Usually, I have all the answers. Well, sometimes. But today, I was floored. My mom made a few simple statements. She said, “ I don’t think you can truly handle a challenge.” She also said, “You seem like you’re running from something or towards something.” The conversation really got my wheels turning.
So, my parents are older. Periodically, I go down (a few cities away) to have lunch with my dad. My mom usually tags along. I will pause to explain their weird relationship. This was brought up at lunch today. My parents were married back in the mid-70s. They had all of us (4 kids) in New York, then moved to South Carolina. Once we got down there, they divorced. But that’s the weird part. They still love each other. The divorce was simple with no custody issues and no child support. They still visited each other for coffee and often talked on the phone. Even Though they both dated and married other people, they were never mean to each other. The point of this is, she was there for my monthly lunch with my dad. So, she rode down from the city with me to see him; which is when this talk took place.
She said that I had lived a spoiled life and she was concerned that if I ever faced a serious challenge, I couldn’t handle it. To which I replied, “I’ve been through multiple things and yet, here I am.” She made sure to say by God’s grace. Which, I’m not sure if she feels that I have a disconnect because of my lifestyle, or not.
By lifestyle, I mean parties, travel, etc. I think she believes I’m spoiled because I had a full ride to college, got married, had 2 beautiful children, and have a career. What she doesn’t see is the behind the scenes. Romantic relationships are stressful. Education (teacher/ assistant principal) is stressful. Motherhood is stressful. Also, fighting the urge to run away is stressful. I got the runaway gene from my mom. We moved a million times growing up. Yet, she acts surprised that I feel like the main character in ‘Chocolat’.
Here’s where the detachment comes into play. Because of all the stress I face daily, I’ve become somewhat numb to feelings. I constantly get yelled at by irate parents. I get teacher/admin complaints. I cook meals that no one eats. I drive to 50 million places to get 50 million things done. And, I constantly monitor my exercise and eating regime to fight the good fight against obesity. Because of all this, I’m usually numb to intense emotions. At least I thought I was. At lunch today, my dad brought up my sister, who passed away nearly 20 years ago. The table fell silent as he began to cry. I tried to use my detachment strategy for the sake of my kids. I don’t like to cry in front of them, not sure why. I usually detach because I don’t want to feel emotions and think about all the things I’ve been through. But, I often wonder if that is a bad example for my kids. They should learn the array of emotions and how to feel. No one is happy all the time, which is probably what they think because of what I display.
So, after I got home, and dropped everyone off, I went for a drive. I needed a drive to think about all of the conversations and to cry. I thought about where I am emotionally. I thought about why I don’t get jealous or upset. I thought about why I feel like I have many friends, but I don’t feel a deep connection. I thought about what my life will be like after my kids graduate and move out. I am still trying to grasp what I really want out of life. What I want seems to change frequently.
So, good people of the Shelf, how did you figure out what you wanted out of life?