Warning: this post is all over the place and more of a run-on ramble than a coherent post. You'll understand why by the end, if you bear with me.
Tonight I wrote a friend in recovery this text: "I am so f'ing sick of catering to other people's expectations!" You see I am really, horribly, sick right now, the kind of sick you only get once or twice a year. It started out as strep throat but because I didn't take any time to recover it's now progressed to my lungs and sinuses. I didn't take any time to recover because I felt I was needed: at work, to run my kid's to their activities, to lead a Girl Scout meeting, and to prepare for my parents arrival for a visit this Friday. I ran myself into the ground doing all of these things I felt I was 'expected' to do, and now I'm paying the price.
Earlier tonight I talked to my dad and told him I am 'sick as all get out' and that I would probably have to take tomorrow off to recover, which means I can't take Friday off to clean for their visit as planned. I warned him not to expect a shiny, organized house and he grumbled. We talked about their visit and it's clear that his expectations far exceed what I am capable of providing. After our talk, I dragged myself off the couch I had collapsed onto just 15 minutes or so before in order to make dinner for the family. I decided that I wasn't up to more than chicken nuggets and french fries and headed down to the basement deep freezer to grab them. When I walked into the basement, there I found my husband, in his robe, asleep on the couch. He had taken the day off and not even told me. Mildly put, I lost it. I yelled at him to get up, told him since he slept all day he could now feed, medicate, supervise and bathe the kids. I handed him the packages of frozen food and went to bed. But instead of sleeping I stewed.
I feel so put upon, by so many people. I am over-extended, over-worked, and overwrought. But the sober voice in my head is reminding me that I bring this all upon myself. I make the choices to do what I do, I can't blame other people my actions. And all these expectations that I feel I can't live up to, who is really putting them on me? In some cases, like with my parents, it's true that they hold me (and everyone) to a very high standard, but in others it's all me, it's all in my head. Would the Girl Scouts have cared if I had handed the meeting off to someone else? No. Would work have cared if I had stayed home a day or two? Not really. I want to stop catering to other people's expectations, but first I have to stop catering to MINE. I have to let myself breathe. It's scary, because this is how I treated myself in my drinking days. I was so hard on myself! I thought I'd gotten over that, but old habits die hard I guess. I need some of that serenity, some of that wisdom, that came in the first months of sobriety when everything was rosy. Mostly I need to forgive myself for not being perfect.