What's Underneath


Here it goes. (shaky, deep breath) Here I go, sharing some of what’s underneath.

I wrote several drafts about motherhood misadventures and missteps, tossing topics around on the keyboard. I deleted and re-typed again and again, trying to figure out the perfect topic for this post. Suddenly everything fell out from under me. It happened so quickly and it started with a look in the mirror.

I stumbled to my bed, trying to catch my breath, and thoughts were pulsating so fast my brain would not stop. It was fumbling and graceless, whirling chaos. The thoughts turned into words and jabbed at me, begging to be written down. I had to grab my phone and type frantically into the notes section so I didn’t forget those feelings.

Later, when everything rebalanced, I knew this was what I had to share.

Life is more than filtered photographs. My Instagram is just that, filtered photos of my pretty moments. It’s a part of my story and I’m proud of my colorful, artistic life, but it is not everything. Sometimes life is raw and feelings are unbearable. There is a sense of shame in feeling awful but not being able to define why. There is immense guilt in feeling so unbelievably low when your outward lifestyle suggests you should be on top of the world.  I wrote the words down for a reason and while I felt oddly giddy writing my thoughts as they were happening, I was embarrassed reading them later.  I’m tired of feeling ashamed. No, not tired. That’s not the right word. I am exhausted. Depleted, angry and over it. Life is more than the gleaming surface. Underneath the little ripples are unfathomable caverns, dark and undefined.

The following stream of thoughts, cleaned up a bit to make sense, is what it felt like when anxiety broke through and became this tidal wave. Frustration and insecurity battered at me and left me breathless. I fell apart while getting ready to go to an art class with my son. I was also in the process of packing for a move to a new home. This is what it felt like for me when technically everything was “just fine” but the underneath dashed out, quick and furious, and everything melded into this giant miserable series of moments. And it all happened inside my mind as I tried to go about my day.

I am rushing when I stop, staggering, see my face in the mirror and it's so pale, washed out and speckled with a random breakout that always screams into existence out of nowhere. Ugly. Unrestricted.

My soul is dragging. I feel heavy. I have the urge to throw up. Often. We have an art class to go to and my stomach is writhing. And we are moving. Again. The boxes are half packed, one foot in one life, half stepping in another. The demands feel like they are pouring in and I can't keep up. Why do they make stupid Legos so hard to unstick? STOP ASKING ME FOR HELP. Please, just stop. Tiny hands cannot do it and it leaves us both so frustrated. Coffee half gone, staining the mug and ringing the counter and still cold no matter how much I top it off, it does not feel like enough.

But we are blessed. I'm not supposed to feel like this. Everything is there that I need and then some more too. I just posted to the world, commenting on the beauty and how I felt strong, capable. I wasn’t lying but I’m a fraud. Now, how, can I write this today? What happened to yesterday?

The sun is peeking in, the wind blowing ragweed, pollen, dust, dirt EVERYTHING IS FILTHY makes me want to scream and claw my eyes out. Another layer of misery.  I'm undone. Unwashed. Bleached out, white and shaky in a pale tank top and my underwear is too tight around the thighs and my stomach pushes over no matter how many calories I'm counting, it all keeps coming back. Ugh, this shirt is so sheer and you can see everything and it's not pretty.  My stomach heaves.

And it does not EVER. Feel. Like. Enough.

The dog won't get off the Legos, won’t ever get stop following me LEAVE ME ALONE and my child screams OWWWW and the sound burrows into my ringing ears and I yell out, muffled from my curled up position "what's wrong?!"

He shouts back after too many moments…NOTHING. He’s right.

Shoes on, complaining, trudging, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. I don't want to go and he doesn't want to go but we go because we just have to keep going and I know it will be better on another day when I'm strong again.

And capable.

I sat for days deleting ideas and I'm late now. I used to be on time. I used to be...used to be...we have to go. GO. We have to get to our art class. I'm half dressed and all the way real and I'm making it out the door today even if my insides feel rotted and hanging outside of my skin. This feels like success. I’m so pathetic.

There's a flag wrapped around a pole and it looks like a demon, catching my eye, getting stuck in the floaters that cloud my vision and knocking me away from what I should be doing and my mind is running away again and I just can’t do it today. But I have to. Keep going.

Bleached out ghost face, concealer hiding nothing, is it blending? We keep walking and in a panic I forgot powder over concealer and makeup is running down my face in the never ending heat...and oh, God, no, there he goes, running to strangers AGAIN and he’s defying me. AGAIN. CAN YOU LISTEN JUST ONCE. My fake smile is plastered on, lips pulled back over teeth, but it’s not enough. He’s crying and the sweat is pooling in my bra. Is my beige tinged sweat dripping down my face? What does she think of me? What are they thinking. Why does he do this EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Oh no, I’m the only mom who put a nametag on myself. It was only for the kids. Omg, why do I always do something stupid? Bathroom. Quick tears. We are here, let’s do this, we made it this far. Rip it off, shove it in my bag. Who saw?  Why do I have to be different. My body is all sweat and shakiness and I know I’ll leave a puddle where I sit.  

When will this be over?

Okay. I can do this. OH MY GOD WHY CAN’T YOU STOP.
Please. STOP.

Okay. It’s almost over.

Time for pictures and the filtered posting with heart emojis. No one can see what’s behind the camera and I’m grateful.

I made it today.