I have wanted to scream, but I won’t. I’m supposed to have everything under control. If I’m not calm, everything will go to shit.
When my mom first got sick about ten years ago, she called me while I was at work to say she’d collapsed in the shower. I ran from work to our apartment (I worked down the street, thankfully), and found her crying at the edge of the bed upstairs. She said her legs felt like jelly while she was in the shower and she fell in the tub. She wouldn’t stop crying and she couldn’t get up. We called for paramedics and they helped me get her down the stairs, then said it would be more affordable to drive her to the hospital ourselves. She was able to walk a little more, so we took that advice. Since then, she’s been on and off with her well-being. Some days she’s strong. Other days, she can’t walk without feeling lightheaded.
I had to be the calm once again the morning my grandmother died. I was only a couple of hours into sleep when my mom came into the room crying and telling me she’d finally passed away. We immediately bought a ticket and I drove her to the airport so she could travel to Mexico to be there for everything that was going to happen. The prayers, the visits from relatives, and possibly packing up some personal items my grandmother had left behind. When I got home, I didn’t feel any sense of relief. I didn’t feel like I could cry and let out my grief. I loved my grandma. I still can’t cry about it. My feelings are fucking constipated. I still have dreams about her and I get so emotional that I cry in the the dream, but then I wake up and realize I’m in a world where I won’t get to speak to her again.
You know what does make me cry? Rejection. Cold, hard, rejection. Especially after I’ve been led to think that someone really likes me. Petty insecurities will make my eyes explode with years of suppressed emotion. It’s so fucking pathetic. “Are you crying over a guy? Come on, you’re better than that.” No, I think I’m crying about every frustration and chunk of grief that’s been wedged in my throat for years.
When my mom was laid off, I had to make sure she understood that we would be okay, that I would take care of the entire rent and most of the bills. I didn’t tell her that it would mean ending up with $90 until my next paycheck (I still get paid monthly). Sometimes people just want to hear that things will be okay because knowing that at least one person has things under control offers enough of a sense of security.
I thought I would need someone to tell ME that things would be alright. The words don’t come in that way, so straightforwardly. If I take things for granted, I won’t pay attention to the people who’ve been watching out for me. When I was unemployed several years ago and doing a lot of freelance writing, there were internet friends who helped me out so much. They sent me money so I could see a doctor when I had a cough that lasted months. They sent money when they didn’t realize I needed it the most. Later, when I became a teacher again, these internet friends (some family) sent books, school supplies, and other things I needed to make my classroom feel like home. So now that I can afford it more, I try to send out money to those who need it. I have donated also to local businesses owners who were trying to get a new coffee shop open in our town. I give money to my students when they’re hungry after school and I want them to stay for tutoring, or if they need bus money to get home.
Maybe that’s why I won’t scream. Because no matter how close I get to feeling so angry that I want to bite the pillows apart, I remember that I’ve had people looking out for me in whatever way they can best show it. I may not be loved in the way I want to be loved, but I am loved regardless and I have to remind myself of that so that I don’t completely turn into a rotten little shit.