I didn’t want to be at home today. Such to the point, that with the purpose of being non-committal with regards to being at home, I am still wearing my boots from my school-run while sitting in my quasi-boho lounge writing. Yesterday was the FIRST DAY EVER that both of my children were in school full-time. WOO HOO right??!?!? Yeaaaah….
The day before yesterday my partner looked at me enthusiastically and said “hey, tomorrow is the first day the kids are in school all day…what are you going to do?” I FROZE. And proceeded to rapidly spiral downhill. You see, anytime I’ve had a gap of time to myself I’m flooded with expectation for how I should spend my time…”Spend your time well Stephe…” I pound into my brain like a weaponized mantra. I usually pour so much expectation on myself that I become paralysed. And then the free time passes and I’m left feeling sick at the waste of what could have been an amazing chunk of time. Ugh.
Back to yesterday, the first day that the kids were BOTH in school for a solid 6 hours…I drove home and sunk into a dark night, or day rather, of the soul. I tried to sit quietly and connect with the Divine, but my dog was howling at being left alone and I began to get angry. Pressure and expectation looping around my brain like a broken record. I got up and decided to check on the state of the motorhome I’ve been re-painting. After vacuuming up a gazillion wintering stinkbugs (gross, so gross), I decided to resume painting. So I painted in a lackadaisical fashion until it was time to pick up the kids. But I hadn’t schluffed off the dark day. In fact it got worse and worse. Until finally I broke. By the time I broke, my partner was home, gently sitting beside me in my darkness, but not taking it on. He was patient with my anger and frustration. He just sat with me. As I wrestled with my anger, I came to realized that I was still paralyzed by my expectations. People who have known me over the years have from time to time told me how hard I am on myself. I saw it to a degree, but had no idea of how far the reaches of these unrealistic expectations went. As I said, I’ve literally been emotionally paralyzed by my expectations. And not just expectations that I put on myself, expectations that I assume others put on me. It’s actually more about the latter than the former. I’m so scared of disappointing people, letting them down, looking like a failure or or or…that I’ve actually denied myself and denied my freedom. I said to my partner, pardon the language mom “I just want to be able to say fuck it, and be free”. He looked at me and said “maybe it’s time to not want to be able to, maybe it’s time to just say it…” I wept some more, exhausted from years, decades really, of living under these mythical expectations. And I said “fuck it, I want to be free”.
So today, I woke up feeling lighter, drove the kids to school, but afterwards wasn’t ready to go home. I don’t know why, maybe I feel like there is expectation at home…so I drove around, listening to podcasts, filling my soul and thought “yes, no expectations except to be in this moment, allowing for myself what is filling my soul.” I wasn’t escaping, it didn’t feel like escape, I don’t even know what it was, but it felt free. I got home, put away some groceries (for what feels like the 5th time this week…), cleaned out the cat litter and was getting ready to go out again, even if it meant sitting in my car with a journal/sketchbook…because that’s what my heart felt to do…and in that space, in that freedom, I felt the urge to write…but with my boots on…just in case.