Since I was seven, I’ve been caring for my mother. She has MS. She’s in a wheelchair. Nine years of being her permanent carer has been exhausting. It doesn’t start at nine and end at five. It’s endless. It’s sleepless
For the past four weeks I’ve been at a wellness retreat in the desert. It was very much needed. I’ve been in a bad place for a while. This has given me the time to think about my relationship with my mom and I’ve come to realize it’s as unhealthy as people have been trying to tell me.
My mom isn’t an easy person to care for. Some might say she’s a nightmare. She has a disease that is robbing her of her mobility and her life and she is in pain and she is ill. I make a lot of excuses for my mom’s behavoir but the truth is for the last nine years, my mom has been abusing me. She has been manipulating me using her disease as an anchor to keep me attached. There are other people in our family who could help, but they don’t. She’s too difficult.
It’s me and her. Our team she calls us, like twins, always together. She has stopped me from perusing opportunities, using her disability to keep me close. She has sabotaged my relationship and she has manipulated me in countless ways. It’s been difficult to see what others have been telling me. This time away with no other responsibilities and no other voices has allowed me to see what our relationship is really like. It’s not a healthy one. She uses guilt. I reject other relationships because I’m scared I’ll be pulled into the same thing I have with her. She has taught me to distrust men and it’s worked.
Something that I’ve been focusing on over the last few days is how my mom has clouded by relationship with my submission. It’s stopped me from standing still. I run here and there avoiding it because I don’t want to be cared for. It frightens me. I don’t want to be the manipulative person in the wheelchair. That’s not what submission is. That’s not what I wanted it to be.
Today I got a new journal. It’s fresh. It has that new journal smell and I lift it to my face and inhale it deeply. It smells of pulp, possibilities and fear.
I put the journal down and look at it suspiciously. I don’t do journal’s lightly. I fill them to capacity and often beyond. I will paste pages on pages and add pull outs and flaps. They become part of my being on a molecular level. I feel enormous responsibility for them, and they for me.
This new journal and I aren’t talking yet. That will take time. We need to get to know each other before I can add things that will sink into its skin and help me understand why I am writing them there. It’s not an easy process. It’s like tattooing a person. It’s there forever.
I keep all my journals. I have the old ones in a trunk. The first one must have used a multi pack of glue sticks and I am the reason glitter is a protected species. Some of the pages are stiff and hard to turn. Others have stuck together, forming a bond merging into foreverness. I envy those ones. I don’t disturb them as I turn.
When I read the one I just retired – unable to stick anything else into it, there is no corner to scribble a word in – I read angst and helplessness and pretence. I was writing everything that should have been spoken aloud. This journal is an emotional wreck. It’s the emo of the journal collection. The other journals shy away from it so I put it on its own shelf. It’s introverted and anti-social and they talk about it in low whispers. It knows they are talking about it.
The new journal looks around and gives me a terrified look. Don’t do that to me. I’m new and fresh and I was bound with hope. Trees were not massacred so I could end up on the Eeyore shelf.
I can’t guarantee it’s going to be an easy journey for the new journal. It will be hard work. There will be times that sad emotions seep into its pages. I offer a rare stick of glitter glue as a peace offering but we aren’t there yet and it refuses to open. There is a plan, I tell the journal and I like plans. I can stick to plans as long as they don’t change and twist and throw me off course.
Here is the deal new journal. It’s you and me for the next six months. I’ll be honest but I’ll do better than poor emo journal who is currently lying flat, legs out over the edge of the shelf, exhausted. I google journal therapy and make an appointment for my journal to speak to an encyclopedia.
I’ve had a few hours sleep.
You know that feeling when you want more, but you know you’re not going to get more so you lay in bed resentful? I’m that person tonight.
A few hours is better than nothing and I was running on nothing.
Why is it so hard for some people to sleep as adults?
For all the times I refused a nap as a kid, I take it back. Come get me nap time. I’m yours.
What do you do when you can’t sleep? I read. Write. I use to roll over and give a blowjob or climb on top of him. Now I just read. Or write.