Sovereignty

25 May

For the past two weeks I’ve been in a funk. Discontent has been lurking in the background of my days, provoking me at times and fading into mild irritation at others. I’ve been restless, impatient and frustrated, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on exactly what was wrong. I have a strong history of mental illness in my family and I personally suffered from antepartum depression when I was pregnant with Isobel. Feelings such as these trigger all sorts of warning bells and I don’t take them lightly.

As days went by I very strongly felt the urge to be alone.

That is not easy when you work with 1600 kids eager for attention, and that is not possible when you have a sweet toddler clutching at your knees cooing ‘Mama’ over and over. I pushed my craving for solitude aside and did what had to be done.

Half the reason these feelings were so frustrating is because I’m happy. I enjoy my job and I relish being a wife and mother. I have felt these feelings before but always when I was unhappy. Content people have no business fraternizing with lingering malaise.

Yet the feeling intensified. It crystallized. I could finally see it clearly and I knew what it was.

I wanted to run away.

I didn’t want to go anywhere and I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to be alone. The more I thought about it the more it became clear to me. I don’t know if this was triggered by library inventory or the constant effort of keeping things together on the home front or the at times frustrating job of motherhood.

I started reminiscing about high school which, if you know me at all, you know is ridiculous. I’m not going to get into all the gory details of why that time in my life was so fucked up, suffice it to say that it was. It was a fucked up time when I did fucked up things and fucked up things were done to me.

The only I had going for me back then was sovereignty. I had no responsibilities and very little in the way of obligation. School was not challenging. I pretty much came and went as I pleased, said what I felt, and pursued whatever was appealing or interesting in the moment. I had enormous amounts of time to myself to listen to music, read philosophy, and think. I did a lot of romantic, impulsive things. I rarely censored myself and didn’t care about the consequences of my actions.

The longing for that sovereignty reached its peak yesterday when Anthony took me out for lunch. We talked about it and talked about it, and the more I put it out there for him the more my feeling… evaporated. The pressure released. The urge went away. The burden dissolved.

I’m not so naive that I think this is the end of my problems. Baggage like this doesn’t just unpack itself neatly and go away. I feel so much better though, and I think the next step is to look for an outlet to channel these feelings so they don’t get out of hand in the future.

The challenge of motherhood is to hold onto your sovereignty while being intricately tied to the wellbeing of others. I just have to figure out a way to stay connected to myself that’s healthy for me and my family.

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17 Responses to “Sovereignty”

  1. Erin May 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    This really resonated with me.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 9:03 am #

      I’m hoping you get to indulge yourself with some alone time soon.

  2. Elizabeth May 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I totally understand, and I don’t even have the sweet toddler to credit/blame. I crave introvert time, and when I don’t get it, I retreat into myself. That was totally me last night – just lying on the bed listless because I couldn’t convince myself to do anything except lie there. And that’s what I needed, to lie there and be left alone. And then I felt better.

    I hope you get some of that soon. And regularly.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 8:59 am #

      It really could be that I need introvert time. I am a natural introvert but I work in a job that doesn’t allow me to be shy so I’ve worked at overcoming it. I need a shell that I can retreat to.

  3. Chicken May 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Wishing you peace, CAC. I find it hardest sometimes to just identify *what* I’m feeling, let alone the *why*. I’m glad that you are understanding what is going on and can talk about it with someone who loves you and try to keep on top of it. Life can be overwhelming. I’m glad it’s almost summer so some of your stress will be relieved, at least temporarily.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 9:00 am #

      I really am holding out for summer. I know it will be better then.

  4. Angela H May 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Sing it, sister! I think you just put into words everything I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to deny regarding my depression. It feels good to see it in black and white and acknowledge it. Brava! Outlet, here I/we come!

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 9:01 am #

      I’m so glad! If you find an outlet that works for you, please share! I’m still looking into this for me. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your doctor and seek help. I did a long time ago.

  5. Jose May 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Well said and I hear ya. I too have my moments where I neither feel nor care for being “grown up” and want to just get away. Thankfully I smack myself around and actually use the tools I’ve been trained with…but I ALWAYS find it harder to take my own advice, so as usual, easier said than done.

    What I can say is that I look up to you, so keep doing the good things you do 🙂

    Wishing you the best.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 9:02 am #

      I’m so glad you have tools for this! Maybe you can help me, LOL.

  6. gigi May 26, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel like that too. Just hang in there! xoxo

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 9:02 am #

      One more week till summer…

  7. dingey sexton May 26, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Hang in there, man! I know exactly what you mean about the whole weight disappearing once you tell someone you love what it is, exactly, that you’re feeling. One of the self-imposed problems of we introverts is that we think it’s burdensome or somehow against our better judgement to voice any downer moods or feelings to anyone. Generally our friends and loved ones are a tough lot who are happy to lend an ear, if we would just leave our shell and bend it. I’ve been trying to get better about that, too.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      Yes! It’s like if we say it, we’ll be defeated by it. Or we are admitting that defeat. So true, Dingey.

      • dingey May 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

        Yeah, I think part of the introverted personality is being very self-sufficient, too.

  8. dingey May 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    I mean, you know, to the point of not always recognizing our need for other humans and how they can easily help us!

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

      But my introvert part says: “Don’t share! You don’t need them! Trusting humans is a trick! Beep!” (Sorry, that part of me is also a robot.)

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