Telltale Hearts & Kites of Acceptance...
I didn’t realize that I was having trouble with this...until it was revealed to me in stark, brutal force. It kind of took my breath away.
I am not sure why it comes as a shock to me. I mean, really, I am a fighter. A “I am not going to take no for an answer” kind of person. I am a rebel’er. A struggler. A “I have ideas and am delusionally confident about them” kind of girl.
So this idea of acceptance, while not new, does the same thing to me every time - it feels vaguely familiar but I have only passing acquaintance with it really. I spend so much more of my time, doing, living, thinking. For fuck’s sake, I spend so very much time thinking. And that is, as with most things, a blessing and a curse.
I don’t know why I want to be in charge so much. I don’t know why I am so terrified to ask the hard questions and to trust that I can’t really screw this all up. I mean, fuck , look at my life. I have done a bang up job trying to fuck it up, and yet, here I am still doing the deal and still fucking it up and living to tell about it.
Acceptance is one of those principles that feels like a kite to me. Like there are times when it is close to me, personal, tangible and real. Then there are just as many, perhaps more, times when I can see it looming in the distance, but it is almost theoretical because it is so far away.
I always seem to forget it was me that metered out the thread, allowing it to move farther and father away from me. It wasn’t someone else. I mean, the wind helped, but it was me standing there on the beach, giving that bad boy all the slack until acceptance was just this speck on the distant horizon. Fluttering up and down and all over the place. Me too consumed with keeping it airborne...instead of realizing that perhaps this great unfurling is not exactly how acceptance should be managed...if one can manage it at all.
So let me do my best to reel that shit in now...
It is 3 am. I was sleeping soundly, then some not so nameless fears woke me up.
“Hello there, this is your mind. We have some things to discuss...”
I was less than pleased.
“Can’t we talk about this at a more reasonable hour for the love of all that is holy? It is fucking Saturday!”
“Yes, that would be nice wouldn’t it? No.”
I resisted. I refused to get up and pee. I refused to feel the panic that was burgeoning in my chest. But, that didn’t really work, my body who now appeared to be in cahoots with my mind, sped up my heart rate and I could feel it pulsing loudly from my chest.
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP...like Poe’s “Telltale Heart”
I tried to very hard not to engage...I knew I was one thought away from consciousness...I tried to hold on but as usual, it didn’t work. The thought came...the one that would rise me up and out of bed, day beginning without my consent:
“What is your telltale heart trying to tell you now? What thing are you hiding or avoiding?”
And so here we sit, my mind and me, now 4:16 am, we are on the couch because my typing was too loud for my partner to remain sleeping. The tapping of my fingers not unlike the beating heart in my chest, tapping out beat after beat...disturbing any tranquility for him or me. Here we are (my tapping fingers, painfully alert mind and me), thinking and feeling because seriously, I can’t do one without the other.
The panicky thoughts that were there as I awoke, subsiding. No coincidence, that they are receding as I pull that fucking kite of acceptance in from the proverbial beach that I last let it loose upon. And as the blowing kite of acceptance draws nearer, I feel calmer and more peaceful.
My son is coming home. MY SON IS COMING HOME! OH MY GOD, MY SON IS COMING HOME!
And I mean that in all the ways capitalization communicates. I am terrified, scared, happy, worried, unsure, vexed, perplexed and exhausted.
How is this going to go? Most likely how it has always gone. Badly.
I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. She has been living her best life and now with his return, her life is drastically altered. She isn’t happy about it but what can I do? Seven months left before he is 18...his father will not take him. So it is me. I am it.
I am worried about what his behavior will do to my relationship. The last time I tried living under one roof with this child and a man, it was ruinous. I am not sure that I have a lot of hope for another outcome. I mean, who in their right mind, stays and helps with what has always been a shitshow in the past? I mean, hey, I remain hopeful, that perhaps this time it will be different...but I know all too well that that particular phrase is the mantra of every good addict. It is the thing that keeps you perpetually stuck in an endless loop of misery. Some call it hope, I call it delusion. The two have the same effect.
I am worried about myself...which is new. I have been struggling (I say this like you don’t already know) lately. I do not know who I want to be or what I am supposed to be doing. I quit my job and have had a hard time getting started doing something else. I am concerned about how my son and his issues are going to impact me and my wellbeing. And that is some growth there. I do not have this delusional belief that I am going to be just fine. To the contrary, I am fucking sick with a feeling like I am going to go under.
I also feel really alone. Which is also nothing new. This child is mine to raise. I have had to spearhead all the interventions. I am the one that shows up. I am the one with the plans and ideas and research. Me. All by myself most of the time. This is not to discount or dismiss others who have supported me. My parents being Exhibit A in this son drama. They are there and will do whatever they can but he is not theirs to raise. And, like everyone else (professionals included) they have no ideas about how to help. My friends have done their best. But if you don’t have a child like mine, you really just don’t know...and so while empathy and sympathy are nice, they really don’t comfort you all that much. It is a cold comfort...because you know at the end of all their sentences you are alone with the problem again. They move on and away from the splash zone and you alone will be the one getting soaked by the coming storm...
I have a partner but I want to shield him from this. I can’t. But I want to. I do not want to tell him how terrified I am. How much this weighs on me. How much fear I have about this child’s return to my home being the end of us. I need support and understanding and help. And I have no idea how to ask for it or even if I have the right. He isn’t his problem. He isn’t his child. I do not know how not to be alone with this...not that I want to, I just don’t know how to do it any other way.
But as I pull in this random flying object holding the distant idea of acceptance, I feel a bit better.
Nothing is happening by accident. NOTHING.
My son is coming home because that is what is supposed to happen.
How do I know?
Because it is fucking happening.
And if this is the end of my relationship, I guess that is supposed to happen too.
If my daughter does a nosedive, well, as much as I do not want that to fucking happen, I guess that is also just what is supposed to be.
If I have a mental breakdown and am relegated to a puddle on the floor, also in the cards for living this life today.
I have such a strong resistance to what occurs. I am not sure where I got this fucking idea that I am somehow responsible and in charge, capable, in fact, of altering life’s unfolding drama. But I am, and I do. All the damn time.
So acceptance, which I am currently reeling in, is this idea that nothing is happening by accident. It is all occurring exactly as it should. And I will be ok. Even if it all goes to hell. Even if the relationship doesn’t survive. It is right now and will be in the future, all ok. I have dealt with this alone for so long...what is a little longer?
As this faction of acceptance comes into view for me, so too, does this idea that it is all happening for me, and to me. My Higher Power is only bringing shit into my life to help me grow, and change and become more of the person I am supposed to be...and if I can take a step back and see that while I would really like my development to be more material and far less spiritual, that is just not my fate...and I can fight it all I want but reality always wins.
My son is coming home. And there is little I can do about it.
My relationship may become another casualty on this parenting rocky shore...and there is little I can do about it.
My daughter will suffer...and there is little I can do about it.
I am going to suffer and there is not much I can do about it. Fuck, I can't even ask for help.
And the idea that I could or should be able to alter the present to something more to all of our liking is the number one thing that makes me feel like I am going mad. It makes me want to scream and yell and maybe even throw some things. And one more time, I wish for tears to come. Let me fall into a puddle on the floor. Anything but the anger. I so wish that I could just feel this and cry about it and then let the outcomes go...
Maybe that will come, maybe it won’t.
Right now, in the wee hours of Saturday, January 14th, I only know that it is happening. And I cannot know what will happen next. What this surge will cause, what kind of growth, what kind of damage, what kind of love?
See, I only see the negative. I fear the negative, I fear it so much that it is all I see. Dragged between this constant and unremitting fear and this motherlode of hope that only a mother can have for her child. I am caught in the middle of it all, foundering.
All I know to do this morning is to pull that kite back towards my chest. Hold it tight and trust that whatever benevolence brought me this far, will continue to hold me in good stead. My Telltale Heart is beating. And mostly kicking up fear and lies and worry and frustration. So I have to leave it where it is buried. The only thing that I can 100% trust right now is that it is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to...because it is happening.
My job is to feel it. Really allow it to permeate. When every fiber of my being wants to rebel, stage a mutiny on this most recent development, the only comfort I shall receive is in direct proportion to my ability to just accept that this is what it is and I have no idea what that even is...yet. More will be revealed...all there is to do now is to allow it to pass and try to maintain my faith that I am loved and cared for, even when I doubt the circumstances and the players.
So I reel in acceptance and pray for guidance. I pray that my Telltale Heart will keep beating but not so loud that I cannot sleep. That I be given all the skills and attributes I need to rise to this most recent challenge. And that I be given the grace to love us all through whatever comes next...and, of course, to trust that it shouldn’t be different. And, perhaps most importantly, I am not in charge of any of it.
Let go, or be dragged. The choice is always ours.