H & I

There are so many things about which I need to talk in therapy or on here. I’m having a very rough time and feeling very alone.

Instead, I’m going to talk about a song.

1999, after finishing my 171-credit undergrad degree (5 year plan hollaaaaaaaaa), I found myself alone in my apartment. My roommate had gone back to New York and taken all but my bedroom set, my mom didn’t come help because my sister was in town visiting, so I put on a mix and started scrubbing.  “Army of Me” came on, and it kind of became a song to return to any time I was having trouble with that transition from adolescence to adulthood.

I would have said that I finally let go of adolescence once I had a child, but I don’t think I’d feel so lonely right now being completely in charge of myself if I was completely an adult.

Stand up
You’ve got to manage

My husband leaving suddenly was very traumatic for me, and one of the things that kept me afloat during that frightening first year was Bat for Lashes.  It still is.  I probably listened to Two Suns the most during those early days; I didn’t move onto The Haunted Man until I was past the initial shock and knew the truth (he left me for someone else, not just because of me).  I’m anticipating connecting to The Bride because it appears to be a concept album about loss.

The song I clung to the most, though, and that I go back to when I need it is the first song on Fur & Gold.

A large part of my share of the marriage problems was that, deep down, I had absolutely no faith in my ability to be a decent mother on my own.  I needed Boo’s daddy there all the time so someone could witness and tell me if I’m not being a good mom.  Then he disappeared, didn’t check in on her at all, and left me alone with her for days (eventually, he actually picked up and answered the question of whether or not he wanted a divorce).

Got woken in the night
By a mystic golden light
My head soaked in river water

Putting aside my own devastation at that loss, that was the first concrete proof that I was alone in this, that I’m the default parent.  If I don’t do it, my daughter might not receive what she needs.  I knew I had to do it, now there was no question of pulling in extra help to cushion my insecurities, but I was afraid.

Came upon the headdress
It was gilded, dark and golden
The children sang
I was so afraid
I took it to my head and prayed

My interpretation is openly egocentric, but I don’t think that this song is about divine destiny, because I don’t believe in destiny, fate, or karma. I just think the song goes about telling her story of accepting the reality of her life at the time, of the shift from “this is terrible, I am afraid, I don’t know if I can do this” to “I don’t really have any choice, so let’s get on with it.” f I guess that’s why holding this song as a life preserver never felt melodramatic.

“You’re the chosen one
There’s no turning back.”

Again, not because I’m special or even rare.  I’m mostly talking about parenting; there are millions of me. Some are married, and some are not. There are some things that I have to do, and if I do not do them, they will not get done.  I can spit out thousands of words talking about how that provokes my anxiety, but what I need to do is basically shrug and just do it.

It’s also become so clear to me that I am the only one looking out for me.  I have a small circle of friends who love me very much.  I have a family that loves me, but it’s my choice to keep them in the dark on a lot of things, because they have enough on them. In the case of my mom, if she knew everything about my life, I’d end up taking care of her and/or feeling guilty because I hear she hasn’t left her bed for three days.  I don’t know how much I should tell M, and anyway we mainly talk over text, and it’s too much to type.

So, partially my choice, and partially not, I’m not anywhere near the center of anyone’s universe, and I probably never will be again. I miss that, I miss someone being in love with me, but a lot of it is the same as above.  I still doubt my ability to take care of myself. 

I think I’m a good mom, and the last three years have shown that I can do it on my own, and I AM doing it on my own, but a part of me still worries that I can’t do it.

I think I’m excellent at self-care, and the last three years have shown that I cope with stress/anxiety/grief in mostly normal, healthy ways, but I’m still afraid I’ll relapse with anorexia or become the kind of person whose “punishment” is being left by their partner of 19 years.

I’m sure I’ll vomit everything about about how trapped, alone, raw, and afraid I feel, and that’s fine.  Ultimately, though, what I need to do is get to the point at which I don’t feel like I’m being drowned by those feelings, don’t feel awful all the time, don’t hate everything so much.  I need to just get on with being a single parent and alone without feeling it so much.

I often get “stuck” without validation, but this song is comfort enough that I’m not adding “feeling that I’m an idiot for feeling so shitty” to the pile.

There is no turning back
There is no turn
There is no turning back
There is no turn
There is no turning back
There is no turn


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