Let's just say that December really was the cherry on top of my year.
My parents are getting divorced.
It was a surprise, and it wasn't. They were having some problems during my first year of college, enough that my dad moved into the basement of our house. But I thought they had moved past it, and everything seemed fine at Thanksgiving. Then, shortly after we returned to Kansas City and Mitchell went back to school, my dad asked for a divorce. Surprising, but also not. Living in different cities and being empty nesters (mostly, my wings are a little dented right now) took a toll on an already strained marriage.
During their separation in my freshman year, I blamed myself. The only thing that changed was me leaving for school, so that must have been the trigger. I always felt like the peacekeeper in the family, and sometimes that meant smoothing over fights between my parents. I'm a unique blend of my dad's anxiety and my mom's independent and strong will; if they're black and white, then I'm the grey.
Then I had my second depressive episode, and I made the radical choice that it wasn't my job to take care of everybody. I started putting myself first, which was revolutionary to me. When I came back home for winter break and was faced with my parents' marriage breakdown, I was instantly guilty. I wasn't here, I wasn't "fixing" things anymore, that's why this happened. It took me a while to realize that I had absolutely nothing to do with it, because a marriage is between two consenting adults and in no way involves their daughter.
For a while I was stuck between "this is my fault" and "wow Megan calm down the world doesn't revolve around you". A perfect example of anxiety vs. depression.
Most people float between internalizing and externalizing emotions. Somewhere between the age of 2 and 12, I got the fabulous idea to never externalize anything ever. That culminated in a week long stay in a hospital. But old habits die hard, and unless you ask that one special question, I pretty much suck at letting my emotions be free. It's a habit to trap them inside and let them cause serious soul damage. So my parents had little to no idea about my feelings regarding their separation.
But they are VERY aware about how I feel about their divorce. I slammed my door so hard I broke my nails and bruised my fingertips. I'm still not speaking to my father (and probably won't be for a while; I've realized that I blame him for quite a bit of things and I'm probably going to need some serious therapy for both of us).
In the split second of hearing the word divorce and my mom's questioning glance, I made the choice that I was allowed to express my (very strong) emotion. I was allowed to show my hurt and anger, even if it caused them pain to see it. It is okay to take up space, be loud, cry, scream and throw things. Holding it in might spare everyone else, but being a serial internalizer for big life events causing you serious damage. Some days, it feels like my soul has been superglued back together too many times and you can't exactly order a new soul on the internet. I'm figuring out to heal the one I have, I need to stop holding in the pain and let love in.
Have you ever let air out of a balloon too fast? It goes racing all around the room making an awful noise and usually knocking stuff over until it either runs out of air or get stuck in the corner. That is not a way I would recommend to release your feelings. You'll bruise all your fingers and break your nails. Let the air out properly, slowly and gently.
In the words of my therapist, "we need to work on your storming out abilities".
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!