The Great Pretender

I’m having trouble coming up with my “5 Things That Aren’t Wrong” list today. Every time I try to focus and think of something good, my brain shouts, “BUT…what about this?”  “And this?” “And…” My mind is trying to convince me that everything is wrong, and while at times lately it truly does feel that way, it’s not accurate, of course. The reality is just that my life right now is not the way I would like it to be, which is quite a bit different.

The list of “Not the Way I Want It to Be” things is pretty long, granted. I’m not sure I would say that it includes everything, nor would I call any of it “wrong.” It’s just not what I want. I have a lot of what I don’t want and not enough – almost none – of what I do want, and that’s making life a challenge lately.

It’s a challenge to get up in the morning knowing that the day will be long and full of things I don’t want, but have to deal with, pretending that I’m okay with all of it.

Pretending that I’m not exhausted and completely discouraged and not really knowing how long I can keep it all going.

Pretending that I can think of 5 things that aren’t wrong easily, because there are just so many wonderful things in my life that the only trouble I have is choosing the 5 that are going to be on today’s list!

Pretending that I love my job and it’s no problem taking care of my mom.

Pretending that missing out on all the fun things about summer is NO PROBLEM. And that not having any friends is my choice, and rarely being able to do anything I want to do because there is so much to do and no time left over, is A-OK with me.

Thumbs up, baby! I got this!

The alarm goes off in the morning and I hit the Snooze button over and over cuz I don’t want to get out of bed and face whatever unpleasantness the day has to offer today.  Chances are it will be different than yesterday, but just as challenging, just as uncomfortable, just as exhausting.

Last night I was awakened by my gall bladder in the middle of the night, and for the minute or so I thought I was having a heart attack, I was so relieved. When I realized it was just my gall bladder again – another problem to be dealt with at some point – I cried. On the one hand, relieved that I wasn’t dying after all, on the other disappointed that I wasn’t dying after all. Because dying would at least be a way out.

An end, finally.

Not the end I want, for sure, and this morning I’m glad I survived the night. I had trouble getting out of bed this morning, but I made it to work and I’m getting through the day. I will go home from work and I’ll get through the evening. At some point, I’ll get to go to bed. I’ll set the alarm and dread its din in the morning. At some point in the night I’ll wake up and lay in bed unable to go back to sleep while my brain runs through the inventory of ALL THAT IS WRONG.

And tomorrow I’ll do it all again.

Is this depression? No. In some ways it’s worse than that.

This is Unhappiness. I’m unhappy in my job, unhappy in my private life, unhappy with where I live. I don’t want the life I have. I want the life I want – the life I had – and I can’t convince myself any longer that I’ll have it again someday.

I have to work 5 1/2 more years, and it would be ridiculous after 18 years to start somewhere new all over again, even if I could find a job in this small town that pays as well as my current job and has insurance. 5 1/2 years seems like an eternity to me right now. And I don’t think my mother is ever going to die. She seems to be getting better and stronger everyday. That shouldn’t make me unhappy – what kind of a ghoul am I? – but it does. There’s no solution. There’s no way out or around, there is only through, and that is so discouraging.

It’s simple: I’m done.

But it’s not over and won’t be for a long time, maybe never. I’m trapped, and I have to pretend that I’m not. I’ve reached the point where I can fool everyone around me, but I can no longer fool myself.

The Great Pretender isn’t so great after all.


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