My Google searches these days have included, “midlife crisis”, “midlife crisis in women”, “depression symptoms”, “premenopausal symptoms”, and “tomato soup recipes”.
Something is off. And it feels like this bastion of truth that most people seem to know about and that I have danced around my whole life, hardly realizing its existence, has now fully come into view. Well, hello, colossal tower of truth in which lies all of the answers to the mysteries of life! How did I miss you before? What have I believed before I knew you were there? Actually, questions that I could once rattle off answers to about life, politics, religion, get stuck in my mouth. “Well, what if…” “But if you really think about it…” “I could see that point…” Is this maturity?? Well, if it is, I’m going to need more tomato soup. And maybe Zoloft. I’m hoping that it’s just merely a little ol’ midlife crisis.
I’ve managed to chip away at a tiny portion of this rock and what I found was this little piece that had to do with this idea of “seasons”. You know, that term that we throw around anytime someone says they’re going through a rough time. (Totally guilty of that!) I have come to sorta HATE that term. To me, that just means it’s going to suck for a while. But next season, it will be awesome! Butterflies? Yes!! Unicorns? Absolutely! Pasta with no consequences?? YASSSSS!!!
When we talk about seasons, there is an underlying message that this season is bad but next season is good. That this season is less valuable than next season. That perpetuates this lie that butterflies, unicorns, and unlimited basta la pasta are the end game and that making school lunches, not leading worship, and not going out on NYE are grit-our-teeth-and-bear-it moments that we just have. to. get. through. No wonder I’ve been walking in no joy. I’ve been waiting for it to come. Much later. Much much later.
That economy runs deep. Not just within me. It’s how society has defined womanhood, motherhood, feminism. Society has given a certain value to equality and sameness. I’m not disagreeing in principle. But maybe I’m challenging semantics. Your children encompass one season. Your dreams are another. A lot of times, society defines one as being more valuable and has carved this mental and emotional path that makes us feel that they are mutually exclusive. Although, more recently we have been striving to become that Supermom-who-does-it-all woman. You can do anything and, therefore, everything! Have some liquor and/or prescription meds to support you in your unrealistic efforts! Btw, thanks Pinterest for propelling us further into this unattainable shadow of a dream!
It’s all a big mess in my mind. I am a very ambitious person. I like to study and work outside of the home. I dream of being a part of changing the world outside of raising really good men. I am also ambitiously committed to being fully present for my kids. I drove off to work today, heavy-hearted and eyes filling with tears, as my sweet boy, with his little tear-stained glasses and face, blew me kisses from the window. How and why do I do this to myself? Well, partly because they eat so much, I have to contribute to our food budget. But come on. This is so hard.
Does that same economy find its way into the Church? I’ve been working through some of that…More unpacking and chiseling to come.