I struggle with friendship. I don't make friends easily and I don't do well with casual relationships. I want to share my heart. I long to be seen. I delve deep and fall hard and love passionately. I am hesitant to reach out and slow to respond. The "normal" routes for creating relationship (mom groups, women's groups at church, even our small group) just leave me feeling awkward and wanting more. I was touched by this post by Emerging Mummy: In which I write a letter to Womens' Ministry. I want for, long for, a community of women to live and love with.
I am lonely
We married young and moved a few times and most of the close friendships I have are now long-distance. Reaching out and calling and writing are not things I do well remembering. So life-giving conversations are few and far between. I am blessed to have married a man who has become my best friend. But there is only so much baggage and conversation a good man can manage. I've learned quickly that every though and every feeling does not need to be shared. We are happier when he is not my only friend.
I did not have a good model for making friends while growing up. My family was isolated, home schooled, counter-culture and my parents were introverts. Thinking back on it: our family friends decreased as I got older. I did not see my parents pursue and seek out friendships. They invested deeply in the few close ones they had and then slowly lost them.
Jugement and self-righteousness eat away at relationships. I struggle so mightily with these standards that seem "right" to me. I judge myself the hardest. And my lack of self-worth makes me put up a wall of my own negativity which effectively blocks those trying to reach out to me in friendship. I know I have failed to respond to some because I was too concerned by how well we might "fit" as friends and didn't open my heart to them.
I want to break through this wall of depression! I want to reach out to the image of myself that is reflected in Christ. I want to be the beauty that I know those few I hold dear see me as. I want to live like a person loved well because I AM. The darkness chokes me. Stifles life and hope. I rise up; willing myself to laugh and love and reach out. Then fall as those boney fingers of self-doubt and shear breathtaking tiredness drag me down.
I am a mother. I do not want to be a lonely one. I push and push and push. Trying to be enough and love enough and hide the darkness I feel in my soul because GOD I do not want to dampen these bright spirits with my own CRAP! I ask Jesus to hold me when I remember and I crash into this amazing Man who has held me through some of my darkest times. But it's not enough. I continue to return to the pigsty of depression. I know that this is not how I want to mother. I also know that I am doing a GREAT job. I am an incredible mom.
But it is taking everything that I have. Every ounce. I don't want to crash. Don't want to fail these little souls. I love these boys with everything that I am and I adore being their mother. They bring me joy in the darkness and they are a smile in the midst of my tears even today. I want to be more than this for them. I want to live fully. Not crippled and limping.
Knowledge is not enough. I see the patterns; know the triggers, am so damn self-aware! But that does not stop the flood of tears. It does not heal my heart. I know all the problems, see all the solutions, but I am paralyzed by fear.
I am afraid to hope. Afraid to fail. Desperately longing to be seen yet terrified of being found unappealing.
How do I move forward? How do you find the strength? I think I am, only to find myself here in the same cell of myself.
There is nothing contented about the state of my heart today. I feel more trepidation then anticipation.
My only prayer is this: Jesus hold me.
How do you fight isolation and loneliness as a mother?