wall. hit it. check that off my list for today.
trying to get them to school on time–wrong
trying to get them to eat–wrong
trying to get them dressed–wrong
trying to get them clean–wrong
zipping the jacket–wrong
having them not show up to school late–wrong
waking them up–wrong
My silence in my home is the only acceptable form of me to the three who need me.
The hardest thing about being a depressed mother? The odor. No matter how much relentless, caffeine-induced energy, forced enthusiasm, skilled application to educational crafts, or books read on development. No matter what care taken with my fragile mental health…taking my pills like a good girl every night so I wake up in the morning to do it all again. No matter how clean the kitchen sink, how nutritious the meal, customized the birthday presents, thoughtful the note in the lunch box. No matter how carefully I avoid repeating patterns of abuse and violence –no matter. I stink. It is as if my depression leaves a permanent, distasteful and toxic odor coming from my very being. No matter how much I dress it up, clean it off, put make-up on it, expose it to fresh air and aromatic therapies. I toss chemicals into it, paint it pretty colors, or force it into room-mommy scenarios.
It still stinks.
The fumes of depression seep out of every pore with the stench of decaying life and flammable, noxious fluids that lead to forensic evidence in my face–that my own mother chose my father over me and my father chose me over my mother. My children–they are bomb-sniffing dogs.They smell the little girl I was–discarded and thrown into the trash with the giant Gallo wine jugs. They smell the lack of basic import I have ever had on the mother, father, brother, and sister family of origin I fell into. They smell the dangerous mix of rage and intelligence that may combust at any moment. They smell despair and destruction. My kids smell my depression.
I stay vertical as to not hurt them more than I already have by exposing them to a life long…long life…with a chronically depressed mother. It goes like that…it is like that. New strategies on disinfectant, deodorant, dialogues on anti-depressants. Days like this are the scratch and sniff of it. These days scrape hard on my soul. And I reek of it.
They are out there…my kids are out there right now waiting for me to pick them up after school, as I do every afternoon in a dutiful attempt to assure them that my love is greater than the force of gravity on my heart. I am already dreading the predictable, palpable disappointment they will have when they get in the minivan and the smell of my mood reminds them I am not EVER going to be the bounce-house of distraction-filled fun that is their father.
They will never know he broke me too. Asshole. And I stayed for them, sleeping with one eye open and one foot out the door ever since. Seven years of a thirteen year marriage straddling suspicion and motherhood.
Against every fiber of my being to drive it off a cliff and enjoy the fall–I am getting in the fucking minivan, I drive on the right side…stop at all the red lights, avoid oncoming traffic whenever I can.
Joy gone. Independence gone. Creativity gone. Respect gone. The possibility of being touched by a man and feeling safe–he and my dad put the nails in that coffin, too. Yuck.
it is this always
i am barely, rarely, fairly ”good enough,” silent, and vertical.
and i smell like a martyr.