Maybe I mentioned this before. I'm hanging out at home with the kids this week on a stay-cation because their school ended last Wednesday and their summer program doesn't start until next Monday. For the last seven years, I've never taken all of the vacation time I've annually accrued. In fact, I've ended up losing it because I didn't take it. I may as well have written a check back to my employer. Guess I'm just trained to work all the time because that's what musicians do.
But I'm not a professional musician any more. So why am I compelled to work all the time?
I know why. I need to admit this and come clean - it's called distraction from things that I don't want to face.
The habit of keeping myself so busy in order to not think about something painful started in high school. No, I think even earlier than that. Keeping me busy was a coping mechanism my mom used in order to help us deal with my father's multiple sclerosis. Back in the 1970s, families didn't have access to support systems available today. Keeping us all busy and out of the house was to keep our minds on positive things, and not dwell on dad's declining health at home. By the time my dad died in 1980, I was involved in so many extra curricular activities, I could barely keep my head straight. That's how I liked it. Too busy thinking about practices, rehearsals, meetings, float building, dances, boyfriends, and hair styles so that I didn't have to feel. I was so afraid that if I felt something, I would collapse.
It's been thirty-two years. It's a long standing habit that while I'm completely aware of it, I can't completely stop. I know why. I'm ashamed to admit it, because it reveals my cowardice.
My husband has multiple sclerosis. There. I said it. And the reason why I overload my life is because I go back to the old coping mechanism. I've got be pluck up the courage and be here.
Granted, I'm going to be taking off for a week. When I get back, I've got some major resetting to do.
Steve's cool with me writing about this now. I'm grateful for this; I have a few more posts aching to get out on this subject.