I have become weighted down in my chosen role as the victim. Yes, I am in a somewhat difficult position. My husband is three hundred miles south of me slowly dying of a horrid, progressive disease which has messed up his cognition as well as devastated his body. Dementia is not easy. My job search, at 68 and with a quirky back due to childhood scoliosis and full-spinal fusion, has not led to a single offer of employment. Hell, I haven’t even made it to a second interview and there have been very few first interviews. My attempts to transform my old en suite into a rentable AirB&B room have resulted in disarray. Lately, when met with a challenge, mentally curling up in a fetal position has become part of moving forward at my own pace.
Allow me to give you an example.
My wanna-be AirB&B room needs window treatments. I found the drapes I wanted. I’ve become expert at browsing on-line for hours for every single item needed to renovate the room, until, usually sometime in the wee hours of the morning, indecision becomes impatience and I obsessively check the specifications of the item one last time and order whatever the damn thing is I’ve been waffling about purchasing for weeks. So, the drapes came the day after Christmas and they were perfect, even better than I dared imagine. The soft material is still laid gently across the bed so as to prevent wrinkles.
I cannot get the curtain rod up.
I’ve drilled two tiny holes in my elegant gray, just-painted wall, made a trip to the hardware store to purchase a stud finder, endured the inevitable jokes that purchase entailed, charged my drill, collected the hardware, perched on a step ladder and failed miserable to locate a stud (no jokes. Seriously. I can’t take another stud joke), and ended up with a rather large hole in my pristine wall, and the rod and hardware now laid atop the curtains on the bed.
In addition, I cannot attach the shelf to the armoire which, hopefully, will hold the TV, and I broke off one of the glass knobs while trying to accomplish this task. (crazy glue to the rescue, but still!) The reading lamp, an arch floor lamp, came yesterday. I haven’t even opened the box to attempt to put it together. The bathroom mirror will be here soon and unless I can hang that with nothing more than a hammer and nails, I’m going to need help with that also.
I have dealt with these challenges by mentally going from the specific to the general. This is rarely a good journey. Three days ago, after failing, once again, to successfully attach the curtain rod to the now pincushion-like wall, I backed out of the room and, in approximately three seconds, mentally journeyed from,
“I failed once again to get the curtain rod hung,”
“I’m going to die alone in an unfinished room.”
This mental leap would be hilarious if it was not an absolutely accurate reflection of my mental state at that moment, AND I still have not ventured back into that room. In the interim, I have been having odd chest pains, and these have recently been joined by pain between my shoulder blades. In my younger days I read philosophy, minored in it in college, actually. Now I acquire all my inspiration from Facebook memes. You may have seen the one that says, Do you ever feel like your body’s check engine light has been on and you’re still driving, like, ‘nah, it’ll be fine?’
Deciding to take that meme as an omen, I got myself to the doctor who diagnosed me with costochondritis. A large Latin word which means, no worries, it’s a common condition in old people. As for the pain between my shoulder blades, which was just beginning its daily visit when I arrived for the exam, my upper back was in spasm. This is due to the scoliosis and, once again, there is nothing much to be done for it and I won’t die of it. So, all is good, though the doctor ordered a stress test just to be on the safe side.
I came home tired after a morning spent taking an exam with twenty-one significantly younger people for one open county job, and then racing to the doctor to find out that I am not dying. I spent the evening petting the dog and feeling sorry for myself, leaped, once again, from, ‘I’m tired and frustrated,’ directly and without passing go or collecting $200 fake dollars, to, ‘I’m going to die alone and crippled.’
This morning while sipping my Earle Gray, I came across this interview with my friend Alison Taylor-Brown on my Facebook feed. I really needed the inspiration this morning. Please, read it and do a comparison of her attitude and mine. I dare you. I did. Not in judgement, we all come to our goals at our own pace and with our own detours, but as an incentive to remember that we are strong women, who deserve to be happy, and who will be, if we just keep moving toward our goals.
In my case, I’m also working on asking for help when I need it without seeing that as failure. My son is coming over in an hour or two. Two friends offered to help with getting the rental room prepared and I turned them both down last week. This evening I will ask them to help with whatever my son doesn’t get done today. Life is good and there is much for which to be thankful, for instance, a son who will climb up on the ladder and attach a curtain rod securely to the wall, and friends who will volunteer their time and talents and tools to help me finish that damn AirB&B room. No more fetal position for me. At least not right this moment.