I am good at hiding my pain.
I always have been.
Since May, I have been on a path towards something better. I have had someone in my life who started making a difference. Giving me her support, in small–but, for me, giant–ways.
And goodness, that support flipped a switch for me.
For some reason, I feel the pain returning.
The week has been hard. A student death, wrought with emotion for the community, for the students, for the parents, teachers, and staff, has added a dimension of sorrow to my days.
It brought back memories, which came in a flood. Memories that brought back more memories…things I try not to remember. Things I have hated about myself. Things I have worked, as an adult, to distance myself from.
Yet, that distance is so much harder to keep when I find myself walking the same hallways that I did over twenty years ago, as a student. The memory of the little ragamuffin sixth grade girl–bullied, sad, starving for positive attention.
I don’t like to remember myself like that.
And I really don’t like that some other people might remember me as that girl. Yet, I now work with one.
Remembering that I was that student. The one teachers watch. The one they discuss–What do you think is going on at home? Do they need clothes? What is the story?
I never want to be defined by that girl. I’ve tried so hard to be something other than her. That year. That one year before I started to really hide and camouflage who and what I was. The year where I was new, a foreign city girl in a small town.
The memories…they’ve come flooding back.
On top of that…I am STRESSED. Teaching is simultaneously amazing, enjoyable, and hard. Especially for me–the perfectionist who wants it all to be so perfect. And first year teaching? It is far from perfect.
I have a student with a real, life threatening and contagious condition. I have a parent that is a known drug user and stalker. A parent I have been warned to never be alone with.
It is hard.
I feel lonely in my new job. Everyone is nice. But there is little in the way of connection or even real communication. We are always in our own rooms, doing our own thing. That is not a bad thing…but it can, at times, be lonely.
Home? Home is a mess.
I feel horrible mom guilt for working so much. My husband is constantly and forever unhappy. No matter what I do, it is not enough to make his day better. He is stressed at having to take the kids to school and pick them up. Stressed at having to manage the dog. Stressed at bills.
He is quick to anger and never willing to find a way to make it better. At least, not really.
I don’t know how to help.
Sometimes, I am done even trying. Sometimes? I am not even sure I like him anymore. So many days, I just want to bolt from this marriage.
But, money. Comfort. Ease.
No…I don’t stay for happiness. Or even love. Those things seemed to have left long ago.
Slowly, I am giving up hope of them ever returning. They won’t. Not really.
It is a hard place to be in. The great unknown that exists outside this unhappy marriage scares me. I am scared of hurting my kids.
And hurting him? It feels impossible, even when leaving seems like the only way to ever find real happiness again.
So. The pain? This week, it has unburied itself. It has found its way out of the deep, dark place I have tucked it in and ignored it over the last few months.
Yes, I feel better in so many ways. But I am also spending a lot of time avoiding things that hurt, just so that I don’t have to deal with them. And guess what? They find their way out anyway.
Today, I found myself aching. Remembering. Wanting my therapist and the support she offers so well. I found myself grieving the fact that I can’t just call her anytime, like she is a friend, and talk to her friend to friend.
Because really, that is what I need. I need a hug. I need someone to hear me and empathize with me. Someone who just knows what I’m feeling and why. Someone who I don’t have to apologize to for having real emotions.
Counseling fills that hole. In the hour or so that I’m there. But it’s those other hours when I’m hurting. Those other hours when I just so wish I could really have someone to let it out with, in a non-clinical or professional way.
The pain? It is here. I am not cursing it or banishing it away. But I am also trying to avoid inviting it in. I see that dark, muddy hole I fall into. The one that traps me until I drown.
I don’t want to fall into that hole again.
But…the temptation for my body to dive right in is right there.