And no, I don’t mean a main character in one of my stories. I mean ME.
In the past year or so, I’ve been spending a lot of my freee time with one friend or another helping them out. I do some babysitting, the occasional house cleaning, some dog walking, and a lot of general listening to the stories of their lives on any given day. I knew I was working hard at all of these things, but doing them made me feel good, which meant that doing these things where what I needed to be doing. Add the hated job, and I was busy, and pretty worn out.
Yesterday, after I spent some time talking to my writing group friends about why I haven’t been able to write lately, and how I can’t come up with ideas, and how I’m just kind of feeling empty, one of my friends opened her mouth to say something to me. Then she closed it, and I proceeded to make her tell me what she’d been thinking about saying.
She said (paraphrasing) that I’m not being the main character in my own life.
As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. Exactly right. She couldn’t have been more spot-on if she’d tried.
All the helping and listening and everything I’ve been doing for everyone else has made me the sidekick.
As the day wore on and I spent it helping in the coffeehouse, I bounced that (and some other things) back and forth with my barista friend. I realized that I’m angry about the sidekick-yness of my life, and that while I’m mainly angry at me, I’m also a little angry at some of my friends for (unknowingly) taking advantage of me. This anger is plainly illogical, and I need to work through that, but I’m having a pretty hard time with that today.
In church this morning, we sang one of my very favorite songs: “Blue Boat Home”. It’s got lyrics about sailing throughout life, never knowing a harbor or port, and loneliness, and finding things that help you along your journey. It’s about the journey, I guess. I started sobbing, and I couldn’t stop. Someone eventually passed me a tissue (it was my mom’s, which I could tell because it smelled like the gum she keeps in the bottom of her purse), and there were comforting hands touching me as I let it out.
Turns out that the numb feeling I’ve had for a while now–the one I’ve not mentioned to anyone, but noticed myself–was my reaction to the loss and grief and panic I’ve been putting away somewhere over the past few months. I’ve had a couple of friends sick with cancer, a cat that died in the beginning of January, an unspecified stomach-type ailment mid-January into February, the loss of my job in the beginning of February, a birth to support in the end of February, and the unsurety of life in general–I pretty much put all that away.
Fast forward to this week, when I dropped my dose of my anti-depressant by 10mg, spent an entire day at the “naked spa” with a good friend, saw glimpses of emotion about things, and put some things off I shouldn’t have put off (job search stuff, mainly). I guess all of that worked together to bring about my writing group convo and today’s breakdown/through.
I’m drained. I want to go home, lie around with Wanda (the cat), and sleep. Or read. Or play solitaire. Or watch “Supernatural” on Netflix and cross stitch. Or a little of all of that.
Problem? I am supposed to hang out with a friend tonight after choir. I don’t want to. I think that sitting with her will make my anger bubble up and boil over, and while I need to express my feelings about all this to her, I need to do it in a more level-headed manner so that I don’t hurt her feelings any more than might be necessary. It might even be helpful to write out some of the things I’m feeling so that I can figure out how to express myself in the best way possible.
In the meantime…I wanna go home.
Oh yeah…writing. Didn’t for a few days, but picked it up again on Wednesday. Nothing substantive, but words all the same. Going to sign up for the next round. 🙂