Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I barely recognize the reflection I breeze past.
I remember wanting to be a mother when I was younger. I dreamed of playing house, but for real. Only, this time I had a real partner and we lived in a brick colonial with four dark curly headed kids, a dog running through the back yard.
I envisioned myself, a white apron around my neck and torso- it had lace trim and was perfectly lived in. I could even tell you what each stain and discoloration was from which baking adventure with the kids. My hair was parted to the side, and to my shoulders, with that perfectly lived in blowout look. I was always at the counter, a song playing in the background, looking over my shoulder at the little lives I helped create. I remember the feeling of seeing them all there at the table, laughing and coloring with their pens and paper , with the occasional “mooooom, he keeps taking my colors! Tell him to stop!” thrown in for good measure.
If I close my eyes, I can still see those dreams so vividly. And I remember the feeling of warmth that spreads over me, as hypothetical mother Me’s hips sway to the music and knuckles kneed at the bread in front of me. My ears ring with the sound of crinkling paper, little whispers and fits of giggles. My mouth can almost taste the flour being propelled into the air from my current baking endeavor. And I can smell the sweet breeze that blows in through the half open window over the sink, mixing with the fresh yeast and thyme, and an ever so slight hint of crayola shavings.
The warmth is my joy. It exudes from my pores as this moment of perfection plays over and over again. Etching itself into my brain’s history, so badly desiring it to become a future happening.
But instead I sit up in my closet. The doors shut. The sound of my children and husband playing peekaboo downstairs softly creeping through the crack under the door. And yet, I’m here. On the floor in front of a row of tees and button ups and shoes and sweaters piled on top of one another. Trying to ignore the welling in my eyes, and moisture on my cheeks. Willing myself not to cry.
I want to be happy, I want to be present, I want to make these memories. Not the social media, white washed kind of perfect, but the real kind. The messy, mismatched and the third day hair kind. Where you lose yourself so much into the moment that all you feel is bliss and you forget anything but what’s happening right now.
But my darkness prevents that. It keeps me from letting go. From letting the lightness in. From getting up off this carpeted floor.
It forces my limbs further ensconced in my position. At some points, I’m not sure if they or I can move anymore. At others it feels as though I’ve melded with each shaggy fiber in the carpet, like quicksand. Unable to allow my feet, bottom and back to separate from the surface.
I feel so lost in this position, both physically and emotionally. I hate this. I hate how hard it is to force the corners of my mouth from their downturned station. I hate how hard it is to force myself to get up. I hate that my children might ever possibly remember their mother this way. As a shell of a person. Never really there.
Coming to terms with my darkness is terrifying. It’s admitting there’s something wrong. There’s something that needs to be fixed.
I am a broken woman. I am in repair. And I so badly just want to feel light again.
For my husband. For my kids. But mostly, for me.