Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Erosion of Self 

I bobbed clumsily through life, barely afloat on an ocean of beer in 2016. But you'd never know it unless I told you. Is three bottles of beer an evening too much? I don't know. I'm genuinely asking but probably won't put much stock in your answer because I've answered the question every which way each time I ask it of myself, which is uncomfortably often.

The truth is it helps me relax in the evening after a day full of corporateness/meetings/managering and soul-destroying office jargon that, via notifications on my iPhone, trails me through my life like a determined stalker I can't shake no matter how fast I run, how well I hide. Notifications harassing me even as I wait for my kids at the bus stop, make dinner, put them to bed. Ping/email! Ping/email! Ping/text! Ping!Ping!Ping! The beer dulls the unrelenting torture just enough that I can get a little shut eye before the dance begins anew at 5:30 the next morning.

And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

I am straddling 40-years-old. I have been scrabbling like a motherfucker to figure out the kind of woman I want to be. Legacy. Because of my children, I think a lot about legacy. My legacy. It's only up to me, you know. It isn't as though there are folks who would expound on my alleged greatness upon my untimely departure from planet Earth, I don't think. I have to leave a legacy for my children in the way that I conduct myself on a daily basis and, much of the time, I don't think I'm doing that good of a job. I don't feel as if I've ever been truly known by anyone. Someone's daughter for 40 years, married for a decade, someone's mother for eight years and yet... I don't feel known. I feel misunderstood.

I am aware of the hole in my soul. I am a person who formed a personality around a gaping, nearly fatal wound. No one taught me integrity or how to be a good person. I was left to fend for myself. My life is a balancing act of pretending to be sweet and empathetic or revealing the black hole that swallows everything. Emotional black hole. I often wonder what it's like to experience life as someone else. Someone calm and assured, someone with great parents who instilled a sense of purpose and self worth within me. I'll never know. I can only view the world from this brain I was born with. And I am smart enough to know I am tortured. Is my brain too much... Or too little?

You with the lovely still-married parents who support you know matter what... Are you stronger than me or weaker than me? I can't figure it out.