I don’t know what has happened.
It’s Sunday, so it’s a C day. I was awake for an hour or more in the middle of the night because I felt afraid. I don’t have any idea what I was afraid of. I just felt fear in my body. I got it calmed down enough to feel sad and ashamed. I began to run through my deficiencies as a teacher, which are many. I thought how much I struggle with life. I struggle to get the basics done, I struggle to carry out my minimum job responsibilities, I struggle to maintain the very least of the social niceties. I struggle with everything. Maybe in the middle of the night, it was somehow time to come to terms with that. I really, really struggle and it does not get easier. One crisis passes and another surfaces.
This sounds very frenetic, that I was up in the night with my mind racing, but my mind doesn’t work that way. It’s very slow, because the fear is in my body. It isn’t in my mind. I am not tossing around everything that scares me or could be wrong.
I think I have learned over time to spend a lot of energy just on staying calm, so that I can feel anything at all. I don’t really think about this anymore. It happens automatically. But I know the rest of the world is trying to calm their thoughts down usually, when they are stressed. And I am trying to make myself feel safe enough to feel anything at all or to have any reasonable thought about what could be troubling me. I don’t actually know why this is.
I struggle more because I am more challenged. I could do all of these things better if I worked less at being a human being who is capable of finding joy and satisfaction in life. If the Boy did not live with me, if I did not make pancakes and send a letter to C every morning, if I did not push myself to try to engage with the world and enter into relationships, it would be easier. I would feel more dead inside, but I would be able to handle life.
I can be a good teacher. I can get three meals a day cooked and eaten. I can get the laundry done. I can see my colleagues and be polite to them. All the skills are in place. What I can’t do is cope with everything inside me as I try to have authentic relationships. And that’s where I am. I am struggling.
It touches on all of my shame. Who would ever want me? I think of all of the things I conceal so that I do not need to face judgment. It’s a lot, actually. It’s a lot of stuff that I don’t share with other people. Personal things and more pragmatic things. But I basically conceal that I cannot cope with everything, and no matter what I do large chunks of what a competent adult needs to do get tossed aside, because I can’t do it all. And I feel ashamed.
I am not sure what to make of that or where to go with that. I have been telling C she is the same person when she feels ashamed as when she feels happy, and that I love her the same amount. She is going to feel bad about herself sometimes. All of us do. Every last one of us feels ashamed from time to time. That doesn’t make her bad. I am trying to get at the idea of self-constancy. You feel happy. You feel sad. You feel ashamed. You feel angry. You continue to be there, and your relationships continue to be there through various feeling states. Obviously, some relationships actually aren’t really there, but her relationship with me is.
That’s the idea in my own mind right now. I feel ashamed right now. I am still me. Everyone feels ashamed sometimes. It’s okay to feel ashamed. Everyone does.
I didn’t learn this the way I needed to for many, many years. I learned I couldn’t have negative feelings. I learned I needed to work harder at not having those negative feelings. It’s really kind of crazy-making, trying not to feel things. It’s exhausting, and it feels very, very unsafe, because feelings are these animal things that just happen. You can’t control them that much. Trying not to have them is totally insane.
Anyway, I spent an hour or two crying and drifted off to sleep. When I woke up at five am, the Boy wasn’t home. I let him sleep at a friend’s house last night. I think on a Saturday night, that’s okay, and the boy he went to visit is a nice boy. I like him. I don’t think he would get into any kind of serious trouble. So I woke up alone, and that helped. I cried for almost two hours, and it seemed like that helped a lot.
When the boy got home around seven, I felt more normal. I told him to take a bath and wash his clothes and I made him study for an hour. Then I let him go play. I suppose he might be back when he gets hungry. I don’t really know if I am giving him too much freedom or not. I am trying to give him routine and a structure, now that it’s kind of worked out what needs to be done and how long things take. He has a study schedule, complete with the subjects he is supposed to study and the time he is supposed to study those subjects, because he has exams in about 6 weeks. I think he might be getting used to the idea now. For two days, he fought it with everything he had, and I just stayed solid with it.
“Can you please not hit the wall? It’s very loud.”
“No, you can’t go and play video games now, because you chose to do that during homework time.”
It kind of went like that.
Anyway, all of that was normal, so I think it helped.
I think it’s possible last night was really hard, because of the song and dance show. I think I did really miss C. There are times when I do really miss having her at my school. I am glad she has moved onto the next stage in her life, glad things are the way they are. I don’t want to turn the clock back, but I miss seeing her every day. I miss sharing the high points of her school life with her. Now, I hardly know anything that happens with her. I think I missed her last night, and that was scary for me. It was scary for me to have so many feelings of attachment. They don’t feel safe to have. I think also a part of my poor confused mind believes that all separations are punishments. I wanted her there and she wasn’t there because she hates me and never wants to see me again. I think the separations make it harder to feel the connection to her that might always be there without my awareness. I think they might make it hard for me to feel safe enough to feel the connection I would feel if I weren’t shutting things inside me down.
I still feel sad. When I calm down enough to feel things, I feel very, very sad.