readers enjoy both the funny and the sad. I think we all enjoy the way in which you use words to describe your world. I know I do.

        1. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m finally (mostly) out of my hole. I lost track of something I knew (really, really KNEW) when I wrote that article: my truth matters. It doesn’t have to be something specific (positive, heartbreaking, funny, inspiring); it just has to be real.

          So thank you for helping me find my way back.

      13. You? Are such an inspiration! You are clearly an amazingly strong woman. You deal with things on a daily basis that other people can’t even begin to imagine and survive to tell the story. You are able to find a way to look at the brighter side of things even when they suck and keep your sanity at least partially intact! I’m always taken away by the depth of your posts and feel like I’m right there with you exceriencing your day first hand. Amazing!

        And its always nice to be able to vent. In neutral air. And my hole? Is typically used for dancing the stress away. Pretty fun sometimes.

        Happy 100th post!

        1. Oh, thank you. I’m pretty damn sure I have the world’s kindest blog readers. Yup. Pretty sure about that.

          The best is when I can turn the music up WAY loud and sing along. Lots of cleansing in the loud singing.

      14. sigh
        it must have felt good to get that out
        i wish i could say those things out loud
        so you are very important to me
        for organizing thought i can’t quite sift through

        thank you

      15. If I didn’t love you and your honesty before now, I do now that you quoted my all-time favorite poem. And yes, you dare disturb the universe. Because when you are old and you wear your trousers rolled, do you want to look back on a life and say “I didn’t because…but I should have?”

        No, probably not.

        So tell your truth, no matter how despondent or euphoric it may seem. I’ll listen.

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