Sorry I’ve been away. I started my new job at the beginning of November, then took off to the Grand Canyon for a week, and then got back and really dove into the nuts and bolts of the new job again. All this while still working a couple of shifts a week at my old hotel job, plus doing my best to keep up with the existing copyediting workload at my agency job, plus feeling out of sorts, emotionally. There’s just a lot going on that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around, and the easiest thing for me to do is let work consume me, then spend the rest of my time binge watching Elementary.

I am feeling old lately, and fat, and unattractive, and awkward. I am feeling undesirable, undesired, second rate at just about everything, and like I don’t have what it takes to be in any form of relationship with anyone – friend, lover, family. I am utterly terrified of what is happening in my country right now, but also, strangely, resolute. I feel like this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, and that I will not survive it. But I don’t feel bad about that, and that’s weird, since it may be the only thing in my life that gives me comfort right now. I know what side I’m on. It’s starting to feel like my strange obsession with work camps and gulags and various WWII resistance groups might have been in preparation for what’s to come. That sounds crazy, probably. What’s worse, what’s crazier, is that I was raised by a parent fairly obsessed with the American Civil War, and given our stunningly different beliefs, it might not be long before the lines are drawn and I’m cast out. I wish I could say that I cared enough to fight that particular outcome, but if it comes to it, I know myself too well. I wish I understood what it is that people love about their families, what makes them truly addicted to the people they grew up with. I know so many people who are just in love with their families in a way that makes my emotional range seem stunted in comparison. Sometimes I wonder if my heart broke when my grandfather died, and I made the choice to sever my feelings so I wouldn’t go to pieces again when the next unavoidable death happened. I want to puke just thinking of him holding my hand in the hospital and saying his last word to me: “No.” Don’t go. So yeah, probably.

At any rate, I’m barely holding on in any of my relationships. I am so lonely, but it’s my own fault. I don’t go out, I don’t do anything, I just exist. I am losing my mind. I miss my boyfriend, who works nights. Now that I work days, we haven’t had any quality time together, really. He’s also in a bad place, emotionally, so the time we do spend together isn’t the connection that it used to be. We’re both on edge. We enjoyed something of a symbiosis once, and now we just revolve around each other, never really making contact. We went to his work holiday party the other night, which was mostly fun, but also strenuous. His coworkers were all so young and beautiful and multidimensional, and I felt deflated next to them. The night didn’t end well; I got upset when he had a laugh over my accent while I was trying to talk to him about something that I was really proud of, my feelings were hurt, and I left early, so now we’re not really talking. It’s not a huge deal, but it hurts, maybe more because it’s new to us, but not new in the scheme of things. I feel like I’m always either not talking, or talking constantly without any of the words coming out right. I talk myself in circles trying to explain the littlest detail, but never getting to the exact description I seek. When I edit myself down, I don’t say enough, but if I let myself run with the words, I spin a story cocoon too thick to break free of.

I used to have these dreams when I was little where people were talking to me, and I could see that their faces were calm and they were speaking at a normal level, but the sound I was hearing was some sort of horrendous, nearly deafening animal scream, no words, just guttural, tortured wailing. No one else could hear it but me. I’d wake up crying, and try to explain, but I didn’t have the words as a little one to build a picture that terrifying for the adults who tried to console me. Most of the time now it seems that I’m talking, but whatever I think I’m saying must be coming out as nothing at all to those around me. It shouldn’t be this difficult to connect with people. I find myself mourning my Camino relationships, people who instinctively understood how to hear me. Maybe it’s not that I’m not speaking correctly. Maybe it’s that no one cares to listen. I don’t know.

I’m also feeling beat down because it’s the holidays, and for no real reason, for the last five or six years I have absolutely hated this time of year. I like many of the trappings, but am daunted by the commercialism, and defeated by the Pinterest master decorators who seem to surround me. I don’t even know how to put up a string of lights. It’s been three years, and I’m still deliberating over what wreath hanger to buy so that I can then deliberate over what kind of wreath to get. I simply don’t have the energy required to enjoy this kind of thing. I wish I could celebrate by moving away to the woods and listening to falling snow on a moonlit night, secure in the thought that just inside my cottage, a nice warm fire was glowing in the fireplace, with a glass of whiskey on the mantle, waiting to welcome me home. That’s what I want. Not this cacophony of lights and music and glitter and too many presents to buy for people you barely know.

I’m also overwhelmed by my cats right now. You know that I adopted a third cat a few months back, Charlie, and he’s a teenager now. He’s a lot to handle, and my apartment is too small to afford his hijinks. He runs back and forth over me all night, and I was never that great a sleeper to begin with. Also, add rambunctious young’un with stupid middle child, and there’s a whole other layer of exhaustion. This morning, Munky evidently took a whizz in the litter box, and since, at six years old, he’s still never figured out how to cover his business in the litter box, when he was done there was a puddle. I know this because I woke up to Charlie walking across my stomach (*hurl*) with wet paws that reeked of cat pee. He’d already walked all over the house, so the entire apartment was tracked in peeprints. After I’m done here, I’ll be scrubbing my floors. Sigh.

Anyway, I know I’ve still got a ton of Camino posts to write, and eventually I’ll share photos from my trip to Arizona, but right now I just want to curl up and hide from the world. This post is all I have in me. My biggest victories today were buying a “thank you” gift for a coworker who’s really been helping me at work, and getting my nails done in a lovely dove gray color. If I can manage to clean the floors and kitchen before bed, that will be my third miracle, and I’ll sleep soundly until Charlie jumps on my head a few times.

I’m sorry that I don’t have happy news to report, guys. I wish I had some holiday sparkle in me. Maybe later.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Carmen Fairley says:

    A cat provides nice companionship but it might be difficult to decide that 3 of them add to your chores and contribute to sleep deprivation at a time when your work schedule is complex and demanding. If you can figure that dilemma out (confine the night wanderer to a small kennel cage out of earshot?) and decide how to sort out your workload in a way that makes sense for you and try to get more sleep I hope you will feel better. Seek out folks whose political views match your own and avoid talking politics with those whose don’t. There are people who don’t know you who follow your blog. We care. We want you to feel good about yourself and about your journey through life. Keep yourself active, eat only nutritious foods that include whole grains, low fat, eliminate sugar, etc., as your body is a temple, so feed it accordingly! Live your faith, and enjoy conversations with fellow Camino-walkers you chance upon. Be well.

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