That night should have been amazing. Should have been fun. Should have been stress reducing. Should have been amazing! Should have been, could have been, but just was not. Luckily Hubby helped me get through a stormy night without harming myself.
I joined a dance troupe with my daughter last year, where we perform dances in the street at festivals. I have been going to weekly rehearsals with my daughter and that night was our first performances of the season. I tried to plan a perfect evening for my entire family, and that’s where the first problem was. I tried to plan a perfect evening.
Perfection for me and my daughter meant:
- Creating our own cute costumes and makeup to match tonight’s theme – check
- Arriving on time to the performance area – check
- I was supposed to live in the moment and enjoy every second – no check
- I was supposed to feel accepted and a sense of belonging – half a check
Perfection for my Hubby meant:
- He was to watch us perform, and wrangle the other kids, and keep them occupied and off of me – no check
- He not supposed to let my dancer friends hear my kids whine and embarrass me – no check
- He was not supposed to yell at us – no check
Perfection for my kids meant:
- They were not supposed to whine, fuss, beg, mope, or complain – umm ya, negative check
- They were supposed to enjoy everything we planned for them – no check
- They were supposed to not mind waiting in between performances – no check
The main issue here is I felt torn between my dancer friends and my family. I was the only dancer there with small children and a husband in attendance. Between performances, the other dancers gathered at the Pub to drink, talk, and relax. I obviously could not go in with my children, and so I felt like I was letting my friends down by staying out, and letting Hubby down if I went without him and left him with the kids.
When I go to these events solo, I feel free, joyous, ecstatic, nearly high. No, completely high. And I wanted that feeling so badly. I crave that feeling, nearly like an addiction I suppose. And when I realized I was not going to get it, that high feeling, because I was still a mom on duty, well, I got angry and lost my cool. I scolded Hubby in a loud, embarrassing way because he was not effectively controlling the whiny children. I told him to “Just go away” rather harshly. I did not want to deal with my kids, and I felt embarrassed to have my kidless friends subjected to the annoying kids. They were also there to enjoy themselves and be free of all duties just for a few hours. We were there to entertain, and be entertained. I regretted being a mom, and then felt guilty for that too.
So, when I first started dancing a year ago, I felt too guilty to do something just for me alone, so I invited my daughter. Although a part of me thoroughly enjoys this time with her, a bigger part of me wishes I had kept it for myself, and kept it uncomplicated. If she wasn’t dancing, I could have just gone alone, no problem. But when one child is invited, I need Hubby there to watch her when we go in the Pubs to dance, and for the late-night ones, he takes her home. It gets all confusing and stressful. The younger kids do not care to watch us dance, and so even though Hubby is there, he is often doing kid crafts and other activities to keep them happy and misses our dances. Which adds to my feeling of being slighted, since he does not watch me. I turn into a stormy, pouty, selfish, childish creature as I sink deeper into the dark pit of my bad mood.
I came home and fixed some drinks for us once the kids were in bed. Mine had 3 shots, Hubby’s had 1. Once the whiskey hit me, I apologized to Hubby for yelling at him. We both explained our feelings. Interesting though that he still says he had a nice time, it wasn’t a ruined evening for him like it was for me, but he was not expecting the high like I was. I don’t think he even wanted the high that I craved. And I just felt miserable still. He was all over it, moving on, and I was stuck. Stuck in a very bad place.
I told him how guilty I felt. How selfish I felt. That I was a bad mom, a bad wife, and a bad friend. Just a bad person. And that I tried to wash away the feelings with whiskey. It didn’t work, it never does. I used to drown those feelings with nyquil in high school. I’d be an alcoholic if it did work. I get tipsy, but that terrible feeling does not change, so then I just want to be asleep. If I drink enough to really feel it, I just throw up, and then feel like I can’t even get drunk correctly, which adds to being miserable. In the past, before I could reach out to Hubby, I would add a few sleeping pills to squash that feeling. I admitted this to Hubby for the first time ever. I told him how badly I wanted my pills, and he begged me not to do that. I told him that when I took them, it always reminded me of the times I took boxes of pills, which was strangely calming to me. That element of control perhaps?
But not this time. Hubby said please, please don’t take the pills, you don’t need them, and I need you too much. I don’t want to lose you over a stupid accident of mixing pills. That’s so dangerous, let me help you instead. So Hubby’s strong arms held me all night. Held me and kept that craving inside of me, prevented me from going to the medicine cabinet. Eventually the craving stopped, and I fell asleep in his arms, feeling loved, but not yet feeling good at all. I awoke the next day, mostly better, but a ghostly hint of sadness lingered. I had a slow day, played games with the kids, and did not expect anything out of myself. I also did not enjoy the day, but I didn’t hate it either, so I knew I was headed in the right direction. I know that I can expect the light to return, and I just have to wait.
It is a few days later now, and the light has in fact returned. I have learned some more from this experience. I am trusting in my marriage. I’d like to say I am trusting in myself more, but that’s not totally true. I guess I do trust that I won’t fight this all alone any more, and that I will go to Hubby, and use love to drown the bad feelings that alcohol and sleeping pills used to.
- Storms and Rainbows – OctPowriMo, Oct. 4 (shanjeniah.com)