My last post talked about how hard the previous year had been. I realize now, months later, that that was taken as a challenge by the universe. A “hold my beer” moment. I get it, Universe, bitch and moan and boy will you show me how wrong I was.
The last six months have been nothing short of horrendous with brief, beautiful moments of joy and peace (Looking at you, K & B!). Otherwise, it’s been nothing short of a shitshow. It made the previous six months look freaking golden in comparison. How do you cope when you’re getting it from all sides? When there’s no safe space? Where there’s not a single part of your life that doesn’t include deep, complicated suffering?
You keep going. You just fucking keep going. Every goddamn day.
My dad has been battling several, intense health issues. Cancer. Pulmonary Embolism (PE). Kidney Stone. Inability to eat food. Sepsis. The universe really has had it out for him this year. Our family is super close, regular BFFs, so this has been an emotional struggle of a magnitude I was truly unprepared for. We head into battle as a family and I do not regret the effort and emotional toll for a second (because LOVE), but it’s so disorienting it’s hard to describe unless you’ve been through it. This is round two for all of us, the first round we battled was with Nan (my paternal grandmother), and I thought that everything we went through with her would prepare me for this. I was wrong. It’s different. It’s not any less hard or emotional, it’s just different.
Along with Dad’s health battles, I am entrenched in the most intense part of my graduate program. I spent the entire fall term (while Dad was in radiation and dealing with the horrible side effects, see also: PE, kidney stone) driving back and forth to Plymouth Elementary School (PES) to teach 7th graders as part of my graduate degree and teacher certification. The day Dad went into the hospital via ambulance for the PE, I went to PES, taught, and then drove straight to the emergency room at DHMC. I was at school four days a week for most of the semester. It was hellacious. I wrote a 40-page final project. I am still not sure how I managed to get that done. I’ll be doing the same sort of class, plus an extra online class this term (yay?).
Add on top of this my full-time job working for a demanding consulting firm, and well, you can start to imagine how it’s just been about survival. This fall my coworker was also out on maternity leave (having the most adorable child), so we were down a woman and no one at work figured out how to staff things properly in her absence. My job is not a 40-hour a week job. Some weeks it could be done in 30 hours, others it’s 60 hours. Nothing is predictable other than that things won’t go as planned and the deadlines will be completely unreasonable.
Here’s the thing. I have felt like I can’t take a break. That’s what all the damn articles say you need to do. “Don’t forget self-care.” Yep. Totally aware that I need to fit that in, but when exactly do I have time for that? But here’s the real kicker, this is exactly the time when you need to take a break.
My friends and family have been amazing, constantly showing support, and for that I am immensely grateful. They’ve been nagging at me to take care of myself, which is good, because I need that. Even when I’m snapping at them, being Queen Bitch of the Martyrs drunk on self-pity, my support system comes and hits me over the head with the self-care bottle and drags my body out of the Wallow Bar. It’s what we perfectionists, we survivors, we warriors need. We need someone to be That Guy and force us to sit our ass down with a cup of tea and a good book and a warm blanket and an adorable damn cat, even if only for an hour.
We can’t keep fighting if we don’t find the time to recharge, but holy shit it’s hard. I am constantly worried about how I should be doing this for work, reading that chapter for school, etc. My brain thinks taking a break is quitting. And sure, finding the time to take an hour to yourself is easier said than done, but you find a way. YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY. You’re worth nothing to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. So take it from someone who sucks at taking a break and who actually decided to make their 2019 New Year Resolution: Take fucking care of yourself, even 10 minutes of quiet, non-rushing time can save your ass in the long run.
Take care of yourself, peeps. I’ll be trying like hell to do the same. ❤