The Red Tent


Just the other night,  at dinner, a fabulous woman mentioned that she had been missing my blog, and had wondered why I wasn’t writing lately, or, in fact, in quite a while.
I thought, right at that moment, and a bit before then, that I had truly been missing it as well.  I liked blogging; I liked it a lot. I also didn’t know that others might be missing it too.
Logistics had played a key role; I had left for my job at camp, where internet is non existent, but there were other things as well.
I was overwhelmed.
There. I said it.
I was overwhelmed. I. Was. Overwhelmed.
Oddly enough, I just read my last blog from early May, and I was actually quite open about how stressed I was. I was definitely taking steps to rectify this, and was being somewhat successful, but, clearly, I needed time, insight, and change.
Ohhh, and has there been change…
The date of that last blog signifies the beginning of crunch time in my yearly life cycle.
My three jobs overlap, and I don’t have time for much else, and have to stay on task. It’s like tax season for accountants, but in my world.
Add into the mix, a faster than expected house sale, purging, packing, leaving for camp, emptying the nest, more purging, downsizing, and even more purging, and anyone can see how the scale becomes tipped.
Even stranger than that, it went unnoticed by many.
Sure, the people I worked with on a daily basis saw some of it, but I really pride myself in taking care of others. That’s my role. That is all of my roles. Only, it shouldn’t have to be all the time. Yes, many of us just have this personality, or take on this role, but people, especially those close to us, get used to it, and don’t reach out.
I remember, years ago, being pregnant with my first child, all less than five feet of me, wayyyyy overdue, with an additional 25 pounds in front of me, climbing over the top of the washing machine to retrieve something unreachable to transfer to the dryer….just picture that…I couldn’t reach even BEFORE there was 25 pounds in front of me!
But, having gotten the job done prior, my husband didn’t ask if I needed him to reach it.
I have really long wooden spoons in my kitchen that I use for cooking, but, more so, to retrieve coffee mugs from upper shelves…I just sliiiiiiide ’em on down the spoon handle…voila…here’s your mug.
I’ve carried beaucoup bags of groceries in from the car after shopping and bagging…sometimes in one trip, while life goes on around me.
I can think of sooo many scenarios like these over my lifetime, where people have even marveled that I can do anything. That’s pretty encouraging to keep it up too.
“You always get As in school; that’s wonderful…keep up the good work.”
(I have a friend who had a nervous breakdown trying to keep up with what others expected of her.)
It would be nice to be asked, and not always HAVE to be the one TO ask for assistance, without having to be recovering from heavy duty surgery and anesthesia.
Men don’t ask, because it implies weakness on the party they would be extending the offer of help to. I get that. I did my earliest thesis on gender culture and linguistics. But how about my own gender? (I identify as female, btw.) and I’m not picking on my daughter. She’s from the same mold.
I’ve been a part of “the village” that helps raise everyone’s children, but hey, where’s that village for the rest of us? I could use some “raising up”, or at least some company to share it with…maybe even laugh over it with, and compile stories for later on with.
The sad part is though, that I thought that I had this. And I do, with a few individuals, but not as many as I thought. I’ve noticed that as difficult as it is for me to change roles, it’s just as difficult for the receivers.
We “multitaskers”, “strong women”, “joiners”, “committee chairs”, etc., are not doing all of it because WE have to, but because you EXPECT us to–
I’d kill for just being “one of the girls”, to “just attend the event”, to “just stop in for fun”, to “read the book just because” and to NOT be the planner, arranger, organizer, photographer, designated driver, and have someone call and invite ME because they truly want to spend time with me…before someone else, or before something else comes up, or something sounds better or like it might be more fun.
And even more so, for someone to say, “hey, wanna go see that movie?”, “can I help by picking something up for you? For that event? A ride for your kid?” “Can I drop off dinner? Lunch? …A sedative?” (Just joking here…I’m into bath bombs.)
Now I know this’ll cause some friction, and I’m not saying this in any way to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s running rampant out there….my own (female) adult cousin continuously drives herself back from hospital visits, and through pharmacies, after a hospital discharge to pick up her own meds (and anyone else’s that might be conveniently ready) and then goes to work the next morning, as expected!
The fabulous woman I was referring to early on, that noticed I wasn’t blogging…yup, she’s raising her partner’s children, fabulously, if you don’t mind me saying so, because she is another one of those who step up, and get the job done.
My daughter…23 ropes at graduation, and not just because they were cute and decorative. She even refers to herself as HBIC!
In a crisis, few people put themselves second, or leave their comfort zone. Or are just busy, overwhelmed themselves, aren’t multitaskers, or maybe, just oblivious to someone really struggling?
I made a conscious choice many years ago, by not sharing a grave loss with others around me. I tend to be somewhat private about those kinds of things, and, at the time, I needed to digest it myself at first…get used to it…absorb it. That takes time for me. I also don’t like to make others around me uncomfortable. (No surprise there.) And, I also just didn’t want to be pitied. But I know now, that because others weren’t informed, I negated receiving some of the support that could’ve been there for me. However, even though I opened up to some later on, when I found myself in a somewhat similar situation, it didn’t end up much differently. In fact, someone used that as a chance for someone else to be helped by me. So much for that hope of support.
Years later, I am no different. I still need to do the absorption thing. Digest. Process.
But I can’t help but wonder, where is my village? Women….get out there, and take care of your own. Raise each other up. Share your successes and failures, but listen, hear, create laughter, and shared stories, and memories.
We don’t need to “top” each other; we need to take care of each other.
Anyone up for a night of charcuterie? I’ll bring the landjaeger!



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