Last night I was still working to finish my first Emma Watson post (and mentally beginning to compose my second for typing and pre-scheduling), when Mr. Mezzo told me he was about to head off to bed. And I remembered: I still needed to take my laundry out of the washer and hang it out to dry.
That task had occurred to me at least two or three times earlier in the evening. I think once before dinner, and definitely right before sitting down to write, and then again in the midst when I was walking to the kitchen to refill my water glass. During the last of those three moments, I even calculated to myself how I was probably about 10 minutes from concluding my post, so I could knock that out and then turn my attention to laundry before writing post #2.
But then gathering and writing my concluding thoughts became a longer and trickier process than I’d expected, and Mr. Mezzo’s schedule update summoned up this incredible sense of (internally-generated) pressure about how I needed to quickly shift attention and get the laundry hung out ASAP so’s not to disturb his chances of falling asleep. (The drying racks live in our bedroom, you see. Usually that’s a very good thing — but all good things have their down sides.)
That pressure, cascading on top of the frustrations over another wasted weekend, the awareness of how much more writing there was left to do, and the general dread over going back into a work environment that’s been kinda ugly for the last couple of weeks. All of it hit me like a ton of bricks. And then I said it.
“I hate my life.”
If there’s ever a moment to wish for a do-over, that would be it. (Where’s the 30-second DVR rewind button for everyday existence?)
Health, husband, home. Gainful (if stressful) employment, general ease in paying the grocery bill, a car that works and plenty of food in the larder and clothes in the closet. Friends and teachers, books and music and videos for as many minutes as I wish to fill, the ability to have treats and excursions (like Shakespeare at Fenway), as well as a growing joy and discipline in what re-opening into the creative expression of writing has brought (and continues to bring) to me. My brain, my heart, my soul, my ability to study my life and the talent of finding the phrases and words to express these concepts.
So, so many things to love and cherish. And all of them discarded, set aside, devalued — at least for that one moment where I was so blinded by negative feelings that I just threw myself into the selfishness of immaturity and self-pity.
It’s the kind of wallowing I used to do. Something challenging would happen, and I’d sink totally into it, erasing — at least for some stretch of time — any awareness of all the good things I had going on, even back during those more-difficult years.
But it’s something I haven’t done for a long long time. I’ve worked to be very conscious about understanding the implication of such a sweeping statement. The depth of ingratitude it shows: an attitude I don’t want to bring into my life.
And, quite frankly, there’s a lot about my life that has legitimately been improved and enriched over the last five years or so. Much to be grateful for, indeed.
So I am generally abashed and embarrassed to have fallen back into that bad habit, even if only for a moment.
And yet. I’m also studying what that “slip-up” can reveal about my state of mind and heart. I have made such progress in moving beyond that extreme self-pitying behavior that this momentary regression carries immense weight to me. Something big has helped drive me to the brink of this old patterning.
So it’s worth waking up to the fact that, however much of a brave face I’m trying to put on recent work ugliness, there’s part of me that is grief-stricken, heart-broken. And beyond any one setting or trigger, the really real truth is that my sense of malaise is one that’s been growing for months.
I’m not happy to say this, but I’m wondering if it’s time to go back onto antidepressants. It’s been a good run without them, and I’m grateful to have had these years where I didn’t need to monitor myself for dosages and side effects. But, as the wasted weekends and evenings add up, as it gets harder and harder to get up on time each morning, as these old despairing habits erupt into my field — like the insane declaration of hating my life — I’m beginning to ask myself if it’s really so necessary to force myself to “go it alone.”
The thought of having to research doctors and therapists up here is completely unpalatable. But it may need to be done.
Complaints vs. Gratitude: http://phi2010.blogspot.com/2011/11/gratitude-is-virtue-but-it-works.html