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Feeling Trapped

Major life events like marriage or death or pregnancy or making a big career shift, moving across the country, retirement, divorce, etc etc etc the list goes on – they all take a toll on whatever else is going on around you.

Last week was rough for me. Lots of things were popping up – family things, life things, not feeling well, jury duty, work, blahblahblah. And I began to feel like I was drowning. Drowning in obligations and not getting enough free swim time. But also – I’m grappling with the feeling of being trapped.

Pregnancy is limiting. I enjoy being foot loose and fancy free, able to play the career field, able to pick up and move when the opportunity strikes, able to change my mind when I want to change it. And even if I don’t do these things … I like having the option. Pregnancy makes everything much more complicated. I’m sure having a kid will also make things more complicated, but at least for the first few years, it really won’t have a say in where we live or what mama does to bring home the bacon. Right now I am feeling stalled out at work. I still go there every day and bust my rump and reach goals and do a little dance involving success and a positive mental attitude, but I would like to continue jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone. The problem is – I can’t. I can’t leave my job because I need to be with a company for a year to be eligible for FMLA benefits. And there are complications with paperwork deets, with health insurance, and disability money. And let’s not even mention all of the hullabaloo that goes with a possible relocation, and of course money.

And then! On top of all of my eerrgggg and my compulsion to move forward and to get some wiggle room is the fact that I share my life with another human. Not the one in my stomach, but the one I married. As much as I hate to admit it, he does have a say in major life events, major career shifts, moving to new places, blahblah… there are (apparently) a lot of things that he, too, is allowed an opinion on. Insert big yelling fight here.

Kamel likes things orderly, planned, strategized, and charted. A major hurdle for him is whether or not he feels safe in any given situation. He needs to feel financially secure and comfortable in his surroundings. This is not so crazy, I will concede this, but he also has a hard time accepting that there are other ways to go about tackling issues, problems, or opportunities. Mostly, he thinks it’s his way or the “You’re irresponsible and dangerous and now you have a family to think of, Lauren. You’re no longer 20 years old!”

Which lead me to the, “Your way is not automatically the perfect way! Sometimes it’s ok to jump on an opportunity, sometimes it’s the right thing to take a risk, there’s more than ONE way.” And ya know with a few “You’re not the boss of me!” thrown in.

In the end, what I’m talking about here is not being right or wrong – that’s not what this is (Hello! Obviously I’m right, he’s wrong. Handled that pretty quickly… right?). It’s really about having to make decisions – or decide on even the possibility of making decisions – with another person. Not in spite of the other person. And ultimately I think our differences make us a strong team; Kamel’s ability to spreadsheet the shit out of something and my ability to push us into action when action needs taking. They are good things… when we give each other the space and reign to go with it.

I wonder if I will ever be totally comfortable having to run my adult decisions past another person. This pregnancy makes me feel trapped in so many ways (the physical limitations, the attention it creates from co-workers or strangers or family, the inability to be flexible with job stuff), being attached to another grown up is both awesome and also a constant reminder that my life isn’t just my own anymore, and that can be a major pain in the butt.

I don’t know how to end this except that it’s a work in progress. I give a little, Kamel gives a little, I breathe through my desire to flee to the hills where I am free to do as I please, not tethered by physical or financial limitations (in dream fairy land apparently), and we just keep doing the best we can with what we have. Even if what we have isn’t ultimately good enough forever and ever.


6 Comments

  1. Yes. I think it can be so hard when you feel ready to MOVE ON or UP or AWAY when the other factors in your life aren’t really in line. Especially when you feel like the alternative is costing you something, but you aren’t even sure what it’s costing you. What if you miss the perfect apartment because you can’t move right now? Or what if that job is never available again and WOOSH that option went out the window?

    I don’t think you’ll ever get totally comfortable having another adult with equal say in your life. You’re a team and a pair and a family, but you’re not the same. But that’s fine. No good adventure ever came out of being totally comfortable.

    • I like that about adventures. It’s true. They are scary and hard and most of the time totally worth it.

      And i wouldn’t want it any other way, really. Just that in the moment I can’t help but be all “blahh! Independent woman!!” and he can’t help but be all “I’m Kamel and I only want to do things one way ever!” But we eventually get over both things.

  2. You and Kamel sound like a perfectly matched couple! You are counterparts to each other.

    • On our best days, you are right. :)

  3. I think that the best part about being with someone that you love, is that often, not always, but often the choices that we make are the ones that are in the best interest of the other person, not ourselves. It is so special to think about the other person, what they need, how they would feel and know that what you are doing, what you decide or what you plan is because it is the best for them…. and ultimately the best for you. Eventually it isn’t a feeling of loss or being confined by decisions, it is more of feeling of being a part of something that extends beyond your physical being.

  4. Making decisions together is one of the hardest part of being in a relationship, especially as it relates to career. Bunny and I have both had some major career shifts during the course of our relationship and one of the strangest things about being in a serious relationship has been realizing that all of a sudden we have a say in each other’s careers. If one of us is unemployed, the other has a say in what jobs we’re willing to accept. We have a voice in each other’s educational interests. Heck, sometimes we even have a say in big picture career discussions (ie: you need to ask for a raise, this is no longer a choice). It’s really awesome, but it’s also really strange. We’ve got each other’s backs, but it also means we can’t each go about our dance in the exact way we would have otherwise chosen.

    I think I may have an easier time of this than you, because I’m a little more like Kamel – I *need* to feel secure about the decision I’m making, and career wise I’ve had almost all bad experiences with leaps of faith but I know that I have to take chances, sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes being ok with going along with those decisions is way harder than it should be, as demonstrated by the literal temper tantrum I threw last time we moved spontaneously.

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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