You guys, I am so selfish. I know this about myself and, because I’m also fairly crazy, I do a fair amount of checking my thoughts, words, actions, and privilege. This results in a lot of personal adjusting. That, in turn, feels like self-criticism. That results in frustration which makes me angry because have a right to be a little frustrated and, I think, to be at least a little selfish. All that makes me unpleasant. Fun for everyone.
And sometimes you just don’t get to be selfish. That’s fine, for awhile. For me, awhile is a about two days. To be clear, I’m not talking about those sometimes miserable days when the kids cry all day, have to be fed all day, aren’t able to be put down for a shower, and so forth. My brand of selfish is pretty much okay with that. Keeping my human alive was always mostly okay, even when it made me cry in frustration. It often felt like a solitary endeavor. One person screaming at another is something that creates a bubble where it’s just the screamer and screamee, no matter how many other people are in the room.
It’s the other people thing. If you want to skip the incredibly boring details of my life (assuming you got this far) come back in a few days.
It started sometime last week. Swimming lessons ran into gymnastics sending my wife and I into an argument about whether there was enough time to shower which left me simultaneously angry that I had to compromise and that she was drawing attention to my frustration. I felt like it was entirely my fault for not getting my timing right, after all, it’s not her fault I didn’t want to spend more than half a day in sweaty gym clothes. Or to have people be quietly noticing I am wearing gym clothes and then thinking things about those clothes. On Sunday, I had to visit my parents and it’s hard. Every time. It was harder this time and involved putting out a lot of energy instead of just hanging on. On Monday, a board meeting featuring not only grown-up decisions but also a whole lot of tiny people who make me feel like a giant on a folding metal chair. On Tuesday, a professional dinner with someone I’d only just met. On Wednesday, an all-day high-energy event followed by staying out of the house entertaining my kid while my wife had band practice in our basement. On Thursday, chatting with the babysitter and going to hear my wife play, smiling at all of her friends, hugging people I barely know. Today, a lovely breakfast with dear friends then two days with my wife’s family. Who make her so happy.
You see, it’s not just the hard time commitments, it’s the really wonderful things, too.
With even one break any one of these things would have been more okay. Four days passed this week when my commitments didn’t allow me to go to the bathroom when I wanted to. You should be able to pee when you have to pee. It’s a terrible cycle because the longer it lasts the more my faults start bursting out. For example, I truly dislike being noticed. I don’t want anyone to comment about anything I am doing, being, saying. And they do. Because people do that and because I’m odd that way and it’s not their fault. It’s a fault. It sucks. I’m sorry. It’s who I am. I am so busy trying to fix all kinds of other things about myself I’m certainly not going to add that in. And so I skip peeing, eating, moving, because I don’t want to hear a goddamn thing about what I’m doing.
“Oh, are you working today?”
“What are you having for lunch?”
“Are you still [doing/being whatever in a non judgmental way]?”
The longer the pressure to be on lasts, I’m even more unwilling to hear the good things.
“It’s great to see you!”
“You smell so good!”
“I’m happy you’re here!”
I’m lucky I hear those things. Most of the time I either don’t notice or am just slightly uncomfortable. This week, I’d rather be invisible. Please, please don’t notice me.
I didn’t claim to be sane and, as I said, I’m totally selfish. But you know what? My three hours off (spent working) are up and I’m due to take my child to the trampoline park and to have dinner with my in-laws. And I have to pee.