Rocks on the Bottom

My writing has been phoned-in lately. It’s been uninspired and insipid, and full of filler. I’m sorry for that. I really am. I take pride in writing, and trying to write well, and sometimes, I do. But lately, I just don’t have anything. I care. I want to do well, but well… things are too… hard.

Life is just so freaking hard. A year and a half with no job. Over 300 resumes sent out, and you cannot even imagine what my husband’s self image is. I also cannot begin to tell you what this has done to our relationship. I can see, all to easily, how marriages crumble under this kind of stress. Some days, I want out too. Some days I want to just pack up and leave. Or make him. And I tell myself that is not the solution, and I don’t really want to do that to our family.  And so I pull myself back from the edge. But each time it gets harder.

Things with my family are hard too. I cannot share too much about what’s going on here, because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that family remembers. I don’t want to tell my family how much things suck, and how much I ache, so I hold it in.

I’ve been a bad friend to a lot of people too. I’m so far behind on thanking people for their kindnesses, I don’t even know where to begin. So I do nothing. Paralyzed. My kids never even called Grandma to thank her for their Valentines gifts. And that is all my fault. I didn’t remember to remind them. That’s not like me at all. And the water rises higher…

Spring is poking it’s head from under the icy quilt of winter, but as each month marches on, it just means another mortgage payment we have to find a way to pay. And the stock market big whigs fly off to Barbados on our tax dollars. I feel ill.

I say things I don’t mean. I try and catch my breath, and then snap at the kids for needing me when I can’t breathe. It’s not their fault. They hardly know what’s going on- or maybe I’m deluding myself, and they know exactly what’s going on. Mama is sad. Daddy is grumpy. What more does a kid need to understand?

Once, when I was a girl, I drifted into the deeper part of the pool. Never a strong swimmer, I didn’t appreciate being in water over my head. The clear deeper blue and cooler currents gave away my drifting and I pressed my legs down, reaching and stretching and yearning for the solid touch of the bottom. Arms swaying, nose bobbing barely in the air, the fluid rolling edge of the water circling my upturned face, I could almost feel the rough blue surface, just beyond reach. Almost…

I know it’s there. I just have to give something up… only this time, I don’t know what I have to give. The rolling silver edge of the water is all around me, and I can’t figure out what I need more- to breathe, or to touch the Bottom.

15 thoughts on “Rocks on the Bottom

  1. Tracy, I’ve been ghosting your blog for a while. I love your writing and I think you are amazingly talented. I can’t imagine the stress you must be experiencing right now. Hang in there! Marital stress is the absolute worst! If we are ever at odds, I simply feel sick inside. Take deep breaths and focus on building each other up and being there for each other. My parents divorced when I was a kid, and I can definitely say that whatever it takes to find your passion for each other is totally worth it, if only for your kid’s sakes. …whether it is writing out lists of your spouses positive attributes, to focusing on making sincere compliments instead of criticisms, to candlelight dinners after the kids are in bed. Maybe those ideas sound silly, but you just have to find what works for you. Guaranteed, it is totally worth all the extra effort you can put into it! Good luck! I will pray for you.

  2. I feel for you. I wish there were better words than those, but those are the best that come to mind right now. My husband sent out 327 resumes. If you include the head hunters that found jobs for him to persue, there were over 400. I hated the sound of the phone ringing – the torture of “Is it a job offer, a job rejection, an interview to be set-up, or a bill collector?” was excruciating. I remember crouching in the corner of my shower, having turned-up the radio as loud as can be so that no one could hear my cries and screams of heartache, and asking God to explain to me what I needed to learn from this. I lived in either constant numbness or relentless agony. Nothing anyone ever said made me feel better, except when I would hear others were going through the same thing – because it meant we weren’t alone. Or when someone told of how they had been through it, but were on the other side. That meant I could be there, too, one day. We’re on the other side now, and sometimes I feel like saying “You know, things in Egypt weren’t THAT bad, I mean, sure we were slaves to Pharoh, but at least he fed us good food instead of this manna stuff.” But after finally swallowing my pride, being willing to lose everything, and being truly grateful for the good things I did have, I have finally learned why we went through it (at least, part of why) and I know we will go on, albeit in a new form of “normal.” You guys will, too. Like they say in “Galaxy Quest” NEVER GIVE UP – NEVER SURRENDER!

  3. I really do understand. I have told you before that we went through this same experience for three years. I eventually landed a job for $5.75 as the Hello Kitty Store manager (Sanrio Surprises) I, as manager, made .50 more an hour than the plebs. It stunk, but I worked there for about three years for less pay than the people who ran the candy carts in the walk ways. Thor got a job delivering newspapers in the early morning hours to the paper boys, we stripped wire, did piece work, dug in trashcans to recycle, gathered old newspapers from the neighbors to recycle, we did anything we could to seriously bring pennies to the table. We sold every thing we had to make payments on the house and eventually lost it too. We were looking at living in our minivan and storing what little we had left at my mil, when his brother asked us to babysit their house (for the house payment cost). They said they’d be gone two years. We were there for 8 months when we got a phone call at Christmas telling us we’d need to be out by Jan 1 because they were coming home. Our only car was stolen, stripped and burned to a crisp three days later. I had no way of reaching Thor who had traveled via thumb to CO looking for ANY job he could fine. I hadn’t heard from him that week. (He called on Friday nights).

    Long story short: Sell what you can, do what you can, work wherever you can, get rid of the pets -the cable -the internet -whatever you can to save those pennies. YOU WILL COME OUT OF THIS IN THE END.

    The big thing here is they can take everything away from you EXCEPT you husband and your family. No one can take those away from you, but you can give them away if you are not careful. So focus on what is really valuable and get rid of the rest. The cars and houses and whatever will return at a later date. Keep the family happy and intact.

    Hugs and keep hanging in there.

  4. Ah, Tracy, my heart aches for you. I can feel your pain, and I understand it (as well as I can from my perspective) because I am keeping these same types of feelings at bay – for today, at least.

    DH asked me the other night as we were discussing my frustrations, fears, and emotional mood swings, “You realize that sometimes you act like you are bungee jumping without a cord?” It’s scary to realize you are over the edge and the cord, which you expected to be there to catch you, isn’t there… Does it help to know you aren’t alone?

    I wish I had some wise words that would help you. All I can say is don’t give up. Endure well enough for now – and sometimes, “now” means 1 minute at a time.

  5. Loved this post. Can definitely relate. We started month 3 of unemployment this week. I see beginnings of marital stresses and strife. I see stress erupting from me when I least expect it. I am never alone at all b/c we are all home all the time. I hope we don’t see month 13. I hope we don’t see month 4. But your writing gives me hope. B/c as much as you don’t think you’re making it, you are. And you’re helping others. I laugh along with you (when you are laughing) at your car follies (and your other struggles). Never laughing at you, don’t misunderstand; but it seems, for whatever reason, when things are hard, they’ll only get harder.

    Here’s one for you — a day in our life: 9 year old had to see a pediatric cardiologist today (priority number one); 7 year old needs to see a child psychologist (but we can’t afford it); 6 year old started throwing up last night; and 2 year old keeps falling and hitting his head (in light of Richardson accident, should we take him to the ER? Do we? Don’t we?). Did I mention — lack of insurance right now.

    And as much as I want to sink into that deep end along with you, the reality is, our kids need us. Alot. More than we need us to be happy, they need us to be there for them.

    You’re in my prayers.

    Truly, have peace and know that you are not alone.

  6. Sending you all the love and courage I can give. Prayers, hugs, tears and smiles.

    Breathe Tracy, remind yourself to breathe… Let the air flow through your nose and in your lungs as deeply as you can. When you exhale let all the negative energy flow out with it. Quoting Mo, “”Get up, breathe, make it to evening, lather rinse repeat.”

  7. We are in month 11 of the same storybook romance.

    I found myself nodding my head in agreement and comiseration at your post and at some of the comments…. And I feel a tinsey bit of peace at this.

    I raged against my upbringing….the teachings I had as a young woman about the idea that temple marriage and living righteously would provide the “Happily ever after…” we all dream of.

    No one prepared me for these trials I’m facing during my husband’s unemployment…
    Or how that one person you thought was your soul mate would become a stranger, and occasionally an enemy.
    I could rage on… but the fact is.. that I understand and appreciate your candor of your feeling. I appreciate that you share your ideas of how you cope.
    It’s hard to go from being a confident independent person…I’m so used to just handling things…. but….
    What Michelle AM says is right.
    One minute at a time sometimes. Just one.
    SOmetimes that is all you can do.

  8. Oh, Tracy I’m so sorry. I know the pressure is building.

    Now I’d never be so presumptuous as to give advice (*smirk*) but what my Mom always says to any problem is, “If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something different.” And I’d say, Take care of your relationship w hubby–that’s much bigger than any job or 13 months without one!

    Best wishes for hope and peace to you.

  9. Tracy, maybe it’s time to consider getting a job? I know it’s important to you to be home, but it might be time to consider it. Even a part-time job might help you to feel like you’re getting some control back over your life.

    My husband was a stay at home dad for a while, while I worked, and the kids were fine. They loved it. They still talk about it.

  10. Tracy, my heart aches for you. It’s funny how when you look at your life you think that it really sucks, and then you hear someone eles’ struggles, and you think “hey mine aren’t so bad, I can do this”. (okay maybe that’s just me) but you made me realize that while my life is hard right now if you can do your life I can do mine.

  11. Hi, Tracy,

    I haven’t commented before, but I read your posts often. You are an amazing writer, and clearly very smart, talented, capable, and competent. I can’t begin to understand what you are going through, but have you considered looking for a job with health insurance coverage? I realize you want to be at home, but I think ultimately, we have to work as a team in a marriage, and whatever it takes to take care of a family is sometimes what has to happen. Maybe it would just be for a short time until your husband finds work. Maybe not, but at least it might relieve some stress to have money coming in and health insurance for your family. Thank you again for your inspiring writing and willingness to share.

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