I truly do want to get off. At least for a little while. Unfortunately, life does not have a hiatus between seasons. It just keeps spinning and spinning, starting a day, taking us through noon, running up into evening, and finally, turning away from the big ball of burning gas to end another day. Over and over this continues. No matter what is happening in your life, or how much you could use a break, this big blue marble keeps spinning, continuing on it’s route around the sun. The bills continue to arrive. The gas tank continues to need to be refilled. The food in the fridge continually needs to be replaced. This or that breaks and needs to be fixed again. It can be overwhelming for healthy people. It’s a mental nightmare for someone with a disease that butts it’s way into the events of every damn day.
It’s 1 am, and I can’t sleep. I’m thinking (read, worrying) about everything. As many of you know, I got laid off at my job, and even though I luckily got on at a great company, it’s a entry position. I love the job, and the hourly pay is fine. Unfortunately, the hours just aren’t enough at this time. I’m going to need to find a second night job to supplement it. I’ve got no problem with that concept, but I am worried about being able to keep up. I have to try, though. What I’m bringing in right now isn’t going to come close to making ends meet. But I’m tired.
I’m tired of putting in more effort than most people do just to accomplish regular, everyday things. I’m tired of giving it my all, and getting a bum deal in return. I’m tired of wishing, yearning, and failing at helping to give Jen and I a better life. I’m tired of the myriad of pills I take every day. I’m tired of the endless stream of visits to the medical offices.I’m tired of giving up things I enjoy. I’m tired. (Cue Madeline Kahn’s musical number from ‘Blazing Saddles’.) I want to get off this ride, even just for a short time, but the crack smoking, greasy, uninterested carny ride operator doesn’t seem to notice that my face has turned a sickly shade of green, and that I’m now only being held in place by the shoddily put together safety lap bar that looks like it might give and send me flying from the cart, floating through space until the next cart flies around to smack into my rag doll body, turning me into a side story on the six o’clock news. Which, sometimes, doesn’t seem like too bad an idea.
Yeah. I said it. Ending doesn’t always seem like that bad of an idea. I said it again.
Now, don’t get frightened about that. I’m not suicidal. There’s one thing that always keeps me from even considering that option. You would think it’s because I know what it feels like being on the other side of that situation, having my best friend somehow decide to put a gun to his heart and pull the trigger a short three years ago. No. That’s not my reason. My reason is much more childish, and selfish than that. My reason is similar to a child’s reason for not wanting to be put to bed because he thinks all the cool stuff will happen after he’s asleep, I’m afraid that if I did purposely check out early, it would be right before that big break came. I’d make the decision to call it a life, and the day after, a letter would arrive in the mail with the information that some publisher liked one of my stories, and wants to give me a contract. Or a long lost relative has left me a windfall. Or whatever situation that would back up the idea that all the hard work I put into my life was finally going to start paying off.
That’s not to say that sometimes, when lying in bed, worrying, I don’t think that I just might be okay with having a massive heart attack or a stroke in my sleep to get me off this ride. I do, sometimes. But it’s not really that I want to die. It’s just want a nice long break from worrying and struggling. I keep trying and trying, but every time I take one step forward, something knocks me back three frigging steps. I just can’t seem to do the right thing to break out of the situation that I’ve been in through most of my life. Struggling just to get by.
I do want to make one thing clear. I’m not a complete fool. I have no (Crap. Lost the words.) misguided illusion (Found ’em.) that I’ve done everything right and never made any mistakes. I understand that I have personally derailed good opportunities in my past. Hell, I’ve done that a lot. Who hasn’t? Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. But it is disheartening, looking back at situations where I gave it my all, and someone else’s greed, or selfishness caused a great thing to go kaput. I’ts even more disheartening looking at the times where the great opportunity was ripped from me due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control (Read, MS.)
I wish I could be more like my mother. She’s never had it easy. She has worked her ass off her entire life while watching so many around her have their break take them into the comfort zone, while she continues to struggle. This has been her whole life, yet she rarely complains. She can always find the bright side of the situation. She’s happy to have the small things she’s been given in life. She’s strong. She’s brave. She’s tough. I wish I could be more like her.
A couple of years ago, we were going through a situation where her health had become a major problem. She had been in and out of the hospital so many times that the staff knew her on sight. During this period, she turned 80. I, of course, went home to celebrate the occasion. I wasn’t going to miss that! And it was a great day! We all had a wonderful time. We had a nice dinner together. Mom, my two sisters, my niece, and I. It was fantastic. The following morning, as I’m taking my first sip of McDonald’s coffee, getting into my car to swing by the house before heading back to Nashville, my big sister calls. My mother has collapsed again (congestive heart failure), and the ambulance is on the way to the house to take her back to the emergency room that the family is getting all to familiar with. Hours later, when she comes to in the ICU, she opens her eyes, looks around the room at the medical staff, her children, and her grandchild, all of us with concerned looks on our faces. She smiles and says, “Well. I guess I shouldn’t have gone to the after-party.”
That’s my mom in a nutshell. A perfect example of how she can look at a bad situation and find humor, good, and joy in it. I wish I could be more like that. I’m tired. She must be absolutely exhausted. Yet here I am thinking I’ve had enough, while she, at twice my age, doesn’t seem to be looking at the option of checking out anytime soon. That’s awesome! I want that. If things aren’t ever going to work out, why can’t I be fortunate enough to find that kind of contentment? Why can’t I find that mental place where I’m okay with it? I’m better off than hundreds of millions of human beings in this world. Why can’t I be okay with what I’ve been given?
I want to be okay with it, but my heart and my mind battle with each other. My mind says, “It hasn’t been that bad. You’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things.”, but my heart is saying, “‘Better’ could be just around the corner. Strive for more, more, more!” But I don’t know what ‘more’ would be, these days. I used to have a vision of more. I used to have focus, and a specific end game to work toward. Now, though, it seems that all I’m striving for is to make it through the next day without breaking down, giving up, or going under.
Well, for now, I’ll just keep hoping that the lap bar doesn’t let loose. I’ll keep holding on to the idea that things are going to get better. I’m guessing that’s all any of us can really do. Keep trying our best, and hope that the worst doesn’t give us a passing glance. To be honest, right now I’d just appreciate the experience of sleep. That alone would be appreciated at this moment.
Until next time, I’ll see you after several more spins around the globe.