Believe it or not, I’ve always had a hard time communicating on a vulnerable level.
I have no problem expressing myself in my songwriting or while up on stage. I easily vent about my frustrations or gossip about the latest happenings when sitting down with a friend. Lord knows I can literally talk the paint off the wall, and most times that’s exactly what I do whenever given a chance.
But communicating my struggles and fears? Expressing my appreciation and gratitude to people who need to hear it? Apologizing? Oh. My. God. You’d honestly think I had severe emotional impairments.
I don’t know how to dissect that without a therapist being involved. And I basically ghosted my last therapist 4 years ago – so yeah, I’m really obviously getting to the root of that one. Or not.
So Monday night, I drag myself back to my deconstructed house and plop down in the chair exhausted. I’m late for dinner plans with a my husband and a friend in from out of town. They have “patiently” consumed a few beers at the house, waiting for my arrival. I know I’m too tired to attempt to catch a buzz, let alone catch up to them. We immediately head to the restaurant and right as we sit down our friend asks, “So how’s everything been going?”
Since I don’t have the energy to run the list down, I explain why I’m late getting home tonight.
“I watched my 2 year old nephew until noon. Then I went to a local coffee shop where I wrote down all my goals for the week, which is basically the same list that I’ve been writing every week for at least 2 months now. Then I drove to my parents’ house and scanned all of my mother’s health insurance info and prescription list so that I can start submitting her to bigger clinics out of state to hopefully get a proper diagnosis. Then I went to Granny’s to give her a shower. But I also cooked her dinner, which led to me cleaning out her fridge and mopping down her kitchen. Top it off with a quick load of laundry and disposing of her stinky trash, I left her sitting comfortably in her chair with dinner and Andy Griffith. Jumped in the car and now I’m here.”
My friend took a minute to process everything I’d just said before responding with, “Fuck. That sounds exhausting.”
My husband, who isn’t surprised by Superwoman days, then says, “You really are a saint for taking care of your grandma like that. She’s so lucky to have you.”
While I appreciate the sentiment, I instantly dismiss the thought, explaining, “I don’t even think about it, I just do it. Taking care of Granny is as natural as praying to God. It’s like it connects me back to myself. So if anything, I’m lucky to have her.”
I could tell that my response knocked both boys off their feet. They haven’t experienced it yet, but they will. We all get old. We all will need to depend on someone else at some point in our lives – whether it’s a recovery from surgery, a bad bout of the flu, or the final days. And unconditional love will mof3 you to step in without you ever thinking twice.
I share the experience of my evening and this specific conversation, not because I think I’m some angelic human helping her grandma. I don’t need anyone to tell me I did a good job. I just do what I feel called to do. If you show love and they feel loved, what else actually matters?
So I’m understanding that my “showing love” looks a lot like “showing up” as opposed to verbalizing the vulnerable stuff. And while anyone who knows me knows my heart and knows how deeply I love my people, I know that there are people in my life who need to hear the actual words from me. And it’s not that the feelings or words are hard to find, it’s that I don’t trust myself enough to allow them out of my mouth.
So maybe that’s exactly what this 30 days of writing will help me uncover… How to take what I feel and type it out in paragraph form and share it, working my way from words on a screen to words said out loud. Shit, I hate this already. Ha.