Some days, I don’t want to toughen up.
I just want to be Buttercup.
But single moms can’t afford to be soft.
It was an exhausting week, with monumental occasions and sheer exhaustion culminating in a slight breakdown where I cried in front of the kids, while baking a frozen pizza.
I had an interview Monday in Munich and walked away with a job offer.
I had an interview Tuesday in Nurnberg and walked away with a job offer.
I sold two vehicles, juggling the insane schedule of the vehicle registration & inspection offices, US and German, which were further constrained by US AND German holidays–and all of this business HAD to be completed by May 30th.
I’d never bought or sold a car in my life, and this month, I did both.
But sitting there on the cold kitchen tile, watching through the grimy glass as my comfort-food heated up, I couldn’t help but think about the woman I used to be. She was cheerful (mostly), sweet and soft, blindly ignoring major marital problems so she could keep the happy status quo.
She was quite often miserable and heartbroken, but the facade was there; and she had a sort of Pollyanna gullibility that seems endearing upon reflection.
She was Buttercup.
But that woman has changed a lot; and I find myself wondering if it’s possible to be both tough and soft at the same time.
This is a difficult time, transitioning to a new life, and a million thoughts go through my head: Will I get a life? Will I really be happy again? What will my life look like in five years? Hell, what will it look like next week?
Some days I feel alone. Utterly. Totally. Alone.
My friends and family (who just read that statement) are now saying something like, “YOU are NOT alone–I am here for you!!”
And you are.
But eventually (and rightly so) you fade into the shadows, and step back into your own lives.
And it’s just me again.
Drinking a glass of red wine and writing a blog on a Saturday night.
I suppose the utter alone-ness I’m feeling is simply because I’ve had domineering other-ness for 20 years.
I’d better learn to like myself.
I’ve taken a gamble by trying to carve out a life–a real life–here in Germany. It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.
On Thursday, I woke up two hours before my alarm with a stress migraine. I wanted to give up–to lock the door and sleep in my dark basement room and let someone else take care of things for a while.
Then I had one of those fitful sleeps where I dreamed I was in the guest room of my Grandma’s house, where I stayed after my Aunt Kathy died (of cancer…way too early); and Grandma was taking care of my kids while I just slept and slept and slept.
As my alarm chimed, it dawned on me: there WAS no one else to take care of things. And even if I WERE to retreat to Grandma’s spare room, that’s not exactly the life I envision. I have to be tough to make a life for myself.
I need the toughness to deal with bureaucracy. I need the toughness it takes to be humble and ask for help. I need the toughness to weather the emotional storms that unexpectedly drop from the sky like tornadoes.
Buttercup couldn’t handle it.
But the woman she’s becoming…as coach Rob once told me…she gets shit done.
And this is where I am. I am hanging in there; persevering and working for a life of my own. It’s not easy. I don’t like being tough all the time. But maybe someday, when things get settled. When I find my place in this little world. I’ll be able to let my guard down again. Just for a moment. To know that the world isn’t all harsh. That I can trust again. That it’s okay to be happy and not worry about things so much.
Buttercup is still there somewhere. She didn’t die.
She’s just a lot stronger now.
And maybe this new Buttercup was actually there all along.