A couple evenings ago I had a moment that felt like the first signs of an emergence from a coma I've been in for over four years. I wanted to scream to the world that there is still a person alive somewhere in the depths of my soul that is identified by characteristics other than those related to having birthed two human beings from my loins. I wanted to scream it to the world, but mostly I wanted to scream it to myself. The coma, though, was so. very. thick. It was like gasping for a breath of air while flailing in the deep water to keep from drowning. And then going under. I wanted to feel again like I felt when it was only me. I wanted a taste again of how it felt to be free and random and have it be all about me. I wanted to burst through the surface of the water gasping for air and then find my way ashore.
I was driving somewhere. Alone. No offspring in the car controlling the music that came out of the speakers. I turned it up to something only an adult could enjoy. I turned it up loud. I opened the sun roof and felt the warm air in my hair and on my face. I drove a little too fast. I considered just driving anywhere but nowhere. The brief illusion of freedom beckoned me, and I could almost remember a day when driving alone with the sun roof open and the music too loud was routine. Normal. I could almost remember. Almost. But not quite. I missed feeling well acquainted with myself--with the parts of me that are only me. I felt confused about who I am now. Not sorry. Not regretful. Only confused.
Something about motherhood depletes a person. Many people talk of what they gain from motherhood...the warm snugglies, the wonder and awe, the inherent and rich rewards that are many. I've talked of these things, too. I've talked of them often and much more frequently than I've talked of most other things. The benefits of motherhood are all true. But true also is the taboo truth of admitting to getting lost in the process, the weariness of being unselfish, of giving, of giving, of giving. True also is the exhaustion of meeting everyone else's needs before one's own, and the frustration and defeat of being too tired once everyone else's needs are met to follow through with meeting one's own, the longing to escape, the guilt. Good mommies don't feel these things. At least if they do, they don't say them.
Once I've fought hard enough to gain a glimpse that is the tiniest memoir of "me," I am exhausted again. Numb. The drone of life continues outside me as I return to the zombie-like state that has become motherhood.