I am tired. Bone-tired. Exhausted. Spent. Wrung out. Knackered. Drained. Weary.
You get the idea.
It’s the kind of tired that nudges against the slippery slope of depression, teetering on its edge, gripping madly to the toehold of sanity. I am physically tired, true. But today I am also emotionally tired, and that, I believe, is the more debilitating of the two. When you are physically tired, you can sleep away the symptoms and awake, some time later, a different person, with a different body, and a different perspective. When you are emotionally tired, sleep only postpones the inevitable trudging through another day. It is a respite, yes, but not a cure. No, definitely not a cure.
Lately I have found myself whispering under my breath that “I am tired of [this]” and “I am tired of [that].” Today, that pile of things I’m tired of toppled over and pinned me down so that I felt like I could barely move.
So, as I am wont to do, I decided to write about it and thereby toss that irritating pile from atop me and send it heaving into the ether of the internet.
These are the things I am currently tired of:
- I am tired of being invisible. I am tired of all the things that I do and gestures that I make not being noticed by the people closest to me. I know that we all feel this way sometimes, but its commonality does not diminish its annoying, cloying weight.
- I am tired of being criticized for my parenting. Frankly, I think I’m doing a pretty decent job overall and I happen to actually like the kind of parent I am. I have no intention of turning into a militant Mother General because that is not who I want to be, and I have finally (Jesus, it’s taken me 47 freaking years!) realized that reason is good enough. Yes, maybe I would have less of #1 if I were more exacting and less understanding, but I grew up under a Mother General, and while I was very good at abiding her rules and doing my chores, I am also now very good at avoiding having to see her or communicate with her. So do the math before you tell me how to raise my kids.
- I am tired of worrying about how I look. This is all on me, I know. I lecture my daughters endlessly about body approval vs. body shaming, and we talk only about being “healthy” and “fit,” never about being “skinny” or “pretty.” But, I am of my generation not theirs, and when I look in the mirror, it is altogether too discouraging. No amount of expensive age cream is going to bring back my cheekbones. My stomach is likely to never see daylight in public again. And I’ve had to face that I am now “curvy” rather than “slender,” no matter what I do. But I hate it. I really, truly hate it. I feel like nowadays I dress to conceal my deficits rather than to show off my assets. And, being adopted, I don’t really have much idea what’s coming down the road at me. Who knows what fun and appalling things my body will do next.
- I am tired of “getting through” things. I found myself today thinking, “We just need to get through the summer,” and then immediately thinking, “What the fuck is that? You didn’t leave your marriage and break up your family to ‘get through’ life! What the hell is happening to you?!”
- I am tired of having my joy trampled by others. I have many dark moments, but underneath it all, I truly am a perpetual, hopeless optimist. Unless suffering a clinical bout of depression, I am always certain that things will improve, that life holds pleasant surprises, and that the future is bound to be better. Most days, when left to my own devices, I do a pretty good job of finding the half-full glass amidst the half-empties. On any given day, I can rattle off the multitude of things for which I am sincerely and deeply grateful in my life. But, then, almost inevitably, someone comes along and pours their sour misery into my half-full glass until it’s full of nothing but their disgruntled complaints. I certainly buy into the idea that others cannot make you happy, but to that I add the corollary that they most certainly can make you unhappy. And I seem to have a habit of pulling people toward me who are psychologically incapable of being happy. Nothing is ever okay. The glass isn’t just half-empty, it’s broken and scattered on the floor where someone is sure to step on it, slice open their foot, and die a painful death from sepsis. Trying to hold your happy space around these kinds of people is exhausting. Really.
- I am tired of not writing. I read a lot about authors these days, and I find myself insanely jealous of the ones who simply state: “I make time to write everyday.” Really? Do they not sleep? Do they have professional chefs? Or liveried servants? Do they not have to schedule the carpet cleaners, meet with their financial advisor, shuttle the kids to camp, or get the dogs to the vet? Jody Picoult says that her family understands that she “needs to write, like some people need medication.” That’s great. I’m not sure my family would make sure I got the medication I needed, but they damn well aren’t going to leave me alone long enough to write every day.
- I am tired of feeling guilty. I want to eat what I want, without comments from the peanut gallery, and sleep when and how long I want, without passive aggressive suggestions that I might be a tad bit lazy, and read what and when I want, without being charged with “ignoring everyone,” and watch whatever I want, without having to find something that appeals to everyone (which really means, most of the time, some segment of the family that doesn’t include me).
- I am tired of fighting depression. If you don’t struggle with any form of mental illness (and yes, by mental illness, I do mean anxiety that you like to call “worrying’ and depression that you euphemistically refer to as “the blues”), then you are lucky and I probably don’t know you. For those of us who do have a history of any kind of mental (or physical, for that matter) illness, it is a Sisyphean task to hold it at bay, day after day after day. I swear, I can be really happy, feeling buoyant and grateful and so bloody contented with my life, and then OOMPH! something comes along and knocks the air out of me, and I’m taking deep breaths and trying to hold off the icy claws of the depression monster yet again. It sucks. And I am really tired of it.
- I am tired of meanness. I don’t watch any televised news anymore because it was simply too painful and disappointing. I found myself losing faith in humanity and then discovered that plenty of health professionals advise against watching or reading too much “news,” for precisely that reason. It hurts my heart to hear someone refer to a rape as “20 minutes of action” or to see a Presidential candidate make fun of a developmentally disabled reporter or to hear about dogs being eaten as part of a celebratory festival in China. It seriously hurts me. I don’t know why any of those things are okay and when I try to figure it out, those icy monster claws tug at me. Hard.
- I am tired of being tired. I want to wake up and deal with my to-do list and handle my problems and not feel so completely, utterly, wholly exhausted. I want to live life and not just get through it. I want to occupy my own skin and be permitted to do so without constant, unsolicited guidance.
In all likelihood, none of these things is going to change any time soon. I suppose I could change them, but then again, I’m just too tired.