As a teacher, I was struggling. I looked around the school filled with teachers who had dedicated their lives to education and felt like the only person who just couldn't get it together, who, despite giving it her all, just couldn't get it to click in the classroom.
I could barely afford to live, and I felt like the biggest failure as a mother, in my personal life, and as a professional.
Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
That’s the phrase anyway. You know, I’ve had many jobs over my short life. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve hated, and many I’ve simply tolerated until the next big thing came along. But that saying is a piece of garbage. Even for the jobs I fucking LOVED, they were still...jobs.
Like, I’m good at what I’m doing and I appreciate the money, but let’s not pretend I wouldn’t rather still be in my underwear in bed right now binging on some This Is Us than putting out this particular dumpster fire, Sharon.
We bought a 60 year old house that has had the home improvement equivalent of Dora the Explorer band-aids and now we’re probably going to be drowning in debt forever between the mortgage and repair bills and those good ol’ fashioned student loans.
I have that flu that you get when you’ve stopped taking your Buspar back in June when the sun was always shining and everything was peachy and you thought your anxiety and depression were just side effects of pregnancy. Pregnancy is too hard on me, you tell others. It’s hard on my body and hard for me to handle the stress.
But then it’s dark when you wake up and dark when you get home and you just want to sleep all of the time, but you can’t because you have two kids and you’re still trying to figure out which box has your only pair of blue jeans, because you’re too exhausted to unpack and you’re two-parts hoping your husband will just do it for you and one-part hating yourself for not being man enough to get the shit done.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time writing about those who have hurt me, and this doesn’t make those stories any less valid, but I was an active participant in my life with them. Sure, when I was a kid I couldn’t help that my mom was doing all of the things she did, but through the lens of an adult, I wonder why I went along with her. Why did I lie all of those times when CPS showed up? Why didn’t I tell people what was really going on?
Why was I so desperate to follow through with my marriage to Brian, even when we almost called it off 6 months before the wedding because we knew we weren’t right for each other?
Around this time two years ago, on a Saturday morning, I found myself calling the nurse line at the Richmond Patient First.
Mostly because I was alone in the house, too weak from puking my guts out all night, curled up in a ball on the floor of the living room, convinced I was dying.
I think I was roofied last night, I’d said to the nurse on the line when she answered. Is there a test for that?
I suppose, as someone who always found an escape in books, that English was an inevitable path.
I’m a book lover (English major in college, previously a 9th grade English teacher, still have to resist the urge to BUY ALL THE BOOKS whenever I go into a store that sells them and let’s not even talk about how incredible that Barnes & Noble smell is. Fresh ink and coffee? Um, YES) and so I knew throughout my pregnancy with my oldest that I wanted a book themed baby shower.
Halie was so methodical and precise, even at maybe all of five or six years old, that I remember being in awe of her. She was like no other kid I’d ever met before.
Halie is the one who taught me to play checkers, who played by the rules when we played monopoly, and I remember her ever so carefully setting up a game of Jenga, which I’d immediately gleefully demolished and scattered the wooden blocks everywhere.
She wasn’t thrilled.
“That’s not how you play,” she said with a frown.
What a weekend, you guys.
What a year, really. After so long of bemoaning (read: bragging) about how pitiful my social life was, it seems like everything happened this year.
As if our lives aren’t crazy enough with the two kids, the two full-time jobs, the three animals, the house with the bajillion projects and just fucking life, Arthur and I have talked a lot lately about fostering children.
Is he on the pickup list? Nate’s teacher asked me this last Friday when I dropped the kids off. I stole a slobbery peck from my three year old before he darted off to play with his friends in the early morning hours before the rest of the kids showed up. I’d waved hello to the teacher and sidled close to her in order to tell her that Nate’s dad would be picking him up from school today and she’d responded with the question.
I NEED AN ADULTIER ADULT WHO IS GOOD AT ADULTING.
It’s what I’d yelled at the customer service rep when I found out they’d turned my gas off in my apartment.
I think we’ve all been in situations, at one time or another, when someone comes to you with this impossible situation and you’re stuck trying to figure out how to help them. There is always this fear that if we help, we’ll end up severely pissing them off, scaring them off, making the situation worse, etc., especially if that person is a close friend. Especially when that person is coming to you with something that makes you fear for their safety, and that of their children.
From the time I could really read, books have always been my escape. I begged my dad into getting me a library card when I was 10 years old, and it became my weekly ritual to go to the library with my big tote bag and fill it with as many books as I could fit inside to bring home.
I’m self-sufficient to a fault.
I mean it physically gives me pain to think about having to ask people for help, especially people that I know. If my car is on the side of the road with a flat tire or a bright red check engine light, I have no problem accepting help from strangers.
When I was a kid living with my mom in California, there was a brief, idyllic time (when we weren’t homeless) when my mom would take my older sister and I to the community pool in my grandmother’s neighborhood. At just five years old, in all of my bright pink frilly one-piece of spandex glory,
Sometimes I wake up and I know from the second I stiffly hobble to the bathroom for my morning pee, praying the baby doesn’t wake up and catapult off the side of the bed (again), that I am not fit for the world today.