Some days I wish I had the white flag of surrender duct-taped to my forehead, so that people would see it, and instead of engaging me with small-talk about whatever the frig, they’d just walk on by. Preferably the flag would cover the better part of my face, just leaving two little holes for my eyes and one for my nose and mouth – so that people wouldn’t have to see the F*&K off to planet earth that I have smacked across it.
Why aren’t these surrender-flags a thing? And why has no one besides me realized that there is a huge gap in the market that someone could easily capitalize on? “Surrender-Face-Flags”, (which will be from here on in referred to as SFF) should be a universally accepted thing, like black armbands were ages ago. Nobody bothered a person with a black armband because they knew they were grieving and probably wouldn’t want to talk to them. You know what? WHERE IS MY BLACK ARM BAND…. BECAUSE I AM GRIEVING. I am grieving my sanity.
Note: I know my boyfriend is going to read this and get himself all upset, because I am bitching and moaning and he’ll think it’s his fault. So here is my disclaimer: IT IS NOT PATRICK’S FAULT. He is awesome. He’s a kick-ass warrior. He’s a good boyfriend. He’s an inspirational dude. So Patrick, you can crumble up that ball of worry and throw it in the trashcan. And then you can proceed, just like everyone else.
I’m the reason for this rant. It’s me. It’s my ability, or lack of ability rather, to handle what is on my plate, which is always, unendingly, irrevocably full. Like, if life were a trip to the Sizzler, and the Universe was the only customer, and my life were his plate – he’d be a big, fat, sweaty, ravenous dude, who piled so much food onto it, that it almost defies the laws of physics with its towering up to the sky.
Or at least, that’s how it feels. And here’s why.
I do a pretty good job of managing our life. I manage Patrick’s TBI. I manage our bills. I manage to bring in money. I manage to handle the doctor’s appointments. I manage to fundraise to keep us afloat. I manage to find time to research new alternatives. I’ve even lately, miraculously, found a way to manage my own health. But that leaves me maxed out. There’s no room on the plate for anything else. This explains why gigging much is so very hard for me. It explains why our schedule can be wide open on some days, but I barely feel like I get anything done. I may have hit a stride with how I manage our unique life. But I have little energy, clarity of thought or organizational skills to accomplish much else. And if a curveball is thrown in? Well, it can level me in a day. (I imagine a lot of caregivers feel this way).
So when, let’s say at your cousin’s wedding, you discover a large ringed-shape lesion on your leg, maybe you ignore it. Because, you think nothing of it, because you spent a solid week prepping for the wedding, which was exhausting, because your plate is full. And it isn’t until the following day, when you find that this oddly shaped lesion has made two friends on your foot and ankle, that your brain decides to perk up and do some work.
And THEN you remember that your boyfriend hasn’t volunteered at PetSmart in 3 weeks because there was an outbreak at the shelter. And you remember handling the cats when you dropped him off. You THEN remember that an email went out as a precaution, but you did nothing about it because you saw no signs of anything on you, your man or your cat. The words “21 days to incubate” flash in your mind. And then, finally your rusty, dusty old piece of crap brain puts the puzzle together and WALA!!! You discover you have… guess what…frigging RINGWORM.
So, since it’s a holiday weekend and you can’t call your vet – you frantically begin to do research. You learn that you have to quarantine your cat for four weeks, who is your boyfriend’s ESA, which means listening to her scream and cry all night. You learn that you have to sanitize the whole house, apply a cream for a month, and look for signs of it on your cat, who if not properly quarantined could give it back to you, or your boyfriend, and vice versa in a vicious unending cycle. And well, oh boy… THEN you feel all of this information starting to fight for room on your already full plate…and suddenly you psychosomatically feel itchy everywhere….and your brain starts to scream… “MAY DAY! MAYYYYYYYY DAYYYYYY” and it just shuts the fuck off.
You should clean the house. You should set up the crate. You should sanitize all the cat toys and put the shoes out in the sun, and do a hundreds loads of laundry. But you think seriously about laying by the pool until September.
Because there was no room on the plate for ringworm. There’s no room on the plate for the vet who won’t call you back, or for the Inspire Cardio tech guy who showed up at 7:40 am when he wasn’t supposed to arrive until 8:30, and is as a result denied access by the front desk at your building, leaving you with a ginormous box of unusable cardio equipment in your living room. There’s no room for cancelled PT and aquatic, and neuropysche appointments. Not when your exhausted from a beautiful wedding you attended over the weekend, that for most people was nothing but fun and relaxation – but for you, was FUN, but also tiring and stressful and invoked a ton of emotion.
There. Is. No. Frigging. ROOM.
So you take out an old pillow case. And you cut it into a circular shape about the size of your face. And you take a black sharpie marker and write S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R on the top of it. And you cut some holes for your eyes, nose and mouth. You grab a roll of duct tape. You go into the bathroom. And you put that SFF right onto your face, and wrap duct around your head. And then you put on your bathing suit, and you walk out onto the patio. Nobody says a word to you, because they see the SFF and figure you are a crazy person, (because the SFF industry has not yet been born).
And you lay in the sun, feeling that cool, white linen on your skin, and you stare up through your eye slits into the wild blue yonder. You take a fucking nap, hoping that when you wake up, some of your plate will be cleared by the restful afternoon, and there will be enough room on it again…for Ringworm.
(Click here to subscribe for free to our blog)