Some people, I think, are lucky enough to know what they’re thinking or feeling when, well, they’re thinking it or feeling it. For some of the rest of us, our thoughts and feelings are like massive weather systems, too big to be fully comprehended. Yes, we can feel the wind blowing this way, and yes, we can feel the wind blowing that way, but it’s hard to finally figure out that there is a massive storm making landfall that will take three days to move through. We can may be see some of the signs and symptoms of what’s coming, but we don’t really get it until it’s upon us, or perhaps has even passed it’s way.
If you asked me how I thought I was doing, I would say that right this second, I’m doing pretty okay. I feel like things are sort of vaguely under control. To you, even the language I’m using says “Whoa!! Major alert! Things are not cool!” To me, I am busy thinking of all the ways it could be worse–I’m not crying right now; I’m not hurting from so much built up muscle tension; I’m not immediately scared about tomorrow. Things are pretty okay, I guess.
But they’re not.
Because I Can’t Take It Anymore.
I am gradually, slowly, tediously becoming a better meteorologist. And here’s the thing–even when I can’t see all things looming on the horizon (probably because I’m resolutely looking the other way), I know that something is massively Not Okay, when I Can’t Take It Anymore. Everything is too much. And I mean everything. Like all those little annoying things, like someone always chewing with their mouth open. Now, it’s not a little annoying thing. It’s a problem. I mean, it is really A Problem. It is not okay.
And a rational person (does such a creature exist?) would say, “Um, hello? That person has always chewed with their mouth open. You have managed to survive it thus far; it is probably not a cause for a world crisis now.” Well, too bad. Because I Can’t Take It.
Other people who can maybe pick up on the not so subtle signs that I maybe can’t now begin to ask helpful questions, like, “Um, so, what’s been going on lately?”
“Nothin’ much.” We both know this is a lie; but this is not me attempting to deceive you. This is me making a desperate, wild attempt to deceive myself, because I want that to be the answer so very badly. Also? Because I just noticed that you asking that question made me want to cry, and I don’t want to cry–least of all in front of you. And also? Because I don’t know why I feel like crying. I’m just going to anyway.
So you know it’s a lie, and I know it’s a lie, and you try to probe a little deeper, so now I have to engage in on the spot psychoanalysis. What this really means is that I tell you the first things that pop into my mind that make me feel unhappy and sad, while still shielding you, me, any innocent bystanders and also inanimate objects–and did I mention me?–from the core of things that really bothers me.
I don’t know what really bothers me. Part of this is because denial, I’m sure. Part of it is because there are so many things interacting with so many different other things, it can be hard to pick out A Reason. And maybe partly is because I’m not sure I can trust anyone (including myself) with that much vulnerability. It can be really hard to admit to yourself your fears and hopes and dreams. It can be really hard to admit what you’re disappointed by; it can be really hard to admit what you’re looking for.
Maybe some lucky people get to figure this out by bland logic. Some of the rest of us, who aren’t so lucky, find out we’re in Big Trouble by waking up at 2 am and not being able to fall back asleep. Repeatedly. You might be thinking that would mean I was laying awake thinking about troubling things, but that would be putting me back in the “lucky” category. What I am doing is laying awake thinking, “Oh, God, I’m so tired, why aren’t I asleep? What am I supposed to be thinking about during normal waking hours that is now preventing me from sleeping? Please just tell me so I can hurry up and think about it and go back to sleep, because I am so, so tired.”
I have been doing this for almost 2 weeks now. I would like very much now to figure out what is wrong, so I go back the heck to sleep. Instead, things have progressed merrily to I Can’t Take It Anymore. People, I am working overtime to figure out what my problem is. I usually just come up with “I’m overwhelmed.” By what? How? What for? What changed?
I don’t know. I don’t have any of the answers. All I know is that I Can’t Take It Anymore. This is a totally unhelpful piece of information, and it’s pretty much all I’ve got. Even at the special hour of 2 am.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG, PEOPLE, BUT IF IT DOESN’T GET BETTER SOON, I’M GONNA PUNCH SOMEONE!!
Except not really, because punching people hurts my fist. It is more likely to be emotionally catastrophic than physically catastrophic. It’s like this big, loud alarm going off, and people are running around asking what’s wrong and what to do about it. Is it a fire? An air raid? A tsunami?
“Well,” this is the answer, “what happens is, the siren goes off anytime something really, really bad is going to happen. But we don’t know what. So I guess you can keep running around and screaming if you want; I really don’t have any better suggestions.”
Now please also remember that this alarm-siren likes to go off at 2 am. Shoot me now.
I know some of the things that I’m craving: affirmation. chocolate. sleep. to be individually important to someone. sunlight. resolution. affirmation. answers. space of my own. sleep. meaning. to work with someone, instead of by myself. affirmation. Yes, I know that one keeps popping up. How about that. What am I supposed to do with that? Put it on my shopping list, and take it off shelf that affirmation is stocked on? Put it on my to-do list? Affirmation is like a hug–if the wrong person gives it to, or gives it to you for the wrong reason, it’s just creepy and gross, or at the very least ineffective.
When I Can’t Take It Anymore, I write lots of long, wandering words that are pretty well summed by: I am in distress. If you were hoping to get more than that out of this blog post, I apologize; so was I.