Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Happens if I'm not Fine?

What happens if I am not fine? If I am unable to function? If I admit, to myself and/or to others, what is really going on? If I quit playing the "I'm okay" game?

That sounds like a stupid question, but it has given me food for thought. I'm always fine. I've been down and out a bit following jaw surgery. Following the birth of my daughter I had some help. I've had other colleagues cover for me when I'm out sick or on vacation or otherwise not available. I really don't think so highly of myself as to think I'm irreplaceable. But I will not allow myself to think that I am unable or incapable of doing something.

I've always had a "I can do anything I set my mind too" mentality. The philosophy around my house wasn't "try your best," but rather "never let them see you sweat." My dad was a compulsive over-scheduler/over-achiever. His house was pristine - even the vacuum tracks ran the same way. My mom (after divorce) was the most unorganized, disheveled, mess that existed. Her house - well, let's just say forget about eating off the floor -- you probably don't want to eat anything prepared in that kitchen, even if served on a table. Filthy doesn't begin to describe things.

My sister and I both multi-task quite well. We laugh at how over-scheduled and over-organized we are. Our husbands refer to us as "anal" and "compulsive" with our color-coded calendars and filing systems. I went the route of education, job, provider, I can provide for myself financially, I don't need a man route. My sister is the nurturer, stay-at-home mom, active in her children's daily activities, room mom, etc. In some ways we are opposites. But in our commitment to our families and to never end up like our parents, we are the same.

My sister had a time when she was in the midst of dealing with our childhood "issues" where she went to stay at a "resort" (read hospital) for a few days. There was also the period of time where her health was so poor that she was forbidden to do anything and her driver's license was temporarily revoked. Believe it or not, life went on. Her house got a bit messy and her children missed some activities. There were far more take out meals and frozen entrees. But everyone survived and my Sister learned that she didn't have to do it all. This is a fact she reminds me of quite often.

I have this compulsive need to do it all. To me, success is having it all. I am just not sure at what cost that comes. I had a picture of myself with 3 children, happily married, big house, successful job, active in church, vacationing in nice places, private schools for kids and nice cars. For awhile I was on that path to success. I had (still have) a great job. Husband and I were able to move out of our apartment into a house sooner than we thought. We each bought new vehicles and ventured a bit further with travelling. We decided we were ready to start a family and 4 months later were pregnant with our daughter. She was born healthy and things were great. S...C...R...E...E...C...H Things came to a halt. I have no regrets at all about having my daughter, but throwing a child into an already hectic and overscheduled life, has resulted in chaos. My house is not pristine anymore. Home cooking has gone out the window. My car is always filled with trash and toys and misses it's weekly "baths." I don't know what happened but things are not in order any more.

I've adapted to life being more chaotic. The mess in my house and crumbs on the floor don't freak me out and send me into tailspins as often as they used too. Medication has helped (ha ha). I find myself relaxing in the evenings, instead of running around crazy trying to pick up and clean. In some respects, I've gone too far the other direction. I really could stand to sweep the floor a bit more often.

Despite this "progress," I still refuse to admit that I can't handle everything. I am proud that no one knows my struggle. I am proud that I have hidden it so well. What is that saying "pride goeth before a fall"? Watch out, I think I'm falling...

I read my morning devotion and the verse is from Jude 24 - "God is strong and can help you not to fall." The message talked about being on a great climb. The day we accept Christ as our Saviour, a rope is placed into our hand. Your steps are confident at first, but with the journey comes times of weariness, and with the height comes fear. We lose our footing, and for a moment that seems like forever, we tumble wildly. Then the rope tightens and the fall stops. He is strong; He is our guide; He keeps us from falling.

I want to stop falling. But I won't let Him take the rope. I won't give up my hold on it. So it is burning my hands as I slide down, down, down. I'm afraid to let go.

I don't want to acknowledge that I can't do it on my own. Actually I'm afraid to do it any other way. I had to do it all myself for so long. I don't know any other way. While knowing that it has, I don't want to admit my childhood and the abuse have had an effect on me. It's too powerful. Gives it too much credit. I don't want to admit that I'm not "fine" or "okay."

I'm not sure the point of all this rambling. Maybe it will make more sense later...

6 comments:

Lynn said...

It makes sense right now. Sometimes I'm fine and sometimes I'm not. Maybe it's the same for you? Maybe that's just the way it is for a while.

jumpinginpuddles said...

who says you have to fine? Is that what you were taught because if so who taught you? And why? Just wondering because part of conditioning in abuse is to make sure you present as fine and we are wondering how you got those messages

Enola said...

JIP - thanks for your question. It made me think. My Mom told me to "get over things already." I think from her I learned to present myself as fine. I couldn't talk about things. I was not to let anyone else know how I was feeling.

rindy said...

Didn't know where to put this...you've been tagged. Write your '5 things I did about Jesus' and then tag 5 others. Can't wait to hear!!

Enola said...

Oh Rindy, you have no idea how this tag strikes at my heartstrings today (in a good way). I'll have to think about mine and post it soon.

Beauty said...

I'm never really "fine" but if asked how I'm doing, that's my automatic response. Growing up, I was expected to be ok, not have any messy emotions or needs. I suspect it was the same for you during your childhood. I got the message loud and clear that it was not ok to have needs, period.

As for the other stuff, ah, God will let you wear yourself to a frazzle if that's what you choose to do. He's not into using force, not even when it comes to letting go of the pride which proclaims, "I'm fine! I can do it all!" I know this firsthand, for I struggle with this myself.

Hey, go ahead and get rope burn if you want. Just don't land on me when you finally fall, ok? I'm that heap lying pathetically on the ground, watching you and others desperately clutching your little ropes for dear life. I'd like to warn you that it's no use, you may as well give up now--but shoot, watching y'all struggle so valiantly makes me want to get back up and find my own frayed rope. Sorry, thought I'd be of some help to you, but here I go off on my own little pride adventure. . .