The Unmoveable Weight

“It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”-William Styron

It feels like a huge weight on your chest. It holds you down and tries to keep you from doing anything but lying in bed, and even THAT feels painful.

Lying around watching a marathon of a show I like was about all I could muster this weekend. Somehow I make it out to the grocery store. It was such a beautiful day, and I wanted to try to enjoy it somehow. But I realize when I return home that I left an entire bag of groceries with the cashier.

I simply failed to grab it off the carousel, and she failed to give it to me. In my current mindset, this feels like a tragedy of epic proportions. I was looking forward to that chocolate coconut water, and I left it just sitting there in the bag with the pasta sauce and sweet potatoes. What a waste of money. Of course, the one thing I was looking forward to, I can’t have because I’m an idiot.

I curse and slam my refrigerator door at the realization.

I try to cut myself some slack, to quiet the incessant voice of blame in my head. When you’re sad, it’s hard to think straight. You move as if you’re in a fog. Everything is a herculean effort. There’s no relief. No refuge. It’s an emotional pain, but it’s as strong as any physical pain. It just takes a different form.

You have to act as your own coach to get anything done. “Come on. You can do it. You have work to do.” You have to kick your own ass. You try to focus on the positives in your life, because you feel really stupid for letting this one heartbreak and disappointment cripple you. You remind yourself that you’ve faced worse. A lot worse. But somehow all that reminder does is create a catalog of prior hurts in your mind that pile up like rocks and threaten to crush you.

Thinking back on the shitty relationships and betrayals of the past just reminds you that life can be and has been shit for a really long time, and that little sparkles of hope burn out just as quickly as they arise. Just when you think things could be turning around..THIS time…THIS relationship could be different..it’s not. You get dumped again. You’re alone. So alone.

The thought of entering the dating scene makes you feel like a rabbit venturing into a pack of wolves. Everyone just seems to be selfishly looking to get their own needs and wants met. If you’re attractive, it’s hard to discern who’s seriously trying to get to know you, and who is playing just because they want to fuck you or just want to impress their friends (“I’m dating a model.” You can’t imagine how many times I heard guys I’d dated brag like that.) When too many people have pissed on your head and told you it’s raining, you kind of want to just..stay inside and protect yourself.

My brother took his entire catalog of family home videos he’d collected over the years and got them digitized. They’re harder to watch than I thought they would be. The happy, celebratory holiday videos remind me of a time long since past when our dysfunctional family was able to at least get along to spend nice Christmases together. Now that my parents are gone, their 5 kids are all scattered and estranged. The footage my dad shot right before my mom died of lung cancer reminds me how frail and frightened she was, and what a bleak time that was for me. I was only 26 and still finding my way in the world.

My dad’s gone now, too. Totally lost his memory, his personality, and most of his brain function before dying of Alzheimers 2 years ago, just like my sweet, beautiful grandmother who’s featured in one of the videos. My brother brought his 4 year old daughter, who was named after her, for a visit to her nursing home. Once again..she had that familiar look of death-facing fear that I saw on my mother’s face. Other family members in the room are trying to coach her to help her remember things, not realizing that dementia makes those memories completely unreachable as if those experiences never even happened. It’s a horrific disease.

My college boyfriend, Rob, makes an appearance in some of the videos. Seeing him is like a blow to my heart. My relationship with him was the best I ever had. It saddens me to be reminded of this, because I left him for someone else. I was married to that someone else for 10 years before he left me due to an illness. It’s hard to acknowledge that you left your most loyal companion and friend who truly loved you for someone who abandoned you when the shit hit the fan.

Now, 12 years after my divorce, I am still single. I struggle with wanting to be alone and just shutting out the world, and feeling lonely for someone to share my life with. I detest my own human biology that inspires the latter feeling. I’d like to cut out whatever evolutionary part of me has determined that I need other people, because all they seem to do is let me down. I’m in a career where I’m basically a sex object and everyone wants me — I MAKE them want me so I can pay my bills; yet deep inside, I feel that no one really wants me. The contradiction is surreal. It certainly isn’t true that ‘beautiful’ people never struggle with dating or finding someone to love.

Constant daily bombardment of affirmations about how “sexy” you are just serve as a reminder of how few people see beyond superficial looks, which inevitably fade. Come-ons by guys who have wives or girlfriends just hammer in the perception that nobody can be trusted.

“This too shall pass,” is what my family and friends would keep saying back when I struggled with the crippling anxiety disorder that ruined my marriage. In other words, get a grip. Nothing is permanent.

I know I’ll pull myself up, like I always do, until the next time I get knocked down again. That’s life, isn’t it? What’s the alternative?

Copyright 2017 S. Wade