My mind has been all over the place lately. I’m sure it has something to do with the multiple kids running and out of my house in a constant basis despite the laminated sign on my door instructing all the kids to not knock we are busy. Yes, it has come down to a sign on the door instructing the kids to, for a lack of better terms, “bugger off”. You see, on my street there are about 5 houses of kids that run from house to house to play which is great. Truly it is. But sometimes I just want to stop hearing door alarms going off constantly and seeing little faces pressed against windows when I finally got my kids to rest which inevitably results in the upheaval of what I thought would be my chance at a quiet moment locked in my home.
Today, I guess you could kind of say I “got mean”. After the five millionth time of a kid opening an alarmed door and not going in or out just opening it to open it and hearing the big electric garage open for the third time and walking out to find them hanging from it as it went up my frustration level grew enough that I walked out into the garage and said “that’s it! Everyone out of the garage! I am done with extra kids! Go! get out!” with that I closed the big garage door as everyone looked at me wide eyed and Locked the electric garage opener. I watched as the kids still didn’t leave but rather relocated to my front porch where they continued opening and closing the front door with the “ding! ding! Ding!” of the alarm. I opened the door and angerly said “JUST GO! GO play at home!”
I had been playing this scenerio in my head for weeks. I had tried texting parents. I had tried relocating the kids. I tried signs on doors (which to one child in particular meant to just try another door) I even tried the nice “we will be able to play in two hours” approach only to have the same child arrive opening my door and peeking in asking where my kids were five minutes after our conversation.
I don’t mean to write this as a venting session though that may be what it seems but rather as an example of who I am as a person. You see, I could have just said upfront, weeks ago, “You are bugging me go away” instead my empathetic side would kick in and I would quietly “take the abuse”. I would clean the messes that were left by kids that were not mine. I would frantically search for my autistic son who has a tendency to run away everytime a child would leave a door open (which was multiple times a day) I would apologize to therapists for the disruptions this would cause until today. Until today when it all boiled over and I had to “get mean”.
Why am I like this, I wonder? What is it about me that allows my life to become such utter chaos over things or people that are not my responsibility? Why do I continue to sacrifice myself and my own mental health. Yes, my own mental health, for the good of others? Because really, in the end, is what I am allowing really good for the children? I mean allowing them to continue knocking when there is a sign clearly placed does not teach the children about respect or what it means to accept boundaries. Rather, the opposite. It teaches the children that you are not required to think of the needs or feelings of others which in the long run will cost them healthy relationships.
In all reality, I am not much of a kid person but, for some reason my home always becomes the hub for neighborhood kids. This happened at my previous home as well. The moment my car rounds the corner before I even pull in the driveway three kids start running and chasing my van asking where one of my kids are even before I open the drivers door. Dont get me wrong, I love having kids over but it always seems to become overly excessive. But this is just an outward example of what it means to be me.
I have often been told that i am “such a hard worker” that I am “great with patients” one MVP award from the hospital said “sue cleaned up vomit and feces all weekend when all the patients were very physically ill without a complaint”. A virtue? Is it really a positive virtue to be willing to do what others will not without complaining? At the time it seemed like a compliment. I mean it was meant to be and i placed it in my portfolio but looking around me now I have to wonder if I was just doing it because thats “just me”. You see, Its just like me to never say “no”. Its just like me to take on more work to “help others” when really in the end its me doing the work for them at the expense of myself. I have brought myself to a breaking point I think. I am at an equivocal point in my life where I’m not sure if i am looking at an epiphany or becoming bitter in my old age. Or maybe, I am finally becoming privy to the cycles of relationships in my life.
Looking back at many of the relationships in my life be it romantic, professional or frienship I cant help bu consistently note that lack of something. And now, as I sit here rocking in the rocking chair because I cannot sit still because my mind wont quiet and my body remains on alert ready to clean something or jump at a door alarm I cant help but wonder what it will take to calm myself after years of saying “Yes” or “sure” or “yeah I can do that” even as I secretly gag whilst cleaning up vomit from a patient detoxing from alcohol.
I am a “yes” person. I am that person that is “not afraid to do anything”. I’m really not. If someone says “can you…” 99.9 percent of the time its a “yes I can” even when my plate is teetering. I always hear this phrase “I don’t know how you do it”. Truth is if I were to answer honestly I would say “I don’t know how not to”.
I have cleaned up dead bodies and taken them to the morgue despite my intense fear death. I have cleaned up vomit multiple times despite my utter disgust and inability not to gag at the sight. I have sat with people I was totally terrified of without blinking simply because I was asked to. The result? Nightmares for weeks, anxiety levels through the roof and excessive motor activity to keep from thinking about it without ever telling anyone out of fear of what they would think and returning for more the next day. I can remember thinking after an intense situation on the unit and trying to hold it together until my shift was over “but everyone else seems to be okay with it so I have to be to”. I sat in my car that night near the detroit river and stared at the water, sobbed and never told anyone how scared I was. But that’s just me. Completely broken inside but holding the appearance of a rock in front of everyone else because I know how much everyone needs that one person to lean on.
Needless to say, I am pretty exhausted but don’t know how to rest. Despite the nine hours of great sleep I have to assume that the rest that I need will not come from sleep. I think the rest that I need is to rest in the fact that I cannot always harness the hurt for others. Sometimes, they will just have to make their own meals. Sometimes, I will have to “be assertive” and send the neighborhood kids home. Sometimes, my lawn will not be mowed and sometimes my sons therapy will have to be cancelled due to me flat out not wanting to do ABA that day. I think allowing my son to sit on his iPad for a day isnt going to kill him despite the ramblings of professionals and publications that say that this is so detrimental to his development. I guess I’m coming to a point in my life where I have to decide to set some things down for my own good because flat out my thoughts are all over the place and I need some time to think and feel for myself instead of bearing the weight of everyone else I need to feel my own weight for a while.