Can I tell you I get tired of their neediness and their noise and their inability to see the messes they create unless I point it out to them? Can I tell you that I sometimes bite my lip until it hurts when I am in the middle of something and I am called away from what I am doing to pick someone up and taxi them around some more? Can I tell you that I sometimes calculate in my head the hours of monotonous, mindless driving I do and think..."this is how I am spending my life..." and then I have to quickly forget about it because if I don't, the thought consumes me and makes me feel bitter, and angry, and cold inside?
Can I tell you that a lot of the time I do things not because I want to, but because I think it will be easier if I just go along...and how that makes me feel small and unimportant and weak because who does this besides me...who is always willing to be considered last all the time the way I am? Can I tell you that I do not think that my happiness is anyone's number one concern...that I am thought of in terms of what I can do for others...and that more times than not, I am perfectly ok with that until I am not?
Can I tell you that I feel like my life is about filling other people up? Can I say that when I think I cannot do any of it for another day, I somehow take a deep breath and get up and do it again and I then I think to myself that surely I will be rewarded for being the type of person who doesn't quit...and that believing this little lie I tell myself, is what keeps me moving in the right direction?
Can I tell you that listening to one of my children cough incessantly makes my skin crawl and that I have to hold myself back from screaming, "shut the fuck up" even though the cough is not something that can be controlled or stopped just because I cannot stand hearing it anymore? Can I possibly say that I am spending my life trying to make other people happy and that when they are not happy I resent them in a huge, indescribable way? Can I tell you that I feel like every minute of every day will always be theirs and not mine because when you have children that's what happens and so you learn to give over your life to other people minute by minute, day after day.
Can I tell you I made mistakes that I carry around in my heart and in my head and how those mistakes weigh me down with a sadness that never quite leaves me? Can I say I've been disappointed by the people I have loved but when they disappoint me I think it's something I probably deserve anyway? Can I say I wish I loved everyone better, and gave more hugs, and spent less time worrying about things that don't matter? Can I tell you I choke down so many things I want to say because I know that saying them might make others see me differently and I don't want to risk them rejecting the real me who is sometimes so very ugly? Can I say that if I did not have my husband and children that I know I could be happy alone but that I would never say as much because it feels disloyal to be this kind of honest when it doesn't reflect how I feel the majority of the time?
And if you let me say all this, is it possible for you to believe that most of the time I feel lucky? That all I know about life and love I learned from them? Can you understand the complexity of life is such that contradictions abound in every feeling and thought that I have and that I am often so conflicted by the side of me that wants to scream and run away? Can you see why it's easier to hide the negative things, why it is better to bury those things deep in a place they can't be accessed, why it's kinder to let those thoughts be something I never share with those that I love but instead write here where no permanent damage can be done?
Can you believe that I am still happy?