Last night, at bedtime routine, Fiona and Jack sitting next to me while I read Mouse Soup. I was able to slip back into now. I was able to escape my painful memories of childhood that have been brought up recently. I read Mouse Soup and Flat Stanley, Fiona fully engaged, Jack sometimes attentive, sometimes being distracting by talking, or saying “I’m so tired”. Fiona always asks for one more book to be read. She’s so sweet and innocent and I told myself that last night, I reminded myself that. My kids remind me that there is still room for innocence and happiness in my life. That experiences and memories may shape who I am, but they don’t define who I am. I want to stop always thinking I’m in trouble or I did something bad. It’s not a healthy way to live. I’m going to work on this.
Last week as I cried I felt guilty. I felt guilty for giving into my emotions like that, for almost wanting to go straight to bed and ask my husband to do the bedtime routine. I had cancelled all my obligations on Thursday and Friday, my days with a babysitter. I spent the days working in my studio and writing. It was what I needed to do. I still felt guilty about cancelling on good friends and a school meeting with Fiona’s teacher. But I was a mess. On Friday, after my shower I looked in the mirror and I didn’t look so bad. I had been crying for two days but I didn’t look terrible. I looked a bit better. On Saturday I woke up and felt even better. I wish I would have given myself the permission I needed to cry like I wanted to. To feel what I felt when I listened to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. To remember my experience and not feel guilty for feeling sad and feeling unworthy as a mom, a depressed mom, but instead to accept my feelings just as they unfolded. I wish I wouldn’t have felt scared to tell my husband how I was feeling, how sad I was, how I was assaulted violently as a fifteen-year-old. I’m going to work on this.
The next time something comes up and I want to cry or go hide under the covers I want to do those things proudly. I want to un-silence myself. I think we can live in both places, in the painful memories and experiences and the happiness of the now. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. If I cry over something awful that happened in my past it doesn’t mean, I’ll cry forever over it or that it has anything to do with how I feel about my life now. It’s a lesson my children should learn too, sometimes we remember sad things and feel sad. It’s natural. I’m going to work on this.
I grieved with the country last week. I grieved about my own trauma and the trauma of C.B.F. and I grieved about the patriarchal system I was raised in. The system that has shaped my life, my feelings towards myself. I had an awakening, I felt systematic sexism in a visceral way. It shook me to my core. I am committed to fight against this system as I always have been, but now it’s personal. I will fight, but keep the balance, as my kids and I watch the beautiful colored leaves fall to the ground at the park, or we play with stuffies or look for butterflies. There’s beauty in this world, there’s love, kindness, and hope. I can feel all things, I don’t need to censor myself. I give myself permission to feel optimistic, to feel pain, to feel everything my body has to give. I will work on this.