1. Torment: I will probably be haunted forever by what happened to my littlest boy. The court system let me have a hand in what happened to his abuser and I made a decision that I felt would best protect her future children. The court system lied and I doubt, sincerely, she got any kind of help from the system and I doubt, sincerely, her children are any safer. I knew that neither decision would satisfy my desire for, let's face it, vengeance, but I made a decision with a mother's heart. I thought it was the one that would be easiest to live with. Now, as I look at my little monkey-boy, I still see handprints on his face and around his throat and his eye swollen shut. At least daily my mind plays that trick on me and I am haunted.
2. Vengeance: I'm pretty sure it just runs in my DNA. It's tied, duh, to #1. But I make decisions daily not to do something
3. Loneliness: I have people around me now, all the time. I get oodles of affection. My monkey-boy lives in my arms and occasionally, literally, hangs from my neck like a monkey. Stomp still climbs in my lap for a snuggle. The boyfriend provides oodles of kisses. But I get lonely and I ache for the people in my life who matter who I don't get to see daily. Aside from the obvious people like The Jersey Mama and The Mountain Mark and my Aunties and family, I miss my friends and sisters scattered around the U.S. in the most insane way. As Mary Lambert sings, "how did I miss you when I didn't know you?". I have the most amazing collection of sisters around the country. I am no longer, by any stretch, an only child. I no longer have to worry about never being an aunt to someone. I have sisters and nieces and nephews in a half dozen states. And at least a few times a day I get oh-so-wistful that I can't just grab them and hug them. Or just drive by and drop off a book to read or some cookies. I miss my tribe.
4. Pride: Yesterday, I had a meeting at the college with an advisor who will be with me for the remainder of my time at SCC. She oversees the "clinical" portion of the rest of my certification process to become a Medical Assistant. As I was walking in that direction, I ran into a professor I have had twice before. She asked, "may I help you?" and I gave her my name and told her who I was there to meet. She squealed my name and hugged me. I was sort of taken aback since I didn't know who she was. Once she introduced herself, I was so happy to meet her! She took me inside and introduced me and we hugged and chatted a few minutes. As I sat with my advisor, she told me "that is high praise that XX cares so much about you!". I was extremely flattered and blushed so hard. I worked extremely hard last semester, well all my semesters, really, but last semester in particular, to get straight A's and to make sure I was providing the best work I could humanly possibly provide. And I was remembered for it. Last semester, this particular professor kept commenting that she couldn't wait for me to be done with schooling and get to work with patients because she thought I would be great in this field. She evidently passed that information along to this advisor because I already had a positive reputation when I walked in there. Not only is my hard wok paying off, but my gut intuition that this was the right field for me is clearly correct!
5. Self doubt: AKA the steady diet of every mother in existence. Any mother who says she doesn't doubt herself is a damned liar. Of course part of this ties into #1. Part of it ties into some stuff going on with Stomp. But it's just there, nagging, all the freakin' time. What am I doing wrong? Can I be doing better, more, something? That one's a real bitch.
When I'm done at the end of the day (who are we kiddin', I'm a college student...my 'end of the day' is sometimes 48 hours without sleep when I finally collapse in exhaustion) and try to take off the "I have toooootallllly got it together" mask, I still have a hard time leaving these feelings someplace. That's why I see a counselor. A counselor who is a flippin' saint. Seriously, Saint John the Counselor. So if you need help removing your masks, get some help. There is no shame in asking for help. You wouldn't be ashamed to ask someone to treat you for a broken bone or to get treatment for ALS. Don't be ashamed to take care of your mental health. It is every bit as important as your physical health. Take care of all of you, the whole you, all of the time. Please.