I almost cried in the food store yesterday. I don’t know why. It happened while I was pushing my cart down the canned vegetable aisle. One minute I was scanning the shelves for black beans and the next I was squeezing my eyelids shut, willing the tears back into their ducts. I didn’t want to be seen crying in the middle of the food store like some kind of lunatic.
Nothing was wrong. Nothing really. And, I like food shopping. Actually, I look forward to food shopping. It’s the one job I can do and be free of all my other obligations. At the food store I have one task to focus on. That’s it. I don’t have to worry about the million and one other things. Just follow the list, and find the stuff on it. Simple.
It happened again in Starbucks. I was looking up at the board trying to decide between a latte and a frapuccino when the tears came. Again, I blinked them back, afraid the barista might see. I turned and left without a drink.
Sometimes I have so many thoughts swimming in my head, I can’t make sense of them all. I can’t think. It feels like a fog has settled in my brain. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Everything seems like bullshit. I don’t know what’s genuine or fake – from the world or myself. I don’t even know what I want to say. So I say nothing. I become paralyzed.
I stare at the computer screen for hours waiting for something to come. Nothing does. Or I write a whole bunch of garbage and delete it all. The stuff I want to write isn’t sellable. The stuff that’s sellable, I don’t want to write. I’m lost.
I waste so much time, so much time, because I don’t know what to do. It makes me more anxious.
I had 8 hours. I got nothing done. How could I not have gotten anything done in EIGHT hours? Oh my God, I’ll never catch up. I’m gonna have to work double-time tomorrow, and I still won’t be able to get everything done. I just wasted two more hours on Facebook. I’m failing.
I try to remain upbeat and positive. I know I have no right to complain so I joke around, but half the time I’m fighting depression. I don’t like to write about depression. It’s depressing.
Last week was the week of doctors. My appointments, my kids’ appointments, every appointment under the God damn sun. I never cancel because then I’ll just have to reschedule for another time that will be equally inconvenient.
Everything’s fine. Just the annual well-care visits. They used to be called check-ups. You’re supposed to schedule them each year around your kids’ birthdays. My kids’ birthdays were over the winter.
I took one kid one day and the other the next because they see different doctors in the same practice and apparently you can’t get both of them on the same day. Which was fine because instead of spending five hours in the waiting room in one day, I spread it out over two back-to-back days. I think it turned out to be quicker that way.
They screen for all sorts of stuff these days – sports and activities, grades, screen time, depression. They gave my daughter a short questionnaire, but it was worded strangely, and they had to ask her to clarify.
“Here you circled you ‘take little interest in things,’ and I just want to make sure you understood the question because it’s a little confusing. Does that mean everything? Even things you like?”
“Oh, no, I like some things,” my daughter answered. “I just meant I take no interesting in the things I don’t like. Not everything.”
Like me, I thought, sitting silently in the chair next to her. Nobody asked me those questions.
I smiled at my daughter and the doctor and the staff and everyone in the world and drove home.
Where I’m still waiting for the fog to clear.