Friday, January 28, 2011


My body is screaming at me.
For the past few nights I've had trouble sleeping, my legs are cramping up, and I'm cranky.
I've been eating pretty well lately, getting lots o' good stuff in the ol' system, keeping my energy levels up.
But my workouts have been harder to do.  Even the less intense ones.  My first inclination has been to grit my teeth and push through.
Yes, sometimes I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
My body is telling me to CUT IT OUT!!!!!! Ease up, dude!  Dial it back, buddy!
This morning I'm teaching a reformer class.  Luckily it is a beginners' class and I can teach mostly off the reformer.  I've also decided NOT to ride my bike to work.
Because my legs hurt!
I've been showing CLASSIC signs of workout burnout, and ignoring it.
The same way I was oblivious to my post-partum depression after LG was born.
I am ignorant of my own pain.  And that is NOT helpful, at all!

Why is it OK for others to need support, but not me?  I realized recently that I have never felt protected.  I have always felt like the protecTOR.  I haven't put my faith in anyone enough to LET them protect me when I needed it.  Until very recently.  Like a month ago, with Hubby.  The night he told me we may lose our home, and he let me sob into his chest while he held me, for as long as I needed.

Let's face it; life ain't easy.  Unless you are a coddled princess living in luxury with servants seeing to your every need, but really, how many people live THAT life?  But I've always felt guilty complaining about things because there are so many who are worse off: we have a home, and food to put on the table, and amazing kids, and people who love and support them (and us).  We have family all around us and we ARE truly blessed.
But that doesn't mean it's easy.
I think I wrote in a recent post that someone pointed out how much I torture myself.  And it's true.  I am my own worst tormentor.
But I also learned very early on that complaining was a no-no.  Even venting was not allowed.  For others, yes, but not for me.  So I'd go along, fervently hoping that SOMEONE would notice me and offer a shoulder.  But no one did, because I wasn't the squeaky wheel.  It's been a hard lesson to learn; if I need help, I have to ASK for it, because I'm VERY good at hiding turmoil beneath a calm surface, and people are not mind readers.
I was always so amazed when others remarked about how calm and zen I was.  Because I'm one of the least zen-like people I know, lol!  It was all an act, one I have perpetrated, unknowingly, for almost my entire life.

So now,\ with your indulgence, I'm going to vent a bit:

It really sucks having to live month-to-month, paycheck-to-paycheck, never being able to save anything. It's hard getting paid by the hour, having to CONSTANTLY find more time during the week to work more hours when I am already so over-extended and exhausted. I hate feeling as if I HAVE to accept every sub assignment offered to me because we need the money, and that I can never, ever take time off.
At the same time, I can't accept every job because that means paying for childcare.  If I'm paying more for childcare than I'm getting paid, it hardly makes sense to work!
While I appreciate people who tell me they empathize with us because they thought maybe one of their kids had Autism but it turns out they did not,  I cannot help but think that they REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND:  Yes, I'm GLAD your child is not Autistic, but having a scare and living with the reality of it every day are two entirely different things!  Pacing the floor while holding a screaming child night after night after night, not knowing if your child will EVER say a word, knowing that kids with special needs are even more vulnerable to predators than other kids, the therapies and meetings and picture schedules and special classes and dirty looks from other parents when your child has a meltdown because s/he is simply overwhelmed, and the parents who don't want your kids near theirs because, what, they might catch it?  (Autism is NOT contagious, people!), and the simple exhaustion of it all, as it goes on for years and years, is HARD!

But then, there is the flip-side.  The celebrations of the little victories.  Like when your child speaks spontaneously, without prompting.  Or when your non-verbal child learns to communicate.  The moments when they climb into the bed and cuddle up with you, or lay their heads on your chest. Or smile when you walk into the room.  Knowing that you have their full trust and unconditional love, and that you have earned it, because the love you feel for them is bigger and brighter and scarier and more wonderful than anything else in the universe.
Because that is what it means to be a parent, of any child.  All the worries you previously had for yourself are transferred to them.
I used to be afraid to die.  Now I would gladly give my life for them.  If someone has to get sick, I hope it's me, not them.  But not TOO sick, because I don't want to leave them.  THAT'S the scary part about death now: what would happen to my kids?
I also have to take a good look at my behaviors; how do they affect my children?  Because kids learn more from what their parents do than what we say.  If I continue to abuse myself, will my kids learn that behavior?  If I don't see myself as worthy of being loved and taken care of, will my kids believe the same thing about themselves?
And that is unacceptable.

So, enough.

It's time to take care of me.
So that I can take care of them.


The Merry said...

I don't know what it's like to have a special needs child. I do know what it's like to watch your sister deal with a special needs child.
It's hard on the child, but I think it's even harder on the parent. And it's not much fun to be on the sidelines watching and not able to help.

Charlotte said...

((huge hugs)) Alyssa!! You do such a good job of showing the ups and the downs and the two interact to make your life the beautiful thing that it is! I can totally relate to the living hand-to-mouth scariness. And while I don't have an autistic child I am grateful to you for sharing your struggles and triumphs!

Geosomin said...

I think it's brilliant that you are able to write this and share it. I don't have children and so I have no frame of reference for that...I only know how I'd feel. A close friend of mine has a severly autistic son and sometimes all I can do is be the shoulder to lean on (or cry on), and share the joys that come with it. And the hand to mouth thing? ...the stress can really wear you down.

I really relate to what you has taken me all my life to come to grips with the fact that if I need help, I have to ASK for it. I still do it sometimes. Even with my husband, it's taken me so long to give up things to him and let him help. I would wonder why people didn't know I was stressed and that I needed what I was giving to others. But wouldn't you know it - once I started to ask...I recieved. All the love I gave out came back to me when I needed it most. Last semester I really had to let things go so I didn't go crazy (much...heh). It was hard to let my husband do things for me and not worry if they're not perfect (and somehow mean that *I'm* not perfect).
I'm glad you can share your feelings here. I know for me that's what my blog is a lot of the time...

azusmom said...

I don't even know what to say here. "Thank you" is so completely inadequate!
I just admire you ladies so much, and SO appreciate all the kindness and support!!!!!!!!!