I stood behind her in the check out line. Peering. There was something about her. Vaguely familiar. Her jacket open with another underneath. To keep her warm? Why did she not just zip up the outer one? Her scent a mix of vanilla and lavender. She was pretty in a sweet way. The wife was nattering in my ear. I paid her half attention wondering about the young woman in front of us. Ran a critical eye over her purchases. Eggs. Pepsi. Pizza. Hmmmmmmmmm…….
I eyed the groceries I had piled on the belt. ‘Hey the first few items are the must haves…..after that we will see’……Nervously I watched the total add up. I had received an unexpected boon today which allowed me to shop for some items to tide us over until payday. Princess looked at me eyebrows furrowed in question. ‘Kay the pizzas. Cream.’ She looks over at me and pointedly at the pepsi I am buying. It came down to personal items (toothpaste/shampoo/vitamins etc) or extras for the kids lunches. Princess flippantly looks over items and in a throw away voice ‘healthy or beauty?’ I cringed having to say this. Furtively I glanced at the customer behind me. Hoping he would not recognize me. ‘Bars. Buy one get one at least have snack for first part of week.’
I zoned in suddenly. Caught the end of the conversation. That voice. Took a moment to cycle through and realized it was our regular cashier. Always cheerful. Smile on her lips. Asked after the family. Teased and laughed with me.Not someone I would have thought would have to make such a decision. I guess I had never really thought about what it must be like for her outside of the service she provided for me. For my wife. My family. Her cheeks reddened as she peeped from beneath shawl of hair. Realized she was checking to see if I had recognized her. Turned away and pretended that I was listening to the wife.
Oh thank goodness he did not recognize me. Benefit of having such long hair. When it is down most do not see me. Princess handed me the bars and I bagged them. Handed her my rewards card hoping there was something I could redeem. Add at least one of the extras but not yet. Shrugged and paid. Ducked my head so that my hair fell forward covering my face. Beyond Princess no one realized I had been there. I calculated what I had spent and yeah so the pepsi is not a must have but a little something as a treat. Not only for me.
I watched as she walked away. Saw her head swiveling subtly back and forth eyes gauging cataloging the people around her. She did not acknowledge anyone with raised voice or hand. She moved quickly neatly between the people blocking her exit. Realizing as she zipped through none saw her a ghost within their midst.
Thank god I got out without anyone seeing me. Hard to explain how money is something you need to count to the penny. Proud asking for no help because you can do it. And it is no one’s business learn to live in your means tighten your belt voice roaring in your head bow beneath the onslaught. Load the groceries into the back of the car pushing the cart back to the pick up area brace self against the sudden gust of rain washing over me baptismal flood slid behind the wheel. Windows fogged as I steam.
I watched standing at the cart corral as she puts her car into drive pulling into traffic. What I was seeing did not reconcile with the picture I had of her. Granted I only thought of her for the maybe 10 minutes a week I saw her. Never beyond but this is not what I had imagined. Kinda like a cartoon that does not end just because the scene has. Suddenly confronted with the bias of my thoughts. Middle class as they were. Laughing because I had been so sure she was middle class too.
I saw him standing watching as I pulled from my parking space. Rain dousing him until he became a blob in the rear view mirror. He knew now. How was I ever to meet his eyes? Poverty is not a sin…..yet we still feel as though it is.
Jan. 3 2020
Picture via Pinterest
I have this uncontrollable urge to pretend that I am okay. That everything is fine. No one is wanting to hear day after day that I am only meh. In 23 days I have had 7 good days and 14 meh days and 2 bad bad days. Which means at the moment I have a 75/25 split between meh and good days. Better than 100% meh.
The urge to pretend comes from the fact that I know how I sound. Like a broken record. When asked how I am, I weigh the pros and cons of telling the truth or to lie. Who wants to sit through another boring litany of my sorry life. How I am having anxiety attacks. How for last 18 hours I again have not been able to stop crying. Lucky is driving me insane with her need to be right on top of me. At the moment she is sitting as close to me as she can without actually being on top of the keyboard. Even in this I sound like I am whining.
I put up a front. When I am alone it is easy to just remove myself by watching t.v. or playing games on the computer. When T is here I have to be present, push myself to look after him and I can do it. I live for when he comes home. I have been lax in the meal department. Well vegetables anyways. T will not eat my salad and I eat salad with everything so Sunday he only had farmer burgers for supper and last night chicken burgers. I had oatmeal.
It is easier not to burden people with how I feel. For when I am like this, when I feel like all I am doing is annoying everyone, I pretend. Pretend that everything is okay. Pretend that I am happy. I vacillate between being high and falling low. I am so all over with my emotions some times I do not know which way is up. I would give anything to not be like this. Everything I write is negative sounding. I reread what I have typed and it sounds like I am ungrateful for the people around me. I am not. I do not want to hurt them which is why I carefully consider what I am going to answer with.
Do I tell you I am having a rough morning? Or do I lie and say ok? I no longer know. I only know that if feels to me as though when I tell someone things are not that great, suddenly there are no more texts. So I am beginning to believe that I should just remain quiet. That my sadness, my pain is my own.
And it is my own. No one can share it with me. No one can shovel it away to ease my burden.
To pretend or not to pretend? That is the question.
***Image via Cartoon Network found on Internet.
I am a bunny
hear me roar.
You say that I cannot roar?
That I am too tiny and too cute?
Do you not see the fierceness
with which I protect my heart?
Do you not see
that I am the provider of my family?
I am a bunny
see me soar.
Why do you say I cannot soar?
That I am meant to stay rooted to the ground?
Do you not see the dreams
that I create within this harsh world?
Do you not understand the hope
that I watch each day unfurl with?
I am a bunny
tiny and cute
fierce and determined
ready to embrace
the differences that life will share.
Once I danced along,
streets covered in golden dreams
believing the fantasy
that I built from nothing.
Now I creep alone
through empty concrete dreams
my fantasies but ash within my mouth
as my tears bring no relief.
I rend my heart in bitterness
curse my soul that remakes my wound
the scar marking the damage done;
damage I cannot get away from.
Today is August 28th. In slightly more than 24 hours I will be 45 years old. I did not actually arrive in the world until 8:20 p.m. so am not “really” 45 ’til than.
I am looking forward to turning 45. I am not the same woman I was when I turned 44 last year. I am by far a much better and stronger version of her. I have taken my life and where I could have continued along the path of destruction I was on I changed. Slowly at first. But as the changes became good changes, as my outlook and feelings became harmonized and less disjointed I welcomed the changes.
I have documented my cycle of depression and how I had to claw my way back. I have an amazing support group who have been with me since I started on the new journey to me.
A journey that has seen me rise high enough to realize I was in an unhappy marriage and find the strength to leave. To my mistakenly believing all my problems were solved by the dissolution of my marriage and I went off my meds. I began to rely on alcohol to get me through the days.
My crash, which scared me so badly because I had allowed myself to be tricked into believing I was okay. Our brains are wicked when presenting one with deceptive illusions.
Even after I resumed taking my meds I still continued to self-medicate with alcohol. Finally July 1st I decided to stop. I went six weeks without drinking. And when I did, I woke the next morning disappointed in myself.
I have had some again but there is a difference. One that I can see and feel. It is no longer a need. There is no desire to negate the feelings I did not want to face.
So tomorrow I am turning 45.
I am eating better. I am sleeping better. I am exercising. I have quit drinking to self-medicate and find that I do not miss it.
Best of all I am writing again. I am more secure in the voice I have. I am letting those wonderful words combine and emerge like a waterfall from my finger tips. I believe in magic again.
At 45 I am beginning to emerge from the cocoon of the past. I can see my present but the future….that is a dream still waiting to be dreamed.
I walk through the greying mists
seeing vague shapes
to the right and left of me.
But when I call out
my voice becomes a mere whisper,
slighter than the flutter,
of a Monarch’s wings.
My tears are but shards of silver
pecking away at my heart
Uncovering hidden losses
and the pain I try to hide.
One day there may be comfort.
One day I may be free.
But until that day I shall fight,
to come back from the albatross
that hangs around my neck.
Somewhere in time
fantasies did grow
Over-taking all reality
until no longer
can one differentiate.
Was it madness?
An escape from life?
swallowed in a mimosa of hatred
swaddled in grey.
Beating against enclosing walls
numb with pain.
There is no escape from this truth
no matter how hard
no matter how fast
one tries to flee.