Ask Again Tomorrow/The Utter Alone

When people ask me how I am, and I say I am fine or I am good, I am not lying.

But there are still days.

There are days when it takes almost nothing to ignite the heat of tears behind my eyes, and I can feel the muscles in my chest tighten like a venus fly trap that has found its target.  On those days, I escape to the other room, down the hall, or the bathroom where I can be alone and I feel my face contort into a mask of despair, a grimace so wide it pulls my lips tight, tears sliding down my cheeks.

There is a pain, a grief, a longing, a feeling of utter *alone* that expands in my chest like a wave on the verge of breaking, until **I** am on the verge of breaking and it is all I can to do to be quiet about it because my kids are in the next room and I really don't feel like I can explain this to them. I cry in the bathroom because it is the only place I am alone. Sometimes I watch my face in the mirror as it changes, until I can't stand seeing myself in pain anymore and I cover my face with my hands.

I am happier than I have ever been in my life, but this life is not easy. I am one of the working poor - I make too much for assistance, but not enough to actually get by. The power company demands a deposit because despite being a paying customer for 13 years, those accounts were not in MY name. My phone company threatens to shut my phone off if my payment is late because despite 15 years of payments, now I am a "new customer" with my own account. Every month there are choices to be made, pay for groceries or make sure my garbage service stays on? How much can I afford to pay of the bill to the electricity company that amounts to 3/4 of one of my paychecks? How far will I have to overdraw this pay period to cover gas to drive to and from work? What exactly DOES happen if my rent is late?  And forget the medical bills and the $200 I still owe to last year's after school care. I work my ass off, as close to 40 hours a week as I can get with transporting kids to school and daycare, and having to run any errands I have on my lunch hour, I come home and take care of my kids and then I do it all over again. I try not to think too much or stop because the enormity of it all is just paralyzing sometimes. When I stop, the overwhelm comes full force.

It is hard to tell if I carry this pain inside of me always, or if it ebbs and flows, if it actually leaves me and then comes back to me like a tide licking the shore and retreating. I wonder if it will always be there.  The moments are fewer and further between, when I took the Xanax I found I needed yesterday, it was the first time I'd taken one in months and months.  I was drowning, sitting at my desk trying to fight back tears and failing, and it was my life preserver. It worked, for a while.  It got me through the day, and I went home and snuggled with my kids and fell asleep early.

I haven't been sleeping well. The boys are getting bigger and they both still end up in my bed every night. They're too big, and until now I have been able to put up with it because they won't want to forever and I know that the last couple of years have been tumultuous. But in the last two weeks I haven't been sleeping very well, trapped between their growing bodies, I am suffocating and when I wake my body is sore. I need to get them in their own beds, but I know how hard it's going to be. But I'm formulating plans.

In the meantime I am tired. Being tired means I fall asleep early every night. A lot of nights I fall asleep putting the kids to bed and then just don't wake up again. While the extra sleep can be nice, this eliminates any kind of "me-time" I might have had in the evenings. I **need** that time. Other than the 7 hours a week my kids are with their father on Sundays, that is the only time I get to relax and escape the endless voices - fighting, playing loudly, and the constant mom mom mommmmmmmy requests, demands, questions, stories. I listen and try to respond, and I get *tired*. But it is only me. I am everything to them, I know that I have help, but I am really their world. They love me, and I love them too, fiercely, but it isn't always easy to be their person.

Lately I have been lonely. I find myself missing parts of having a partner - maybe not missing them, but longing for them, or missing the idea. Despite the fact that I didn't actually have some of these things when I was married. I miss having someone to share the weight of the load with. I miss a hug at the end of a hard day. I miss having someone there to say, let me put the kids to bed tonight, you just relax. I miss having someone to laugh with, to share with, to fall asleep with and wake to. I miss companionship.

I love having my own life and my own space. And I don't know if/when I'll meet someone I want to live with again. I don't think I'm ready for it, but there are those bits and pieces that I just... miss.

It's just been a couple of hard days.

How am I?

Ask me again tomorrow.