I lie all the time. I tell people I’m fine. Dandy. I mean, sure, there are some hard times, but you just gotta breathe. Go with the flow. I seem so wise, right? I mean, even *I* believe that I’ve got it together sometimes.

Well, that is until my tooth hurts so much I can’t chew, or let any water flow to that entire side of my mouth, and the dentist, who I took two weeks to call, says well dear, you’re cracking your molar from clenching your jaw shut all the time, that’s very bad. And then I get fit for a night guard, and told to use it during the day too when I can, because this isn’t just a night thing, hasn’t been for a while now. And the dentist, who FINALLY pronounces my name right by the way(!), says wait, your kids are all out of the house, what do *you* have to be stressed about.

And so I lie again, and say absolutely nothing that I know of should be stressing me out, I can’t understand it myself (which wasn’t really a lie, because I’m just dumb sometimes). And I go home and my own guts start to try to kill me with (ahem) very unpredictable and unpleasant behaviors. So I wait another few days, miss a day of work, and finally get my butt to therapy, where truth happens in spite of my best damn efforts.

Headaches, jaw clenching, gut issues, messed up shoulders and neck. Hmm, what do we have here? Well, it might just be stress. Let’s look deeper, shall we?

Oh my, the stress isn’t just simply daily stuff getting to me, it’s me trying to hold back anything, no, everything unpleasant, which works fine for a little while until the stuff all builds up and I’m trying to dam the whole ocean, which is really a terrible idea as it turns out. Scratch the surface of the dam and I start to leak, and please pass the tissues and just hold on tight because this might take a while. And I’m drowning in sorrow which is NOT depression (phew, for now), but still sort of just, well, awful. And it’s all this close to Mother’s Day when strangers ask about your kids, and friends ask about your kids, and why is this stupid holiday a thing anyway?!

I miss my kids, all of them. But mostly, I miss my girl, because I can’t even say hi to her and get a hi back. And I miss the promises life made to me when I pushed and pulled her out into the world, the ones that said I’d have a hard time with this one, she’s stubborn, and I was excited to suffer the future because I could raise her in love, and it was an adventure and I was up to it. I was, and I am. I was ready for the work. I wasn’t ready to lose the chance, and I’m lying whenever I say I’m fine about it. I’m not fine. But I’m okay. Or I will be okay. Or I’m lying again.

Either way, doctor’s orders, I’m working on a self-care regimen. My go-to method of coping is to not cope. I don’t know how to focus on myself for very long, and it makes me all weird and self-conscious. I don’t know if I should be around people or alone. I don’t know if I should write, read, or just watch re-runs. I don’t want to get a pedicure and I don’t think it will help, but oh I really do need a decent haircut. And some clothes that fit this stress-fed body. But but but I don’t know how to start. Also, where the hell did I put my night guard?


  1. MonicaT

    Self-care, yes. I agree totally. Please give yourself permission for that. And then figure out what it means to you. It’s not going to be the same for any two people, or even for the same person at different times. Sometimes the best answer will be to watch the reruns. Sometimes it’ll be to get up and move (walk or whatever). Etc.

    And then keep giving yourself permission every day.

    Interesting, because I am deep into learning about self-care myself. And I am not getting right, I know, but I’m improving bit by bit. Even doing it imperfectly is a blessing.

    I admire you very much and I know you deserve to treat yourself well! I hope you know that, too, or at least can figure it out.

    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Thank you, sometimes I wonder why I used to think I’d have it all figured out by now. Nobody has it all figured out. Hugs.

  2. Hedgehog

    You made me cry. And you made me do math… again! :O

    But I can’t be cross. I am so sorry that you have these feelings & I just wanted to say that someone cares. And when people ask if you’re fine, be honest. I wish more people would stop pretending to be fine. It would make it easier for me to not be fine as well!

    Totally lost my train of thought now… Anyway, thanks for this post. I think it may help a lot of people to feel less isolated in their non- copingness!

    P.S. would you ever consider moving to wordpress? These math questions are driving me crazy!!

    The non-numerate Hedgehog xx

    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Oh dear. I hate making people cry. Plus, I am on WordPress. The .org one. I don’t know why you have to do math when Jennifer doesn’t, let’s figure that out! Thank you so much for all your kind words. And thoughts. And everything else.

      1. Hedgehog


        1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

          Woah, I didn’t even have to approve you, yay!

  3. Jennifer (J.G) Lucas

    I have been thinking of you/this so much since two of your earlier pieces (parental erasure and the one about the one moment). I want to say, what I promise to say to any friend (and I have read so much from you and love everything you write, and you believe so much of the same stuff as I do, that I have taken the liberty of thinking you as such): It SUCKS! It #$%king SUCKS. And he is an ASSHOLE. And it makes me wish I had super powers and could fix it some how. If only my empathy and rage could do something. Writing is self-care. You are doing it. You are brave. (Sorry for all the parentheses. It is an issue of mine). Love from a fellow jaw clencher

  4. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

    Thank you, you made me cry. I use the phrase impotent rage sometimes to describe how I feel. Also, I’m a tremendous lover of parentheses! And I think we’re friends who just haven’t met yet. :)


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