I’m in pain. I think it’s grief. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest.
I got a letter from work. We are keeping our jobs. After all, there will always be a place for second-hand stores like Goodwill. They got their PPP funding. Towards the end, it said to not travel anywhere because we will need to be instantly available when called back. And we are getting paid in the meantime. Part of me is thrilled.
But another part was unexpectedly sad. I had been thinking lately that, if I am going to be unemployed, there is no imaginable reason to be unemployed in Lake Effect Hell (aka Michigan). I have gotten back into the habit of looking for things to get rid of. I am so lucky to have a job, so I was truly surprised to have any hint of an “Oh, crap” feeling.
I decided not to call my mom this past Sunday. I realized that I was more concerned about my parents’ well-being than even they are. How caretaking is that? That’s too dysfunctional even for me to contemplate. But there you go. As a kid, I remember seeing my mom cry because my brothers were creating such drama. So I always tried to be the good kid.
Fast forward to today. And I’m realizing that my parents don’t take the virus seriously. My mom called me and started quoting Faux News bs at me. She acts like Whitmer and Obama are responsible for all things bad in the world. Number one, Whitmer is trying to save lives in a situation where there are zero good solutions. And here’s a newsflash: Obama hasn’t been in office for four years! Next thing you know, Hillary Clinton will be at fault for something (who knows what?). Ma’s perspective is detached from reality.
The problem is that this is nothing new. I have been realizing lately that if I saw today a kid that acted like I remember acting, I would whip out my I-phone instantly and call Child Protective Services. No hesitation. I remember chasing my brother Mike with a knife. He died last summer, so I’m not worried about his privacy. And I pulled off my fingernails and toenails. I had major problems with ingrown toenails because of that. To this day, my big toes don’t have real toenails. And I only recently stopped picking my nails, I am still unsure if this is a permanent thing. Self-mutilation is a sign of trauma. And chasing a sibling with a knife is a sign of something. Us kids were really expected to solve our own problems. To say that we did not know how would be a massive understatement. Ma just did not take responsibility for anything. Ever. Whatever occurred, she assumed (wrongly) that we would grow out of it. Never happened. We grew out of nothing ever because no issues were addressed at any time. It reminds me of an old 12-step saying: if nothing changes, nothing changes. Now it’s 2020 and the chickens have come home to roost. Consequences are rearing their ugly heads and no learning has happened. I’ve been watching one train wreck after another and I am very tired of it.
The virus will probably kill off my parents and remaining brothers. Part of me doesn’t even want to talk to my folks anymore, but another part says to try to keep a small amount of relationship with them because they won’t likely be around much longer. I have to stick around for a few more train wrecks.
I have realized in the past few weeks that my suicidal thoughts were really an indication that I wanted out of my family, not life itself. When I didn’t call Ma yesterday, I felt really good about it, like I was taking my life back. So she called me today. Ugh.
Now you can see why I want to sneak out of Michigan and leave no forwarding address. So many levels of grief.
Here is a hilarious postscript. Someone a few weeks ago signed for (stole) a package from me. It was a 2-pack of half-slips from Woman Within. Yesterday I got an email from WW saying they had accepted my return. I didn’t return anything, but my account had been credited. In other words, the thief clearly assumed something far more interesting was in the package. When they realized what was inside, they returned the contents. I appreciate that, but it also indicates that the stuff I buy isn’t sufficiently interesting to steal. Too funny. I laugh every time I think about it.