It's not one thing or another, it's all things all at once. That always seems the way of it. One thing at a time I can face down and manage, but when it seems to come from all sides I meltdown. I realized this after a long conversation with my beloved eldest son, who is currently living nearly as far away as he could possibly be and still reside in the continental USA. We hadn't talked in quite some time, and to say I miss him would be like saying Alexandria had a decent library. After we talked I felt a calm restored to my soul that had been missing for a bit, and I realized that the angst of not knowing how life was treating him had been weighing heavy on my heart. Add to this the strain of long hours at work, the pressure of the holidays, cold weather, car problems, too much month at the end of the money, recent heartache and the self esteem bashing that goes along with it, and abject loneliness all piling up during the darkest days of the year, and I am set up for a cataclysmic crash. The key is to see all things all at once, separate them, understand them, and deal with each in its own way. I have gotten better at this over the last few years, having spent so much time flaying myself open in an attempt to understand and mitigate cause and effect. I was told recently that I think too much, over-analyze everything, and my first reaction was a desire to apologize and change. Apologize? Change? That is like asking the tiger to apologize for her stripes, and change them to spots. It ain't gonna happen. I am who I am. I have to remind myself of this, especially at times like these. I am who I am, no apologies, no changing. Yes, I do try to modify behaviors that I know are not healthy for me, and I have done this quite well over the years. One behavior that I have tried to change is my desire to make everyone happy, even at the expense of my own happiness and sanity. I can be too compliant, to malleable, shaping myself to fit whatever I think is expected of me, accepting blame when it is not mine to accept, apologizing. This is one trait that is fabulous in the workplace, as I can fit into nearly any setting, blend in, become "one of the guys." But it is not a great trait out in the real world. Sometimes I feel like a schizophrenic chameleon being forced to run across a multitude of colors and patterns, trying to shift my coloring to blend with each one, until Brain wants to implode, Body is exhausted, and Spirit feels wrung out like a manky dishtowel. I have gotten much better over the last few years, though I catch myself sliding back into my chameleon role when I feel alone, lonely. I find myself wanting to say, "But I can change..." Yes, I can, but I won't. Not this time. Not again. I have spent too many tears over the past few years, bartering. Bartering away what makes me unique, offering to lose my stripes. Being malleable is blessing and curse, like that super power no one really wants. I would much rather be Wolverine, unbreakable, tough, super healing powers, bad attitude, nearly invincible.
But, I digress. I had not meant for this to be a rant about my malleability. Funny the roads my mind goes down the moment I peel open my skull and start to tinker with the contents. All things all at once, with a straw that breaks the camel's back, that is actually where this was supposed to go. Having a talk with my son removed enough of the burden that I have regained some sense of balance, an ability to shoulder my load once again, instead of wanting to just drop it and sit in the middle of the road weeping. Speaking of balance, we all know that you can lift and carry so much more if you can balance the load. A good portion of my balance comes from finding and holding on to a strong sense of self. Knowing who I am, understanding my own nature, remaining true to myself. If nothing else, I know, I have to remain true to myself.