Laboring Along

Two weeks ago yesterday I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and put on medication. So far, the experience has actually been pretty positive. I’ve been able to think clearly for the first time in years. My resting heart rate has gone down, which I’m hoping will mean that my blood pressure, overall, has gone down as well (we’ll see at the next checkup). My emotional eating has decreased, and I’ve lost a little weight. I’m napping a bit more, but I do adore a good afternoon snooze, so I’m not counting that as a negative. The only downside that I’ve experienced thus far is that I’m not really inspired to write, I’m guessing since writing has always been my way of clearing my head. Now that I don’t need as much clearing, I find the idea of writing to be somewhat of a chore. I’m thinking that’s going to be temporary, since I loved to write long before I lost my mind, but it’s still a bit daunting to consider the work I’d need to put in to force myself to feel interest in this old beloved pastime. I should probably put some thought into getting to love punctuation again, too, huh?

There’s another big thing that’s going on in my life right now that I’m not at all sure how to talk about. My father is really sick, and in the hospital. My parents live in NC, and I’m here in New Orleans, and it feels wrong to not be with them right now. I asked him if he wanted me to come home, and he was uncharacteristically negative about it. Then my mom got really stressed out when I asked if she wanted me to come home. It’s a really weird position, because if she was sick, he’d want me home yesterday. Of the two, he’s the one that’s more focused on family togetherness. He’s the one that’s vocal about missing me (typically). Now that he’s sick, and sleeping through his days at the hospital between surgeries, I feel like I should be there, but I also know there’s nothing I can do, he wouldn’t know that I’m there, and she’d just be even more stressed to feel like she had to take care of him AND me. So for now I’m staying away and getting my news through the grapevine. It’s frustrating. I want my dad to know I love him, and I can’t even talk to him on the phone now because he’s feeling so poorly. My relatives are probably judging me, but I can’t carry their issues and my own.

I’m still going on the pilgrimage in October, though now my plans for afterwards will most likely include a long vacation at home in NC at the end of the year to be with my family. Right now I’m about $700 from meeting my fundraising goal. I told myself that I’d work harder on getting the word out today, but I’m finding that my family situation just has me preoccupied, mentally. I just keep thinking about how my dad is the reason that I love outdoor activities. He gave me my first pair of hiking boots. He taught me how to set up a tent. It’s those initial things that made the idea of hiking 20 miles a day seem fun, and utterly doable.

I’ve always wanted him (both of them) to be proud of me, and I’ve never really felt like I was doing it right. All my life I felt like a screw up, despite being a goody-two-shoes, and graduating with honors, and being independent, and doing everything I could to make sure they’d never have to worry about me. It never seemed good enough, somehow. And then when I first started talking about going on this pilgrimage, neither seemed to care that much. It really hurt my feelings, but I didn’t know how to say that. We’re just so different. I feel permanently on the outside of my family, like I have nothing of worth to say to them, even when it comes to things that mean the world to me. I wish that I knew how to adequately explain to him that he and Mum are the reason that I am doing this. That I’m doing it to find peace in being just me. That I want to prove that I’m still as strong and capable as they envisioned when they had me. To let them know that even though I’m not at all the woman they probably pictured me growing up to be, I’m still that same fat little Anna at heart. I’ve retained my goodness. I love deeply. I still find wonder in the small things. They did a good job. Even if I’m crap at showing it to them directly, they made an OK person who’s doing her best to leave the world a little better than she found it. Who knows, maybe one of them will read this. I hope so.

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