I can feel it at the back of my mind. That jittery numb feeling that is so compelling to sink into and feel nothing. It’s the fly that you can hear but can’t see and it drives you crazy. Buzzing around wondering when it’s going to land.
I see you watching me. You give me that goofy smile that’s my favorite and go back to coloring, but I see you watching me. I feel like a fraud. I am a fraud. I’m sitting here building blocks with your brother and it’s not me. I’m not here. I’m somewhere in a corner rocking my nerves to sleep and wondering who is going to come and figure this crap out.
I look in my toolbox for a tool, but they all seem dull and rusted. Deep breathing, the measured ins and outs aren’t working for me today.
Fine. Sometimes you need a different tool for the job. Relaxing my body one muscle at a time starting at my head and s-l-o-w-l-y working toward my feed is great, but I feel like a boneless blob already. Hard to relax tense muscles when they feel like jelly. Journal. Then I’m writing boring tidbits because I have nothing of value to say. Be positive! Look for the silver lining! Think of the good changes that have occurred! Okay, that works for a bit until I close the book and then have to do something. Something that requires more than the basic energy my body always has.
Anything more is asking too much. So don’t ask, okay?
I’m tired of decisions I haven’t even made yet. So many decisions that once seemed unimportant and took up so little of my brain now seem huge and carry so much weight. I’m tired of togetherness. I need a space of quiet where I can sleep without worrying if you’re going to wake up from a nightmare and need me. If I’m not awake and ready to care for you then what does that make me? I’m tired of food. The cooking it, cleaning up after it, thinking about it. I’m tired of wanting to be normal and go out, and then worrying about tiny germs floating around. I know people who have those germs and they aren’t doing so well. I know people who have those germs and just need a few tissues. I’m tired of being put together so that your memories of this time are positive and healthy. I just want to scream at the unfairness of everything.
I had a dream last night. I don’t know who I was talking to, but they hugged me and I broke down. It felt emptying. It felt clean. I had emptied all the sludge inside and could fill it with whatever served me best. I woke up with dried tears stuck to my face and felt drained in the best way. I was able to get a deep breath and then more, the first cleansing breaths I had taken in weeks. I had my tea on the front porch and just sat in silence. You came out and asked what we were going to do for the day. I’m so tired of lying to you, so I just told you the truth.
Mom is having a hard time right now and she just needs a day to be lazy. You asked why I was having a hard time and I told you. Unvarnished truth. This is a weird time and all the decisions and worry have just worn me down. I need some time to shelter for a bit and regain my strength. Turns out you understand. You’ve had your world turned upside down and didn’t know how to tell me it sucks. It’s confusing. It’s scary yet sometimes fun. Nothing makes sense like it used to. I understand, I say, because I truly do. We spend the day on the couch being lazy and watching movies. We talk in short bursts between mouthfuls of popcorn and sips of juice. I start to feel relief. You start to feel settled. When your dad comes downstairs from work, we all talk. It’s difficult and awkward, we’ve gotten out of the habit of using our words and have just shoved them in the corner.
We buy all the frozen foods, the pre-packaged junk we have always felt guilty buying. We buy paper plates, plastic cups, but we draw the line at plastic forks because those are a bridge too far. We tell the Earth sorry and that we’ll double our recycling later. We eat snacks instead of whole meals if that’s all we are hungry for, then nuke frozen meals when we are actually hungry. We throw away our dirty plates and cups, and our sink stays blissfully empty and clean. We stay in pajamas and don’t need to do laundry for a solid week. We do the BARE minimum to make sure the house is livable and doesn’t get rodents, then ignore the rest.
We emerge rested. Emptied of sludge and ready to refill with whatever serves us best. I cook a meal and don’t feel overwhelmed. My husband does laundry and doesn’t feel overwhelmed. You sleep better and are less restless during the day.