Archive for September, 2014



September 11, 2014

Here’s a tour of the jumbled museum of my brain. It’s a working museum, so things may move as you look around. Also, there are tigers.

Exhibit 1:  I made a budget spreadsheet and N has agreed to fill in his bills and expenses so that we can finally work together on our finances. Like actual grown-ups. I think this is going to be really good. Also, as the daughter of an accountant, I should have done it years ago.

Exhibit 2: On August 23, I will have been married eight years. I’ve been thinking about all the ways in which my life is better for sharing it with N, even when we aren’t especially good at sharing. Eight years might be a long relationship by Hollywood standards, but it’s still a very young relationship in a lot of ways – a grade schooler of a marriage – enthusiastic, learning a lot, making mistakes, growing up a bit more every day. I am looking forward to seeing what our marriage is like when it’s 30 (even though that takes a certain leap of imagination and hope that borders on tempting fate).

Exhibit 3:  I think I need to just write this out: I really want to have another baby. I long for another baby with a longing that’s connected to but not the same thing as my longing to have Teddy back. I really don’t think we can afford another baby, or that it would be a good idea for my family. But I want one anyway. Now that I’m 40, I need to stop telling myself that there is still time. There might be a tiny window of time, but I think, by and large, my decision has been made for me. I don’t know when I’ll make peace with this. I am angry and sad and perhaps not as appreciative of the new babies in my life as I want to be right now. I am trying to keep this from turning into bitterness.

Exhibit 4: Dot has been wanting to sleep in her own bed for the past few nights. For the past few nights, there hasn’t been a baby – okay, a preschooler – in the middle of our bed. Of course, for the past few nights either N or I has been sleeping in her room with her, but I still think it’s progress toward a sleeping arrangement I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.

Exhibit 5: We had our first freeze last night and the maple trees outside my office window are obligingly changing colors. I love this time of year, but everything about it strikes me as strikingly clear, and piercing, and – not merciless, but absolute – in its beauty. The blue of the sky, the sharpness in the air, the hint of frost in the air – it’s the kind of beauty that breaks your heart for loving it. I don’t regret having my heart broken this way, but I sometimes wonder if I’m going to be strong enough to make it to October.

Exhibit 6: I wish there was a class or support group for socially awkward and introverted middle-aged women trying to make friends. When I was growing up my mom and the neighborhood moms all knew each other and had coffee and talked on the phone, but while I’m friendly with several people, I don’t have a community or neighborhood like that. I want one, though, and am going to see what I can do to make it happen.





You seem depressed

September 5, 2014

“You seem depressed,” he tells me.

This isn’t the first time he’s told me this. I think the first time was actually at a time in my life when I was feeling relatively happy and energetic and in control of my life, so I have to wonder – what are the signs of depression he is picking up from me?

Am I depressed? I don’t know. I don’t seem to be a good judge. I am sad about a big work project because it involves cancelling several journals and cancelling journals goes against every librarianly instinct librarians have. I can rage about a governmental and societal system that spends more time talking about supporting education than actually doing it, or about a university system where library budgets are never increased even though the costs of all these online subscriptions rise every year like clockwork, or about the fact that libraries like mine just lay back and take it instead of presenting some sort of unified front that would actually make a difference. But then he looks at me, worried. So rage (even reasonable rage) doesn’t seem to be helping my cause.

I am tired. I’ve been walking into work on alternate mornings, which I love, but it’s a long walk and I have to get up early to get it in. Since I’m pretty out of shape at the moment, both of those things might be making me tired. This is hopefully the kind of tired that comes before having more energy because! exercise! but I think it’s likely passing and not that big of a deal.

I am frustrated. Because he’s still smoking weed like a demented chimney, and while some of the worry is gone now that it’s legal in my state I still hate it when he comes home smelling like a marijuana fire and gives Dot a hug. I want to pull her away from that smell, but he’s her dad so I don’t.

I am also frustrated because he’s her favorite. Mommy’s okay, but Daddy’s really where it’s at. Daddy doesn’t say no. Daddy will always read another story, even at 11:30 at night, but Mommy just wants everyone to go to sleep. Daddy can be convinced to head to Starbucks for a leisurely breakfast in the mornings, but Mommy just worries about being at work on time, at school on time. Mommy plays hundreds of imagining games, but has to stop to do laundry, dishes, cooking. Mommy sometimes says no to invitations to play, which is something Mommy never thought she’d do, but sometimes Mommy is (see above) tired and needs to just sit for a minute, just a minute. Just a quiet minute, please.

I am worried. I am worried because we don’t talk about money or budgets with each other, because he waits until our rent is late to tell me he needs me to pay the rent. Because I can’t pay anything else after I’ve paid for rent and childcare and electricity and groceries and the car payments, and our car insurance is coming due. Because I can’t talk to him about money or he gets sad and turns to self-loathing because he’s not providing me with a castle. Because he doesn’t believe me when I tell him I don’t want a castle; I just want us to have a savings plan so that some day we can have our own house.

I am lonely. We don’t talk much these days, the two of us, which means when we do talk the big things loom bigger. He’s been reaching out – trying to make time during the weekdays to go for walks together and I was enjoying it so much. But now the school year is back in full swing and we haven’t gone for a walk together for a while. If I get at all passionate about current events he looks at me with a sad, concerned gaze and I want to run away. Why can’t I be passionate? What type of emotion can I show without upsetting him? What was I like before when I was the person he could like and enjoy without worrying about? Does being occasionally sad or angry or confused mean that you can’t be a happy person?

I am lonely. My college friends, who are in general my closest friends, all live far away. My friends here are almost all work friends. I hang out with Dot on weekends while he works. I try to catch up on cleaning and shower when he takes Dot out for a movie. I spend a lot of time alone, missing the people who could hear me tell stories and laugh without worrying that I was going to crack.

Am I depressed? I might be. Would this feel different from being overwhelmed by feeling tired, frustrated, worried, and lonely at the same time while holding it together to do my job, take care of my kid, and try to be supportive of someone who really is feeling depressed? I don’t know. I don’t think the amount of overwhelmed I am is actually that uncommon. I do know that not being able to talk about it without N feeling guilty or sad, without him being able to understand that a lot of this will pass, that a lot of it can be fixed if we work on it together, is exacerbating everything. I can laugh about all of this, can feel fairly happy about the prospects of things coming out all right, if I feel like I have a plan, like we have a plan.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m no longer capable of real happiness since Teddy died. I know I’ve changed, irrevocably, and I’ll be carrying this loss, this weight of love and sorrow, for the rest of my life. I don’t think it means I’m depressed; I think it means I’m different. Maybe I’m broken, and what he’s discovering is that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with someone who is broken even if she thinks she is mostly okay.

Maybe I shouldn’t post this, but I’m going to anyway.