Sometimes I feel like I have it all together. I have quit smoking. I am drinking my water. I added my vitamins in, cautiously. And there I am, taking my vitamins. I am showering every morning–that was not always a certain thing, but here I am, taking care of my hygiene properly, taking care of myself. I put lotion on every day to, I hope, somehow magically take care of the skin that seems looser with every pound I lose. I go grocery shopping. I cook meals that have protein.

Every day I think about going to the gym. I miss it, truly–physically, I miss it. Mentally, I am just about there, all sweaty and enthusiastic. Any second now I’ll be at the gym. I try to keep on top of the house; I don’t make my bed, anymore, but I am putting my shoes away, instead of letting them accumulate by the front door. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am not a total wreck, and that I can keep it together. Sometimes I have one of the worst weeks of my life and realize that I am so far from together that if I sent Together a postcard, it would arrive after I was dead. If I manage to die of old age.

This was a very terrible week. And I’ll tell you why, because I need to talk about my terrible week. Sometimes, I need to wallow. And maybe you’ll tell me, "Oh, that is not so terrible" and maybe I will say, "Oh, probably you are totally right," and then, I’ll be fixed. Or maybe a passing god will see everything sad all laid out on the table, a litany, a dirge, my oh poor me, and will take pity and turn me into a newt. Now that witches are generally extinct, I imagine that the life of a newt is a good one and not filled with any particular anxiety–except newt-style anxieties, which are very small. Proportionally speaking, maybe they would be big to me as a newt. But I am pretty sure, sitting here, feeling my heart skipping in my chest and having to remember to breathe in and breathe back out, that I would prefer newt anxieties. Oh, I’d prefer them.

A newt doesn’t have to be perfect, and my mom tells me I don’t have to be perfect either, which is a good thing, because perfection is something that I am very, very poor at. Except somehow, I got myself a job where perfection is the point. I am a proofreader, and my job is to make every single thing we put out into the world perfect, and you would be surprised, maybe, at the kind of anxiety that causes. Especially when you know you are not perfect, that you are fallible, and frequently so. Especially when you have your mistakes brought back to you and things explained to you while you burn with the shame–it feels like actual burning, it really does–of being a fuck up. And then you spend 14 hours a day at your desk in a panic, because there is so much work, trying so hard to be perfect and knowing in your heart that you are the furthest thing from perfect and that you really can’t afford to live in the street once all your mistakes add up and you are fired–for not being perfect.

I can’t take the 14 hour days for much longer. Or the calls from my landlord, telling me that this isn’t going to work out, and I’m going to have to leave. Because my rent check was late, because I fucked up my automatic bill payment when I changed the amount, because he is seizing on an excuse to evict me because he wants to redo my apartment and sell the building. I would move–I don’t mind moving. I like to find new places. I like to shake things up and nest somewhere new. Except that I got paid on Friday, and am already $300 back in the hole, because my money situation has spiraled so far out of my hands that I will never catch up, not ever, and I am so tired of being poor, and a fuck up. A poor fuck up.

At least I’m not pregnant. That’s off my plate. And so is the relationship that started with a suddenness that took my breath away, in a way that felt right and good and possibly perfect, which ended with a very similar suddenness that leaves me gasping and absolutely, stunningly bereft. How, in such a short time? And why does it have to hurt so much?

It’s an accumulation of bad luck and mistakes and things that can be fixed and things that will be OK. I know that. I know I just have to keep going, and keep trying hard to not fuck up, and keep things together and do what I can to get everything back under control. I can enjoy feeling sorry for myself, wallowing for awhile. But right now. Right this second? The idea of being drunk for a week is appealing. The idea of sleeping for a week–no, weeks. Months. Years. So appealing. The idea of curling into a ball and having someone pet my head while whispering, "It’s OK. Everything is going to be all right." That appeals to me immensely. And that is what I cannot have, because I have to be an adult, but I am tired of being an adult. Immensely, tragically, dramatically, pathetically tired of it, for fuck’s sake.

9 Replies to “wallowing”

  1. Oh hon, I am the Queen of Wallowing. I do it and then I move on, and things get better again. As they will for you. I’m not telling you that because I think you don’t know it; I’m just letting you know others do it too.

    I wrote this email to a friend this very morning:

    “[insert here a long litany of my current woes and wailing and wallowing, which my friend had to endure but you don’t]…but I’m just telling myself, ok, hang in there, because it’s all about perspective, and things dip and then they rise, and this is life, and it’s ok, you know?”

    So I’m a bit in the throes of it myself right now, but trying to pull myself out. You have a lot on on your plate, Anne, a lot of stress right now, and that doesn’t help, when there are real, tangible issues that are coupled with the mental beating you already do to yourself like no one else can. The added pressure and strain of that just makes everything else tougher to bear.

    Hang in there, friend.

  2. Sometimes it’s like we are twins.

    I’m also in a financial tornado, not sure how to get out or where it’s going to land.

    I also just ended a four year relationship. I knew it was coming and it was only a matter of time, but it still seems abrupt. And ours also formed and became serious SO fast it was ridiculous. And he’s still living here.

    Hang on babe, who knows where we’ll end up, but hopefully we can find a way to enjoy the ride.

  3. It’ll be ok.

    It’s also ok to wallow a bit. Lord knows I do it enough. I’ve also had the money troubles lately and they are very sucky. I really want the gremlins that sneak into my bank account at night and steal away my money to stop. I am so very tired of being poor as well. Good god am I tired of being poor.

    I also understand the relationship woes. I was only dating the last guy for three months and yet it hurt so badly when he disappeared, I got very close very fast on that one. You aren’t alone and you aren’t weird is what I’m saying.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wanted to just curl up in a ball under my desk and just hope everyone would forget about me. *big internet hug from a stranger* It’s ok, you do what you need to do. Get drunk if you need to get drunk. Just don’t forget that you do have to keep going, even if you don’t want to.

  4. It will get better, I swear to god. I know it sucks so much right now, and you may end up making changes or having changes made for you, but you will get through them and life will be better again. Promise.

  5. I feel your pain. I have huge money problems, hate my job, hate collection agencies calling me when I forgot (can’t afford) to pay my credit card bills… I want my mommy to come and take care of me and make it all better, but *I* am the mommy now, which scares the crap out of me.

  6. OK, I am having the same kind of fucking week. What gives?? Is it a full moon or something? I’m totally ready for it to be over.

    Example: It’s like 100 degrees out, there’s a huge fire (5k acres) nearby so everything is smokey and ashy, I had to meet with the class whose professor I am assisting this semester, so I’ve got my purse and laptop over my shoulder, my heavy-ass backpack on a luggage cart my MIL gave me, and I’m distracted by a poster salesman parked outside the student bookstore. I find a poster that will be perfect, framed, for my newly painted kitchen. I pull one out, it starts to blow away at the same time my backpack falls through the luggage cart and my glasses fall off. I don’t know which thing to take care of first. All I needed to do was shit my pants and it would have completed that moment in my life. *sigh*

    And that’s how my whole life is feeling right now. Make it go away.


  7. Oh, what a wretched place to be in. I’ve been there, and I got through, and I still remember the panicky stomach-churning every time I thought about what I had to do, and it’s awful, and I’m so sorry.

    On the first thing, though? I’ve done enough editing and proofreading to know that you cannot proofread accurately and well 14 hours a day. It simply cannot be done. There are jobs that can be done for 14 hours a day — sadly, I hold one of them now and pull those hours frequently — but proofreading is not one of them. It’s not a 9-hour-day job, frankly. Of course you will miss things. The job is designed poorly, if it is designed for you to catch teeny errors perfectly all day long. That isn’t you being imperfect. Take that one off the list of worries.

    People who are not themselves editors do not understand the level of concentration that proofing requires. Are there things you can suggest that you might do for the company as a break from the proofing proofing all the time proofing?

  8. I have a job that requires me to send out reports that are perfect. They act like there is zero tolerance for errors. But the thing is, if that’s true, then I can’t do this job and neither can anyone else. You can’t produce a perfect work product. I understand this but I have spent hours in hysterics, crying uncontrollably about what a fuckup I am because I can’t do it right, and why am I so much stupider than everyone else, and no doubt taking years off my life in the process.

    I know some of you are proofreaders/editors and fabulous at it, but I just don’t see how anyone can expect to be perfect 14 hours a day, or 9 hours, or 6 hours. Eventually a mistake will be made. It doesn’t compute for me. Hopefully you just have layers of review such that the proofreader is obviously the main reviewer, but if a mistake is made (and it will be) then someone else can catch it.

    Anne, I don’t know your specific job situation, and I am in a much different profession, but from my own experience I would be willing to bet that your coworkers and superiors have a much better impression of your job performance than you do. But I understand that panicky, black abyss where in a given moment you feel like you are the worst (fill in the blank) in the world, and all of your peers are much better at it than you. And if you don’t somehow get a handle on that panic and refuse to believe it, it will paralyze you further and make it even harder to do your job well. I don’t have an answer because I can’t seem to get out from under it, but you’re not alone.

    I hope you are in a position to get some kind of help/treatment/whatever for the depression that I think you have mentioned suffering from in the past… it sounds like a really overwhelming time for you, and it makes my stomach hurt that you have to cope with all this by yourself while feeling this way.

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