Monday, August 15, 2011

The Solace Of Solitude

If you had asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up when I was say, 8 or so, I would have told you I wanted to have lots and lots of kids. My only-child (until age 12) syndrome was in full swing and I would have bet all my Garbage Pail Kids that when I grew up my house was going to be busy, bustling and bountiful. That desire came back really bad after I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Family, chaos, laughter, love. So much going on, so many relationships, so many people. Busy, with everyone around. Always. My husband and I were newly married and watched that movie as we chain smoked and pretty efficiently put back a 12-pack of beer in our room at La Quinta Inn near the airport in Tampa, Florida.  We had spent the past week with my very lovely, very conservative, extremely religious grandparents and were catching up on our sorely missed doses of pretty innocent sin. I cried to him about how badly I wanted that life. That big family. He asked me if I wanted kids now, as in at this point in our lives. Of course not, I sniffled. He had yet to finish college and we were still smoking cigarettes and drinking 12 packs of beer! I wanted better for our children, and ourselves, than that. 

So it is extremely strange to find myself at 35 years of age, with a very happy 10 year marriage, living my life in solitude. My days are alone, not even a part-time job to distract me from myself. I put forth a good "face" effort, but am a pretty miserable housewife. And I did not wind up having any kids, in fact. No, I got seriously sick like 5 times and made the choice to not pursue parenthood. I am in no way saying that is the only choice a woman can make, or a couple can arrive at if given the same set of circumstances. It is just the one I made. After existing for so long in so much pain, so much weight gain from this drug or that, years of stolen activity while I sat decomposing with Fibromyalgia and CFS, I just wanted a normal life! Relationships with healthy people are difficult, confidence destroying, even. The sensory overload of activity hangs in a delicate balance, so easily tipped in the other direction, the chaos of a mind-fold. It is hard to be around other people. Lets face it, I am just not that flexible. I am chronically ill! So instead of beating my head against that wall, I have chosen for the most part to avoid it. Step away, untangle myself from the expectation.

But now I find myself with no job, very few friends, no children...really no reason to get up in the morning except for y'all. And you don't care if my hair is ironed straight, I am wearing the crown jewels of a long-lost monarch or have a seaweed mask slathered all over my face, for you can't see me. And now that I no longer get makeup and skincare for free, I find my cheap self emerging as I hoard my stock, rationing out little jars of eye cream or tubes of lip gloss at a time. I have found nowhere near the motivation to put makeup on to sit in my house all day and take it off with no one but my husband, who has seen me at my very best and certainly at my worst, maybe seeing it for an hour. The eternal fight with my frizzy hair to go either curly or straight, but for goodness sakes please just choose one, simply not happening. However, I can feel a restlessness stirring inside of me. A feeling I have not felt in many many years. My life was fight or flight, pure survival, for a really long time. I broke a few (dozen) times along the way. Yet the better I feel and the more I take care of myself, no escaping that 5 Pointed Star of Health, the more I start to feel like me again. A me that I had forgotten completely about. In the quiet stillness after the very big storm here I sit. Quiet, not always patient, and learning the whispering and hushed voices in my heart and in my head are still very powerful. And I am remembering something that has long been forgotten, I think I kinda like me

Thanks for joining,


  1. I, too, wanted a boatload of children. I can't have them because of a blood disorder but I thought of adoption, unfortunately, I am just too ill just like you. It doesn't bother me as much as it used too. I guess we can get used to anything.


  2. I have three kids, but I'm a lousy mother because I'm in too much pain all the time to do anything with them. On the VERY rare occasion that I (formerly a Mary Kay Consultant) put on makeup, my two-year-old looks at me like he doesn't know who I am.

    I'm glad you're doing better!

  3. I remember wanting to have 6 children, like my mother...I, however, was blessed with of which I adopted...but it has been a huge struggle to be just a decent mother to them...and now, with so many other illnesses on top of the fibro, it's almost impossible. I've had 3 major back surgeries, the last one being just 3 months ago and I have had one paralyzed leg for 12 years. They can't figure out why my leg is paralyzed...well duh...let's see if we can just pick from any of my illnesses and find our answer??? This last surgery consisted of cleaning out my spinal canal, removing another disc, putting in a spacer then rods and screws to stabilize my spine...and that's just a few of the things that fibro has "helped" mess up inside of me...So, when I have to tell my son that I am just not able to take him to Game Stop just about kills me...because that's what I said yesterday...and the day before..and the day before...So, yes, I do love my children with my whole being and thank God for them every single day...but I hate that I am not able to be the mother that they deserve...and now, I'm not able to be the grandmother that my granddaughter deserves...I now thank God that He didn't allow me to have those 6 children that I wanted...He knew that I was only going to be able to handle 3...

  4. I, like Erin, have three children also. They have had to make a lot of adjustments to my illness, when I feel it should have been me adjusting to be a better parent and I hate that.

    Whichever choice you make, it has to be the right choice for you. And if I had known how sick I would be and how much having children exhausts you, both emotionally and physically, I might have decided on having only one. But then I wouldn't have the ones I do have that I can't imagine life without.

    My nieces are going through a bad time right now and one of the options that has been suggested is that Justin and I take them. We already have three children, all well into middle, high school, and college. These girls are 8, 9, and 10. I am not sure I am ready for three rambunctious girls (all I have are boys!) who have experienced a lot of trauma in their short lives.

    Parenting is an enormous, gargantuan commitment that does not end until the child is out on his own, supporting himself. And even then, you still worry and fret and want to help him which then causes fibro flares.

    Fibro and children is a very interesting (and often sad) dilemma. I never judge anyone who would choose not to take that on because they have fibromyalgia.


  5. Great post. I've been catching up on your blog today and have shared a couple of your newest entries with my friends on FB and G+.

    I'm right there with you. After a serious bout with depression that almost had me checking myself into the hospital I realized that the one thing that can save me from myself is myself. I've made it a point to get out again, to call friends, to see them, whatever it takes. While solitude is nice on occasion, I get really sick of me after a while.