Sharks, Jellyfish, and Babies- Oh my!

Why am I writing?  Why why why?  I keep coming back to writing, as if I put it on paper, in the right order, with the right words, some great bit of wisdom will be bestowed upon me.  A mystery will be solved.  That’s not even the truth.  I feel like if I can tell my story in some exact way, maybe I will reach someone, maybe I won’t feel so alone.  Maybe I will be more than myself.

Perhaps I just need to get it out.  Exorcise the demons so they will quit roaming in my head.  No, I’m not a heroin addict.  I’m not a criminal.  I’m not on skid row.  Why do I speak of demons?  I’ve always been a drama queen.  Maybe that is why the monotony of my day to day existence is wearing on me.

Let’s just get it out there.  I am a mother of two kids.  Just my saying that labels me in most social circles.  We all define ourselves and are defined by others, but I didn’t think my labels were universal until I was a mother.  To my family, I am the stable one, but my husband would call me a little crazy.  My mommy friends think I’m a creative free spirit, but my artist friends most likely think I’m a poser.  My job has never defined me, until now.  I went from shit job to shit job, always thinking I was better than what I did for a living.

Maybe that in and of itself is a definition.  The movie “Office Space” is very accurate in a lot of ways.  I do not think it is an exaggeration to say I did fifteen minutes of actual work when I was employed.  Well, maybe thirty.  One of the main reasons I went back to college was because I could take courses online, and I figured getting a degree while I “worked” might be a better way to spend my time instead of playing mah jong and looking at every fifteen minutes.

I worked jobs that had a minimal amount of responsibility and social interaction.  At most, I might book travel for an executive or schedule a meeting, but there was nothing in my day that caused any real stress.  I liked that.  I also liked that I put in my forty hours a week and the rest of the time was mine.  I was offered positions where I could travel, earn bonuses according to performance, etc.  My bosses always thought I had “great potential” and wanted to see me move up the food chain.  I turned them down.   Because I knew what they didn’t- I don’t function well under stress.  Despite having the least amount of responsibility possible, I still called in “sick” at least once a month because I just couldn’t face the day.

Motherhood was a slap in the face, followed by a right hook.

The best analogy I can give for my initial feelings about motherhood is to compare it to the first time I went swimming in the ocean.  My husband and I honeymooned in Maui.  We ran hand in hand out to the beach.  I had never seen anything so vast and overwhelming.  I was overcome with emotion.  I felt both insignificant in the face of greatness, but also as if my life had a special and unique place within that system.  I was nervous and exhilarated as I ran into the water.

I am not a strong swimmer.  I love to float and splash.  I have an awkward but passable stroke.  I like my feet to be able to touch the bottom.  I have trouble with my breathing technique, so I generally keep my head above water.

I gingerly walked into the ocean, careful not to get in too deep.  But the sand gave way underneath me and before I knew it, my feet had left the ground.  Waves began to crash over my head.  It was too much, I wanted to get back to land, back to safety.  I was able to straggle my way back towards the shore, but every time I tried to exit the water, a wave would knock me down from behind.  I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t breathe.  I could see my husband on the shore, beckoning me, but I couldn’t fight through the waves to meet him on the sand.  He finally ran into the water and steadied me, and I was able to collapse on my beach towel.

Over the next couple of days, I got better at swimming in the ocean.  I learned how to steady myself as I exited the water, so the waves would not knock me over.  I even used his snorkeling googles to look underneath the surface at the exotic and somewhat frightening creatures below.  But I was never confident in the water.  I didn’t want to know the true shape of the slimy material that brushed my leg.  I was cautious to wear dark solid colors and remove my jewelry before entering the water, so as not to attract sharks, even though I was never more than thirty feet from shore.  While outwardly displaying a carefree, jovial honeymooner, inwardly I was focused on sharks, jellyfish and other potential attackers.

Yes, those are my feelings on motherhood, in a nutshell.

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