I find myself sinking.

Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes. 

Not waving, but drowning.

I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise to myself that by the time I turn 40, I will be there. I have four months.

It feels like I’m sinking.

So I sink. I sink into counting calories, balancing being a mother and meals, a doggie and one cat mom (the gecko doesn’t really count as mineshe’s my son’s, but I do check on her daily too), a housewife, working full time (albeit flexitime), a friend, a sister, an aunt, and a daughter.

RELATED: All That Matters When You’re Overwhelmed is That You’re Overwhelmed

And I sink again. I’m not giving my mom the time she so deserves. I sink into chores and deadlines and arranging family get-togethers. I sink into family reunions. And I miss her. I miss her need to talk. To just be. Because I sink into what I think I should be doing, rather than asking her what she needs and wants.

This morning as I sit here writing, wondering what the verdict on the Amber and Johnny trial will be, I sink into a thoughtfulness. I wonder how much the two of them felt like I do. That’s why I connected with the trial. Because despite the money and the flair, the make-up and destinations, they really hurt. They sank too.

And I wonder how many times people thought they were waving and not drowning.

I hear how my husband speaks of friends he is concerned about. COVID really did them in. He checks in on his friends all the time. His heart is so good. So very good. I see his hours of work and his dedication to us all (dogs included). And my heart sinks. I sink. Because, despite my support and checking in on him, I wonder whether he too, is sinking. He certainly knows I am. So, maybe he doesn’t want to weigh down the lifeboat.

I sink further, into myself. He doesn’t know the true depth of my inner turbulence. And he doesn’t need to. It’s not fair. 

This piece is about loneliness. It’s about my inability to be vulnerable and honest about whatever is going on inside. Because I feel we are all sinking. Every one of us.

We’re not waving, we’re drowning.

But then I realize how very blessed I am to have this lifeboat. This little family of mine. 

If I am really honest with myself (which doesn’t come easily), I know they see my heart. They know it’s sinking. They just know to work gently with it. Too much agitation will submerge it.

RELATED: I’m Scary Good at Smiling When I’m Drowning

So they gently buoy it for me. They buoy it with gentle cords of kindness, hugs, whispered I love yous, flowers every now and then, thank-yous, cuddles, and jokes. 

They know I’m drowning and not waving. They know I’m sinking. But their love keeps me afloat. 

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Sam Prinsloo

Sam is a mother of two boys, four dogs, and one cat. She works full time but is also a full-time mom. When she can, she writes. About any and everything. 

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