Working gives me a sense of success and professionalism. Filling the role of a mama makes me feel loved and special in that "you're so cool and amazing" kind of way that only a little kid can make you feel. Both are fulfilling and challenging in their own ways, but achieving a perfect balance is the hardest part for me. When I feel that work is taking too much of me, I immediately feel guilty for not being there for my family. When family issues are consuming my life and mind, I feel distracted at work and guilty for my lack of performance. Feeling guilty is virtually a constant in my life. Some blame it on the old "Catholic guilt," but I know that it's because I care and feel...I care immensely and feel passionately about a lot of people and things. It's part of who I am and I refuse to change. It's actually one of my favorite personal attributes, along with my legs.
Recently, it's been worse. I have been feeling guilty regardless of what I do. If I get into a book and want to read during all my free time, I feel guilty for not spending more time with my family and friends. I know that I need to nourish myself, but I cannot seem to personally accept a balance that satisfies all my responsibilities to my personal standards. Maybe I am perfectionist? Ok, I am a perfectionist. I am also extremely hard on myself. You know the phrase, You are your own worst critic? Well, that was written for me.
From as far back as I can remember, I punished myself more than my parents ever punished me. I was grounded once for jumping on the sandbox lid and denting it after 5:15 Mass on Saturday evening. My father yelled at my brother and I. I sent myself to my room without dinner, cried my heart out, wrote "I'm sorry" notes to my parents, put them on their pillows, and put myself to bed. My parents have zero recollection of this which blatently points out it wasn't a big deal to them. I however, remember it like it was yesterday. On another occassion, I recented a "point," or a demeritt as most kids would know them as, for forgetting to get a Science test which I received a 99% (because I spelled Jupiter wrong). I was so scared and burst into tears as I gave the slip to my dad to sign. He looked at it and said, "What's this?" I explained it to him inbetween sobs and shrugged, said it means absolutely nothing to him, and signed it. Once again, I remember this and my pops doesn't. I have always expected the best out of myself in the sense that I give 100% effort and truly respect life; when I fail, I beat myself up worse than anyone else could.
Right now...I feel as if I am failing miserably. I feel dark inside and I hate it. This isn't the person I am. I am a happy, outgoing, spontaneous, life loving, carefree, determined, optimistic, creative, goofy, sometimes crazy, competitive as all get-out, music lovin gal...you get the idea. Right now I feel dull, judgmental, stressed, heavy and as if I can't break through a shell that's holding me down. It is a horrible feeling and it's been haunting me for months. I have been praying for an answer and have been beyond emotional when all I want is to feel like myself again. Every now and then I see the light and run straight for it, but I seem to only catch a few rays before being pushed back into a haze.
Some have told me that all I have to do is "let go." While I would love to "let go," I can't seem to accomplish it. Some of the few things that allow me to escape feeling guilty or down are reading and dancing. Since both are good for my mind and body, I have been focusing on them more and more, but I have been trying to be aware of my responsibilities and families' needs.
I want to be a great mama, wife, friend, daughter and employee. I know I am doing my best despite anyone's opinions, but I also know that I am capable of much more and I strive to find that light in me. After writing this, the light is flickering in the distance...I can feel it. Let the marathon begin! I'm up for the challenge. It's amazing how powerful writing is for me.
For the lovely ladies (Ania), that wanted to see my sweet New Orleans Easter Earrings!