Stretched

I sat with my chin in my hands, smile on my face as I watched Hannah last week in gymnastics.  She sat in the front row of a class of about twenty-five 5-7 year old girls.  She always likes to be in the front.  Close to the instructor. Having the best view.  Getting the most attention if she should need to tell about her trip to Pittsburgh, her dinner with her grandparents or her mom running a red light on the way to class.  I couldn’t hear the coaches or the kids from where I sat, behind the glass, as if watching monkeys in the zoo.  But I always know when Hannah is telling a story.  She twirls one ponytail around and around her finger, stands very close to whoever she is talking to and makes sure not to lose their eye contact.  The coach smiles and nods and I usually read, “OH REALLY? Wow!” from their lips.  I always wonder what story it is that she told this time.  She tells these stories all while she stretches at the start of class.  I’m amazed with the ease that she stretches.  Her legs spread in a near split.  Her nose or her ear touching her knee.  One side.  Quickly to the next. Out in front.  Face planted on the floor between her legs. She flips to her back.  Presses he arms to the floor into a backbend.  Perfectly arched. Like a rainbow.

I remember when I could stretch like that.  It caused no pain to jump into the air and land in a split. I could easily flip my legs backwards over my head, putting my knees next to my ears.  Like a pretzel.  I could grab my ankles with my hands in a backbend. Like a rubberband.

I no longer can stretch like that. It hurts. I get stuck. And I can’t bounce back.

But.

These days I am STRETCHED.  I guess that’s what happens. You go from being flexible and loving to stretch, to just plain being stretched.

There’s just so much.  Too much. And I’m being pulled.  From side to side. From above and below. From real world to online world.  From being thrilled to be where I am today, to being petrified of where I’ll be tomorrow. From feeling like I’m doing it pretty well, to feeling like I’m failing miserably. From knowing it will all turn out alright, to not even knowing what “All Right” is or if there even is an All Right.  From feeling like I’m able to take care of everything, to feeling like I’m caring for no one very well.

Stretched.

I wouldn’t mind being so stretched if I felt more flexible.  If it didn’t hurt quite so much.  I want to scream, “Stop pulling me!” but I know it’s just part of life. Being pulled. Not ever feeling balanced.  Always feeling like I’m about to fall over or dragged to a place that doesn’t feel quite right.

The strange thing?  Is that so much IS right in my world these days. I’m working.  Making money. Running my own little business with projects that I LOVE.  But these projects that I love are taking me away from this passion of writing that I love.  And I’ve hated having to choose.  Spend two hours at night on a client’s blog, or my own.  Get paid, or say “hi” to you all.  I’m finding time to remember the OLD me.  The one who played tennis.  I get out there and hit some balls, get some exercise, feel competitive and inspired to be in shape.  But that time on the court?  Is two hours that i could be making money, or again, be here with you.  Or making an effort to see my friends.  Or visiting my mom or my Nana.  Every day that I am happy with what I DID do, I realize what I did NOT do.  Clean my house.  Organize my kitchen/playroom/office/bedroom.

I’m stretched. Full of worry, impatience, fear. For what lays ahead. When the slight breeze will come that will knock me to the ground. It won’t even take a strong gust of wind, just a breeze.

Because I can’t stretch anymore.  I’m as stretched as I can be.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Stretched

  1. I think we’re all stretched. The thing now is too not become so stretched that we break, like an old, dried-out, over-stretched elastic. You know, the only one that seems to be in the drawer when you really need one, and crack…its no longer any good.As long we we’re not starting to crack, we’ll be ok. Things always seem worse than they are. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Find a nice solid tree to lean on. It’ll protect you from that wind. 🙂

  2. I hear you. I feel the same way. And actually, a little depressed too. That I can’t do it all, that I can’t do it well, that it is too much. You need to take care of you. Do what is important only. Family and love first. Everything else will fall into place, you’ll see. xo

  3. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days. The constant pulls in different directions, the needs of others before our own. But what is the alternative? To not have a full, busy life? To not have the options and opportunities to succeed?

    I don’t know what the answer is other than to find joy in what you are doing, whether it is work or fun.

    Hang in there Becca. You are not alone.

  4. What a great post! (And a great picture.) I, too, feel stretched. All the time. I can’t believe how similarly I feel to the way you described–one minute, I’m great, the next, inadequate. Glad to know it’s not only me.

    And you’re working, huh? What new developments in your life!

  5. I love Hannah’s happy face! And man, do I envy those nimble limbs. I am the opposite of Gumby.

    Becca, do what you need to. We will still be here 🙂

  6. Oh Becca, “stretched” is the perfect word for this, even though I haven’t done yoga in ages! I am in your same boat and have lately been in this writing funk because of it. The fatigue is taking me away from my passion but when I’m afforded the time to be in front of my computer, I feel I lack the energy to put into words precisely what’s on my mind. And then there’s the family who needs me of course. As well as the neverending laundry and housekeeping.

    But just like you, I find it interesting that I’m at a great point in my life right now – happy with my family and with my own growth as a person – yet I can’t help feel constantly pushed and pulled into directions that are out of my control. Perhaps this is just part of motherhood? I don’t know. I hope we’ll both figure it out someday.

  7. Stretched. Oh, the many pulls. I hate choosing, always choosing. I wish I could bounce back easily again. I get stuck too, and find it harder to bend gracefully. I want to feel agile again. I want my mind to move easily too. Instead, it just feels stuck, stretched out.

  8. This is a wonderful metaphor. I hear you. Loud and clear. Thanks for sharing. It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling.

  9. Liz

    I think most of us who are “out here”…blogging, searching, working, mothering, trying to stay true to who we are/were/should be…are all stretched. In fact, I’m willing to bet that many of us have hyperextended ourselves at one point or another! I can so relate to this: “The strange thing? Is that so much IS right in my world these days.” Because that is how I feel almost all the time…as in, why do I feel overwhelmed/upset/stressed/frustrated when I’m doing everything I want? When life is so good? When it’s all good? Something always has to give, right?

  10. I’m soooo with you, babe. Fearing that slight breeze. Petrified. Exhausted. All of it.

    I’m stretched.

    Xxooo

  11. Oh yes, yes, yes. I hear you completely and all of these comments resonate. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing a giant game of Whack-a-Mole. Just when I clobber one mole, another one pops up.

    I have no answers, just commiseration. And the assurance that I’ll be here ready to read whenever it feels right to you to write.

    Wishing you (and all of us) some of Hannah’s childlike flexibility! xo

  12. Hang in there, soon you will find your footing and you won’t feel so stretched anymore. Change is hard, but it sounds like it’s the right direction for you.

  13. First of all I miss you, your writing and your clear expression. All of it. But I understand what you’ve got going on here, because I live it every day. And as you know it got the better of me. So all I can say is don’t let it take over, don’t let your coping mechanisms weaken. Stay as strong as you can, listen to your heart and mind and know that you will find your way through it, over, under it, whatever you need. It’s hard, this mom, me, wife, worker gig. It’s so so hard.

    I’m thinking of you. TONS xo

  14. I’m so stretched I can’t even adequately comment. I hear you. I’m with you. Just looking at those backbends (and thinking of all that I need to do, all that is stretching me) makes me reach for the ibuprofen and wish for my pillow.

  15. There are a lot of us out here who have, at one time or another, felt exactly the same. Take comfort that you’re not alone. And remember to breathe. It sounds corny but focusing on your breath can actually calm the anxiety. I know ’cause I have to do it everyday.

  16. I adore that pic!!!

    I’m with you on feeling stretched – so many of us moms feel the same way.

  17. Is this the point in yoga when you just stop and breath and stay aware of the stretch … and then realize you won’t break? When you realize that you’re strong and resilient and capable? That this, too, shall pass?

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