Big things

This morning I woke up with a plan for my day. I would have coffee, fold the sheets still in the dryer, straighten things up when I put them away, and then get down to business building the new desk I ordered for my home office/guest room. The first two items went swimmingly. I even poured a mug of coffee and put it in the fridge for later (hot afternoons here now) and pulled some old duvet covers and sheets to set aside for donation.

I grabbed the box cutter and headed into the living room where the giant box containing my desk has been since it arrived on Tuesday. I slid the coffee table out of the way and sliced through the outer layers of bubble wrap and tape. I got one end of the box open and began sliding pieces out. There are SO many pieces and they are heavy and the box has become the inside of Mary Poppins’ purse and then there’s styrofoam and more pieces. I stopped and leaned back against the couch. I reassessed trying to slide everything out of one end. I picked up the box cutter and started to slice down the length of the box, and rocked back on my heels. M came in and asked if I needed help getting the box open. “Please,” and I handed him the box cutter. He opened the box and saw what’s in there and the scope of this project. I leaned back against the couch. M looked at me, tilted his head, asked if I’m okay. I nodded. He looked at me. Asked if I’m overwhelmed. I nodded again, and big fat tears rolled down my cheeks. He offered to build it for me, but I’m stubborn and said, “I have today to do this, I should do it.” He said, maybe this isn’t a Saturday project. “This isn’t a today project.” Quitely, he began putting pieces back into the box and said he’ll do it for me tonight. I let the tears roll and thanked him.

I had some lunch. I took a nap. I did some yoga because lately when I lie down or bend over my back hurtshurtshurts. My back is shouting the pain my mind wants to ignore. I know why I’m feeling this way today. I’ve known since yesterday morning. Among other things, my birthday is Tuesday, and I am blue.

I was 16 when I was diagnosed with depression, 34 with generalized anxiety disorder. But my whole life my mom and I have called periods like this – the times that occur each year that bring joy for others but sadness for me (and her) – these are the blues. I have the birthday blues. Happiness and contentment, things that come so easily to some are hard fucking work for me. And for some reason I feel sad around my birthday each year. This year it is a different shade of blue, though, tinged with purples and reds around the outside from the anger and rage burning away inside the sadness. Anger for myself given the state of this country, but mostly, anger for others. That the current administration has so completely bungled the pandemic response that over 100,000 people have DIED when death could have been avoided. That we cannot celebrate safely together the big and small moments in life. That new mothers are marooned on an island with little support and contact to sustain them. That the aged are often unable to see those they love. That for someone with a less than stellar immune system, it is not safe to shop for yourself, or wander into a closed space without knowing ahead of time how many people may already be in there. And then for the black and brown bodies murdered and killed by white hands. I will listen and learn and do the work before engaging in this conversation.

So yes. I am sad and angry and it feels impossible to carry on with regular aspects of life. These are some heavy, heavy birthday blues.

2 thoughts on “Big things

  1. And today is Tuesday so I’m reading this on your birthday. I want to wish you moments of love, calm, and peace for your birthday. I hope you find some. And i felt pretty horrible over the weekend when doug and i were out for our anniversary weekend, enjoying hours long rides through the unbelievably beautiful WVA countryside, because I felt like I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy this. The world is on fire. It is selfish of me to look at cows grazing on hillsides like some sort of pastoral post card.

    But we can’t be good to others if we can’t be good to ourselves once in a while. We can’t build up storehouses of reserve strength to love and fight for the world if we’re absolutely tapped out.

    Be good to you today, know i hold you in heart today.

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