He had tried to be positive and encouraging as we talked about the next year and our plans as I contemplated returning to full-time work and finally finding a career path. He offered ideas, found positions he was sure I could succeed in, and all I could do was try to disabuse him of his optimism and his attempt to help.
"J--, I'm 37. I have spent the last ten years primarily being a mother. I have spotty work history, no "real" experience and graduated from college 14 years ago. We are in dire economic times and I will be competing with 22 year old kids with no responsibilities. No one will hire me for the types of positions you are suggesting to me."
"But I believe in you. I believe that you can do these jobs."
"I believe that I can do them too...but it doesn't matter what I believe....it matters what other people, whom I have no control over, believe...other people who look at me and sum me up as a stay-at-home mom with unrelated work experience who has never really utilized her degree, which is now 14 years old, in any concrete way. That is all that I am to them."
"I think you're being too pessimistic."
"Pessimistic? It's not pessimism...it's reality. I have sacrificed a large portion of my life to raise our kids and make a home and be available. I don't regret it. I chose this life and I wouldn't change it.....but there are very real consequences for my choices. If something ever happened to you, I don't know that I could earn enough money on my own to take care of our kids. If you died in a horrible accident, how could I afford to provide for them? An entry-level job would never pay enough."
And then it came, a wave of sorrow and worry and recognition that threatened to overtake me. Speaking reality in cold, harsh words was too much for me to take. I had let the nervous words break free from my mind and enter into the world, filling the room with one of those secret worries that you try to crush when it first whispers to your consciousness because to let it grow and flourish would be too much to bear.
The words and thoughts were not new. They lingered in my mind occasionally as I lay in bed imagining what-ifs and what-would-I-do's, but now they had escaped and exposed my weakness.
Words are like that. I often don't know how strongly I feel about something until I have to articulate it, and once articulated, I face the effects of knowing what is truly within me.
For now, my words have become too much of a reality to me. They have created a world very different from the one in which I thought that I lived in, conceptually-speaking, and I feel caught between these two conceptual worlds, able to see into each of them, but not fully belonging to either.
I am going to keep my nervous words inside my head for a while, until I have decided whether I want to free them from their captivity.
If I decide to free them, I'll blog, though I may create a new blog.
Or I may stay in my self-imposed silence for a while.
I'm OK. There's nothing awful going on in my life. I just need to take a break from blogging and commenting and hopping from conceptual world to conceptual world for a while.