Of snakes and worms and an ill wind

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I used to work with a woman whose favorite expression of stress and anger was, “I could bite the heads off snakes.”

Yep. That’s just how I feel. Bring it. Cuz I’M READY TO GO. This has been an off-the-charts CRAPPY week.

Work is hectic cuz everyone’s on Spring Break, and we are getting ready for a company-wide event of some consequence in a couple of weeks here at Acme Health Services. Those of us who DID NOT go on vacation to some warm sunny locale are stuck here doing extra work for those who did, and there’s a certain level of feeling and attitude in the building which has been rising all week, and is now at a rather uncomfortable pitch.

Good times.

Evenings are not much better cuz of having WAY too much to do and not enough time to do it, and I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope of improvement for the weekend in that regard, either. Trying to fit in ALL the needs – my mother, the cats, the incredibly-old-and-falling-down-around-us house, the daily/weekly chores, bills, etc. – and tacking on the end getting to the gym and trying to spend time with friends and have some semblance of a life that I might actually enjoy is just fecking impossible.

And sleep? Yeah…not so much.

It’s wearing on me. It’ll be seven years in November since I moved in with mom. Seven years. 12% of my life. It’s not that I regret the time I’ve spent as caregiver to her – I don’t. It’s the right thing to do, and I’ve learned a lot in that time. It’s been a good thing in many ways. This is what I signed up for. I didn’t read the fine print, though, about duration and wear and tear, and that’s where the trouble is.

What I’ve been wrestling with this week is all that this endeavor has cost me – what I’ve lost in those seven years, including my health to some degree – and wondering how much more I can take. I’m ready to move on, but I’m not finished here yet, and that’s disheartening. I alternate between feeling sorry for myself (unhelpful), and feeling like the lowest wretch on earth for essentially wanting my mother to die, which is the only way to gain my freedom and regain my life as I would like to live it for whatever time I have left on this planet (even more unhelpful).

Really good times.

Then there’s the advice from well-meaning folks, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything even remotely resembling the reality of my life. Trust me, the last thing I need to hear right now is “You’re doing it wrong.” That’s where the snakes come in, and I’m ready to just take a chunk right out of anybody who wants to get in my face right now, cuz I’m SICK TO DEATH of people thinking they know me or what’s going on in my life BETTER THAN I DO.

But then I have to step back and take a deep breath and think about all the people I’ve alienated over the years with unsolicited advice, and remember that these well-meaning co-workers and friends are trying to help, and that I left myself open to it by telling anyone anything about any of it in the first place.

Alex Dumas said: Sell your confidence at a high price, if at all; to be strong, keep your own counsel.

Smart guy, our Al. Too late for me and my big mouth, though, so I just smile and say “yes, for sure, oh really? okay” and then I go somewhere and eat worms. Now, if worms were good for high blood pressure, I’d be all set! Alas, not so, though, and neither is alcohol or ANY of the things I really like to eat and in the past soothed my ruffled feathers, so I’m left gnawing on carrot sticks feeling ornery and put out and just generally like I wish I had some snakes, cuz I would tear those babies RIGHT. UP.

Did I mention the weather and the wind and the lingering cold and general cloudiness and ickiness of early Spring in Michigan? No?

Well, such good times! And don’t even get me started about Mercury Retrograde…

So, anyhoo, that’s my week. How was yours?

Put it right there on my chart

goldstar

I found myself at the gym last night wishing that there was a punching bag. What kind of gym doesn’t have a punching bag? I wanted to kick something, punch something, wrestle something to the floor. I could have done all those things to one of the three men who were lifting really heavy weights over on the other side of the room, I guess, but I didn’t. I’m thinking: wise choice.

No punching or kicking. I restrained myself, and channeled my anger into the Stairmaster. I bet I climbed to Saudi Arabia. “Stomped” would probably be a better word. The poor machine groaned when I finally stepped off it. Yes, I was a little tense.

Somebody made me angry yesterday, and the more I thought about it as the day went on, the madder I got. My hair was practically on fire by the time I got to the gym. What made me so mad, you ask? Just something thoughtless somebody said. Isn’t that silly? I got that angry over something I probably shouldn’t even care about. But I felt slighted, disrespected, and taken for granted.

I couldn’t let it go. It ate at me all day. All the things I wanted to say in response to this person ran through my head at light speed all day. Of course, at the time, I didn’t say anything, so the person doesn’t even know I’m angry. I’m the only one suffering here. Well, me and the poor Stairmaster.

So, the good thing in this tale of woe is that I marched to Saudi Arabia to get all that anger out of my system. I didn’t drink, I didn’t eat, I didn’t break or throw anything, and I didn’t blow up at the people (furry and otherwise) I live with. Those were my best ways of dealing with anger in the past…well, those and denial.

I didn’t hurt myself or someone else because I was hurt, and I didn’t pretend I wasn’t hurt.

Gold star for me, I think. Perhaps I’m growing up, after all.