What goes up…

More conclusions from letter-writing

I screamed at Riley. I feel like I’m a huge failure as a mom because I did that. I haven’t been able to sleep since then, and I keep telling myself that he’s only four months old, he probably won’t remember it, I was overworked and not sleeping well to begin with, it’s only my imagination that now he doesn’t seem to smile as much. I don’t know… I was just so tired and lonely and frustrated. The house was a mess, there was no food in the house, none of my laundry was clean, I was fighting with my brother, I had homework and schoolwork up my ass, and the maid and nanny were on an extended vacation. I hadn’t slept or eaten or showered, and he just wouldn’t stop crying. He was screaming so I started screaming, and that made him scream louder which directed my attention to him and before I know it-

It’s inexcusable, I know. I swear he looks at me with fiery hate now. I cry and ask his forgiveness. And I wonder just how insane I am, asking forgiveness from a four-month old. I look at all the photos I’ve taken of him: he looks so confident, serene, and happy. I pray to God I didn’t fuck that all up with one scream. I hope all the negativity is just part of my trumped-up emotions. I hope that all the child psychology articles are right, and babies don’t have long-term memory until they’re at least six months old…. God, parenthood is hard.

I knew that, but I hadn’t experienced it till that day.

This is what I’m up to:

I’m doing freelance writing for money, and I’m working on pet projects that are supposedly gonna earn money in the upcoming year. I’m on deadline for those writing gigs; plus school takes up soooo much time, with 7 classes and having to keep a high average in order to qualify for academic scholarship (which I really want to do for money reasons, as well as pride reasons and “it will look good on a CV”); plus keeping a healthy relationship with Rob and friends and family that are in the States while building relationships with my family and potential friends in the Philippines; and of course being a domestic diva (5 people in the household – including the nanny and maid, who I have to treat like “nieces” because of the culture and despite the fact that the nanny is old enough to be my mother – and 6 dogs!)… I’m pretty overwhelmed. I de-stress by blogging and reading and planning the future.

No joke: I fantasize about all the money I’ll make as an RN and Rob will make as an RN, and the fact that we are thisclose to already having 3 houses in our names, and our “real life” which will start when we catch up in NYC, and are able to do lots of traveling and working at glamorous jobs (writer for me, physicist for him) and have more genius, beautiful children.

How sad! How predictable I have become! How common!

I smoke all the time now, and I exercise until my bones ache. I think I’m punishing myself for screaming at Riley. I think I want some kind of absolution. Or maybe I need problems in order to function at a high level. Or maybe I just really, really need therapy. For the first time in my life, I’m really trying to be as close to “perfect” as I can possibly be, and I realize that I’m fitting the profile of a potential food disorder case. I’m high-strung, a perfectionist, easily upset by mistakes and flaws that I find in myself. I’m working so hard to achieve so much, and if I feel like any part of it is less than awesome, I buckle down, resist sleep and food, and sigh because at least I’ll be thinner and can fit into more clothes.

I tell myself this is all just a phase. Rob will get here (maybe as soon as February!), we’ll keep house, we’ll go to school, we’ll build a life free of instigating from all of our parents, and things will work. I tell myself that this is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life: a chance to write, reset my priorities, plan the future, earn degrees affordably, raise a beautiful child… I tell myself all of this, but I’m so wrapped up in performing, in acting, in being as close to perfect as possible that I don’t know what’s what anymore. I’m not sure who I am or what is real or how I’m supposed to get a hold of myself. I pray that I’ll wake up one morning and feel normal again. But right now, I just feel quick, moving, functioning at the speed of light, feeling and thinking and producing at the rate of a million breaths a second. And I say that it’s about time. Compared to how I was in NYC, I am now so productive, so good at fulfilling my potential, so active and full of momentum. Compared to how I am now, I was stagnant, static and inert. Now I’m learning science, how to be a nurse, new languages, how to be a mom, how to be a partner, how to be a daughter, how to be a sister – these are all things I feel like I thought I knew, but I’m realizing that I was always too self-involved to really know anything at all.

*sigh*

This is long. My head hurts. I should try to sleep. I’m supposed to see my nephews tomorrow, and I’m not sure how much posturing I’ll have to do. They’re sweet and respectful to me, and part of me assumes it’s only because I’m American and they think I’m rich…

Maybe I’m paranoid. Maybe I don’t know how to be happy. It sure feels like it. Here I am, in the best possible situation – writing a storm (and getting paid for some of it!), living it up on a tropical island, away from my crazy parents, with my gorgeous baby and (most of the time) awesome brother, and with hired help… And I want to write “with the love of a good man”, but I’m not sure right now if “love” or “good man” apply, and I don’t know if I’m fixated on disproving either/both because a hidden truth is gnawing at me or because I’m feeling a general malaise and needing to accuse something as the culprit.

I just know that happiness is new to me, and I don’t know how to handle it, and I don’t know if I’m able to fully achieve it. Like I wrote on Facebook recently, “life is so sweet, it’s giving me toothaches. I have to chew on some grit to fill in the cavities.” Maybe I’m not meant to go through life all fluffy and light. Maybe heavy and dark suits me.

Anyway, I’ve taken up enough of your time. LOL Let me know how you’re doing. Also, let me know: Am I going crazy? What’s this I’m feeling?

Riley & I on Christmas day

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2 responses to “What goes up…

  1. You’ve worked so hard to get all your ducks in a row. Things are coming together perfectly. So what’s the angst? I think it’s the uncertainty. Now that you’ve gotten to the point where maybe everything is lined up, you have no more planning, less work…you don’t know what to do with yourself and maybe something just feels a little bit……off? Maybe you’re putting a whole new pressure on yourself, as in where do you go from here. I don’t know. I do think you’ll be fine, though!

    But, with the man, I always say trust your instincts. Gut feelings are usually right when it comes to men.

    As for Riley, he’ll be fine and I’m certain that you are imagining the looks of hate from him. Children love their mothers and he may have been puzzled by your reaction, but probably nothing more. Stop beating yourself up. My parenting experience could teach you a lot of what-not-to-dos. Unfortunately, I guess these life lessons are better learned from oneself. Besides, if I made a list for you, you wouldn’t have time for Riley, or studying or anything for about the next year. Yes, it’s that long. I seem to be increasingly full of regret over decisions I’ve made when it comes to parenting. I can’t seem to let go of a lot of it. I would tell you or anyone else not to beat yourself up over it, but it’s hard. We all have such high hopes when it comes to parenting. And the letdowns hit you hard, because you want to be the best parent you can be. But anyway….let it go. He certainly doesn’t remember it, even now. Take every opportunity as a learning experience, if even to add to your list of things you don’t ever want to do again. You’ll be fine.

    I LOVE the picture of you and Riley. Adorable.

    And I went to your facebook and couldn’t add you. So add me if you wish, with the e-mail I use here!

    PS. Eat healthy. Work out as much as you want, punishment or whatever, but please do not inflict an eating disorder on yourself. You are a beautiful person, and the little guy needs you around for a loooong time.

    • Ya know what, Becky? Comments like that one make me soooo grateful that I blog. Thank you. ❤

      You're absolutely right: I was scared shitless because I had no idea what to do with myself since everything was turning out so well. Things are still peachy-keen, but thankfully, I've figured out a way to not become crazy-paranoid 🙂

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