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It just feels so hard sometimes

I keep finding ways to keep my fingers busy that isn’t typing words here. Pet the cat behind her ears, rub her belly while she purrs. Pick my cuticles. Play with my hair. It’s maddening.

The last few days have been so emotional. Like super, super emotional. On Sunday night, I was bawling at the kitchen table and it felt so absurd. Who cries this much? I’m a crier, and I don’t cry this much. “I’m so emotional!” I declared through my tears. “Why am I so emotional?”

“You’re on your period. You really don’t know why you’re emotional?” When he said that my jaw dropped. Like, whoa. Could that really be the reason? Yes, probably. That is definitely probably part of why I’m so emotional. But I’m not gonna lie, you guys. I am not okay. I mean, I’m fine. I’m totally healthy, I’m employed, I’m happily married, everything is perfect. I’m just not okay inside. I wish I was someone else. I wish I could disappear.

It’s so stupid because I look at my life and I know how good things are, how lucky I am. We’re okay, we’re fine, everything is going to be okay, this too shall pass.This too shall pass.

But there’s a pain in my heart, like something is breaking. Like I can actually feel my heart being crushed.

There are reasons. I can pinpoint them. But it’s also everything all combined, everything piling up, stacks of to-do’s and obligations and fears and busted expectations and broken hearts all spilling out of my mental inbox. A big fucking mess. I’m a mess.

I don’t have the emotional bandwidth for this. I’m hanging on by shredded fingernails.

Michael has been so good to me the last few days. So calm, so kind, so willing to do whatever he needs to so I don’t fall apart. I cry about how high-maintenance I am. Don’t you love that? A girl who cries during dinner because she’s too high-maintenance. Just stop being so fucking high-maintenance, idiot. What’s wrong with me?

“I don’t want to be this way! I don’t want to be me!”

He wraps his arms around me, tucks the top of my head under his chin and holds me until I can breathe again.

I’m so tired of feeling this way. It’s exhausting. But I know it will pass. It really will pass.



Are You There Guys? It’s Me, Frosty

The blinking cursor. It taunts me. How long will I stare it down? I have no idea what to type but I can’t stand staring at that awful, evil, nasty little blinking cursor and so I will just sit here and type and type and type and type. There are so many things going on and I feel like I can’t write about any of it, I’m keeping my life locked up in little metal boxes and the keys are broken off inside the locks so you can’t ever open them again, not ever again.

It’s horrible.

I used to love this. I would sit here, happily, for hours and hours and write all about my feelings, record all the little moments. Life was easier then. Or was it? Am I glorifying the past because it’s the past and all I can remember are the pretty pictures I posted here? I have no idea. It doesn’t even matter. I’m just so, so, so tired. I’m so tired of feeling like we’re fighting, constantly, just to keep our heads above water. And I know, I know that someone is reading this and they want to punch me in the face because whatever my stupid little suburban problems are, they are nothing, nothing at all. I know. I have so much to be grateful for. And most days I’m really good at remembering it. I don’t complain. I am grateful for the things that count. Most days. And then there are days like today when I sit on the balcony with the birds and I cry. And cry. And cry. I just wish things could be easier. I wish I didn’t worry so much. I wish I was more patient and more careful, more thoughtful. I wish I had more energy. I wish I’d made better choices when I was younger but I can’t think about that now or the mean little monster who lives behind my heart will thrash around and make me say awful things to myself.

I probably sound crazy. Maybe I am.

Things have not been going according to plan. Life has been life-y because, as they say, Humans Make Plans and God Laughs or whatever it is they say. BUT STILL. Anyway. Like I said. Most days are great. We’re fine. I’m fine. We work hard and we keep our heads above water and we’re okay. Today just hasn’t been one of those days.

The cat on the table and the child in my head

I’m chopping vegetables when she starts crying, a plaintive meowing. She paces across the kitchen table, coat gleaming, belly hanging, begging for my attention. “I’m sorry, Cat. I’m fixing dinner. I’ve got nothing for you.”

In my head she’s a little girl. Three or four. Her eyes wide and pleading, “Mama, play with me!”

“I’m sorry, Baby. I’m fixing dinner. Papa will be home soon and I’m hungry! Would you like to help?”

She peels the garlic and breaks heads off brocoli stalks. “They look like tiny trees!” She is gleeful. I’m in awe of her strong little hands and the pleasure she takes in such simple tasks.

And then I chide myself for being so stupid. Getting lost in childish imaginings. Children are not in the picture. Not now, not for years, maybe never. Maybe because you never know and maybe because it just seems impossible. The other day I asked Michael, “How will we know?”

“When I have a job and we have health care and we’re ready to buy a house and we’re not worried about paying bills every month. Maybe then.”

Maybe we’ll wait until we’re in our forties and adopt. I can see myself, like all those women I watched in Manhattan with long silver hair and ethnic children. I could love any child I held in my arms, I know that.

By now I’ve peeled and chopped a whole garlic bulb, but I don’t care. I sprinkle it over the vegetables, slide it into the oven, set the timer. I over-season everything. Fresh cracked pepper makes raw chicken black. Kosher salt, onion flakes, garlic powder, oregano, basil, sage smells like pee but I sprinkle on three-times the amount you would anyway. The chicken will come out of the oven crunchy for spices but I don’t care. I like it that way. Just like I like my food burned crisp. Everything tasting like it came out of a campfire. Smoky.

I reach for another beer. Dinner is in the oven but Mike won’t be home for three hours at least. I’ll eat alone while I balance the budget. Wait up for him. Reheat a plate for him. Press my face into his neck while he eats. Breathe. So glad he’s home.

This is my second installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments, begun by Heather of the EO. You should totally join in.

No Blood Yet

I’m just going to sit here and type for the next fifteen minutes. I don’t even care what I type, I’m just going to tap out little words, big words, whatever words come into my head because, for heaven’s sake, I need to write about something. It’s been too damn long.

On the one hand, there is a piece of my heart that is shriveling up, drying out, dying because I am not writing every day. And on the other hand, it is so much easier to read what other people are writing and when I run out of other people’s words, to turn on the television, plant myself in front of it, and stuff my face full of ice cream and potato chips while I berate myself for being a fat loser slob.

Three weeks ago I got some very bad news. I hate it when bloggers write vague crap about the bad shit in their lives. I like details, you guys. DETAILS. I appreciate writers who blog the good, the bad, and the ugly. I like honesty. I like transparency. It takes courage to tell the truth. But I’m going to go ahead and be a fuckhead and be really vague and leave you to imagine what might be going on in my life that makes it nearly impossible for me to drag my sorry ass out of bed in the mornings because a) I’m not comfortable putting into words what’s going on; b) it might be too painful to type it all out in grisly detail; and c) it’s not really my story to tell. There are too many other people involved and out of respect for their privacy, I will be vague in all my whining.

Have you ever cut yourself with a very very sharp knife? Like, you’re slicing tomatoes and you slice through your finger by mistake and you watch it happen and immediately afterwards you think, Oh SHIT. It doesn’t hurt yet and there’s no blood, but you know you’ve just sliced through you finger and in seconds the wound will burn with a rage you’ve never known before and the blood will come, it will spill out and over the edges of the clean cut, it will flow in rivulets down your arm and pool on the chopping block, mixing with the tomato juice and tiny seeds. But for one moment there is no blood, no pain, just the knowing that you’ve opened your finger with a very sharp steel blade. You grab a paper towel or a dishcloth or the hem of your shirt and you press it to the wound, press it hard to stop the flow of blood that hasn’t come yet. Your heart beats in your throat and you take deep breaths so you won’t burst out crying or screaming because you are afraid you might have to go to the hospital for stitches and you hate hospitals.

That is how I felt after I got the very bad news. I spent a solid week wandering through life, fists pressed hard to mouth to staunch the inevitable gush of blood, heart beating hard in my throat, eyes wide and bone dry. I couldn’t talk about it. If I talked about it I would fall apart. I couldn’t sleep at night because when I closed my eyes I felt my world tearing open at the seams. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning because I couldn’t bear to face another day.

It’s better now. Much better. I’ve removed the proverbial dishtowel and the cut wasn’t that deep after all. There wasn’t ever any blood. I’m still tender, but I seem to be healing all right. It’s still hard to get out of bed but I’m getting things done again. I’m trying to be more proactive. I’m keeping the apartment clean. I’m washing my hair. Putting on makeup. Getting through the day. It’s going to be okay. This too shall pass.