Feelings are Normal (Day 16, Year 4)

I didn’t feel like writing over the long weekend, so I did not. It wasn’t because I was so busy having a long weekend, it was because the weekend was long. There were so many sporting events and a large family controversy and good meals and Mike did like 20 loads of laundry and we volunteered for MLK day and ate at a diner and saw Mean Girls and performed failed magic tricks to get a snow day. 

At least there was snow and a 2-hour delay (and now another 2-hour delay). 

It was a long three days and I’ve been having a tough time lately. I know I write a lot here about everything; but I am not often vulnerable about my feelings (except the big, obvious things like grief). I am not sure how long I’ve had this tough time, the days run together in a flurry of schedules and busyness and deadlines.  I will be okay and there is no mental health emergency. I just feel disconnection and distance in my life, mixed with a sense that I don’t make anyone particularly happy. I am not entirely sure what to do about it. And I also know my worth isn’t based on the happiness I spread. But, still all of this fills me with a lot of self-loathing which is then fueled by stubbornness and ego and self-pity. Pity and loathing are really intolerable, friends, especially when they are chatting in your head and don’t invite you to chime in a rational way.

I think this is all sort of normal, although undesirable. Like, I think it is okay to not be blissfully happy and totally secure all the time. Sometimes distance and disconnection can fuel some change—I mean I cannot stay this way forever, something must change. I know it is unpopular to say that being unhappy is okay; but it is. Feelings are normal and valid. It’s what you do with them that gets tricky. 

I frequently have this “feelings are normal” chat with my kids after there has been some dramatic explosion. Usually, they have valid feelings about some sibling treachery or school-induced stressor or being asked to do something. It is their reaction which is absolutely bonkers and utter madness—explosions of rage and hysteria and fighting and kicking and screaming. 

And no, they are not toddlers, they are two teenagers and a tween!

While we could all laugh at this point and make a comment on the hormonal madness of teenagers or judge my children as awful, there is something to be said for their honesty. I am struggling with how to share my valid feelings. I have very obviously chosen to react by introverting and flying low to the radar, hoping someone will notice. I am confident no one will notice. And maybe I don’t want anyone to notice (I know, this makes no sense! I am writing about it here!). But, I certainly don’t want to scream and have a strange toddler meltdown as a grown woman. 

Stewing in my own valid feelings seems to be the lane I’ve picked. And here, I will stay until I shake myself free of it or finally snap and have a public tantrum at the Target. 

For now, friends, thanks for reading.