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I feel like I’m circling the drain.

I can’t exactly explain it.

I’m at the conflux of several perfect storms – to wit:

aging parents

teenager

health (or lack thereof)

money (or lack thereof)

I can’t even seem to wrap my head around everything that’s going on. It’s just that I’m feeling dead inside and overwhelmed.

I do think I may have a touch of depression.

Just a touch.

I miss the things that made me feel alive.

Ordinarily I love spring.

This year I’m not feeling that “lift” that I usually get.

I mean – I still love the daffodils. I still find beauty in the tiny green buds on the trees.The emerald in the field is a welcome sight.

But I can’t seem to get on board with it all.

I’m doing the usual springtime garden chores just because they need to be done. I’m not making plans. I’m giving up the work on a lot of things. I just don’t feel like doing it anymore.

There are a lot of things I’m just not feeling anymore.

I think I need to get off social media for a while. Everyone else’s lives seem to be so much fuller than mine.

I’m at risk of fading away.

I’ve got three boxes of books yet to be read and I can’t seem to make myself start any of them. That is just so not me.

I like to think of myself as a pragmatist, but even the most pragmatic of us have a seed of optimism. I don’t feel optimistic.

I don’t sleep. Much. I’m groggy during the day and wide awake at night.

My parents both seem to be looking to me to “fix” things for them, but I don’t know how or what to fix.

My kid will be in high school next year. Four more years and out of the nest.

One of my dearest friends is getting remarried and she has asked me to be her matron of honor. Which of course I am going to do, but I am feeling a little reluctant about it.

Where is my energy?

Where is my desire?

Where is my zest for life?

I don’t usually feel this way at this time of year. This is more of a fall feeling.

I think I need a vacation.

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All the proof I need.

Contrary to the belief (non-belief?) of my staunchly atheist cousin, I must assert:  There is a God.

And He’s got a sense of humor.

All that spiritual woo-woo stuff aside, the proof is in the humor to be found while examining my life. To wit:

I read, I write. I think these things are important. I think everyone should be literate and love it.

Funny thing is: I have a dyslexic teenager who hates reading and writing. Especially reading. And yet still maintains an A(ish) grade in English. 

I have had a lot of testing done here lately to determine if I have gallstones – which I do not. Still doesn’t explain why I have digestive issues.

Funny thing is: My husband is the one with gallstones. In one magnificently scary episode that warranted a trip to the ER, the tests came back conclusive for gallstones (and not heart issues, thank God) and he’s having his gallbladder removed next week. 

I have determined that I am at the end of my gardening life – mainly because physically I can’t do what I once did and secondarily because no one at my house cares or appreciates it. It’s a lot of work and practically zero reward.

Funny thing is: I find myself on these dreary winter days pinning gardening stuff to my “Green Space” Pinterest board and otherwise seeking out garden-related web content. 

I started this blog (and the one before it, now conscripted to the depths) in order to keep writing, daily.

Funny thing is:  The minute I got a (semi) regular writing gig this blog became a ghost town. I suppose the argument could be that I’m still writing daily, but I’m not writing for myself. I’m writing for The Man. The Man Who Gives Me a Regular Paycheck, can we say amen? 

The tug and pull of my daily life causes me to pause occasionally and examine the facts of the case. There is humor in contradiction, and the contrarian nature of my life is proof positive that Someone Out There likes to toy with me. I can’t take myself too seriously. What would be the point? –

 

– Mox

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Pernicious.

Well.

Sometimes the answers are quite simple, aren’t they?

So, after my last post, where I simultaneously feared for and got excited about my ebbing sanity, I did manage to get something written.  It’s not complete, not by a long shot.  And my deep blue funk really had nothing to do with it. I just had a few rather beautiful turns of phrase rattling around in my head while I stood in the shower one night, and I made a point of writing them down.

So there’s that.  I don’t know where it’s going, but at least it’s out of my head and in a file on my laptop.

I recently came to the conclusion that I’m never going to get any writing done unless I actually sit down and do it, whether I feel inspired or not.  Back in my salad days I could count on the muse to show up pretty regularly, but my salad days were all about me and I had so few responsibilities.  So I’ve made something of a semi-commitment to finding the time, even if it’s just half an hour, to writing something.  Of course the commitment is classified as “semi” because I have good intentions but also a whale of a schedule.  Baby steps, folks.

Still, I haven’t been able to shake my apathy. I’ve been feeling very much a drudge these days, what with the constant errand-running and schedule-juggling and general household-managing.  I’m tired, folks.

I had my annual physical checkup this week and — in addition to getting an arm-numbing Tetanus/Pertussis booster shot — I got the first of a series of B12 shots.  After having B12 numbers on the low side for a number of years, I am now depleted.  This is known as Pernicious Anemia.

I do not recommend Googling any medical condition.  But I did.  I found a majority of the symptoms that have plagued me all summer, the ones I chalked up to burning the candle at both ends and possibly the beginnings of a larger problem (read: heart) as well as some pretty dire consequences for not taking care of the problem.  If Dr. Google’s aim is to scare the beejeezus out of people, he’s doing a great job.

Oddly enough, once I had the problem identified and a course of action plotted, I allowed myself to finally – after five months – give in to it.  To admit I was tired and apathetic and dragging and allow myself to sit still and wallow in my tiredness.  I didn’t feel the need to push through it any longer.

My doctor tells me that after four weeks of B12 shots I should feel markedly better.  And I’ll have to keep taking these shots from now until Kingdom Come.  Fortunately with age and maturity I have made peace with the practice of needles going into my tender skin, though I would prefer it in my (ahem) fleshy hip rather than my bony arm.

2013 has just not been my year.

 

— Mox

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My Grandmother, my mom’s mom, was a large woman.  And a short woman, which contributed to her largeness.  She had all kinds of theories about why she was so large, including the one about being made to eat everything on her plate at every meal.  Which makes sense when you consider that she was a young girl when the Depression hit, and every morsel of food counted.  And I sort of buy into that theory, because what you do as a child has a tendency to stick with you as an adult.  You eat everything you can because that’s what you’ve always done.

My mother, who is fortunate enough to at least have some height on her frame, is a large woman, too.  The reasons my mother is heavy are fairly easy to pinpoint – genetics, poor food choices, lack of exercise.  And she eats when she’s dealing with her emotions.  Good day?  Let’s get ice cream!  Frustrated?  Have some cobbler.

I recognize this tendency in myself, too.  While my mother never rewarded me with food (for I am not a dog), I was witness to the kitchen capers that came about as her way to deal.  I try really hard to not repeat this because she’s fat, and she’s unhappy that she’s fat, and so she eats because she’s unhappy.  I don’t want that future for myself.  Adding to the complexity of this tendency is that I really like wine.  I’ve been known to have a conversation with myself about how early is too early for a glass of wine.  Alcohol at 9am isn’t a good idea, even though a lot of the world’s best literature was conceived in a bottle.  It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.  It doesn’t end well, is what I’m saying.

I have a theory about it, of course.  It’s like picking a scab – you know better than to do it, that it’s just going to prolong the healing process, and maybe leave a scar to boot – but you do it anyway because at least it’s something to do.

We don’t do a great job of sitting quietly with our emotions.  Our emotions scare us, particularly the ones that are on the darker end of the scale.  And our emotions are reactions to things that are going on in our lives, and a lot of that stuff we’ve got no control over.  So we eat, or we sleep, or we drink, or we shop, or we do any of a number of things that have become our medication of choice.

They say that recognition of a problem is half the battle.  I’m not so sure.  I think it may be a battle in and of itself.

 

— Mox

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Things are unfair, y’all.

A month ago, I posted about a family preparing to lose their son to a rare form of cancer, which had invaded his brain.  And as a month has gone by, the parents are still preparing themselves for this horrible thing.  Which is worse, a young person dying quickly, or a young person dying slowly?  Is there not grief and agony either way?

A little closer to home, a family in Spawn’s school is reeling from grief today, for much the same reason.  And as much as the first story stabs at my heart, this one is particularly painful because of the proximity.  And because I am trying to find the words to help Spawn understand why and how an 11-year-old boy can die from a brain tumor.  The how part is actually pretty easy, because hard facts and science are on my side.  The why is much trickier, particularly since it involves the inconsistencies endemic to theology — why does God let these things happen, isn’t God in the miracles business, doesn’t God have the power to do anything He wants, etc.

And we go to a Catholic school.  I am ill-equipped for this.  Someone call a priest, stat!

I can talk about the family in the first story with some objectivity, since what I know is derived from information posted on Facebook.  I don’t personally know them.  But objectivity flies out the window in this second case, because this boy was in the grade below Spawn, he had triplet siblings, Spawn knows the family, I sent Spawn’s hand-me-downs to the family when the kids were babies.  How can I be objective about this?

In the midst of the regular chaos that reigns at our house most days, I’ve stopped numerous times and thought about that family, what their house must feel like right now.  I’ve reached out and hugged my kid, tightly, even though we’re at the point where all that mushy stuff is pretty much verboten.  Spawn has allowed it.  I suspect the kid needs it as much as I do.

I can pretty well say that in the grand scheme of things, it matters very little that I’m late on my car payment, that Spawn has a D in Spelling, that my house is a wreck, and that we’re nearly out of toilet paper.  All of these things will get resolved one way or another, and will likely reoccur.

I keep thinking there is a lesson in all of this, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you what it is right now.

— Mox

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One of the unfortunate facts in life is eventually you have to deal with death.  When you’re a kid, it’s most likely a beloved pet, and while this is no joyride it’s painfully necessary so that you can deal with the bigger deaths you’re going to have to experience later on.

With any luck, the first few pet deaths are sort of baby steps — fish in the aquarium, given a burial at sea — on the path to pets that you get more attached to, the ones with fur.  But once you reach the point of letting a furry friend go, there’s really no turning back.

Several weeks ago, one of our outside kitties disappeared.  Jaded adult that I am, I assumed that, in the manner of cats, we would not see this cat again.  But then she showed up last weekend, much worse for wear.  And although I could tell this cat was on her way out, we still had to go through the motions of taking her to the emergency vet, where they wanted $500 to do a whole battery of tests.  Tell me, how do you weigh $500 spent on a stray cat against the barely contained hysterics of an 11-year-old?  My husband and I may seem cruel for this, but we opted out of the expense.  I took her to our regular vet the following Monday.

Doc pretty much confirmed for me what I could plainly see — the cat was running on fumes.  I left her with him and went home to discuss What To Do with my husband, particularly with regard to how to handle Spawn in this case.  In the end, we decided to put the cat down and be very vague about it, only telling Spawn that she didn’t make it.  My husband came home and buried the cat in the back yard before Spawn and I got home that evening.

How does one go about breaking the heart of a child?  This was definitely one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my career as a parent, especially knowing that I will have to do it again, and again, many times over the course of my child’s life.  And each time it will be a bigger deal, right up until we reach the pinnacle of death-telling, the grandparents.  Which could come sooner rather than later, who knows.

RIP sweet swing buddy

— Mox

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(Editor’s note:  if you came here looking for happy-feel-goody sentiment, you may just want to skip this post.) 

My mother has the maddening trait of telling me, “someday you’ll understand.”  It’s maddening because she uses it as a club to beat me and my feelings about something into submission.  She also says things like, “I’m sorry if you’re mad/sad/hurt/etc.” instead of just apologizing for whatever it was she did/said.

To me that’s just a lot of passive-aggressive twaddle.  I try really hard not to pass that particular legacy on to Spawn.  Some days I’m more successful than others.

Given this fact, more often than not I’d rather eat glass than admit when she’s right about something.  Y’know, except here, on my anonymous blog.

Of all the things that I will supposedly understand “someday” I have arrived at one such understanding.  That understanding is this:

The older you get, the less you handle change well.

Here lately I have seen a mountain of change.  Most of it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, especially taken as separate events, but taken all together it’s just enough to really depress me.

I am unfamiliar with being depressed over change.  And I don’t like it.  I don’t like change, and I don’t like feeling depressed about change.

Of course the big change that is staring me in the face is the end of my job.  I think that’s probably the one thing that all this hinges on.  If you’re read here any time at all, you know that I am Planny McPlannerson and I like my plans to be planned out.  I like to know what to expect.  It’s probably one of my worst character flaws, because it keeps me from trying new things a lot of the time.  I have never been, nor will I ever be, the sort of girl who can just “wing it” through life.  So the fact that the job is ending, but I don’t know how or when (though all indications tell me that the first of the year will find me jobless, hooray), or what lies in wait after that… well, to say that I am unnerved is a bit of an understatement.  No time is a good time to lose a job, but the holidays seem to be the worst time to face unemployment.  And the manner in which this job is ending — by my boss being sick — just is the cherry on top.

So, I’m packing that horse-collar around, trying to orchestrate a small Christmas (by staying within my means), and little things have just been piling on.  Things like my next door neighbor dying.  My mother’s best friend’s husband dying.  (Two funeral homes in one day is not fun, folks.)  Local family businesses succumbing to the economy after two and three generations.  Shifts in the local news media that have resulted in a good many people I know losing their jobs.  War, famine, pestilence, stupidity… stir until well-blended.

Oh!  And I’m sick!  Yay!

I’ve really been surprised by my reaction to all of these goings-on.  I’ve noticed that stuff that would ordinarily roll right off my back is instead getting on my last good nerve.  And it’s a little alarming, to realize that I am turning into a crusty little old lady, except without the old-lady trappings.  All this change is making me crotchety.

And I can tell you this, if it were not for Spawn I probably would not have put up the Christmas tree this year.

Humbug!

 

— Mox

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