Accountability

“Are you okay?”

An innocuous question but for me, it comes tethered to my husband’s emotions, and has done for many years.

It has always been my job to make sure that he was okay.  It would take many forms; making sure dinner was ready when he came home late, tired and grumpy.   Putting the kids to bed so that he could close his eyes for a while; taking care of the house, and just generally making sure that he had no responsibilities within the family unit such as school paperwork, groceries, sex, anything at all.

In these ways, I made sure that he okay.  And if he was okay, then I was okay but I really wasn’t, and I never knew how to express that I wasn’t.

I am learning to loosen my grasp on the honesty of my answer.  I don’t have to hold in the truth.  Don’t be afraid to say no, I am not okay, but I’m working on my shit and I will be okay in some form or another.

I am not responsible for how you feel, and I will not apologize for how I feel.

My husband is a lovely man, and would never make me feel badly about myself, but I know that when he asks me this question, there is an underlying reason for it.  He may not like what he hears from this point forward but opening up to the truth is not an easy thing.

We are accountable for our own emotions, not anybody else’s – not our children’s, not our parents’, our partners’, or our friends’.  It’s such a liberating thing to realize and become aware of and yet, we feel so intertwined and buffeted against each other, it’s easy to lose ourselves in those closest to us.

9363383_orig

So, I say this is my emotional well.  That is yours.  Mine had run dry for a while but it’s filling up nicely now.  Yours is, too, I see.  If you feel yours is murky from time to time, or dipping below the plumb line, do not look to me to clean it up or refill it.  We can share from our wells as long as it doesn’t compromise the depth or quality of the water.

 

 

Beautiful Dysfunctionality

Allowing this morning’s counseling session to sink in raises my awareness level, and that feels wonderful.

Unless you’re a deadbeat parent, the need to mother, to nurture, and to care for is like a flower that instantly blossoms.  It’s natural and totally one-sided, and that’s ok because that’s what you do as a parent.  Your kid takes and you give, and hopefully you find some morsel of time to replenish so that the well never dries completely.

Things go awry when adults materialize beside the same water source, and now it becomes an unconscious giving.  You love them too, and they need you to care for them for unseen, unrealized reasons, so you dish out for the adult.  Oftentimes, it’s not even a conscious thought; you just do because you have to.  Because this is what you are supposed to do.

You might have the opportunity to restock but you know that if you step away, the one person you have been supporting might crumble, and with it, the life you know. It’s not the best life for you, you know it deep down somewhere, but you daren’t let go because he needs you to be strong, to be the source, to be in his pocket.

Eventually, and inevitably, the well will dry up for him.  Not for the kids, because really their supply is unending and unconditionally always there.  But for him, that well is just a parched, dark brick round reaching down into nowhere.  You stand up; the world tilts for a while as you process what has been happening and finally, with the help of an impartial spirit, you realize what it is  you have been doing.

For a few weeks, he and I have been treading our own paths; seeking our own truths.  It is lovely to see him shed some of the weight that he swore he’d never be able to put down. He is stepping out to investigate and discover about himself and I’m glad for him.  He is learning that it’s ok to drink from his own well, and for my part, I am learning that I don’t need to mother him.

That said, the woman who was part of this union, is but a dried up, withered spirit.  I don’t know if there is life in her because I am not her anymore.  And, I don’t know if who I truly am can ever be part of it again.

It’s been a beautiful awakening for me.  After years of struggle and spiritually backbreaking work, I can now stand up straight.  I can see how strong and powerful I really am. How free I am to breathe, and be, and give as needed.  To give for the want of it and not for the sacrifice.