Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wrung out liver

Where do you go with the words you don't have? What do you do when your guts eat you from the inside because you don't know what to say?

I feel like I'm 15 again. I hated 15. I thought I was done with these sick, anxious days that appear out of nowhere. Do I blame my weekend of social drinking and the seven missed doses of antidepressants? It's almost too easy.

When I was 15, my father lost his job, and my future was up in the air. We were talking about moving back to the east side of the state, a place I missed for what I thought it was, not what it really was. I fantasized about what my life would be like if we moved. A new start. New school and friends. No one who knew anything about me. I could be the person I wanted to be, and no one would have any idea what people thought about me at my old school. I would have cooler music, cooler friends, a cooler existence. I would finally live up to my social potential.

This got worse when I talked to a friend over on the east side of the state. Her life was so much cooler than mine. I could be like her if I moved. We could be friends. I would be cool with her.

I tortured myself with these fantasies. When I was taunted for not being Christian enough, not liking the right music, being a lesbian or a slut, I developed poor coping mechanisms. Pain killers. Hair pulling. Cutting. Reckless sex. Stimulants. I wanted to someone else, somewhere else. I know now that life wouldn't have been substantially different 150 miles to the east, but apparently, part of me still believes that it could be.

My weekend of social drinking may have taken its toll in a more emotional way. I met with several women whose lives seem far superior, far more desirable than mine. They're free of the stresses of running a household on this measly income, free of writing the tuition checks, free of the limitations the state legislature places on their families. I know little enough about what their lives are actually like that I think I'd rather be doing what they are than what I am.

Instead, I'm here. I'm afraid to move to Chicago and afraid of what will happen if we stay. I'm afraid of changing and afraid of not changing. I want something else but can't put my finger on it. I'm tired of loss but cannot imagine risking my self to venture away from it. I'm heartsick with what I don't know and heartsick with what I do.

I'm getting a second job and starting therapy. Until then, I have to stop thinking about the inadequacies of my life. I can't write. I can't have a family. I'm a lousy employee. I'm a bad spouse. I can't be a good daughter. I'm not thin or pretty enough. My basement needs to cleaned. If I seem like I'm withdrawing, this is where I am. I'll see you later.


At 10:23 AM, Anonymous rich said...

Whatever happens, I have my fingers crossed for you.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and here all this time i've envied you that you're married, have a house, have a job, looking to have kids, and basically just the quintessential adult. i guess quarter life crises are indiscriminate.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Grace said...

Yep, same here, Wyz.

Em, I came back from the weekend dealing with many of the same feelings. Every time I see you and B. I am jealous of what you have, both what is between you and what you surround yourself with (your house, cats, etc.).

I don't know that it helps any, but I completely empathize.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Wyz said. I came away impressed by how stable your life seemed, and how competent and together you were. Even though there's more going on in your life than meets the eye, I don't think I'm wrong about what kind of person you are, and I have every confidence you'll get through.


At 2:40 PM, Blogger portia said...

Another yes to feeling that way. But it's getting better. I like to think that it would be worse to never think you're (read: I'm) not 'making it,' because then you (I) might not strive for things, and it's the striving that matters.

You're an amazing writer who's been able to touch, and change, other people's lives. The life that you and B. have made is beautiful, and will bear great fruit. Trust your heart and know your friends believe in you.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger k. said...

take care of yourself, emilin. we'll still be here when you come back.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Hey, Em, tried to post this morning but comments page kept crashing.

If you're like me in this regard as with so many others, in the mood you're in it's probably hard to hear/internalize when other people say, no, you're not lousy. Even so, the comments tend to work their way in and eventually help me swim back up from the depths.

So I'll say it anyway. You're not lousy. You're fabulous. You're one of the best developments in my life over the past year... no joke. Your writing is wonderful. From what I've seen and from what Brooke wrote, I know you're a great wife and a devoted daughter. Oh, and did I mention foxy? :)

Now about the basement... I have a feeling you're right on that one!

Hang in there, chica. Let us know if you need a hand up (or more cookies).

At 6:56 AM, Blogger the therapeutic writer said...

you are good enough.
you do enough.
I'll take you as you are, today and whenever.

Hang on to that.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger trisha said...

Oh, Em, I am so sorry. I think I know the feelings you are describing. I mean, I feel that way all of the time, but I don't want, in any way, to diminish what you are saying by making it sound common. I hope it isn't common.

If there is anything a stranger can do...

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem like a great person, Em, and that you and B have something special. I hope things become clearer for you soon.


At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emilin, I am amazed to read that that is how you feel. I always read your blog and your posts and amazed how put together you are, how mature. I am always suprised that you are so young.
It will get better. Just hang in there.
Ein Shem

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Sass said...

Em-ra! But you are so amazingly cool! And here *I* was thinking that you were so smart and pretty and happy and living in a wonderful house and all.... funny how that works.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger alice, uptown said...

May I send you a cyberhug? Where you go is, wherever you are most comfortable and comforted. It may be hard to find that place.

But I promise you one thing: you only have to be 15 once in your lifetime. Really.


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