Do you know what I mean?
That There-Is-Just-Too-Much-I-Can't-Handle-It feeling?
I think that we are all supposed to be born with or taught certain coping mechanisms, and that a few of mine must have been left out. Because everyone else seems to be able to manage just fine. 90% of the time I truck along and I manage. And then there are days like today.
When I do all the math and see that I am just managing to pay my bills BY THE SKIN OF MY TEETH. When I make a mental list of what I have to get done tonight before I sleep and see that there is a 6 hour discrepancy between the amount of time I HAVE and the amount of time I NEED. When my ex's bill collectors call me for the 20th time regarding the loan he is defaulting on that I foolishly co-signed with him because I was temporarily BRAIN DEAD four years ago. When loved ones in my family are having problems that I am not at liberty to discuss but that are causing me great worry. When I find out I am NOT getting my far overdue and very richly deserved raise because business is down and the company lost a lot of money last month. When I try to remember who I haven't returned calls and emails to and finally register that almost everyone I know is on that list. And most of all, most amazingly and spectacularly horrific of all - when I realize that I stood up a close friend for lunch today.
Simply. Didn't. Show. Up.
I have never done that to anyone in my entire life. Not once. It is not a sign that this person is not important to me. He absolutely is tremendously important (and just so you know my concern is genuine - he doesn't know about or read my blog and will not be a witness to this self-flagellation) and I am just so overwhelmed with stress and crises and the recent changes in my life that I simply did not register that I had any plans for lunch today.
On days like today, I just worry that I am somehow missing some ability that everyone else in the world has. Because everyone I see driving down the road and shopping in the grocery store and walking into my office seems to be alright. They walk around all calm and collected as if THEIR bills are paid and THEIR house is clean and THEY have returned all their messages. What is the secret? How is it that no one ever seems to look like I am at-this-very-moment feeling?
Ironically, people often tell me how together I am. How I seem to have things figured out. And the truth is that I am faking it. Faking it well sometimes, but still doing what I feel is essentially faking it.
I often feel less calm than I look. And the matching accessories? Yeah, they're a struggle. My house isn't always clean, it's just usually clean if someone other than ME is going to be IN it. Talking about finances and haggling over the bill is poor form so, no - I don't usually mention how hard it's been to get my finances in order since the ex flew the coop. I always happily pony up an even split on the bill at dinner with a healthy tip because that is what one does. One does not undertip the server who is also trying to make ends meet. Lately one ALSO does not go out to eat often... but, hey, them's the breaks...
So now I am making plans with some of my neglected friends. I just told my boss in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS how difficult it is going to be to go without a raise for much longer. I am on my way home to clean everything inside my house within an inch of it's life. Even the bunnies are getting a bath. They're going to hate it. The place is going to shine like the top of the freaking Chrystler building.
And my brilliant, wonderful, angelic stood-up friend called. To say not to worry. That he's glad other people forget things like this because he does it all the time. That he isn't angry at all. That he can't understand what I'm saying because I have weepy voice. That I really should stop crying because it's not such a big deal and he's fine, really he is.
I feel a little better. Later I will feel much better. I will get back to the business of acting like this is easy until someday, perhaps it magically does become easy. Or easier. Because I'm not so foolish as to think I will one day wake up with the magic ability to locate the earrings that match my dress without a little digging. Or that someday housework will get simpler and more fun. Or that I'm going to win the lottery anytime soon (paticularly because I don't play).
Alright. I can do this now.
For a minute there I couldn't. But now I think I can.
I may play a videogame for half an hour before I start cleaning, though.
Just for spite.
Edit: I really am fine. Like I said here, the past year has been a crazy journey but life is really much better now. I have less money but more friends, a much more complicated life but someone wonderful to share it with. I still have those days, though. I suspect it has something to do with my being human and all.