I know I haven’t been writing as much lately. I admire those bloggers who are consistently witty and funny and…loquacious. (I love that word. If I were a rapper, that would be my name.)
You know how life happens? Things rock along, you make plans for a trip (to the grocery store, to the beach, to Niagra Falls), or you see a quiet weekend and make plans to sew (or weed the garden, or watch all 3 Lord of the Rings) all peaceful and stuff…that’s how I see other people’s lives. Peaceful, with no hiccups or unexpected oncoming trains or cold sores on their lips. I see the biggest worry in their lives as being…”OH NO! I ran out of Tawdry Tart nail polish halfway through my left foot!”
I don’t much hear about the big issues, the worries about bouncing a check or having enough for groceries the next month, because apparently talking about money issues is considered Very Tacky. Everyone answers the same way when asked (in the grocery store/post office/at church) “How are you?”. We all say “Oh I’m great, how are you?” when sometimes the truth is, you aren’t great at all. But if you say “you know, I’m not doing so well.” they don’t answer with “oh, come over here and sit down. I’ll get you a cup of coffee and listen.” No. They get the ‘deer in the headlights’ look and make an excuse to get away from you as fast as they can. Because we all know troubles are contagious, right?
And we simply don’t have the time anymore. People are too busy to be able to sit down with coffee and listen. There’s Epic Shit Happening and We Need To Be Prepared. or something.
*My* problem is that I can listen all day long (and sometimes do). I am fortunate in being a housewife (homemaker, domestic engineer…pick your euphemism), and the children are (essentially) grown so I really can take the time to visit a friend who’s having troubles, drink coffee, and listen. The trouble I have, personally, is with being able to to be the one with the problems, and having someone else offer the coffee. I was raised with the idea that my problems are my own, and everyone else has their problems and are not concerned (or care) about mine. This makes it very difficult for me to share them with someone. All I can think of, when I want to talk to someone, is that they have more important things to do than listen to me whine.
The only time I was able to cut loose and whine at will was about 18 years ago, when I was in therapy to help come to grips with the Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. I realized that I was paying someone $200 an hour to LISTEN TO ME. And, because I paid for that hour, it was MINE. I could say everything I needed to say, and he, because he was a professional, never once minimized it by saying “oh yeah? Well, let me tell you about my problem which is even WORSE.”
Now, from the outside looking in, I do have a good life. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t. But on the inside, there are problems. It isn’t perfect, and most of the problems are my fault, my shortcomings as a wife and mother. Sometimes recognizing that can be overwhelming, and I get depressed. Not just “sigh. I’m sad. I’m going to eat cheetoes and watch Wuthering Heights” depression, but the big stuff that can’t be overcome with a day of self indulgence. It’s the kind of thing like those little sponge animals stuffed into a capsule, when you throw it in water and the capsule dissolves you get this great big creature. Much of the time I can keep the thing stuffed into a capsule, a manageable size that is easily ignored. Every now and then, though, I get hit with a wave and the capsule gets wet and like something out of a cheap Japanese monster movie it grows and grows and becomes more than I can handle on my own. Except that I have to, because other people have their own problems that are more important than mine, and because that Japanese monster of an issue is ALL MY FAULT anyway, and handling it alone is my penance for causing it.
Anyway, this is the reason for the relative lack of posting. I like to post fluffy cheerful things, because I am a Southern woman, and it’s what we do. But life isn’t fluffy and cheerful right now. I have food, a roof over my head, a car that runs, and no one has died or is jail. All things considered, from the outside it looks pretty good. On the inside I am struggling. I have been for a while now. I want someone to fix a pot of coffee and ask me how they can help, then simply listen to what I have to say, without recriminations or advice or saying something about “oh yeah,I’ve got it even worse”. And without charging $200 an hour to do it.