Lately, I feel like I’m wearing a few too many hats, and not all of them fit comfortably. There’s the “writer” hat- editing in the wee hours and trying to read quality stuff when I put the pen down. The “independent lady” hat- paying all my own bills, getting myself sensible adult eating, cleaning, and sleeping habits. The “worker bee” hat- just trying to get all the project balls in the air and keep them that way. And somewhere in there, I try to toss on my “friend,” “daughter,” “sister,” “aunt,” “blogger,” and various other hats that get tossed my way.
Here are three versions of the last few weeks of my life:
Thanks to winter weather and several deadlines, I’ve written up a storm. I’m getting together with some local writers every few weeks and hoping that a little community of other people who love writing will give me a place to go chat about the work in progress, share strategies, and vent when the going gets tough. I got caught in a bit of a vortex with an editor last week, trying to get one line in a poem just right. I’m not sure why it took me six days to get one line re-written, but I’m sending it over for a final review, and I’m hoping he’ll like what I’ve done to fix a rhythm issue. I’m also feeling nostalgic about paper mail, so a few friends and I are planning to write letters and use up our backlog of stationery . I’ve got essays, stories, poems, and books in various stages to work on, so I’m not giving myself any chance to say I’ve got writer’s block. I’d give Writer Me a solid B+ for the last few weeks, with minor points off for a few lazy days caused by a few too many cocktails the night before.
Independent Lady Me:
Well, she’s not doing too hot. The bills are paid. The house is a solid C+ in the cleanliness department- just slightly above average, but no commercial for Spic n’ Span. But on the inside, I’ve been a little shaky. A few weeks ago on a weeknight, at 1 am, I startled awake to a loud banging on the front of my house. I ran downstairs to see if a window had broken, an ice collapse, some other catastrophe. I looked through the peephole in the door and saw nothing. Then, I pulled aside the curtain and peeked out the front window- nothing. Then boom! The ex jumps up in front of the window laughing, angry, and drunkenly slurring something to the effect of “Who’s your daddy?” And I nearly have a heart attack.
It’s been months since he’s shown his face, called, or emailed. I thought we were done with his drunken dramatic moments. It’s been over a year since I threw him out and he moved in with his new girlfriend (who he still lives with, at his mother’s house). I shouted something about calling the police and being scared and he walked off. I did not open the door. He left immediately. I sent an email letting him know that if it ever happened again I would call the police and that I have blocked him from contacting me. I haven’t heard from him since.
But since then, I’m not sleeping very well. He was never physically violent toward me. But being startled awake like that has gotten me shaken up. I’m sleepy all day and then at night, I don’t want to go to bed. I’m scared of being scared again. I feel like I need to stay awake and be ready… for something. I’ve always slept with my phone by my side. The doors all have double locks. And other than the startle factor, I don’t even think he meant to be threatening- he was just drunk and stupid. When I do sleep, I sleep in three or four hour chunks of time and have vivid dreams. The few times I’ve been out for drinks since then, I drink more than I should and come home so I can pass out cold.
And I haven’t said anything to anyone but a few close friends, and even then I’ve underplayed it, because I feel like I need to be able to handle being scared all by myself. Independent Me can do anything, all by myself. That’s what I tell myself at least, so that I can deal with the fact that if I couldn’t, there’s no one to catch me. For the last few weeks, Independent Me would really have liked to be Fully Dependent Me, or at least the Little Spoon to someone else’s Big Spoon. I’ve wished there was someone else to trust to keep watch.
Friend/ Daughter/ Sister/ etc. Me:
Despite winter, I’ve actually made an effort to get out and spend a little time with people this year. The last two weeks haven’t been the highlight of my relationships, I suppose. My dear friends have put up with a few too many late night text messages on weekends when I’ve stayed out too late and still can’t get to sleep. I’ve played phone tag with my family. And worker me, sleepy all day, isn’t in top form, but at least she’s making her deadlines. No one’s seemed angry and frustrated, so bless them all. I can’t tell if I’m being hard on myself due to exhaustion or am really coming off as a total wreck. Maybe somewhere in the middle? If I can knock out two more woefully late emails to friends I’ve offered to help with their job hunts, I’ll feel less guilty. Overall, maybe a C in this category? Even a B, if I’m just delusional deliriously criticizing my performance.
I’m not sure if any of us get all the balls going at the same time. Maybe we all are constantly letting something slip here and there, while we are winning at something else. Lessons learned: a lack of sleep will make anything seem more challenging. I need a nap.