This has been a hard month. I’ve been so depressed some days that I spent the afternoon in bed, deep in the sleep that had eluded me the nights before. I have been entirely unsuccessful in my job hunting. In several cases I’ve gotten as far as the interview, but when they find out I’m not able to travel, I can see them shut off their interest in me as clearly as if they’d turned off a light. I don’t know when the job began needing travel – this has come as an unwelcome surprise to me. Of course I can’t; my connections here are still too tenuous to even consider abandoning my daughter for any length of time, even if I could arrange it. Even if I would want to, which I don’t.
I have been struck by a terror so stark that it paralyzes me. I am afraid that my confidence in making this move was all crazy wishful thinking, and that I will be forced to beg for help sometime soon. The happiness that I felt in returning to this place that I love and yearned for has been tainted with doubt and fear. I have so few resources and fewer people whom I can lean on.
This is a sadly familiar state to find myself in. Having spent a big chunk of my life feeling trapped and miserable and clueless how to extricate myself from my situation, I felt that way living in my parents’ house, both as a child and later – when I was in California the last four years. Staying would have been easier in several ways, but I was dying inside. I had a job, and a roof over my head, but I was far from everything that I loved, except my daughter. I endured it as long as I thought I could, but now I wonder if I should have stayed anyway.
Everything I sought to spare my daughter from, she is experiencing anyway. I failed to keep her from feeling torn from her familiar surroundings. She misses my mother and she misses her dad, both people who have failed me in huge ways, and the irony is not lost on me. It makes me feel impotent and futile. I wanted her to be able to go to school in a healthy, stable environment and make friends and be able to be a little girl. Instead, she is getting in trouble at school for behavior she never used to exhibit, and seems sad and frustrated more often than not. I have talked to her teacher and others about it, but it is the worst kind of failure, watching my daughter be unhappy.
My mother’s cancer is now being treated with chemo. She finally got to go home, and has been visited by nurses. My father built the ramps, and she has a wheelchair. They sound like they are coping. I feel awful about this, too. I feel like I should do something, but there is nothing for me to do. They won’t accept my help, and so I would be exactly where I was before. Still, I feel devastated that my mother may pass much sooner than anyone ever thought she would, and I took my daughter away from her when they needed each other. The guilt is a heavy sinking feeling.
I think about whether I can or should continue to live here in this townhouse. It has a lot of what I want, but there are some things I wish were different. If I have to move, where will I go? I have a lease until June. The thought of packing up again almost nauseates me. I would hate to lose the greenbelt and the closeness to the school. But the neighbors we made friends with are moving next month, and the neighbor on the other side is a nuisance that won’t be easily resolved, and I wish we had a little more room. This unit is a little too close to the pool, and on summer nights when I like to sleep with the windows open, the noise keeps me awake far too late. I think about that when I consider trying to find another place.
All of these are feelings I keep largely to myself. I know that if I were working, much of my anxiety would go away, and the negative thoughts be pushed down in the busy routine of “normal life.” In my fantasy, right after I feel the most terrified and distraught the phone rings and everything falls into place. I don’t really expect this to happen, though.
I am used to being busy and accustomed to feeling useful. All the time management skills I developed over the years are lying as dormant as the trees outside my window. Time seems to be speeding past me, without me. It’s been a hard month.
3 years ago