I am sitting here wiping tears from my eyes. I’ve just spilled a glass of water all over my cluttered desk. I’m crying for the mess that I had to clean up, I’m crying for the clutter, and I’m crying about the weariness that has made it so very difficult to clean up that clutter lately. Or any of the clutter that seems to have taken over my house. And I’m crying because of that ugly voice in my head that wants me to believe I’m not worthy because I have a messy house that I’d be too ashamed to invite anyone into right now.
I am fatigued. So very, very tired.
I’m crying silent tears, because my daughters are in the next room and I don’t want them to come running. It’s not that I never cry in front of them, but sometimes it’s just easier not to have to explain mommy tears.
The truth is, I’m also crying because I’m hearing the voices of my daughters complaining that there is so little food in this house for them to eat and they don’t know WHY I haven’t gone grocery shopping lately and WHY I make them suffer and… oh, there is a long list of complaints.
And then there’s the fact that I’m teaching tomorrow and I can’t seem to focus on my teaching notes, and I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I won’t get papers marked in time to hand them back tomorrow. I’m always one of those consistent teachers who hands things back right away and now I have to let myself down as well as my students.
Those are all the little things that mask the big things. My mom’s cancer. Our financial challenges. And… did I mention my mom’s cancer?
All I can do is cry. I should be shopping for groceries, or marking papers, or cleaning my desk. But I just want to cry. Or nap.
A nap would be really, really good right now. I think I could stay in bed for the next 24 hours and I’d still wake up exhausted.
I’m trying so hard to be strong. And brave. And not worn down by life. It’s what I do – I carry on. I buck up. I put on my big girl panties and fight the battles that need to be fought. I survive.
I’m trying, but this afternoon I feel too weary to fight.
I wasn’t going to write about this. I’ve been censoring myself lately – deleting Facebook statuses that sound too whiny or negative or just plain weary. I don’t want to be that person – the victim, the self-pitier, the energy-sucking needy friend who always talks about how hard life is.
I don’t even know if I’ll hit “publish” on this post yet. But I feel like I need to write it.
Because this is the authentic, warts-and-all, tears-in-her-eyes, unpolished me.
I fall apart sometimes.
I want you to know that, because too many people have been saying “you are one of the strongest people I know” lately. “If you can’t handle this, nobody can.”
Really? Am I really the strong woman you’re picturing me to be, or have I just managed to paint a picture of strength to hide the flaws, just like I scramble to hide any messes behind closed doors when you come to visit my house?
I’m not always strong. And I have a messy house. You could eat off my kitchen floor, simply because there are so many crumbs and bits of food you could make a meal out of it. I don’t have the energy to clean it up, or even to remind my daughters that they were supposed to do it last night.
I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and the diagnosis is teaching me some big lessons.
My body is designed to cope in the middle of stress. The adrenal glands pump out extra adrenaline and cortisol, preparing a person for fight or flight. But after too much stress, the adrenal glands get worn out. They have nothing left to give. They have to recuperate so that they’re prepared for the next stressor.
There have been very few months in the last 3 years that haven’t included stress. First my job wore me out. Then my husband’s mental health took a nose-dive and he attempted suicide. As his advocate in a flawed mental health system, my adrenal glands had to kick into overdrive. Then there was the rocky road of self-employment with more bills to pay than there was money coming in. And my mom was diagnosed with cancer. And my marriage nearly crumbled. Add to that the daily challenges of parenting teenagers.
My body has nothing left to give.
I have been pushing it to the brink. I have been treating it like my slave. I have been acting like a cruel parent who berates her children for being tired after cleaning house all day.
I have been unkind to myself.
I have lied to myself about what I am capable of.
I have been unfair to my community, not letting them help when they want nothing more.
I’m not even giving God the chance to lend me strength.
I am doing my best to change that. I am doing my best to live authentically. I am doing my best to let myself be weak and not pretend otherwise.
Because I believe in the power of community. And I believe in my body’s wisdom about when it needs to be cared for. And I believe in the beauty of vulnerability.
I believe that admitting weakness is the first step in allowing God’s strength to work in me. Real strength, not the kind I like to pretend I have.
I am weak.
And now I am going to hit publish before I regret this.