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
I spent the day helping my friend move. He has helped me move no fewer than 4 times. I have helped him move 0 times. (He’s never moved…calm self.)
I hated every damn second of it. When I moved, I had approximately 1,000,000 things to move and he helped me do it without complaining even once. He had: a bed, dresser, box of clothes, some little knickknacks, shoes in a suitcase, a few board games, and a bookshelf. You would have thought based on my annoyance and exhaustion that he had as many things as I have. Not even close. AND we had help. AND I barely did anything. I complained when he asked me to make his bed while he carried in other items from the U-haul. I sighed and moaned when I had to take the clothes out of the garment bags, and not just leave them there. I almost hyperventilated when he asked me to go through one of the boxes when I was just uselessly sitting on the floor pretending to be useful. How dare he?!?
My instinct is to blame how overall tired I am from being sad all the damn time. Sadness takes a lot out of you. I imagine it’s similar to hatred/anger. I wouldn’t know, because I feel them both simultaneously, so I can’t tell them apart. It is exhausting to be wrecked from sadness, though.
I have almost no patience for anyone or anything. I get upset when people ask things of me or expect a normal level of participation/help/being present/caring/showing up. So I “helped” my friend move but really I wanted to sleep in the corner and believe I was anywhere else, living someone else’s life.
Not moving that stupid, heavy dresser with its stupid, heavy clothes and its stupid, heavy expectations that I be normal.
Day 97 – Just be normal
Always a day behind. There is a chance I’ll catch up eventually, but like everything else in my life, I’m not holding my breath until it happens.
I found that freedom I was looking for today, but the grief came in waves anyway. So I bought shoes. As one does…
I justified it by saying that I’ll have a paycheck soon, but I think paychecks are supposed to be for the other, more normal expenses in life, like rent and food. But sometimes, if retail therapy will make me feel better even for a second, I feel compelled to comply. Hopefully I can replace sadness with sandals.
When will I feel better? Does that happen? I have never better understood when Cheryl Strayed takes to the trail in Wild than I do now. Because if you can’t walk away from yourself, then you just have to live in it every single day and think about it every single day. Sometimes it’s too much. Other times shoes or cookies or TV help me forget just for a second that everything is not okay.
Day 90 – Retail Therapy
Another tough day. When will it get easier? When will I be able to function normally again? Ever?
I tried to write today but couldn’t due to stressful circumstances and the endless grief. Then I tried to watch Netflix to distract myself, but instead bit off all my fingernails that I’d finally grown out and ate a bag of Milanos. Wouldn’t want to stop there, so I also ate half a baguette and drank 5 glasses of iced tea and a bag of Smart Food, THEN I finally put on a bra at 8 PM to leave the house and realized I haven’t showered in 4 days. I left anyway.
Grief is hard. It’s very distracting and emotionally draining and devastating and makes it nearly impossible to do anything useful with your time. I’m supposed to have a script done by tomorrow, but I can’t focus on it and just keep randomly cutting out lines of dialogue or deleting sections or adding new ones in that don’t make sense and don’t fit. So I took an appropriate-length 30 page script and turned it into 40 pages and then got distracted by cookies and stress.
Day 65 – Grief Sucks
I used to think Ron Swanson (Parks & Rec, obviously) was the hilariously out-of-touch sidekick to Leslie’s in-touch, hard-working persona, but I swear to you, the more I learn about the world, the more I like his off-grid, off-beat sensibilities. The fewer people I have to deal with and the less governmental interference in life (particularly with the current decision-makers in power), the better off I am.
I talked to exactly one person today. One. And she was trying to sell me a spa day on the sidewalk by being “willing to take my payment now” – as in, in person when I have no idea who she is, I was supposed to pay her money randomly as we passed by each other. I was listening to a podcast the entire time she was talking because I had grocery bags in both hands that I was carrying home so I couldn’t press “pause” on the podcast and she didn’t seem interested in noticing normal, obvious things happening right in front of her, so I just had to attempt to listen to her sales pitch while also listening to murder. Needless to say, the murder was far more interesting.
So she kept chatting to me about this super cheap spa day while I tried not to lose an arm to the weight off all the groceries I’d purchased, had murder on my mind, and was told that all I had to do was give this person I didn’t know on the street my credit card number – OR BETTER YET, SHE’D ACCEPT CASH – and then I’d be well on my way to having $700 worth of spa services, just take her word for it! It couldn’t possibly be a poorly disguised scam!
Thus ended any interest I had in speaking with other humans in person today. I went home to my dog and my fresh foods and enjoyed the silence/chocolate-covered graham crackers.
Day 57 – People Are Annoying and also I Love Ron
Oh my lord. I just saw “Eighth Grade” and I swear I’ve never had so many feels. All the feels. The actress and storyline are so essentially relatable and loveable and cringy and cute. I laughed, I cried, I remembered all the times kids were mean to me…
Growing up is never easy. Life isn’t fair. Someone said those things to me on repeat as a kid, usually my mom probably, but nothing reminds you so obviously of that fact until you see a cinematic throwback to experiences that mirrored your own to make you sit up and hate/love the person in front of you as you beg her not to make a bad decision.
I don’t think we ever stop growing up. When I look back on me and my decisions a year ago, a week ago, yesterday, I immediately cringe and try to find a hole to go crawl into. I stay up and night and wonder WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD DID I SAY THAT? THAT’S SO EMBARRASSING. And then I think of something I DID that was actually worse than what I said and all I can think is, AND THAT, TOO? CAN YOU JUST BE NORMAL FOR ONCE?
No, no I cannot be. I must be weird, it’s my only option, it seems. I must draw awkward and embarrassing attention to myself. I must relive those moments when I’m trying to sleep and get jolted awake again from the horrible memories. I must push people away with my awkwardness and then wonder why I don’t have any friends. Some people have to keep up their perfect Instagram stories. This is just my cross to bear…
Day 54 – Eighth Grade and Growing Up