Sunday, January 16, 2022

Everything Isn't Always OK


Hi Invisible Audience,


Last week was full on, as they say. All my kids’ classes start this coming week, and I did a lot of prep for that, in addition to trying to get a bunch of stuff in order for my taxes, in addition to seeing several people to catch up. I made a trip to Wenatchee and only did half the stuff I meant to get done, although nothing that I didn’t finish was all that pressing except for in my head. Which means that 1) no, I did not starve this weekend because I didn’t make it to the grocery store, and 2) no, my cats didn’t starve or run out of clean and appropriate places to poop, and 3) no, I didn’t drop the ball on my classes in any way.


But survival isn’t usually how I measure success in terms of my productivity, and sometimes it pisses me off. One part of me wants to do nothing all day; another part of me looks around at the pile of dirty dishes or the laundry basket or the to-do list and says, “Other people are out SKIING and you can’t even bring yourself to load the dishwasher.” And then I take a nap and wait around for the daylight to fade so I can go to bed and hope I will feel more up for productive work in the morning.


It makes me sad that this is my life sometimes—that I can’t see all the ways I’m rocking it, and get caught up in the ways I’m not.


I know, I know: I’m not alone in this. Social media especially is really good at robbing us of our own triumphs by showing us others’ highlight reels to compare to our own every day, mundane chores and dusty houses. But I’m getting fed up, Invisible Audience—fed up with the idea that I’m supposed to work on being more grateful for this life, when it feels like such a goddamn slog sometimes.


A friend of mine sent me this article recently, called “Everything is Broken.” Yes, I thought. Finally. All the things I’ve been noticing and feeling the weight of, named in print. You see, despite the fact that I know it’s true, the many ways that life feels hard feels like it’s hard for me but easy for others; if I could just get my shit together, I’d feel better; be better; do better.


Yes, I’ll say it: I am trying to feel more in control of whether I could ever afford to buy a house by keeping my counters clean. I am trying to stave off fatigue by reading about people who have more energy than I do. I am trying to make my reality different by pretending that it is, indeed, different.


It’s not, Invisible Audience.


I spent nearly 45 percent of last year’s income on medical costs. I spend about 9-10 hours a night sleeping. I give excuses for reasons not to get together with people when the activity is physical because I’m just not up for that much physical activity, and I can’t bring myself to say that because it sounds like an excuse. I work my ass off at my business, and I do it because it gives me the time I need to feel awful without having to report to a boss who would feel like they’ve hired a dud.


And it’s not enough, Invisible Audience. The world is slowly turning into a harder place for me to operate in, and I keep turning in circles, wondering if anyone else notices, and not seeing that anyone does.


Does this sound like a rant? Well, it is. It’s a rant I’ve been keeping to myself for far too long. I am one of the people negatively affected by the housing crisis; by inflation; by the pandemic. I only found answers about more than a decade of terrible health after I stepped outside the system, which means paying for things on my own. (I am feeling so much better now, Invisible Audience, it’s not even funny. All it took was finding a doctor in another state who finally believes me, is willing to test me for things I’d never been tested for, and who doesn’t take my insurance, which is shitty anyway because it’s what’s available to me through Obamacare as a self-employed person.)


I usually try to end my blog posts with something uplifting—a lesson I’ve learned. Can it be ok to not do that this week, Invisible Audience? Because I’m not feeling a lesson coming. I’m not feeling anything more than the weight of responsibility with no promise of reprieve in a broken system. It’s no longer enough to just find the small things that make me feel better—they do not add up into enough to stave off the dread of what the future holds.


Today, maybe it’s enough just to be.


Love and It-Is-What-It-Is Kisses,