I changed up my routine in March and took a new job with less stress. I’m still a nurse and my pay cut was not that drastic. I’m still doing pretty well. I had four suitors at one point. Suitors such a formal lame word considering a LOT of text messaging and flirting with humor. It didn’t hurt that I had a normal 8am to 5pm schedule instead of nights or 12 hours rotating through a repeating 2 week schedule.
All should be well, but it certainly isn’t. Work is a haven to hide in and surround me like a wall. It’s a noble profession and now instead of feeing forced to work long, I am choosing it and really enjoying the supervisor kudos that come with that. But inside, I know that its my validation getting compliments and gratitude. It’s also an excuse not to deal with everything else.
I want to run away from all the stresses. I don’t want to manage my elderly parents. I don’t want to bear that they need managing and theres push back from them so I give in. I put it off into denial and out of sight / out of mind. Mom is now content to let the house become unkept – cobwebs, wonky kitchen cabinets, grubby marks from hands on walls and stair hand rails. She puts her nose in the air and takes the stance that it shouldn’t all be her taking care of it. My dad has very poor eye sight and I don’t trust him on a ladder or a step stool with more than 2 steps. Her attitude is awful. Dad’s best friend was his dog who died in 2018. Now their remaining cat is dying of cancer and is very high maintenance with hunger, diarrhea, and medications. He had an accident on thr living room carpet so Mom banished him to the garage. Dad grudgingly accepted the cat was to be quarantined there and now he spends his days shut away with the cat.
A suitor of mind fell silent and it hurt. I was extra fond of having intelligent and stimulating conversations – books, history, music and the joys and folly of cubicle work. Then he went silent. I worked and played denial as my heart ached in rejection. Just when I saved his contact info in my phone under a rude name and wrote it off – I saw a news story. I was in the tub and scrolling facebook, a news page for my immediate area that I followed reported a fatal car accident on the south edge of the county. I skimmed when I saw the make and model of car and I knew. I asked if anyone could name the color in the post and then I went on a search while I waited looking up any mutual friend we had. And then his parents. It was confirmed on his dad’s facebook. This guy had been killed that morning on his way home from work. It struck me hard. I’ve lost others in traumatic sudden ways in my life. This reminded me of that all over again plus the weight of the loss. Yes, he had hurt my feelings, but GONE FOR GOOD and no hope of sorting it out. How can life be so bleak?
And I’ve got trust issues already. I’ve been working in counseling on vulnerability, on grief, on shame, on post traumatic stress disorder, on work life balance, and FEAR in a nutshell. I didn’t need to add more on.
My beat friend of nearly 20 years who is like a sister to me – we have had our squabbles and falling outs, gone our own ways for months when we were starting our twenties and found our way back stronger – is in dire straights. She and her husband had been doing well and rebuilt credit, looked to be their healthiest, had a son after several miscarriages at various gestations – had bought a house. Her maternal grandmother who was more a mother than her own passed. She didn’t cope well. Money began to get tight. A friend of hers offered her a waitress job. She began exotic dancing because that paid even more than waitressing. Some regulars at the club took a liking to her and these are rich corporation execs. But the money no matter how much came in just kept going out until they are at the point of too poor to pay to file bankruptcy, behind on mortgage and cars. She spiraled into a black abyss of depression and with a logical pros and cons list and itemized log of expenses, assets, policies and income figured out that her son and spendthrift husband would be financially better off without her. If she committed suicide she could help them finance a new start and she wouldn’t drag them down with her depression and the shame of her career that is now earning her next to nothing.
I could go on, but that’s the bare bones of it.
I’m clothed, fed, have a home, health insurance, take my medications for my depression, have counseling once a week, and work a job that doesn’t leave me exhausted and hating myself. Yet, all this and more goes on around me – death, despair, anguish – and I don’t know how I get up and make myself go to work.
I’ve gained weight. I took medicine to lose weight, but then I started having pretty severe moodiness at my previous job so I stopped taking it and gained it all back plus more. I’m not walking and as active at this job as the previous AND I have an hour lunch and am not bound to packed lunch or the hospital salad bar. I’ve not increased my gym attendance by much either. I promised to be healthier and exercise if I could just get a normal schedule which would leave me less stressed out and too exhausted to move. But I guess I lied to myself.
I don’t want to date. I’m tired of trusting and then being served rejection or loss or betrayal. It’s always something. I grew up with this set of blueprints for success in my mind – I would marry, be in love, have children, raise them to be clever, creative, loyal, hard working people. I’d go to college because that is what someone with good grades does. I’d get a decent job by having a degree. That’s really where I stopped planning and dreaming. I went to college, fell in love, never made it to engaged, never married, but I also didn’t wind up an unwed mother either. I thought that would boost my entries in the Karmic lotto for granting my life plan wishes. But it did not. I never got farther than that because I needed that to happen first. I never dreamt of what else or what next because those prerequisites weren’t being met and in spite and sheer stubborn will I wasn’t going to change my plans even to suite circumstances.
Did I really want kids? Do I really want children or do I just want to meet the biological imperative and social litmus test for worthiness and belonging? I still don’t have a firm answer. Is this me being defeated and giving up when its what I want, going the path of least resistance, not making a fuss and being a bother, complaining —– or have I finally stopped to ask what I want, really.
Right now, this minute, I want to be taken care of. I don’t want to feel beholden for it either. I want someone to hold me close and reassure me. I want to be cared about and cared for. I know my career is the care of others, but I don’t think I want to have that 24/7 never ending obligation to anyone. Not when people leave me as a choice or by death. Not when I will have to leave this wonderful and terrible world and maybe leave my child to struggle in it. This life can be amazing and there is beauty and worth found in the oddest of times and places, but it is also a hell of a thing to do to a person.
I have so many people in my life that I want to protect and save. It’s so much. Tonight has been full of tears.