Monday, July 1, 2013

Don't Take it Home With You

 I was raised in a family that believed girls should be trained up to be...wives. And that was about it.

The belief was that home and family IS a profession, and I have to say I agree. That said, there's a lot lacking in having been taught ONLY that.

There's nothing lacking in building home and building family and nurturing both. It expands me to be stretched in ways I never could be by myself. I love all that HOME encompasses. But I was not given encouragement or direction for taking on any earning skills.

I don't blame anyone, but I do feel the lack and I feel the lack of drive to venture out of my sphere of ways other than creative ventures. When I'm at work, I wish I were home. When I'm working elsewhere, I'm dreaming of what I will do once I'm home. I feel a different gravity at work the further I get from home...home meaning my household, those I love and this place of belonging. I'm about to conclude that I'm a permanent misfit.

I think carefully about things and I've been told others wonder if I'm timid in certain situations, or slow to respond. Or even upset. That can happen as a complete mis-read...I can simply be listening intently and considering what someone else has said. I'm not a Pop Tart responder, ready in a few seconds complete with icing and sprinkles. I assume I'm being taken at face value, like I do others, and when I realize that's not always the case, I feel sensitive and hurt, but responsible not to make a fuss about just big a big girl and get on with things. I wonder if the grown-up Me will ever get past the point of being weary of being misunderstood.

I kind of worry about it because I often in my job put people at their ease while bigger situations are being dealt with. I'm good in an emergency, good at nurturing, good at handling multiple details while others are still in shock mode. But it makes me feel apart, adrift, that there seem to be no lasting "roots" taking hold in those relationships and situations in any real senses, and again I just long to be home. In my space. Where I don't have to explain myself and I can just BE.

I rarely talk about my outside job here. The assignment I've had for a long while now has come to involve dealing with a lot of physical changes (my client's), namely dementia, and now the stress of seeing someone descend into a spiral of paranoia amid other moments of perfect lucidity, and seeing her confusion and dismay. I've been the Equalizer...listening, absorbing some of the shocks with her, recounting to her her own history, reminding her of who she is by simply listening and reaffirming. Repeating that process daily.

Oftentimes we caregivers are closer to our clients' situations than their own family members, because we see the endless minutes as they tick away and we are as acquainted with the mundane as we are the occasional highlights of their days. We know the things that have to happen each day for them to retain their dignity, the foods they love or need, the quick fixes for the ailments that assail, the familiar things that anchor them to their sense of place and safety. So it hurts most when all that snaps at any instant. With paranoia, anyone can become "the enemy." Even the very person who makes everything run smoothly and tucks in the frayed ends of an unraveling world. Even the caregiver, me.

Yesterday there was a snap in which I went from being the nurturer to being perceived as the "enemy."  It stings, this occasion so overtly confrontational it took my breath away.  I maintained calm, but saw something precious just float like an elusive feather away beyond my reach.  It is a loss. It becomes, in these situations, a regular loss to me, and something I can't solve for my confused and enraged client.  She is enraged at her loss of control over life, and I represent that in some way.  I am strong in that situation, but inside, I am a woman who wants to go home.

I want to retreat home, but this time I wish I could afford to choose to stay here instead of returning to my job each day and offer no apologies for just being myself. The hundred things I should do here are always cut short. I want us to get this house ready and I want to get to our land. I want there to be money for all our needs without wondering whether two steps forward will be three steps back and I'll regret some decision I made today, like a schill game where you have to guess which shell hides the prize.

 I'm a bounce-back gal, and I'm optimistic. I'm also that way in others' behalves because I care, I do really truly care. But some days I just want to retire from having to be around anyone at all, except the few who really know me. I wish I had been prepared for the intricacies of a big yarn-ball snarl of a world out there so I could engage with it with a lot more gracefulness and a much better sense of humor. Perhaps I've cultivated some of those things as I've gotten older. I hope so.

 I have hurt feelings right now, and the place I turn to is to talk to God. I know if I spill every complaint out to my trusted friends, it will just be another variety of whine we imbibe for a while but that doesn't solve anything or satisfy. Plus my hubby hears enough of that :)

I want to have integrity, and being still and allowing Him to teach me is usually the biggest fix, that and keeping calm and keeping my mouth shut long enough...not always easy to do, ha! I have no idea where this post is rambling off to... I have trouble not taking "work" home with me because my work requires much from me internally and I'm invested in someone else's care and happiness.

I think I do take my work home with me. My job is to give some of "home" to people in my job and in my life, and it doesn't always seem to matter. For today, I do want to matter, and it hurts when life disappoints. So I take it home. And I'm so very very grateful to have HOME to take it to.

Thank you, Father, for home.


Rambling Tart said...

I understand very much the feelings you expressed here. I grew up in a similar situation, though unfortunately mine was very abusive and left me feeling like I had no worth whatsoever. I'm so glad I know now that I DO! :-) I too love home, so very, very, very much. It is my anchor, my safe place, the spot where I can dream and create and thrive. And like you, there is never enough time because of that dratted need to earn money. :-) Wishing you comfort and strength as you push on through these very hard days, and hopes that you can find work to do that will meet your financial needs AND let you be home more. :-)

Michelle said...

I think your feelings are not uncommon, because I have them, too, and I WAS raised to "get an education and get a career." Not so much because the career itself was valued, but because there are no guarantees in life and one needs to be able to earn a living in case staying home, if that is what you want, is not possible for one reason or another.

Maybe some of it is personality, that wanting to retreat home. But feeling alone and misunderstood I think is the lot of sinful humans; until we are restored to glory I think we will feel that way – or self-medicate to NOT feel!