Monday, August 26, 2013

Tough Day (Parental Warning: Rated R for Rant-Oriented Material and Violence Against Optimism)

I am getting better acquainted with my new Ways of Being. The new ways of hurting, for example. Joints and muscles that ache and throb. Legs and arms weighted down with invisible concrete blocks. You can't see them but I can feel them. You betcha.

Last night, the right side of my face prickled and burned and numbed up (is that a paradox? Good. I like paradoxes. They confirm my belief that not  much in this world makes sense). When I touched my fingers to my right temple, the barest pressure hurt like crazy.

Like crazy. I thought I might be dying but then I Googled "fibromyalgia and nerve pain side of face." Apparently it's all good. I'm not dying; my body is just acting fibromyalgic. Cool.

I dislike the physical stuff because it keeps from doing useful things, and things that are not useful but pleasurable. And it is a near-constant (and wholly sucky) reminder that I am neither strong nor invincible nor much of anything right now.

I am that person who sits around and likes things on Facebook and sometimes watches TV and eats more than she should, and sometimes does nothing at all but stares at walls like a senile dog. Also, I sometimes buy myself little objets d'art at TJ Maxx, which are inexpensive and mass-produced and not really art at all, but I like to think of them that way.

Little blue-glass objects, like this:

[pretend you see a blue vase inserted here. I was gonna take an iPhoto but as it turns out I am too lazy to throw in extras tonight.]

$4.99, and they even swaddle it in tissue paper for the ride home.

I only do this TJ Maxx shopping when I am not too tired to drive two miles down the street. Once, twice a week? Maybe. Maybe not.

But you know what? If the pain and fatigue suggest I'm no longer the super-mombot I once was, they are also a reminder that I am alive. Warm-blooded and sentient and possessed of physical parts. I'm a walker of dogs (one dog, and not very briskly, I must admit) and a driver of daughters. A lover of husbands (one husband, if truth be known) and a some-time "good-cooker," as Benjy once pronounced me.

I appreciate the reminder. It helps. Because my other New Way of Being is pathless. I am a car without a road. A horse without a trail. I am totally fucking lost because my boy is gone and I am no longer his primary advocate.

I am not scheduling his doctor's visits. Nor am I triaging psychiatric crises. I'm not a short-order cook, a reluctant McDonald's enabler, a policer of computer-games. (Well, I was never really good at that one, anyone.) I no longer seek desperately for antidotes to despair.

Frozen yogurt? I'll get you a large one.

Cupcake?? Whatever kind strikes your fancy.

Tennis??? Of course not.

Well, how about an Ativan??!! (I'll take one, too.)

And even though I yearned and longed and even prayed (in my Jewish-atheistical way) for relief, for rest, for a little break -- just a few days, maybe a week -- I am so empty now, without him, I cannot bear it.

My god, I miss that boy. When he calls happy I can bear it, because HE can. When he calls and begs me, sotto voce so he will not be heard and reprimanded, to take him back home, I am frantic. Frantic. Because he is there and I am here and I cannot scoop him into my arms and make him better.

What I need to remember is, he is too big for scooping and would be even at home, and in any case I have never been able to make it better. Not longer than an hour, maybe a day.

That is my crappy truth. I have tried my very best and my very best was never enough.

Before I married Lars and had kids, I was going to be an Academic Star. Then when that didn't pan out, I was going to be a critically acclaimed novelist. I figured I could live on four hours of sleep a night, and I would just write after everyone else conked out, and I was not needed.

When that didn't pan out I was just going to settle for being the Best Mom Ever. See above.

So I'm trying to find my way. I am FIFTY YEARS OLD and trying to "find" myself. I know, it's ridiculous. I was supposed to do that in my early twenties -- but in my early twenties I had it all figured out.

And the joke was on me.

What I am trying to do is focus on my health -- to relax a little. But I don't know how to relax. That is something they do in Italy, in Spain, maybe. In some places people know how to sit and linger over a meal. They know how to just be in the moment. I don't think we're quite as good at that in America.

Or maybe it's just me.

There is a bright spot, however. In between staring at walls like a senile dog and not knowing how to just be in the moment and hauling my cinder-block appendages up and down the stairs of my house I am accumulating awesome writing fodder.

To paraphrase my beloved brother's immortal words, I have reached the apex of fucked-up-dom, and how lucky is that? I will never run out of things to write about. Fortunately, writing is something I do pretty well.

That might not be immediately apparent, as I've just held you hostage, Dear Readers, to a long and ill-formed and EMBARRASSINGLY self-pitying rant.

I'm sorry.

I do that sometimes. I hope you will not hold it against me. In return for your patience, here's an I.O.U. for a happy post.

Maybe in a couple of days, OK?


  1. Giving you a virtual hug because they don't hurt when the body pain strikes. You are still stronger than you realize and you are the Best Mom Ever. You can find yourself at 50 - your new, wiser, stronger self. It's okay to take your time doing in. Find your own cupcake ; )

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer!! Wow, so wonderful to receive your virtual hug and your kind words...I am so glad you dropped by, and please come back soon. Hugs right back.

      P.S. My cupcake is lemon, with lemon icing. Mmmmm. :)

  2. oh man. This is intense. My mom has struggled with fibromayalgia since I was like 8 years old. My heart goes out to you.

    and me? I'm trying to find myself. again. I'm only 28. but damn if this process hasn't happened like five too many times already. All I've got on that is to try to stay positive. The alternative is too shitty. Change and adapting IS life. or. this is what I tell myself everyday when I feel like crying.

    1. Unknown (but knowing way beyond your 28 years): thank you so much for your kind and wise words. I hope your mom is doing OK -- and that you are, too! You are so right about change and adapting to it. Survival of the fittest, right? I hope there are not many more of those days that make you want to cry...Your reaching out totally made MY day, so thank you!! ((Hugs))