Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sometimes it isn't all right

Today I'm not strong enough, smart enough, or good enough. Today I am still staring blankly at the toilet paper in my hand at 10pm last night, bright pink with blood. I tiptoed in the room and woke Mr. Curry to tell him. He's very sick with the flu, he barely opened his eyes, didn't raise his arms toward me; he told me It's OK, go back to bed, lie down, be still. And I did. As I lay in bed, staring at my closet, I felt the closing in of walls we talk about, when things become to much, too overwhelming, and our physical bodies respond in distress, as if imminent danger is near; every single night I lay in bed as a child and adolescent, crying and furious and hurt at my parents for hurting each other, my sister, me- all of those nights curled like a black cat on my chest and lay there. The world outside, the sky, the swallowed sky...not comforting, but an empty heartbeat, an echo of life, what I was sure I would find in my uterus; the slippery leaves and cold dirt of Nature not comforting, but a silent and removed reminder, You are alone, You are alone, You are alone.

I was alone with whatever was happening inside of me, just like we are at the beginning of life, as if I were swallowing the tail of my child and lying connected in a great circle, we come and we go, alone. I could not think of one person to reach out to who would understand why a grown woman, married with a family of her own, would need to be calling at 11pm on a work night to explain that the world was overtaking me, that I could not keep up with what is expected of me, what I expect of myself, that I feel like a failure. My job, although loving and needed, is not providing for my family, I never finished my AA, my marriage is hard, hard, my close friends are not close enough, physically or emotionally or both, I am bankrupt, I am at a loss, I am on stage with my mouth open and the audience is silent and I am silent and I am alone. I don't know how to give myself what I need to be strong enough to do the things that need to be done. Everyone I know is overwhelmed. Losing their jobs, strained and frayed, with infants or problems, just like me. No one can fix me. What needs fixing? Where is the tock that meant to tick, what is the hole in the sky filling with? Why am I so lost?

The ultrasound wand wiggled inside me today and Mr. Curry and I watched as the baby wiggled, heartbeat at 185. The baby is very active, said the doctor, and you aren't bleeding anymore. For now, the baby is all right. Tonight I don't feel all right. Mr. Curry is too sick to do anything and my son is too upset about school to be kind about helping and my Mom might lose her job- again- because of this economy and could barely contain the frustration in her voice tonight when I asked if she might go by the store. She said yes, but you know that sinking feeling? When you've asked for help, which is embarrassing and awkward to a degree, and the person loves you but you know they really just would rather...not? Later she came back with a smile and the groceries. She loves me, of course, and no one is kind all the time, or friendly every time. It's not that. It's the all-ness. It feels like it's all hard. Too hard.

I have let one small stone become a landslide. Mr. Curry was sick and didn't respond the way I wanted or needed him to, and it has uncovered every pothole, every place to fall into and break a leg, every sore spot I was covering temporarily. I am angry and I am tired and I am angry that I am tired, because I am the adult, the Mom, and there is no room for running away here, no room for hiding, no room for welching on my promises to myself, to my children. I cannot need what I do need from Mr. Curry right now because he cannot give it. I cannot need what I need? I have to figure out how to give myself what I need. How do I do that. Where do I begin. I have worked so hard at the daily living of life the last 2 years that what I used to excel at- emotional workings, the inner life, stratigizing for survival for thriving- has become strange and confusing.

What I know from a long line of women in my family is that unmet needs that fold inward, still, unfold, wave, fold, repeat...become resentment, become physical ailments, become insanity, become a rigidity like Parkinson's, where the woman is frozen and yet still in a constant, shrill tremble.

I have changed so many things that came before me and settled on me like a predestined wave, and this too, must go. I am saying it out loud. Until I can hear the answers.
~L said...

Maggie May,
I feel for you. I pray for you and your family. I wish I could hold out my arms to you and let you cry on my shoulder.

Please know that you are not alone in your fear, frustration, confusion, and longing. You are not alone. Your unmet needs will be met because you will tend to them when your soul is ready. And your heart will lead you. From little I have read of you, I believe you are a strong and dedicated woman.

Peace be with you tonight.

Katy said...

Maggie sending you love - if there is anything I can do - I know I'm a little far away - don't hesistate to drop me an email! I hope it all gets better for you xx

angela simione said...

sometimes the weight of life, the weight of the past is just too big. somedays nothing is right. some days i find myself staring off at nothing in particular and notice the quiet thought running through my head that says "i just hate everything so much." the feeling of defeat can become very very deep. swallowing. and i continue to feel grateful for your posts. for the fact that document the hard stuff, the stuff we're taught to be embarrassed of, the things we hide... because it is a hand reaching out squeezing my shoulder and whispering "it'll be okay, little girl." and i hope that this feeling, this sincere assurance and deep love and concern somehow reaches back to you.

A.Smith said...

Oh Maggie May, words seem so...empty to use here, so...useless. I wish I were closer to hold you and give you a hand with the house and make a hot cup of tea and send you to be to read and relax.

Fear magnifies everything, and your body is reacting to your emotional state but you already know that. You are not alone. You have a family and they love you. It is hard at times to show love when you are sick, or to react the way others expect us to when we don't even understand that expectation.

These are hard times and we are all under the influence of this crazy Moon. Just check your mail when you have a minute. It may do you some good. Love from here in the most sincere and friendly way.

Amy + Michael said...

I hear you, Maggie. I have been there--with my own particular brand of aloneness and deep despair. What I hold out to you is the suggestion that for now, let it all be--just the way it is. Right before I logged on to the computer, I reached for some uplifting words in a book called "Finding Joy" and what I got was this advice: to tell yourself, "what is, is." Repeat it to yourself over and over and over. None of us can control what is happening in your lives at any given moment. None of us is really in control of anything. That is the hard part for me, anyway--the letting go of the need to be in control.

Take care of yourself as you would any small child in need of help. Nurture yourself, comfort yourself, mother yourself.

I second what L said--peace be with you.

Love, Amy

Petunia Face said...

Oh Maggie, how I wish I could hug you.

Instead I will tell you this: sometimes when I feel this way, I allow myself the luxury of not thinking. Not analyzing. Not feeling. Maybe that sounds incredibly dysfunctional, but it works. Allow yourself to just move--pour cereal, go to work, go pee, let the dog out, sleep. It's not a long-term solution, but in the very short-term...I think as women we take on so much. Feelings and responsibility, worry, empathy. Sometimes it's nice to lay it down. Just for a short while. Lay it down and float for a few days.

Wish there was more I could do.
You are not alone.

Elizabeth said...

Mercury is in retrograde. I don't know anything about that kind of thing, but it's working for me today. I suggest you repeat it, over and over and over.

It will get better, Maggie. It will. I will pray for you and send good thoughts and healing wishes your way.

Elizabeth said...

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Vashti said...

OH my heart. Maggie is wish we were close. I dont like that fact that you are feeling so alone in all of this, I know the feeling and it is not a good place. I am praying for you.

akka b. said...

oh YOU are beautiful indeed. Strong. Potent. Ripe. That you speak what makes you - with such eloquent fearlessness is a sign that you are more than fine. Painful as this moment may be - you are fine - and yes, we (your audience) very lucky to witness the powerful stance you have taken ... steeped in your truth. Embracing your every part and showing how brave one must be to wake up every day, look life in the eye and say okay, let's do it again.
Much love to you.

akka b.

I'm Katie. said...

If you ever find your way, let me know. Much love. One day at a time. And oh, oh I am praying for you and Biggie Pea.

Bee said...

I've been away for a month, but oh, does life still go on. Yours seems to have gone on in a particularly intense way . . . and reading your posts, I feel (as you always make me feel), this great wish to reach out a hand in some way. You communicate the truth of your life in such a breathtakingly honest way.

isabelle said...

very moving....
sending thoughts your way.

Mwa said...

My heart - your heart. I understand. The anger and hurt, and knowing all the excuses but still feeling the resentment. And loneliness.

So glad the baby is alright. I'm thinking of you. x

Rianna said...

Wow babe, that is one heavy load you are toting. Too much for just one, no matter how very gifted she is. I pray for your baby daily. Sisters gotta look after eachother!

Garden Pheenix said...

First - I am glad the baby is ok.

Second - the rest of the resonates so deep I almost couldn't finish it. And yet I have nothing to offer but thanks for putting words to it.

Mind yourself like you would mind a hurting child.


D S Gurung said...

Life is a boat, we sail on, a wall of hope we nail on. Life is a flower which blooms and die.


Elisabeth said...

This dreadful waiting time when it all feels so much touch and go - pink blood on toilet paper and the fear that your baby is slipping away, but so far not so.

You are a brave woman to write as you write, to share this pain here. Hold on. This time will pass.

michelle said...

Today you ARE strong enough, smart enough, AND good enough.

And you're not alone

Anonymous said...

So brave and honest. I have felt what you do so many times and I could not have expressed it better. You have what it takes to manage that stuff, I can tell. Email me I will give you my number to call anytime of the day or night! I also know how hard it is to rely on others and feel like you don't want to overtax your resources. Call Maggie... all that matters is that you make it through the next few months healthy...

Beth said...

You are strong enough, smart enough and good enough – we’ve all seen these qualities in you. The fear, doubt and questions? We all have them. Sometimes life becomes overwhelming and we become weary.
Be gentle with yourself. (This too can be a challenge.)
So glad the baby is okay.

Amber said...

Oh could totally call me anytime, I really mean that. If we were in the same city I would love to connect with you because I think we could be great friends. I'm glad Biggie Pea is safe and sound and I hope you can push through your desperation because it will be worth it. It seems like people who have struggled either see me as the girl who's has NO IDEA (because I haven't had bad things happen to me, fortunately), OR I let them lean on me and support them when they need it most and they can take some comfort that I am there for them always. I wish you had someone like that.

Ms. Moon said...

No. Sometimes it isn't all right and we stare at the darkness until our eyes are dry and the night just turns, turns, turns.
Maggie. There is nothing for it but to go on. And the night does always end. I know it does.
And sometimes the very flood that we think is drowning us lifts us up, carries us safely to shore.
I wish that for you. With all my heart.

Mel said...

Maggie, it's OK to admit your burden is too heavy. Take a deep breath and rest a minute from all the worry. The baby is OK, yes? The worry of that blood spot would send the strongest of us into a tailspin. A sick husband does me in every time, add in all the other worries on your mind, and realize it's normal to feel overwhelmed and alone - but you are not alone. Or maybe we're all alone together. Rest, take care of yourself, and try to focus on the warmth of life growing inside you. You said one stone became the landslide - for a bit, try to keep your focus small - one pebble at a time - you can't worry about or fix it all, you can't, none of us can. I wonder if pregnancy hormones and med changes are shaking your foundation and making you feel more vulnerable. This too shall pass. Mr. Curry will get well, you will find your way.
The head game I play when I think I can't take it anymore is called relativity. I list the ways life could be worse, in the worst ways, then I'm able to see more clearly what is good and right in my life, and then I find someone to hug. When noone else is around, I hug myself and curl up in a blanket.
I'm wishing you some hugs, sweetie.

Annie said...

Dear Maggie,

There's this to hold on to: you do as much as you can every day, and that's enough, when you just can't do any more; and know you are a good person, doing as much as you can, and that's okay. I don't know what the answers are for you, but I do know you are strong.

I hope you've sought out any free or sliding scale fee legal services in your area to help with your financial situation.

I don't know what to do about those long, cold nights, alone- other than to let you know, you're not alone. People feel with you, and care about you. (I know that's easier to say, than to believe, when the ones you love are sick or withdrawn, and you just need someone to hold you.)

Do whatever you can to reduce the stresses- for example, pets are wonderful, but they take money and time- hard as it would be, consider giving them away to good homes, so you can concentrate on the people in your life. Find ways for the boys to help out- maybe breakfasts in the morning, and simple laundry like towels. Maybe Lola can fold them. Keep telling your family and friends when you need help.

There's only one way to get through this: one step at a time. You are the adult, and you can be proud of yourself for knowing that- so many people don't.

Of course, you can need what you need. But, you've already figured out- you may be the one that has to give it to yourself. It comes from inside, not outside.

As usual, you express your anguish beautifully. You are a writer, Maggie May, and the words you express, help everyone who reads them. You say the things that cannot be said, giving words to our emotions- the ones we all feel, sometimes, helping us all to feel we are not alone, after all. Joy, you express as well.

Wishing you all good things, as reading your passage again leaves me, in tears, worried for you, but knowing, you will be all right. I've felt those dark and lonely waves, and I know, they pass, and there are beautiful, worthwhile days to experience. I also know the dark feelings, go away.

Remember, there are little things, simple joys, special moments, that make every day worthwhile- and you are one of those sensitive people adept at noticing them.

Brigindo said...

Love and hugs Maggie May. You have to need what you need whether others can deliver it in the moment or not. Don't start denying your needs or insisting that you meet them all yourself. While empowerment is all well and good, we need from others and calling a friend at 11 at night because your husband is too sick to give you what you need is not asking too much. It is what friends do.

I'm glad the baby is ok and wish I had better words for what you are going through right now. You may not seem strong and capable at this moment but we all see it out here.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

You are loved, dear Maggie.


Magpie said...

If I were near, I'd bring you food - for comfort and sustenance. Be well.

Rebecca said...


CitricSugar said...

Remember to breathe.

And know that there are people who care and love you, even faraway strangers...

As always, beautifully written.

Marion said...

I'm so sorry you're going through all this, but it's good to write it out and get it out. I'll keep you in my prayers...(I had a hysterectomy about 5 years ago and the dr. said there were over 30 fibroids in my poor, tired uterus. I know that each one had a name and was a certain hurt/pain/disillusionment that I had held in...)

Sending you love and blessings!! xo

Deech said...

So, I came over to your blog from Res Ipsa Loquitur. And she was right, you do write eloquently.

I am sorry that you are going through this. I say, keep the faith. Life is a circle and it will come back to the good stuff, I promise!

Julia Christie said...

Maggie May my dear,

I have been in this same dark place, after a apartment fire, raising two children alone, going to school and working three jobs to make ends NOT meet, shaking my purse for enough CHANGE to meet the rent, and then not having enough to feed the three of us. I had no family to support me and reached the very point you describe so poingantly here.

All I can say is hug yourself tight and believe. You do have the strength within you to make it through this ~ you are an incredible woman.
Yes it would be great or FAIR if you had a huge support system around you and lots of places to turn when things like this happened to you and your family. I had none of those things either. It was a dark and tough and scary and so very soul-sad time for me.
But I trudged on.
I marched at times.
I found one little tiny thing to do for myself each day that made it ok - a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, a chapter from a favorite book, one small thing.

You are going to make it Maggie May! You write beautifully and there will come a time when this will be a distant memory for you. You will be stronger because of it. You will have scars.
But you will make it.

Believe in you.

I do.

Smiles my dear and a look ahead. The future is waiting and it's bright with promise.

Jenny Grace said...

Hey. You will get through. Sending you love.

Drax said...

Well, thank goodness the baby's very active, obviously. Regarding the ache and emptiness and the unknown... I'm sorry. But I know that you know that this too will pass. Hang in there, MM.

Heather said...

i am fairly new here. this is so well written, so well said, expressed so well.

so sorry.

Allison the Meep said...

Love to you. I know it does nothing for your immediate circumstances, but I'm putting it out there for you. And I hope that it does good in some way in your life.

It's a lot, you know? There's so much to deal with in life, so much that weighs on us all. And it's so good that you let us, your readers, just people from the internet who read your words and feel invested in your well being, in on the things you're going through. I appreciate your honesty, because it makes me and I'm sure others feel connected, and we can relate to some of it.


Maggie May said...

Today of course is a new day and I feel better. It's sometimes...sometimes, that I feel that way, and it's obvious by these generous replies that you do understand. I love you all.

Phoenix said...

You are so, so very loved. You are not alone.

Anything else is unknown...but those two things above I know for sure.

Christine said...

Between the words "blood" and "heartbeat" I couldn't breathe. I'm glad baby is okay.

Sending love and hugs for you, for baby, for family.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

I have so been with these feelings before. The only thing I know is that everything is temporary, every damn thing. Good and bad. Temporary.

Hugs for you.

Amy said...


I know how you are feeling..even the frightening pink stains on the toilet paper and the husband who doesn't and can't get the primal fear of it all. I also know about the weird mix of emotions going on when you are so emotionally attached to the baby and thrilled but everything else in your life is a mess. I've had those days. I am giving you mental hugs.

Kate Moore said...

Ah, lots of comments to wrap yourself in here. No, it's not always all right. Nup. No. Not gunna be. But, for the moment, that baby is. You do know you've got the goods though, don't cha? You've got a bloody iron rod in you that means you aren't gunna break. NOT THIS TIME. Grit ya teeth, hon. Grit ya teeth. Take a look around and tell it all, NOT THIS TIME. OK?

Darcy said...

i am so glad (that word doesn't even touch what i really mean to say, how deeply i feel that) that everything is ok with your little bean. i am sending you love and prayers.

*mary* said...

Maggie, I am so sorry. I have been in the same place you just described. One snag unravels the whole damn sweater. You are right, "this too, must go". The resentment and unmet needs have a way of festering if they are allowed. Take care of yourself, and the little one growing inside you.

swonderful said...

I know these thoughts so well. So well. I am not just saying that to be friendly and supportive -- I 100% understand those feelings and situations and frustrations. I hope things are balancing back the other way now. They always do, eventually, but it still helps to say it out loud or yell it out loud. Yell away.

Wine and Words said...

Woman have this ancient power to gather 'round and puff life into death. Even their hugs come from ancient places, translating through vibrations of incredible nurture honed in igloos and covered wagons. Five friends will gather at funeral's pew to surround with a life force that requires notice. And what we do for her, is done for me, for you, for she. At the moment of my own falter, one will steady. She...a friend of decades...she will pause her shoulder beneath my arm and limp me back, or forward, to wherever winds of change dictate. It's what women do. She...a friend of just weeks, will write a note which weights hope in my favor and sooths me enough to see life after this...this trauma, this loss, this heartbreak.

She, of waiting room only, will brush me with her glitter and make me shine enough to present a smile amidst unspeakable grief, not because she knows it's origin nor needs to know, it's just what women do. She will cry only because tears have flowed my cheeks and dropped on the carpet we both worry with our paces.
And when I've nothing left, no will of my own with which to continue this journey, hearts true friend, my sister if ever I could choose, my soul...she pumps my heart until it beats again. She fills my lungs until they gasp in their own right. She takes my thigh and lifts the leg to begin the steps I cannot mount. My arms swing to her rhythm and she blinks my eyes. She lives in me until I can live apart.

That was an old post of mine. Obviously you have many friends here...supporting you in these ways. And now another.


Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

Maggie, my heart goes out to you. So glad to hear that you heard a strong heartbeat. I'm at a loss of what to say, because I don't know you well at all. But your writing and the way you articulate your emotions is just beautiful. You are beautiful.


justmakingourway said...

I'm sorry I didn't see this until today. Although it's not like I have the answers myself. I wish I did, then I could share them with everyone and maybe relieve some of the...what?...that I have been feeling. Malaise? Depression? Stress? I can't name it - so I can't help.

But I'm thinking of you. And sending you good thoughts and strong thoughts that this day will pass and another, more beautiful one will come.


Anonymous said...

Dear Maggie. With the exception of the baby thing (because I can't have any more) I am in that EXACT same boat. Bless you for having the courage to let the world see your pain. You give me and others hope that we can make it too. I will light a candle for you. Take care of yourself and that precious life. Stress never helps.


Bethany said...

Incredible writing. How you explain something I felt just Wed, but had no words for, the pots holes, like you said. The temporary cover, the need that can't be met, the sound in others voices who are overwhelmed too.
I am in awe of this.
Thank you for writing and sharing.
I hope it gets better.
I hope. I hope.

nfmgirl said...

You have no idea how beautiful you are, even when lost in your pain. Your words never cease to touch all of us. I am, by nature, very closed off and hold tight to my emotions. But your words always reach me in such a sharp way that others are rarely capable of. Feel our collective arms around you, sending strength to you and your very active baby.

Caroline said...

Sending you a hug.. sometimes when I worry, I just say the name of my God over and over again for a few seconds until I feel a wave of peace. That always helps me...

Ida Mae said...

its late for me. but I wanted to let you know I that if we were in the same room I would give you a big hug...keep pushing on. sending you lots of love.

i know how you feel, because I have felt just like this..

you write beautifully.
~Ida Mae

anymommy said...

I am always too late, but I can't read this darkness and light and strength and pain and not say that I hear you. I cried for you. I held your hand in the dark, or I wanted to hold it.

My whole body relaxed when I read the baby was okay. But, my heart is still tense for you. Sending you calm and center and love.

Unknown said...

Oh, I've been thinking about you! Way to make my heart drop and then pop up again. YEAH for that heart beat!

As usual, I love the way you word things, you just say what so many feel and you pin point it perfectly.

But I'm still more excited about that heart beat!!!

mrs mediocrity said...

Whew. I think we have all been in this place, in some way, at some time. And there are no easy answers. Sometimes you just need to escape for a while. Sometimes you need to find the strength. Sometimes you can curl up in a little ball and wait it out. But whatever it is that you end up doing, know that you are not utterly alone. It feels that way sometimes. But we are all in this, this human-ness, together. Hold on.

Kirie said...

Maggie, you aren't alone. It's easy to say that, but hard to feel it, I know. I, too, know that persistent feeling of isolation, and I'm all too familiar with the swell of the wave of the 'allness' as it slides over you.
Thank god those feelings, like the waves, pass. I hope they pass quickly for you.

I think of you often, and always with great hopes that you are well, that the baby is well, that you feel the calmness and the love that lots of people are sending your way.
Wish I could do more...


Mama_Bear_Sarah said...

oh dear. i hear ya.

Anonymous said...

this spoke to me. it was as if i was reading my own thoughts.

Miranda said...

i am not sure what to say, other than the words of this post really touched my heart. I hope it is a consolation, if only a small one, that all people experience these times. you aren't alone, never alone, and tomorrow is a new day, and you WILL BE smart enough, strong enough and good enough - you always are.
Glad your baby is okay.
Sending love and all the best wishes

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