How long it took me to know myself again.
I knew who I was at fifteen. The world hadn’t yet sullied me or distorted me with its intransigent theories and fixed expectations. At fifteen, I knew who I was. By thirty I had lost it. Before thirty I thought I knew who I was, then it all changed. Career, boyfriend, home, sanity. All gone, I began to create a new life, a vision of children and family, home and husband. By forty I had it all. Husband, home, four children. By forty-eight it was over. Why? Years of relentless caring and putting the family first, and I had lost myself again.
Umbria, Italy, a yoga retreat. Glimpses come back to me of who I really am. My first time sans famille in years. The release expresses itself through tears and howling. Have I ever cried this much? I have been lost for a while, but now, I know it. Home, I try to make the marriage work. It does. For about six hours. Five years ago now, how long it has taken me to know myself again.
Yesterday, 10.30am, my son refused to get up for a football training session he had asked to do. At twelve he is on the cusp of hormonal surfing. At 11.30 he still refused to get up, and he refused gracelessly. A wild roar began to pour from my lips. Oddly calm, yet I screamed at him. How dare he speak to me like this? Wild horses gallop in my mind. The anger felt clean though, no sooner dispatched than over. He packed a bag and decided to go to his dad’s house.
In the unveiling later, I close my eyes and look inwards to see what this is really about. I’m finding it hard to see. Truth can be elusive like that. Sam helps me. Another’s truth can be so much easier to see than your own, and she knows I’m here to hear it.
‘Why does it bother you so much whether he does his training or not?’ It doesn’t. I think about it. It’s the way he spoke to me that bothered me. It doesn’t meet my standard. It’s not acceptable for him to speak to me that way.
‘You aren’t setting him a standard by pushing him away.’ Hmmm. No, I’m not. Shouting isn’t exactly the standard I want to set.
‘Don’t try to mentally get there. Can you feel the emotion in your vagina? If so, breathe and release it.’ Our female spaces know.
The night has drawn in and I haven’t put the lights on. I kneel by the sofa and place my head on the squishy cushion. Breathe.
Here it is.
‘Found it,’ I type. Tears. ‘He’s my baby and I don’t want him to grow up. My last baby.’ Grief. I feel it. Really feel it fully, and in the cycling of the emotion, it is done.
Lost in the anger of the moment, I found myself caught in the need to halt time, to keep him little, and indulge my own need for him to stay a baby; the she-lion’s roar, my wail of grief. At the point of knowing this grief, wholly, fully, I let him go. And he, and I are both free. And more of myself is known.