I often struggle between sharing too much and being fiercely private about my struggles. In a world already fraying at the edges, I hesitate to add my unique brand of grousing because what is one hard month in the grand scheme of things, right?
But I forget that this is my space. I can, and I should unburden myself here. At the cost of losing a few readers, I will dig deep and pull out every pokey thought that’s giving me sleepless nights. Bear with me. Or don’t. I won’t be offended.
So here goes.
- The past 30 days have been hard. I’ve wept most days — sometimes angry tears that feel cathartic, but often ugly sobbing, which just gives me a headache.
- There are times when I want to scream. The other day at the grocery store, I was trying to get past a gaggle of high school kids who were being appropriately dramatic about sports drinks. After the first couple of “umm, excuse me” and “I just need to get past you,” I had to take a deep breath and restrain myself from throwing a full-on hissy fit. “Move you, idiots! And stop whining about how Gatorade sucks because, trust me, REAL LIFE is coming hard and fast at you, and nothing prepares you for the absolute misery of adulthood.” But instead, I politely turned my cart around and went the other way. Yay, me, for acting like a grown-up.
- I got COVID. Again. A week after my 40th birthday.
- My son turned 12. What should have been a day of celebration quickly turned gloomy because he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. His anxiety was at an all-time high, so he alternated between pacing frantically and escaping into his screen. We did this uneasy dance all day — me trying to talk him down and him struggling to hold back tears until 7 pm hit, and it all went to hell. I cried that night, seething at the injustice of it all. He’s 12. He should be playing soccer and smiling shyly at girls, not tramping up and down the hall to soothe himself after a meltdown. And that was just one of many days where he woke up anxious and went to bed exhausted.
- The puppy fell sick too. An uncomfortable trifecta of conjunctivitis, teething, and gastritis.
- Since the kids are back at school, I’m chauffeuring them between extracurriculars or fixing snacks/lunches/playdates/homework schedules. An absolute nonproblem to have, but my jaw hurts from all the clenching.
- My dad had an elective procedure to fix a stent in his coronary blood vessels., And while the procedure and recovery went well, I still worried myself sick because this brought back memories of his first heart attack in 1995. Not happy memories.
- I am behind on everything. Work, bills, writing, fitness, communication. To insulate myself, I stopped responding to social texts and calls. The type A in me wants to fix this and call people back, like a reasonable human being, goddamnit. But I can’t bring myself to do it, so I’m drawing heavily on the compassion and kindness of people.
- The stress has me wound up tight. I speak in short, curt sentences, catastrophize a lot, and snap at my family, even when they’re trying their best. To put it plainly, I’m rather unpleasant to be around. The other day, I honked furiously at this poor woman trying to merge into my lane. And while a part of me felt ashamed of my ridiculous behavior, I couldn’t deny the perverse pleasure of taking it out on her. So I honked again — longer this time — before coming to my senses.
Is there a silver lining? Maybe. I’ve read some fantastic books. A lot of paperwork was done and dusted. I’ve discovered the utter joy of kissing my dog’s little head. And while I’m usually running around like a headless chicken, between all the chaos and drama, I sometimes stumble upon these brief moments of clarity and calm.
Last night, after the kids went to bed, I binged on the Great British Baking show. Armed with a bar of chocolate, I watched bakers attempt magical creations of pastries and pies. The puppy snored from his crate, and the husband wordlessly handed me some ice cream. I ate a spoonful and realized I hadn’t cried in a while.
The crests and troughs of life. And the only way to go is upward.