I wish the thinness I’m referring to was a sense of peak physical fitness, but alas not. I’m tired. Over these last two weeks, I feel stretched both at work and at home. Busy is fine. Whereas, minute by minute, stretched wears at one’s self. In reality, I’m no more busy than at any other point. However, my capacity to cope feels low. I’m a firm believer that everyone does the best they can, at any given time. Some days I’m a better parent, co-worker, global citizen than others. It’s the Ying and Yang of life. At least that’s what I tell myself when I feel I should be doing a better job. Logically, I recognize that we can’t be at our peak all of the time. Emotionally, I begin the spiral of self-doubt and guilt when I feel I should be capable of giving more.
This is especially true around parenting. I’m lucky to have amazing friends, family and professionals that support us. That being said, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m confused most of the time. As a single father I’m left to muddle through this jumbled path of my daughter’s preteen years. These are times I particularly need a depth of empathy and understanding, which is currently stretched. At times the vortex pulls me in and when it’s over I often lament how I could have handled the situation better. I’m tired of apologizing. I wish I could simply do it better the first time. The sliver lining is that my daughter knows that relationships are messy at times, communication is hard work and being respectful or apologizing when you’re not is part of life; even for parents.
Why now? What changed to prompt my shift in mood over the last two weeks? Two weeks ago, I was shaken by news that a coworker’s husband unexpectedly died. I understand her pain. My heart aches for her sadness and despair. I know the path she must haphazardly navigate ahead. I didn’t expect my own grief to once again reveal itself. As with much surrounding my emotions, it takes me a while to recognize that something is festering deep inside myself. Initially I don’t notice the subtle changes like clenching my teeth or waking up a few times at night. They are hardly conspicuous. However, night after night, they cumulate until my capacity to cope with everyday life is stretched. My daughter complaining about dinner or her messy room or another preteen crisis thins my coping skills to non-existent in that moment.
Reflecting, recognizing and writing about these things allows me to understand why I feel what I’m feeling, process through it and hopefully stop an overreaction. Not stop what I’m feeling. I always embrace those feelings, good or bad!!! By recognizing that my tank is low, acknowledging it and trying to resist being sucked into the vortex, I hope to avoid needing to offer an apology after I emerge.