Fearless Writing Challenge, Day 40: I Thought I Was Drowning.



I wrote this in a past life.

It hurts me to read it again, to go back there.

Even in my darkest days now, I am not even close to feeling as lost and alone as I did then.

It is good for me to recognize that truth.

What follows is one scene from an unhappy marriage. Not the worst, not the best, maybe even average. I don’t know.

I do know I survived it and that is enough to tide me over.

Dear _______,

I’m not sure how I am supposed to respond – you just told me I am:

A) so much like X that it makes you really sad and you’re not sure what to do about it. X happens to be a person I would most NOT want to be like.

B) If I say I am going to do something you know I won’t do it.

C) That I just want to pay people to do things rather than do them myself.


And then you become affectionate and helpful. Why? Do you feel guilty?

I don’t know what to do. I am tired of fighting for my rights and pushing back.

I am not drowning. I am not drowning. But I feel like I am.

I feel underwater, overwhelmed, helpless, and out of options. Yesterday I was overcome with so much sadness and a strong sense of futility.

I can understand – in fact, I recognized it independently –  that I am much like X.

I, of course, disagree that if I say something one can be assured I won’t do it.

But the other I guess is true, too. Ok, so what if maybe all of them are true?

Now what?

I am who I am and by telling me how awful I am – then what? What’s next?

You told me I need to work to change – me! – and I said No. Stop there. 

Because I have worked to change and I would argue that of the two of us I am the one who has changed most drastically over the past several years.


I truly feel defeated. I am almost resigned. Broken. Like a horse, a strong, headstrong horse, I’ve been broken. I am now just an old hack.

Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. No mind of my own.

Dishes. Clean up. Laundry. Homework. Kids to bed. Love you (enthusiastically!) Sleep. Get up. Do it again. Breakfast. Pack lunch. Go to work.

I won’t make requests to do things or go places. 5-mile radius. Walk there or don’t go. Don’t shop. Or get my hair done. Or get pedicures. Just be here.

I’ll wait until you decide what we do and then I’ll ask if I’m doing it right.


I know I am not alone in ever feeling so desperate.

I know some who never made it out.

But I did. And if you are in a similar place please know this: you can, too. 

In sisterhood,