I found a therapist and my first appointment with her is Friday. Deep sigh. That wasn’t nearly as dramatic or as difficult to write as I imagined it would be. It wasn’t even that difficult to say. I think I have Janelle to thank for that. God bless my writer friends. But I bet you’re wondering how I got here, right? That’s valid. I’ve been collecting my thoughts for weeks. So here we go…
*turns on Spotify playlist for background noise*
My friend Janelle is a freelance writer. She writes a column for Essence.com and she’s pretty damn awesome. Anyway, she wrote a column recently where she spoke about both she and her teenage daughter going to therapy. I read it. It settled on me. It sank in. And then I wanted to cry. Why? Because that’s been my status quo for the last couple of months–and it’s getting worse. Let me keep going.
I turned 34 a few weeks ago. Now, my birthday month was full of fun and merriment and good times. I hung out with my friends, my family and I wore the cutest dresses. It was my goal to dress to impress every day. To care about my appearance. To look pretty on purpose. This, because I have the all too easy habit of just trying to be comfortable when I go to work and other places. Anyway, that was what I wanted to do for July. Be pretty. Feel pretty. Spend time with the people who love me. And I did. I bought new clothes and wore them. I took pictures and posted them. I “turned up” and randomly tweeted #turndownforwhat. All that jazz. But as soon as July was over and I looked back at it, I realized that there were a lot of things I DIDN’T do. I didn’t do anything having to do with my real life. I didn’t clean my house, find a handyman or call the lawn people. I didn’t check on the copyright for my book or check back with the artist about the cover art. I didn’t focus or organize myself at work. I didn’t finish any of the projects I set aside for myself. And I had to grasp and really comprehend the fact that I didn’t do any of those things because I was tired. Mentally. I had to acknowledge that. That I’m tired. And that I’ve been tired. Going out for drinks and having barbecues with my family was the easy part of July. And even when I did THOSE things, there were moments when I zoned out and still wasn’t fully engaged. Because I’m tired. So tired.
So August rolls in, and my constantly thinking, overly-analytical self needs to pull this apart and figure it out. I sit with myself, and think over everything that’s been happening. And a lot has been happening. My niece is pregnant. My nephew just had his second child. My Kah is having a baby and so is my brother’s girlfriend. New life, everywhere you turn and where am I? Still all alone. Dating is at a complete standstill and there’s no way to make it move. I’m so fucking tired of being alone. And the last guy I liked? I had to come to the unfortunate conclusion that he and I are not meant to date. Ugh. I had another friend express an interest in me. Where did he go? Your guess is as good as mine. He did some travel for work, and I never heard from him. I guess he really wasn’t interested. Anyway. So there’s that. My best friend is getting married and I will have to leave the house we share early next year. Not only will I be leaving my house, but I will be losing the in-house support that I had in her. We’ll still be best friends, but she has other priorities–like my other best friends. And my Kah has another life to consider now. I’m happy for them. Their complete success and happiness is everything I’ve ever wanted for them. But it’s tough being the odd man out. My job is less and less fulfilling every day, every minute. My supervisor says she can tell I’m not really focused on my work. I can’t argue with her. I’m not. I haven’t been; I haven’t cared to be. I’ve been sitting in my complacency with this job for years, because I liked the things the job was able to afford me. But I don’t like the job. I don’t know if I ever did. I’m getting fatter. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. And I have other health issues we won’t discuss. But they make this whole thing harder. I know I’m a comfort eater. I know I eat my emotions. And when those emotions are sadness, and loneliness, and frustration–you can imagine how that affects the scale. I already struggle with my confidence, but it seems like every day life is finding new ways to tell me I’m not good enough. And I finally had to 1)acknowledge all these feelings and 2) admit that I can’t handle this on my own. I am simply… overwhelmed. By my life.
I had some conflicting feelings when I was thinking of writing this down. I didn’t want to come across as having a pity party, or as someone who is ungrateful for what I do have. But then I realized that was part of the problem too. This pressure I keep putting on myself to appear as someone who doesn’t need help. Someone who is patient and gracious and happy. I’m not saying that I don’t want to be those things. But right now I’m just not. I’m sad. I am sad. And it’s been a struggle not to fall apart. EVERY DAMN DAY. I love TV. But I watch reruns because I don’t have the mental space to watch a show that I have to follow and engage in. I go to bed early and I wake up tired, still. I eat bad food because not only does the thought of cooking make me tired all over again, but there’s a momentary pick-me-up in a french fry that’s just not in a carrot. Trust me, I looked. I’ve gone so long being the one that’s always “okay.” The one no one ever worries about. The one that doesn’t need help. The one that’s going to push her way through no matter what. The one who comes out on the other side. But lately everything is murky and cloudy and I know the end of the tunnel is near but I’ll be damned if I can see it. And I need to be honest and strong enough to admit that I’m not always “okay.”
I was afraid of coming to this decision. Because therapy is raw. You have to be brave and bare yourself. It doesn’t work unless you do. And I didn’t know if I was ready. But this is not just a funk I need to pull out of. This is real. And as much as I’ve bared myself in this space, with my words, there’s still so much. I’m still full of unshed tears. And this can’t continue. So here we are.
Wish me luck, my friends.