Warning: Reader discretion is advised. There's a lot in here that, try as I might to avoid it, may come off as whining. That is not my intention, but... Well, I'll let you decide.
I've been doing a lot of thinking here lately. Somebody asked me not too long ago why I read so much - because, let's face it, for someone who works full time, goes to grad school full time, and is raising a kid full time on her own to then turn around and read 10-15 books a week, well.... that's not exactly normal. And my answer isn't exactly normal, either. I'm compelled to read that much. For a while, I couldn't figure out why I feel I have to be constantly reading - have to have four or five different storylines running through my head. The answer is actually pretty ugly. It's the only escape I have.
For the last several years (almost 13, to be exact), I've submerged much of who I am, much of what makes me, well, me. A great deal of my energy goes into being Jamie's mom, just about every thought and action revolves around him and what he needs, and there isn't much left of me anymore. I know this is the way it usually is when your kid is younger and needs your time and attention. And I love him to death, but... Sometimes I feel like I'm smothering, choking on it all. True, yeah, I'm going to school, and that's all for me - kind of. But so much of my creative outlets are just.... gone. I don't have time to try out for or act in any community theatre productions - and there are TONS here in San Antonio. Acting isn't the only thing I've submerged.
I've barely written anything since I got pregnant. It's like my writing muse got sucked into my womb with the baby. Sure I can still crank out a (short) poem here and there, but all of my stories are gone - just, "poof!" - disappeared. I used to fill notebook after notebook with stories, plays, poems and bits for later inspiration. Now, I have nothing. I tried NaNoWriMo, and failed utterly. I've started so many stories, written from dreams, images and lines that flash into my head - but it's all crap. They all fizzle out within a paragraph or two. I almost feel like my creativity has been surgically removed. But Jamie? I think he got it from me in utero. He writes all the time. Seriously - all. the. time. He has a book he's written - it isn't very long, but it's actually kind of a cute story. Me, I've got nothing, and it's left this big sucking hole inside me that I feel compelled to fill with page after page, story after story, book after book. It's like I've lived so much of my life constantly accompanied by all these characters and situations in my head, and now that they are gone I have to fill up that space with other peoples' stories. Because I'm just not comfortable with it only being me in there.
True, I'm singing again, but that is a recent development. Last year was the first year I had sung in public anywhere in years. It was the first time in a very long time I felt able to do something just because I wanted to do it, not because it needed to be done for Jamie. I really think if I hadn't started doing something - anything - just for me, I would have exploded. But it still isn't all I want - need - to do. Like I said, I love my son, cannot imagine a life without him and the joy he brings me, but I have to wonder, who the heck am I anymore?
Am I the only one? Has anyone else submerged so much of who and what they are that they just don't really know themselves anymore? What if I've submerged so much that I can't find myself again when he's grown and leaves home? Who will I be then, and what the hell will I do? Go ahead, leave me a comment and tell me if you've experienced or are experiencing this feeling yourself. Or, if you feel like I'm being a whiny baby and need a swift kick in the caboose, tell me so. I want to hear from you.