I was chatting with a friend of mine yesterday. She was telling me about some medical stuff she’s been going through and how emotional it’s made her, and I was commiserating with her about it. And then she thanked me for listening to her, which frankly I thought was a bit silly and totally unnecessary, seeing how I have texted her at 2AM to ask stupid questions when my heart make this weird rhythm and to ask for advice on how to check if my kid is still breathing because it’s 3AM and I think she looks vaguely zombie-colored and I’m starting to freak out. And then she said this,
“Oh please. You never complain. You are a rock.”
And I thought to myself, “it’s a real friend who will lie to you like this when they know you are cracking up.”
And then today I was chatting with another friend and explaining that I’m pretty sure my brain is fried because I keep. screwing. things. up. And she said,
“It’s okay. You’ve been going through some stuff. And I love you. Blah blah blah.”
And I thought to myself, “it’s a real friend who recognizes how uncomfortable I am with expressions of emotion and will just say ‘blah blah blah’ in place of actually mushy stuff.”
And then I was reminded how, a few weeks ago, another friend of mine actually came to me for advice on how to manage their life better which I thought was such a nice compliment, really, that someone thought I would be able to help them organize their kids/home/work/school life better. Or perhaps my friend had fallen down and had a concussion and was confusing me with someone who actually could do this.
And then, it dawned on me, “Holy shitballs. People actually think I have my shit together.” ‘
I really should be the winner of a goddamned Academy Award. Or at least an Emmy. My life is a reality show just waiting to happen. Where in the hell is that putz Ryan Seacrest when you need him? (And by “putz”, I mean “genius” Ryan. Really. Call me...)
I SO do not have my shit together. Picture someone the exact opposite of having their shit together, and then multiply that by, say, 10 gadsmillionbazillions and you may have what I am.
I am the person who had totally planned to send out the most epically awesome Christmas letter last Christmas as a parody of those obnoxious ones you receive that tell you how fabulous Bobby and Jane’s lives are, how in love they are, how fabulous their jobs are, how amazing their kids are... how nice everything is. But instead of that, I was going to tell about how, in the preceding 12 months, my mom had died, and on the day we were burying her I was in my kids’ school making popcorn (because it’s a private school where you are expected to volunteer and it was my day to make popcorn), and then my kid’s teacher came in and told me that my 11 year old was hiding under his desk making suicidal comments and his teacher was very concerned, and then I was fired from my long-time job after assuring my partner that it was okay for him to quit his job and go back to school, which he’d done just before I was fired.
And then my other kid had to go get an uber-rare brain disease and that pretty much put the kabosh to my plans for an epic Christmas letter.
I am so not fine.
My life is a series of emergencies, with my only hope being that we all survive them. And I don’t mean survive as in, “I just don’t know how I’m going to survive another boring cocktail party!” But actually survive as in, still all be living when the emergency passes. And since, if it weren’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all, this is not an easy prospect.
I must maintain constant vigilance to be sure that my 10 year old daughter does not have a stroke. Since 10 year old girls don’t really comprehend the idea of “stroke” and “brain death” and “trans ischemic attacks” the way a 70 year old might, it’s an incredibly stressful thing to accomplish. Claire just wants to race down the stairway, twirl, dance, do somersaults, jump on trampolines, go on water slides, and be a 10 year old kid. Meanwhile, I get the task of being the fun police and telling her she can’t do any of those things because I don’t want her to stroke out and turn into a cabbage.
Put another way, imagine that you constantly heard a loud sound. It wasn’t ear piercing or anything, but it was always there. Always. This constant, high-pitched whistle in your ear. While you were eating, working, having sex... always there. And sometimes you could be busy and distract yourself with other things but, as soon as you had a quiet moment, the sound was there. Until it was the only thing you could hear and you felt like it was making you insane.
That. That’s my life. I am so not fine.
I am fortunate to have wonderful, understanding friends who support me. And I am lucky to have a fabulous partner who puts up with me. They are pretty much the only things that keep me from stabbing people with rusty forks. But nothing, nothing stops me from wanting to stab people.
For example, the other day my 11 year old almost stepdaughter was crying when her dad was brushing her hair. Crying. To be fair, she cries about everything because she’s “emotional” (bleh) and we all pretty much ignore it most of the time. But as she stood there and wept at 11 years old because she was getting some tangles gently tugged out of her hair, I wanted to scream at her, “for fuck’s sake, Claire didn’t cry that much when she got fucking BRAIN SURGERY!!” Suck it up you big. fucking. baby!” I so desperately wanted to stab her with the hairbrush that I had to walk out of the room.
I am so not fine.
This weekend is Mother’s Day. As much as I would like to depend upon the calming effects of alcohol, I fear fortifying myself with liquor will only make it impossible to control my stabby rage. The amount of Xanax I need to soothe myself has crossed the line from “therapeutic” and has entered into “toxic” territory.
Therefore, I am going to hide in my room, reading senseless and trashy novels, and hope that no emergencies befall anyone because I have exceeded my ability to cope with them. I will grit my teeth and endure another day without stabbing anyone because I don’t really have a choice. And I will continue to buffalo the world at large because, I am so not. fine.