Tonight we took the kids and went to dinner. Just as we finished up the meal I started to feel a tightening in my chest. Then my heart started to pound. It thudded with increase, so loud it muffled my hearing.
"I am not feeling well," I said to Christopher.
I went outside to let Anson and Ever run around. I watched them run back and forth on the side walk, Anson with his athletic gait, and Ever's jog with the tiny hint of pigeon toed. I watched them scream and chase each other, I watched them as my body felt like I was being strangled, I watched them and tried not to panic.
My heart was beating with such violence the vibration rattled my throat, giving off the sensation that I was going to throw up. Meanwhile, the lack of air was suffocating my brain and I was overwhelmed with dizziness. I sat down on a patio chair, with my eyes still on the children I prayed I wasn't having a heart attack.
You're having a panic attack I realized.
I thought about my friend Kelly who explained her panic attacks to me, how the world got dark and she felt like she might collapse and die. Her descriptions were like check lists in my whirling head.
When we returned home I took Erin to bed and nursed her. And after she slept I went to my laptop to start writing my life story but instead I started hearing the heartbeat in my ears again.
I took a detour into the forbidden paths of websites dedicated to calling out bloggers like me. I found a forum dedicated to my blog and started to read, page after page, posts from disgruntled readers, people I have offended, disappointed, made really angry. I read and read. I didn't even get close to reading it all. But there was a point where I started to cry. Not because I was so sad that they'd write horrible things about me, but because HEAVEN SAKES ALIVE I NEEDED AN INTERVENTION.
I went to Christopher, who has seen me, in the past three years of my life slide ever so slightly to an angry, bitter shade of myself, most likely the most desperately dishonest I've ever been in my whole entire life. I just needed someone to support me in this actualization, but because he is a kind-hearted peace-keeping man, it couldn't be him. I needed someone--anonymous or alias or angry enough--to hold up that mirror of humanity, that mirror that says: you are unhealthy.
To Christopher I cried. I felt so sorrowful, the depths of which I have not felt in so very long.
I've been selfish. Self-centered. Narcissistic. Probably since I was born, but more so in the last four years. I've produced a lot of thoughtless, poorly-thought-out, half-assed posts. I've ignored my husband, pushed away my children, hid from my neighbors. I've been judgmental, I've been small-minded, I've been uncharitable. While I have written essays I am proud of, I've written a lot of stuff I am so desperately sad about. Some of my posts are just a terrible attempt at vile, shameful, passive-aggression mostly directed towards women who allow men to manipulate them.
The Equality post? Yes. I am so sorry. What the hell was I thinking to say "equality never did anything for me?" That is not true. I was really angry about gender roles, and instead of using intelligence to work my way through the anger, I gave up. I GAVE UP ON EQUALITY and professed I didn't think it was important. I think if anything, it shows how horribly sick and hopeless I had become.
I've thought so many, many times about deleting that post, but I've decide to keep it. I need my children to have a record of how the human heart can beat its way out of ignorance. I need my posterity to see progression and repentance. In some ways I am grateful I wrote it, just to stand as a measuring stick. It's encouragement to never, ever stop digging away at things. And in addition, I can use it to illustrate how long suffering, good friends can be even after you dismiss all their ideals in one single blog post. (Carina, Chelle, Hannah...)
I very much believe in equality and if that makes me a feminist, I AM A FEMINIST. Holy crap, sign me up. SIGN ME UP.
I also believe that women don't need me spouting off about under-researched and overly romantic ideas about womanhood, they just need me to be SUPPORTIVE. I understood this so many years ago, but I've been tempted to form rigid opinions that have obscured my view of compassion. Women need my love, not patronizing posts questioning their intuition.
I'm so deeply sorry I judged you and I am even more sorry you felt judged by me. Thank you for not judging me and thank you for listening to my stories even when they felt laced with self-importance. Thank you. I am sorry.
I was once in a marriage where I would pray I wouldn't be attacked unsuspectingly as I showered. I am no longer in that marriage, but there are times in my life where that's exactly what blogging feels like, and my husband has to talk me down. I don't have to be so angry, so angry all the time.
I know I will never be liked by everyone, but I want to at least like myself in an authentic way that doesn't translate as smug.
I just want to have compassion.
Please help me and the anxious beating heart in my chest.