In which hot lunch days require equal doses of hand sanitizer and bravery
It’s been two and a half years since the sh** hit the fan. I am happily married, have a stable household with wicked awesome kids. Life is now finally returning to some semblance of order. However, there is one thing that is still very big and scary. Humans. Humans are terrifying. I do not like humans.
I decided that I have sufficiently healed enough to try and get out there and meet some people again. This is good. However this is also a problem, because I don’t like meeting people. All that hard work of being friendly and chatty and trying to appear normal and put together and like you’re not mentally breathing into a paper bag and taking deep calming breaths so you don’t panic and run out of there. Holy crap, it’s hard, man! I feel like I have ptsd when I comes to people. I’m sure my husband does.
I’m slowly starting to share little bits of myself, all the while second guessing myself. I wonder if this will ever truly go away. One minute I feel like “ this is me, this is who I am and this is my life. So deal.” The next minute I’m all like “but what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t include me? Is it too late to start over and make friends?”
Talking about my kids is tricky. I tend to include my step children in my answer to the inevitable question of “so how many kids do you have?”. Maybe it’s just from being a foster mom, and adopting children, but to me they are all my kids. So my answer is always seven. I love those boys like I gave birth to them myself. They are wholly and completely a part of my heart. I make sure to clarify that they are my step-sons. That they have an awesome mom who cares for them.
When we first started talking about being a family, I made sure to ask them “so how do you want me to refer to you? Do I tell people when they ask that you’re mine? Do you want me to differentiate between you and my kids? How do I make you feel comfortable?” Their answer was for me to call them mine. So that’s what I do.
Guess what. This didn’t go over so well with certain individuals. Things were spread around. Hurtful words were spoken. Sides were taken, although no sides were ever there to take in the first place.
It was enough to make me want to quit. Enough to make me want to crawl back in my shell and not come out again. But I did. You see, you have to. You have to keep showing up. You have to keep going back out there, even though you know your chances of getting knocked down again are high. Because if you don’t, you will never grow. You will never heal. You will become stunted and afraid and bitter and lonely. I don’t want to be those things, so I will keep showing up, even when it’s scary. Because for me, the alternative isn’t a way I want to live my life. That’s not living, that’s merely surviving. And I’ve decided that this time around, I want to live.