The human body and spirit really are tricky, fascinating things. It’s funny how emotional exhaustion manifests itself to make us feel physically and mentally drained, as well. It also amazes me how much energy it takes simply to put on a happy face.
(I’ve spent the last two days sitting in a chair next to my dad’s hospital bed. This is his 5th hospital stay since the beginning of April and those chairs don’t get any less uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily have anything profound to say, but humor me by reading on.)
No, really. I learned a long time ago that pretending to be happy takes a lot of work. It’s something I’ve done with varying degrees of success for most of my life. I pretend things don’t bother me when they do. I pretend I’m happy when I’m not. I pretend things are fine when they’re falling apart. I pretend to be sure about things when I haven’t a clue.
Does that make me a fake?
Not in my eyes. I’m just trying to not make every single thing into a big freakin’ deal. Unfortunately, some things ARE a big freakin’ deal.
And it’s funny because I know that by posting this, I’m going to seem whiney and like I want pity. But I don’t. I want friends, and for the most part, mine have reached out. I didn’t have to go looking for most of them, which was good because at the moment I feel like trying to make people care is too much work for me. I keep doing it anyway and it’s just making me feel bitter and angry.
No, I just need to blow off some steam because I don’t even feel like the same person I was 6 months ago. Perhaps that’s been apparent in my writing. Even my sense of humor has been feeling kind of forced to me, and that’s usually one of the things I like best about myself. I feel like I’m a lot more withdrawn and even more impatient. I get annoyed easily. If someone blinks at me the wrong way, I start crying. Six months ago, only 2 or 3 of my friends had ever even seen me cry since probably pre-school. I think I’ve doubled that number in the last 6 weeks alone.
I need a giant bear hug and for someone to tell me sincerely that everything is going to be fine and that my dad will still be here to see me actually do something with my life. The first part is easy. I don’t think anyone can guarantee the second part, and I understand that.
What continues to amaze me is how the world doesn’t stop. Because this is the only thing that I, personally, have to worry about, I tend to forget that life is going on for all of my friends. They’re getting jobs, going on vacation, finishing school, starting new relationships, getting engaged, getting married, having babies. They’re going to work every day and going home to watch TV or do whatever it is that they do.
Because life goes on.
I try not to need people too much. It works better with some than with others. Sometimes, though, I go in search of a friend just to talk to me for a little bit. A kind of distraction, if nothing else.
And I always feel hurt, put off, and sometimes resentful if the person I reach out to shrugs me off. My level of annoyance varies depending on their reason for doing so.
The world doesn’t stop for me. I know this, and yet I still have a hard time not caring when my friends are too busy for me. More right now than ever. It’s also a bit disconcerting when people I haven’t been close with in years reach out, but I feel compelled to give unsolicited updates to people who are supposed to be close to me right now. I don’t like trying to make people care just because I want them to.
And quite frankly, I’m so tired of people telling me that I’m just going to have to deal. I believe I’ve done my fair share of just dealing with everything (more than just my dad being sick) lately, and I think that’s part of the reason why I feel like I’m losing my shit. A person can only effectively deal with so much at a time. I’m exhausted and I don’t care to deal with anything else until people “just deal” for me for a change.
Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. People will continue to expect me to think and respond and react to everything perfectly and in a way that works best for them. To act and behave as though all is just peachy and I’m bothered by nothing. At the very least, I will be expected to behave as someone who gets at least 3 solid hours of sleep at a time without waking up due to weird dreams, bad dreams, or killer anxiety in progress. I haven’t been that person in a few months, either.
“Get enough sleep and you’ll lower your stress!”
“Lower your stress and you’ll sleep better!”
How are we supposed to have it both ways?
If I’m being a little bit dramatic it’s because the past 24 hours have felt like 5 years to me. If this post is whiney, it’s because I spent 9 hours yesterday telling my dad to cheer up and think positively when I, in fact, feel neither positive nor cheery. If you don’t love this post, that’s fine. If you’re still reading at this point, thank you.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been told that positive thinking is the way to go, and it’s not that I doubt for a moment that it’s a valid case, it’s just that I wonder how some people find it possible to think positively through some situations. How are you supposed to think positively when someone tells you that they feel like they’re dying and that no one seems to want to help them? How are you supposed to think positively when your friends get mad at you for not caring enough about their lives because you’re totally preoccupied with something bigger? And when that preoccupation has begun to really wear on you and change you after a number of months?
Hope for the best? I’ve done that. I continue to do that. It doesn’t seem to change anything. I’ve grown tired of feeling tired. And of feeling angry, resentful, helpless, and any number of other emotions that crop up when I hope for the best and reality falls far, far short of that.
The world doesn’t stop, though. June 28 is my parents’ anniversary. This year, for their 31st, they were supposed to go out to a nice restaurant by themselves for a change. Instead, my mom and I ate cold, rubbery, tasteless, turkey sausage in the hospital cafeteria (there’s a Subway in the atrium as an alternative, but we’ve had so much Subway since April that I never want to eat it ever again. EVER. It tastes like hospital to me. The smell makes me feel anxious). My dad, who was woken from sleep at 4 a.m. and informed that his surgery hadn’t actually worked and that he wouldn’t be going home as planned, had some more-disgusting-than-usual looking meatloaf sent to his room. He didn’t eat much because he’s on so much medicine that his stomach is all ripped up.
And everyone I know went about their days like they always do. From high up in the tower, the cars below looked like Matchboxes, driving first to work, then to lunch and back, then home for the day. Every so often, Brahms’ “Lullaby” would play throughout the hospital to indicate that a new baby was just born.
To quote “World Spins Madly On” by The Weepies (one of my favorite songs), “the whole world is moving, but I’m standing still.”
I’m still inside here. Just be patient, please.