Have you ever gone away and when you got back you did not recognize the people around you? You know who they are but they seem like strangers. Your house and bed do not feel right. Your town and everything and everyone in it seem different. You feel this way but you do not know why.
I feel this way constantly. I may only be gone for the day at work and I will come home and I will feel like a stranger in my own home. I don’t know where to go, what to do or how I am supposed to act around these people. I cannot put my finger on it but I just don’t feel like I belong anymore. Then there are the days where everything seems normal. I feel like I blend right in and these are the people I have known forever and I am so comfortable and safe. I wish I knew how to keep those feelings. I wish I knew how to feel comfortable in my own home. I want to be here but some days I just feel out of place.
At first I thought that all the things around me are changing. I believed that the only constant in this whole equation is myself. Yet, now I know that I am the only variable. I am the one who keeps changing , I am the one who is different. I leave for work and somewhere between there and when I get home I become something else. I become a stranger to myself. Parts of me hide and let other things through that I don’t recognize. As confusing as this is to me it must be equally confusing to my poor wife. It is not as if I come home and am angry or abusive, that is never me, but I am withdrawn and hollow. She will ask me what is wrong and I cannot tell her because I don’t know. I don’t know what to tell her that would make her understand that the only thing that is wrong is myself.
We have yet to decorate for Christmas and so I thought we might be able to do it this week. I know my wife loves the holiday season and even though I have a really hard time during this time I still want her to be able to enjoy it. I thought she would be happy when I suggested the idea. Instead she told me that she doesn’t want to decorate. That the kids have taken my attitude on the holiday season. They don’t want to do anything or participate in any of the activities. They would rather not decorate or listen to Christmas music. I have a hard time believing this but she insists this is the case. She said she will just have to get used to a different type of Christmas now. Sometimes I amaze even myself on how much I can screw things up. It is not that I hate Christmas it is just that it is really hard and brings back a lot of things I work hard to keep buried and out of my life. I have always worked hard to make Christmas fun and magical for my kids and having them not like Christmas because of me just makes my light go out a little more. Then to have my wife, who loves the season, decide that she will just have to get used to no longer having much of it in her life, makes me darker than I have been in a while.
I know I have a very different view on the holidays but I have never wanted to take the magic of it from my wife and kids. I have made very elaborate Christmas activities that have made everyone so happy. They were not money related but things that just made the magic more prevalent in their life. Now I have taken that magic and threw it away. I just wish I could take it all back. I wish I could make it special one more time. I just don’t know how that is possible anymore. It is so hard to never look back when everything in front of me is darkened from my past. Stay in the present, but the present is swirled with the past so heavily I don’t know which is which at times. So now I am left with a family I don’t recognize. I am left with a wife full of disappointment. I am left a shell of a real person.
So onward I go. I am going to try and salvage what is left. I am going to try and make this right. I am not sure how yet. I am not sure how everyone will react but I need to do this for them. My only concern is if it does not work. I am not sure what that will do with what little I have left of myself. I don’t know if I can recover. So do I chance it or do I keep what I have now and do as my wife wants and just get used to the changes. To me it sounds like settling for something, instead of going for what you want. It makes me feel like she has settled for me and this is just part of that price. I want her to be happy. I want them all to be happy. I am just not sure the risk is worth the reward but I don’t feel I have a choice. I risk what is left of myself to make them happy because that is what sacrifice is really about. I guess I am willing to sacrifice what is left of me for a chance that I can make them enjoy the holidays once again. That I can make my wife feel like she is not settling. To make my kids look forward to the time we have left together and be eager to share it with those they will have in their lives in the future.