“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
This quote has been sitting in my draft files for about two months now. I so love what it says – and today while looking through my drafts it hit me. At this particular time in my life, with where I am physically, emotionally, intellectually … this quote says it ALL.
I am currently living in THREE worlds – how odd does that sound? But it’s true.
World 1 – Mom
My son and I moved into an apartment in mid-June so that I can help him manage his bi-polar disorder in a quiet and de-stressed environment to the point he/we can manage his anxiety levels. He doesn’t do well in solitary situations – goes to very dark, depressed places – or I would not necessarily be with him, but would likely subsidize him living on his own. At almost 40, he doesn’t want to be living with mom, but acknowledges and accepts graciously that he needs the emotional support.
World 2 – Wife
I spend a night or two at my husband’s (not my son’s father) home each week, and meet him for dinner or after work drinks when my son is working the evening shift. I love my husband, and he is trying very hard to be understanding of the need for me to be with my son. The two of them living under the same roof did not work. My husband’s inability to fathom the ramifications of bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorders created an overwhelming amount of ANXIETY for him, my son and me.
World 3 – Me
And what has happened after a year and a half of growing anxieties and animosities is that, now that I have my own place, I have within that world time to belong to ME without the constancy of being on guard for my husband getting upset with my son for perceived problems. I have time to belong to me when my son is doing his world of part-time work, volunteering and spending time with a very select few safe friends. I HAVE this down time – quiet time – for the first time in years. I am finding it easier to cope with my anxieties about my son’s mental health, and my husband’s avoidance of dealing with it at all. My insomnia has lessened (not gone) – especially when sleeping with my 40-year old teddy bear (don’t judge me!).
I have time to truly belong to me.
The thing that I know I will have to deal with at some point is trying to explain this to hubby. With everything going on in my life, though I love my husband, and stand by my son, and work full-time, and try to remember not to forget my daughter with her own suitcase of chronic physical and mental health issues – I, FOR ONCE am not forgetting that I need to take care of me. I need to, first and foremost, belong to me.
Without that, I would be utterly useless to anyone and everyone else.
I am more and more believing that we may be one of those couples whose existence is non-traditional – each with our own separate spaces with our lives intertwined. This isn’t a situation where I want to be with anyone else, or am looking for anyone else – I am fighting for my emotional survival by taking the alone time to keep centered, and focused, on what I have to do. I need the alone time. The meditative time. The sanctuary time.
Is it possible?
Namaste – namaste, my friends – I honor you who know how to belong to yourself.