we’ve lived in austin a little over a week now.
we are settled, and in love with the city. we’ve experienced passing moments of homesickness and anxiety, but are generally comfortable. and calm.
i balanced this past week with unpacking and organizing and cleaning with a “normal” routine of summer activities with the girls. we went to the children’s museum, playground, two swimming pools, and got ice cream. we went to whole foods and target. we colored and colored and colored. we made pancakes.
and on saturday morning, the five of us headed to barton springs pool. barton springs is a natural spring pool, and it’s GIANT. the water is cold and it has slippery rocks on the bottom. my girls, the ones who walk around life with a strong sense of peace and security and joy, were nervous. they didn’t like it. they didn’t know what to make of it. the water was just a little too cold and those rocks were just a little too slippery.
this is normal kid stuff -sometimes the environment just doesn’t vibe and so they communicate: enough. and, as an in-tune, patient, respectful parent, i usually respond with: got it, no problem.
but on saturday morning, i shamed them.
i told them they were being ridiculous. i lashed out. i acted like there had never been anything more irritating in the world. i told them i loaded up these things and got y’all ready and can’t you just JUMP in the water? what is the matter with you? that’s how i was acting.
like there was something wrong with them.
i hate it. i hate thinking about it, writing about it, and telling you about it right now.
but i will. and i will admit: it was my shame.
my shame, that i was putting on to them.
are you aware that this is something that can happen? that you can actually PUT your feelings onto your children? your feelings of insecurity, anger, pain, and shame? you can put those on them like you put on their princess dresses every morning after breakfast. you can place it right over their heads.
it was my shame.
it was brewing in me all week, amongst the dollar aisle at target and the bulk section at whole foods. it was in me as i was putting plates away in my kitchen and stroking plum’s thick blonde hair as she nursed in the shade at the pool.
but i couldn’t name it, yet.
and until you name it, you can’t swat it down dead.
shame is the worst one, for me. the sneakiest, most dangerous feeling of them all. shame is the one that says: i am bad. i am wrong. i don’t deserve any of this.
why is my husband even married to me.
why do my kids even want to be with me.
what is the matter with me?
leaving dallas swished up silt that had somewhat settled. sometimes closure isn’t warm and fuzzy; sometimes it’s acidic and complicated. i did a lot of shitty shit in dallas, and then we left.
fuck – we couldn’t stay there. and it was my fault.
it doesn’t matter that this isn’t entirely, or even half, or even a quarter true. it doesn’t matter that the move was the best choice aside from my actions, that austin is a wonderful fit for my family, and that dallas was never going to work long-term regardless of what happened there.
what matters is that i am still practicing the art of staying on my own team.
and sometimes i wander off.
i wish it hadn’t taken being so horrible to my kids to name my shame. i wish i could have swatted it down dead without having to see edith cry on pat’s shoulder. i wish i could erase that hour of my day yesterday, and replace it with my loving, kind, healthy self.
but i can’t.
what i can do is remind myself: i am a loving, kind, healthy mother, the overwhelming majority of the time.
i can remind myself: there is nothing wrong with me.
i am worthy.