I met one of my best friends for a yoga class late Sunday morning.
It’s a class and a time frame that I’ve never indulged in, so I decided to seeing as how I’ll be having sinus surgery in a little over a week.
And why can’t sinus surgery at least sound a little sexy?
I mean, my knee’s been hurting too, and while I don’t plan on having surgery on that, it does have a slightly better ring than the mucousy, stuffy, nasally connotation of sinus.
So I lay there in savasana late on Sunday morning—my best friend comfortingly nearby—and I feel my eyes well up with tears.
Now, I regularly like to say that I don’t have typically working tear ducts and that I don’t cry—and the truth is that I’ve always been this way.
For example, I watched the movie ET with my daughter yesterday and I could still feel myself as a small child sitting on my parents’ black and white checked sofa trying desperately to hold back tears when ET becomes white and sick and close to death—and I remember succeeding.
Even in the fragility of my youth, I still knew that I didn’t want to display this type of emotion outwardly. And I can honestly say that I wasn’t taught this either, because I can also still remember my sister and my mother crying next to me on that black and white checked couch.
It was me.
I didn’t want to let my tears flow, even as a child. Yet the thing is, I do cry—and I cry all the time on the inside.
I’m extremely sensitive, emotional, empathetic and I’m very much a “feeling” person—I just don’t like everyone else to know it.
And then I write blogs like this and I share myself so openly and it doesn’t faze me at all—actually, maybe it should faze me a little bit more than it does.
And anyways, I was lying on my back in savasana at the end of this wonderfully invigorating class taught by another beautiful friend—and the tears just welled up—and without any forewarning—and I did manage to contain these, too.
For a moment, though, I thought that they would slip past my wall and down my cheeks.
And then I felt the presence of my friend next to me; so comforting and strong and of how much I love her.
And I thought of the face of my beautiful toddler, somewhere off playing with her dad while I yoga’d my shit out.
And I thought of my upcoming (unsexy sinus) surgery and about how fragile and vulnerable I’ll be afterwards—I’ll be depending on this very friend who’s next to me in savasana to help me with my child.
My hard-working husband will be taking time off. My mother will come out to stay. There are so many people that I’ll be leaning on, and I won’t have a choice about it because my daughter needs this help and she needs me to be strong enough to ask for it.
She needs me to be strong enough to ask for help.
And why is that so hard?
Why is it so hard to look your husband in the eye and say, “Today I’m floundering. Today I want to sit on our red couch and cry and cradle my shoulders with my hands in a ball of a self-hug and watch horrible chick flicks with a bottle of wine and a box of tissues nearby. But I didn’t do that today. I wanted to, but that’s not how I spent my day.”
Instead, I went to mommy and me music class or on a walk in the crisp fall air. I read our daughter books while she sat on my lap and I got her the crackers when she reached for them and whined loudly because there was no way to get them for herself.
And I don’t want to sit around crying all day, every day.
More days than not I want to play my music too loudly and dance around the house and yoga my shit out and go on a long and overdue road trip.
I want to be free and to feel like the strong woman who I sometimes fear I left behind when motherhood turned out to be more demanding than I ever thought it could be.
And I’m no longer the 16 year-old girl who held your teenaged hand as we strolled to the planetarium in the dark; walking through the cold, autumn air from our favorite restaurant in the nearby college town (where we later attended school in our tiny, crappy but love-filled apartment)—the one with the ginormous vegetarian burritos—to watch those indoor stars. (My husband and I have dated since I was 14.)
And the reason that I feel tears prick the backs of my eyes on a daily basis?
I think it’s because I miss that girl too, and also because I think she’s gone.
Sure, I feel her presence from time to time.
I feel it in the way my daughter dances with me around our house to probably inappropriate music from my own youth; her jumping up and down and moving her tiny head all around to the rhythmic base beat.
I feel her—that little lost girl who was in love with you then too—in my heart when I fall asleep at night and I’m alone because you’re getting our daughter to bed, and I feel achy and lonely and I long for the nights when you were only mine.
And I never want those years back.
I don’t want our lives to be any different then they are right now, but I sometimes feel desperately afraid that you don’t like the woman who grew from that little lost girl.
She was still anal and demanding and temperamental, but wasn’t she easier to deal with, given her young age?
Did you know then that I would most likely still be a fiery and cocky grown woman?
And I am cocky. Because when I feel that I’m not liked, I hold my chin up a little bit too high and I mentally tell you and everyone else to fuck off. I like myself just fine, I think with my head tilted a little too proudly up into the air.
My voice hardens and my stance straightens and my overall air becomes a tiny bit too harsh.
And then there are the times when I become purely frightened and afraid that I am not good enough.
Not good enough for our daughter. Not good enough for you. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough.
And these times don’t last as long because I did too much damage to myself in the past—as that lonely and lost little girl—with feelings like these, and I’m grown up enough now to know better, and I know, too, that I am good enough.
And then I get that sharp look in my eye again and my tongue turns back into thrown daggers, and I’m cold once more—and I don’t want to be, because inside it’s fire that I’m truly feeling and it’s fire that you’re afraid of too.
Because I feel too much. (But I told you that already.) I’m a lot to handle, I’m aware.
Still, I wouldn’t want to be anything else but that—but her.
And my friend next to me in savasana?
She knows that I’m too much.
And she knows that I’m hard to handle—and she loves me anyways. No, not anyways, she loves me more because.
And I know that you do too.
I know that you wouldn’t want a wife who ran around with her tail between her legs, but I also know that you’re not that fond of falsely fierce chihuahuas either.
Am I chihuahua?
And I know that you get sick of having a wife who writes.
I know that my moody periods of detachment where I shut everything off in order to be alone with my thoughts, and with my words—including from you and from our daughter—are a huge turnoff, and a huge opposition, to that emotional girl who I know you love so deeply.
I feel my temporary, fleeting irritation leave me and tears prick my eyes again while I type.
And, just like that, I’m afraid that they’ll spill over again—and then you come home.
Our daughter’s smile fills up the space in front of me and her pigtails sticking out make me smile.
And I realize that I’m nervous.
I’m scared of my surgery next week.
I’m looking forward to feeling better, of course, and, more, I’m strangely looking forward to having to ask for help.
I’d like to be the sort of woman who asks for help and who reaches out to hold your hands and who wipes her tears on your shirt when she’s feeling uneasy and anxious, but, instead, I hit the yoga studio or I take a walk.
I write and I have my own ways of handling these strong emotions without resorting to frequent tears and private pity parties.
At the same time, however, I know that it would probably be easier for all of us—and for our little family of three—if I was at least occasionally more like that type of woman. (More like a Pisces than a Scorpio.)
But I’m not.
It’s seemingly more and more likely that I never will be either.
I’m not always dainty and “feminine” in this more formal manner. Rather, I’m aggressive and I rarely make apologies for it.
And then you walk into the kitchen where I sit writing and you tell me that I look sexy in my purple pants.
I smile and I look at you over my shoulder—and I realize that I am one of “those” women after all.
And I’m still that lost, little lonely girl too.
I’m also that girl looking for crazy, teenaged adventure.
And I’m still the woman you loved before I became a mother—although the mother, at this point in time, wins; hands down, she’s in control. (Would you want it any other way?)
And I’m not afraid of crying and I’m not afraid of my surgery (okay, I am afraid of that—of my unsexy sinus surgery).
But I guess what I can promise you is this:
I’m a girl. I’m a woman. I love and I think and I desire and I hope but the larger thing is this: I want to do all of that with you.
I want to share my dreams and my hopes and my anger and my hurt and my (occasional) tears with you.
I want to share with you my kitchen dance parties to Dr. Dre and my wanderlust as well.
I want to share it all with you—if you can handle me.
But I know that you can—and I thank you for that.
Because this is about a girl—your girl, in fact.
I won’t pretend that I’m any girl, since, obviously, we’re all different, but I would like to sit down to dinner and tell you about how I went to yoga class this morning and while I lay in savansana…
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Ed: Bryonie Wise