Saturday, October 24, 2009


I pull in, isolate myself from family and focus on art work and those who support those artistic endeavors. I try to avoid the pain that often comes with love. Once more I harden my heart and refuse to hurt….which is not easy with an ailing parent and I go back and forth between moments of despair and frenetic creativity.

Sometimes I feel my training is letting me down. All the studies on handling emotion has not stopped me from giving in to frustration as I watch my mother decline. Her needs are so different from mine. Her fears weigh heavy beside my own. She is a dominating force in my life and I’m afraid that if I don’t keep up barriers, she will overcome me and I will come to be just like her.

I try to keep the rest of the family from knowing all the petty details, all that I put up with on a daily basis. They have their own lives and struggles to deal with and I agreed to be here for Ma. Yes, I am well-paid for this choice but I do wonder about the consequences in the end. I worry how I will ever re-join the work force and what wounds I cause in this separation from family. I am not confident in the quality of my future.

I also fear no one understands and might think I am horrible. I am surprised when others do relate to this plight. Hey, I am not the only one to care for an aging parent. I do not have to do this alone, however I cannot help but wonder how much of this trial is for me to bear. Right now, this is my “job” and I don’t feel I’m putting on a good face. Inside I throw a little tantrum. I don’t want it to be this way--- and I feel like kicking something.

I pull back farther and yet, there is always that part of me that does reach out for help. I sit in meditation and the training does come back. I breathe in, breathe out, and relax. I’m able to see how to be better for the next round. There are friends who stop in to visit to relieve some of the pressures and give me time to slip away without worrying about what I’ll find when I return.

Then there is my writing and art work. Writing is my salvation; the place I go when I can no longer cope. I pour my heart out onto pages with some kept private while other is shared. Those thoughts and feelings are the release of pent up frustrations and responses reach out to me through the darkness.

The written words are also a protection. With others, reading protects them from my projected emotions and body language, and for me, because I am emptying myself of the pain, I am protected from my own despair. In re-reading, there is enough distance that I can objectively look at my process. When I am physically in the presence of anyone else, I do not control my emotions well when I am overly distraught.

Doing anything creative is important when dealing with raw emotion, however, at those times, there cannot be interruptions. Time is essential to work the feelings out and regain a more peaceful heart. Solitude is necessary for me to get hold of myself when I have one of my “breakdowns.”

Family checks in. Even though they are busy with their own lives, they let me know they care and that I do not have to isolate myself from them.

I am ready to step up to the plate again.

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