Sometimes the phone rings, and I’m like YAY SOMEONE LIKES ME. But sometimes the phone rings, and my mom’s name pops up on the caller ID and I’m like OH SHIT WHAT HAPPENED OH GOD NOTHING IS SAFE WHAT’S GOING ON and I can barely answer because of the panic.
Today she called to say hi and ask me if I was safe. I almost died of a heart attack receiving that call.
That’s what losing someone does. You will never feel safe again. Trust me. You will think that every time your phone rings, something has happened to someone you love. I don’t keep the ringer on my phone because of this. I have like PTSD or something from phone calls. If my phone rings and either one of my parents’ names pops up, I consider throwing my phone in a lake. Every single time.
I wish I lived by a lake. I’m not kidding. I’d lake that phone so fast, I really would. I’d probably have gone through 50-100 phones by now.
Day 128 – Don’t call me, I’ll call you
Some other family members are here. They’re good buffers. They have babies. The babies are cute. I don’t know. I think it’s all too much. I smile when I don’t feel like smiling. I act all casual when I feel all tight and uncomfortable. I make jokes when I want to curl up alone. I help when I want to run away.
Not because I’m actually nice. Because I know I’m supposed to.
Day 125 – Buffers and babies
I’m rushing home to see my family today. Wish me luck. I will be forced to confront everything that I’ve been trying to avoid.
Day 124 – Avoidance
If I don’t call my mom, I won’t have to know if anything else bad has happened, right? But then I leave her there, with her pain and her pile of work and worst of all, my father.
I never know what I’m supposed to do. Live my life? Live her life? Move back and help her? Move on and help myself? Call? Don’t call?
I so often choose not to call. I know. I’m the worst.
Does it get easier?
Day 121 – So tired
Bad news bears. My mom’s dog died. It’s hard to explain to people when your dog is ACTUALLY your best friend how hard this is.
It’s hard. Loss is hard.
I can’t seem to eat, drink, sleep, exercise, laugh, run, avoid, work, or beg the sadness away. How do people get out?
Day 120 – Sad Day
Do so-called “normal” people have as many ups and downs as I do? What is normal, though? Like, pumpkin spice lattes and cute fall photos and long blonde hair and a terrier puppy and a small waist and a job in PR? Or, like, a big friend group and co-ed sports teams and tickets to concerts out in the desert and a boyfriend of 8 years that’s perfect and church on Sundays? Or, better yet, a comfortable job and financial security and good friends and a spouse and a house and a workout class every Wed/Fri and hosting themed parties and in bed by 10?
Instead, I have emotional roller coaster rides and confusion and judgment from my family and flaky friends and constant sadness and lots of cookies and evenings on the couch watching reruns and a job I tolerate that pays me next to nothing and a dream I haven’t accomplished yet and disappointing my parents and anxiety.
Am I doing it wrong?
Day 117 – Normal
YOU GUYS. If I’m not having an anxiety attack, I must be asleep. Actually, I have anxiety even when I’m sleeping so never mind. Constant anxiety.
I am missing him so much. I don’t know what to do with myself. WHAT IF HE STOPS LOVING ME WHILE HE’S AWAY? That would be weird, right? Right? I can’t tell. Is this why people take meds?
My parents’ dog is not doing well. My mom will be devastated. Too much tragedy for my family. We do not have the greatest coping mechanisms, but we do have the worst. Like usual, I am dealing with all my feelings by watching TV and eating. What do other people do? When will I have better coping skills? Help.
Day 109 – So many feelings.
It takes a lot for me to admit when I’m wrong. Who wants to be wrong? Especially when I’m right all the time. Kidding… Kind of.
I did admit it, though. And I got the “well, do better next time” response. Which, fair, but frustrating. If you’re already eating crow, it’s not exactly fun to have someone twist the knife. But also, maybe I do the same thing to other people. Unsure.
One of the hardest parts about being sad all the time is not taking it out on other people. I try to keep it bottled up all the time, but if it gets out, it always lands on the people that I love the most. I SHOULD take it out on that asshole driver Mark (don’t know his name, but it could be Mark) who cut me off or that woman who couldn’t figure out how to use the credit card machine but instead I take it out on my mom. Sometimes others, but usually my mom, who doesn’t deserve it. She deserves flowers and hugs but instead she got me. Unfortunate for her.
I don’t live with her or anything, but I know how to work a phone.
Day 91 – Right is wrong
No rest for the weary. Got some tough news today from my parents. I mean, it’s not so much the news, which is simply a wait-and-see game, but it’s more the general reaction. My dad tries to control it and gets angry. My mom panics and dumps all of her worries and anxiety on me. And I try to suss out what exactly is going on while mitigating my mom’s panic and trying to get my dad to make sense/stop being angry.
All that’s to say that the grief continues. I’m very worried, but I can’t tell if I should be because my news comes secondhand either from someone who’s too angry and controlling to see what actually should be done or from someone whose anxiety is so high that she can’t think straight (or at all). So either everything is fine or nothing is. I’m not sure.
In other news, I pulled someone else’s hair out of my bathtub drain today and almost puked. Life is fun.
Day 81 – Worry Wart
Here’s the thing… The thing is… I can’t articulate the thing. I spent the evening at a work-related workshop I got invited to, and I can’t quite capture my feelings. On the one hand, it felt good to be in a space working on my craft. On the other hand, I don’t think I had a lot to contribute tonight. Maybe I was off my game. Maybe the material wasn’t accessible to me. Maybe the writing worked well enough that it was easy to ignore the flaws but not so well that it blew me away. Mediocrity, or something just north of there, is easy to gloss over because it’s hard to correct.
So, instead, I ate chips and thought about whether or not my stuff would land. Would I be mediocre without a solution? I had no notes for the first person, but I honestly thought it was okay. It felt like a scene I’d seen before (do NOT pardon the pun), so it must work because someone has put money behind that at one time or another and it probably met with some level of success. So who am I to say it doesn’t work? It DOES work, it just isn’t exactly what I would want it to be. But who am I?
Should I tell her that if I wrote it, I’d want it to show more push and pull, more fighting, more struggle, more frustration, more lightness, more everything? Or should I smile and nod while eating a seemingly endless bag of chips, which is what I actually did?!
And then there’s that very real moment where I had to wonder – really, really wonder – if what I would bring in is actually better. Or worse. Or the same. Or neither. I listened and I watched and I felt like I was truly being faced with things that needed a lot of work. Great. Let’s work them. But why these are all working writers and directors? What are they doing differently than I am? Maybe they’re not bitching about it online… Hard to know for sure. I don’t know anything anymore.
But then I left my confused state behind in that theatre momentarily when I got a text from my parents bringing me back down to the reality of my life. I hate those texts. I hate that I look at my phone afraid I’ll have one. I hate that I hate hearing from them and I hate that I hate the way even a confused moment can seem “good” in comparison. I just wanted a normal moment where I thought about my career and not about the pain and the struggle and the fears and the deep down awfulness of the rest of everything. Thank goodness for modern technology reminding me that that’s not possible.
Day 64 – I Don’t Know Anything Anymore