Category Archives: crank

Why do I wait until the last minute to file my taxes when now that I’m separated I know I’m going to get money back, but only because I have extra withheld?

A story in stupid procrastination, not taking the advice I give to other women, and useless railing against the patriarchy and government systems weighted against women, women who aren’t married, women who are separated, and women who earn less than men, by me.

Some day I will be a grown up.  Not this year, though.

Fishing lessons

(burnt-sounding post ahead, and revised from original post)

At the risk of sounding like a privileged jerk, the employee population at my store has been underserved in years past.  That’s not their fault, and I’ve been working to remedy that by making the information accessible in visible handouts, through training sessions, though visits to the departments, through my door being open, etc.  My team members are from all over the world, with varying levels of English, writing, and computer literacy– I have found that in general terms, they don’t know a whole hell of a lot about things they should know (and should have been informed about), like their benefits, their discounts & perks, and how to move from one store to another, much less the basics of how payroll works.  The overwhelming ignorance, coupled with information from more-informed colleagues, in-store and out-, that confirms that my predecessor just couldn’t be bothered to take the time, is something it’s going to take me a while to cure.

As a result, I feel guilty shoving them off and telling them no, I don’t have the time to help them at any given moment, even though the fact is, yes.  I am ALWAYS busy.  Especially when the problem is complex (insurance choices?  labyrinthine, but I still have to look at the state health connector on their own time, I’m can only tell them what ours is about and if they do the research and bring it in to me, highlight to contrasts) and I do feel like there is a lot of caretaking and trustbuilding I still want to make sure is on a firmer foundation– but man, it’s exhausting.  Six months in to this location, I’m feeling more than a little bit burnt.

There are also a bunch of special flowers who are capable of doing things on their own, but don’t want to and just want attention, and those I need to find a firm and not unkind way of saying they need to prove that they’ve failed, first, because it’s all about being a grownup.  My position isn’t called Adult Resources, but it should be.  Prove you’re an adult, then we’ll look at resources.

Coming into the store & trying to be a resource & open, available, has been like unleashing the floodgates on myself, because I do want to help– but at the same time, because too many of them are really ignorant, it’s hard to sort out the lazy from the in-need-of-education, and when there are 300 of them, it’s, shall we say, a bit fucking much.  Especially since a lot of them signed disclosures and can read and are adults and yet they’re now complaining they didn’t know.  (On my crankiest days, my inner monologue keeps saying “Tough fucking shit”, but I can’t say that, and won’t.)  Instead, I try to just repeat in a less all caps voice, that I’m sorry, but they need to READ THE STUFF THEY’RE SIGNING.  GOOD DAY.

So– before I snap at someone and say something that takes the humane out of human resources, I’ve got to take the rampaging whiny needy bulls by the horns and start doing classes, because it’s the only defensible way to start refusing to give the objectively capable people very time consuming & in the end, pretty ridiculous 1:1 help.  It’s one thing if the person is special needs or is really ESL, and I do have about 3 dozen or so of those folks in my store– it’s another if they’re just being clingy because they want some attention.

Orientations into how to log on to various benefits’ providers websites’ make sense.  Links and shortcuts on public access computers in the store do as well, but I have to publicize those.  I don’t have a half hour to drop what I’m working on every time someone can’t be fucked to read their damned medical bill (once I’ve taught them what our company’s Explanations of Benefits mean), or because they don’t want to learn how to navigate the 401(k) website.  Sorry, kids, it’s 2014.  Basic computer literacy is a job requirement, period.

Open office hours in the conference rooms a few times a month make sense as well– drop in hours to ask whatever you want– and then otherwise, you need an appointment, because sorry– I’ve got people to hire, acute problems for real issues to fix rather than people avoiding adulthood a while longer by trying to dump their outside-of-work problem in my lap (nope, doing your income taxes is not my job, sorry, here’s the list of free local tax volunteers, no, really, sorry, it’s not my job, here’s the list of free local tax volunteers, now excuse me, I have someone coming in for an appointment, why yes, I do take appointments, it says so right on my door along with my posted hours, why yes, I’ve posted my hours since I started working here six months ago, see you later, have a great afternoon.  *Cue internal screaming as I close the door behind them.*).

I’ve got to teach my team members to fish, so my temptation to just go & cut bait settles down.

The year I went as Quasimodo for Christmas

I’ve always had a crappy immune system, ever since I was a kid, even before I came down with Lyme.  And I’ve always been prone to psychosomatic illness, so that I’d end up with the cold or a flu after finals or a really big paper (and one, spectacular year, during finals, boy that was fun) or after I was done with a trial.  My body has really grotesque ways of expressing its displeasure at the ways I mismanage my stress, from GI disorders to, well, I’ll get to the rest.  I blew it out of the water this weekend, reminding myself again that I hate this time of year.  Next year?  I’m rereading this post, so I can look at ways to opt out, early. Continue reading

Push (I’m renaming this week Shark Week because someone smelled blood in the water)

It’s been a challenging week.

(Whining alert.)

Sunday was the night when we got an “anonymous” phone call from the elderly neighbors’ kids about a pile of brush I’d already tidied up– on the side of a garage they don’t use behind a fence they can’t access and a bush they can’t climb over but that lies on their property line, mind you– accusing my dad and me of elder abuse for “throwing briar bushes into their property.”  Like I’d invaded their kitchen for the Red Wedding or something.  Mind you (part 2) that I cut those rose canes last week and tidied them up a week later and on Thursday night (so, a week elapsed time) got a call from one of the neighbors about something else (passive aggressive, much, hi?) and then the rose canes came up at the end of the conversation and I said I’d be out there that weekend– as I’d already planned.  The anonymous phone call was therefore bullshit, and I called them on it, asking one of them to walk down the driveway with me and agree that all the brush was already gone, and to further agree that it had only been there a week, was never anywhere they walked or touched, and that they’d only called me Thursday, so please don’t complain to your family first with such vehemence that they leave me nasty messages on the house phone.  They were more horrified by the bad manners of the call than anything else– I don’t think they understood that they’d made a mountain out of a pile of rose canes, but in any event, we called up the reasonable son and let him know they were getting a little histrionic in case it comes up again.   I told the elderly neighbor that allegations of elder abuse were not going to be tolerated,  since they were the ones who had helped me babysit my Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother in high school, and by “helped” I mean once or twice they brought her back when she got out while I was in the bathroom when she could still figure out locks.  That pretty much shut them up, but I am really, really angry about it still, and will be for a while.  Why would you ever get so worked up about something so miniscule to the point that your kid with problems gets drunk and leaves your neighbors nasty messages on your behalf?

Monday and Tuesday were various personality negotiations at work; there are some evolving ways in which everyone needs to learn to work with each other and it’s a challenge.  I’m in an in-between position and new to the company, sort of a neutral and sort of a disciplinarian and sort of a manager all at the same time, and I need to try and balance all of those things with my job to try to keep everything and everyone balanced.  Add to that my communication and responsibility kinks, the fact that I do have mediation experience and experience with lots of different management types and just… age… on some of the people I work with, and it sticks me square in the middle trying to help people figure out how to talk to each other– how to ask for what they want, how to say what they need, how to not hurt one anothers’ feelings, and how to do that myself when I’m feeling proud and uncertain and “aw yeah” and “who, me?” all at once.

And then Wednesday.

I had a job fair in the morning, screening dozens of people and then heading back to the store– late, because of traffic and the crowd at the job fair, because that shit was mobbed.  One of my challenges didn’t show up and while the story’s garbled and has only gotten more problematic as the week wears on, one issue compounding on top of another until it’s hard to keep things apart and not just fire the person for them all, all at once, and keep an eye on just the simplest things– the fact at the core of it is that not just I but most of us got played in that we tried to be sympathetic and helpful and this worker, either through stubbornness or stupidity or sheer malice has played all of us because they just don’t get that they have to play by the rules.  I don’t know at this point, because when I left work yesterday for Job Fair Part 2: Endless Screenings Continued, Electric Boogaloo, they had gone awol after a series of contradictory communications, so who the hell knows.  The lesson to be learned is:  don’t make exceptions, because someone will play you. So.  We made exceptions.  We got messed with.  Lesson learned.  Hopefully not too painful for us, but doubtful.  It’s going to be uglier before it’s all done, and it’s a shame because at the end of the day, when they show up, this person does a really good job.  It’s stupid.

One of the store managers got in an accident, another had a death in the family, and a third has been out for a family member, so we’ve also been down staff and I’ve been helping the rest juggle schedules, make arrangements, check in on the injured manager, request time off, etc., etc.  Paperchasing and phone calling– and then arranging to cover their shifts with enough other managers.

Next:  Wednesday, still– another challenge came in for a shift and accused me and another team leader of being liars because they didn’t want to admit that they hadn’t complied with a policy.  It was a big long ridiculous discussion and I couldn’t take any of it seriously because they were all affronted dignity and bullshit and when they said they’d just give notice if that was how we were going to play it (we did have a neutral party present, since I was a “liar”) I said I was sorry to hear that and I hoped that they found someplace they were happier.  When no one else disagreed with me, they immediately backtracked and said they weren’t giving their notice, to which the neutral told them to make up their mind, since it seemed like that was problem, and then another half hour of mediated drama and affronted dignity ensued.  Quitting chicken:  hell yes, I’ll play it.  I just hope in the end they do quit, because if I ever have to spend another hour and a half like that it will be too soon.

Also, the meat drain is backed up and water’s heading right for the compressors and the ice cream freezers are down, so: help organize repairmen and moving stock and unplugging all of the things.

AND IT’S STILL WEDNESDAY.  At least I got to help someone– a really great someone who’s been with the company a while and has been performing a little erratically, so an amorphous we sat them down to say we were worried and ask them what was up because if things kept in this vein, we would have to go the discipline route and that would be awful.  So we talked about feelings and feeling overwhelmed and asking for help:  it was hard, and teary and sad, but they left agreeing to look into help and are going to do that.  I’ve been scrambling and arguing since with my higher-ups about getting them some time off pending the doctor’s appointment they’ve since set up because I know they’ll miss shifts and end up with discipline if we try and make them come in and no one wants that– so while I could make this person feel better, now I feel like shit and doubting myself because I have to argue against my own bosses and therefore my own instincts about the right thing to do– when I’m trying to learn to trust them.  And all the while their rightfully worried (and a little bit OCD and pushy but really really excellent) manager is pushing at me and I’m just.  Stressed, because I want to get this person the help that they need and make sure it sticks, and at the same time I am trying to OBJECTIVE and not personalize this person’s situation, even though I realized Thursday:

I took this job because I want to give people all the chances and confrontations and opportunities to talk through their crap that no one called me on that I wish like hell someone had.  Right.  No personalization or projection there at all, whatsoever.  At least I’ve got something to talk about at therapy now.

Twelve hours after leaving the house I got home, and Dad wants to know what’s for supper.  Umm.  Leftover veggies and mushy mangoes with frozen shrimp in, erm, yeah, a curry stir fry?  Throw some garden-fresh herbs on it, no one will know it’s a mish mash! (eh, I knew.  Next time, I’m ordering Thai.)

And then Thursday:

MRI.  Oil change.  Overdue (whoops, and then I was anxious about that once I realized) state car inspection, which at 140,000 miles and no significant maintenance since 100,000 miles I was a little worried about.  Back into work on my day off to see if Challenge One came in and then more discussion about What to Do, and more discussion about Good Challenge and asking some questions about some other miscellaneous things including following up on Grieving Manager and then home, because I had a horrible headache from the IV contrast and– I’m not even supposed to be here today!  And then a late afternoon call with Challenge One’s manager and another manager and my position’s back up about the Game Plan.

Friday:  Go in extra early.  Challenge One doesn’t show up.  Challenge One’s manager and I and a senior manager giggle because really, this week is ridiculous.  Challenge One’s manager leaves.  Senior Manager and I open the store, me doing senior manager’s job and senior manager doing Challenge One’s job.  Later, talk to Manager of Good Challenge some more, do some stuff I haven’t done all week because of the Wednesday from Hell, and then: get text message from AWOL challenge one that is contradictory to all prior communications.  Text Challenge One back and tell them to call the store, please.  It doesn’t happen for hours.  Get in the car, get lost on the way to Job Fair 2/Electric Boogaloo, get there with five minutes to spare and a call from my dad wondering if the cat’s dead because she hasn’t eaten her food yet (it’s HOT, she’s a PERSIAN, CATS ARE NOCTURNAL, we have this discussion each SUMMER, dad, CHILL) and then interview the dregs that show up at the last minute, all of whom are grumpy that we’re mostly hired up.  Pretend to give a shit they need a job when almost all of them have no experience, no skills, and waited until, (wait for it) THE LAST DAY OF THE FAIR to show up.  Pretend some more, because I am a motherfucking human resources professional.  Fight with my awesome really cool super nice boss in a not fighting way because we are motherfucking professionals, ‘kay, and I’ve had a migraine since WEDNESDAY, about Good Challenge and her issues, twist her arm aggressively until boss who hired me kind of concedes, go back to interviewing dregs of the job fair with less anxiety crawling under my skin because at least I can help SOMEONE who doesn’t think I’m a liar or play me or anything else.

Get a hug from other super awesome cool sort-of boss, who gives awesome hugs.

Have supper and a good Vieux Carre with a friend.  See Man of Steel.  (Meh, the writing was Portentous with a capital P, but HELLO, Shirtless Henry Cavill, and I ❤ Amy Adams and the lady villain and Diane Lane, so, all the ladies plus Henry Cavill and his muscles.)

Saturday:

Get woken up at 5:39 am by the rude blare of a call from Challenge Oh My God, Really, I Told You To Stop Calling My Phone and Call The Damned Store, I am Not Your Boss.  I Tell them To Call the Store after making sure they are merely calling out sick and not otherwise having problems.  Send an email to that Challenge’s bosses, because I’ll forget otherwise, and then send Good Challenge’s boss an email because well, I’m up now, might as well work.

I’M OFF WORK TODAY.  I GET PAID BY THE HOUR.

And now I’m awake, because did I mention I have a horrible shrink who doesn’t return my calls because I’m not really that crazy and so I’m not on her priority list.  So… I ran out of klonopin and I had to have my primary care write my wellbutrin but she’s not comfortable writing benzos and I need .05 mg nightly to sleep so then I left by shrink a NASTY message on her phone for the third time and she finally called me back and acted like nothing was wrong.  I asked her to just write me a 90-day script and to please give me the names of some people taking referrals.  I left a message for my old shrink as well; at least she’ll call me back.

So.  I broke up with my shrink and have to find a new one, but on the other hand, now I don’t have to worry about the old one and I might just be a bitch and report her for patient neglect.  It’s just disgustingly unprofessional not to return patient calls, whether or not I’m sobbing into the phone.

And… it’s 8:34 am.  Let’s see how today goes.

I like to keep my issues strong.

The temptation to be That Chick who just posts statuses on Facebook that are YouTube links to the Soundtrack of her Really Sad, Tragic Life is really strong these days, but I’m 37 and I like to hope I’m a little too old for that stuff, even if I do kvetch too much and need to trim my friends list of a few ex-boyfriends and high school people who seem to have contacted me simply because they have noticed that “Married” is not an active part of my profile– and also people who really no longer active parts of my life– for whatever reason.  I have a hard time letting go, though– I am nothing if not romantic and sentimental, idealizing my relationships with and expectations of people and hoping for better outcomes even as I pretend at being pragmatic and then being disappointed and bitter and keeping it all to myself only to explode– or implode depending on the mood of the week/day/minute.

(Except, yeah.  I’m just going to do it.  Most of the links here are my self-pity soundtrack.  Feel free to ignore them unless you’re looking for emo-dump songs.)

Still, though– I try to keep those posts to a minimum (for me and my blathering fingers) and I remember I have a blog.  So, I start to write a post.  It then devolves into something I hate– or more specifically, someone I hate, by which I mean me, and then I just let the thing linger in my hard drive while I stare at it and mull and just let the thoughts spiral– then go downstairs and bake something for work.

I figure it’s active, even as I know it’s full-on sublimation, thank you.  My compulsion to feed people, because I can’t just say “Thanks for putting up with my shit, for telling me to smile and telling me that I look pretty today, for telling me to breathe when I look stressed, for understanding implicitly and explicitly that I am horribly, horribly depressed about something that was my own damned decision.”  It’s a bed I’ve got to lie in and I’m thankful they don’t push me about it, tell me horrible-funny stories about their divorces, go drinking and dancing with me, and are as much misfits as me in their own special ways and so– baking– yeah.  I can do that, sometimes, and when I can’t, there’s always clementines or the Gluten-Free and Vegan baked goods aisle at the Whole Foods at the start of the plaza.  (People really like clementines, I have found.)  I may not eat the baked offerings myself– sweet things taste pretty disgusting after half a cookie unless it’s the store’s red velvet cheesecake, so bad for me but I eat it, regardless– but I can at least bake for somebody else and they can say mmm and aah and I can feel loved, at least for a bit.

The fact is, I feel like crap.  I feel physically crappy, exhausted from work because it’s physically tiring, arthritic because of the change in seasons and the lack of fat padding/weight loss (as well as because I’m being really self-sabotaging and not taking all my supplements and anti-inflammatories, nor am I eating right and avoiding all the gluten I should, even though my wheat intolerance really does seem to be blossoming into full-blown Celiac, complete with nausea after a wheat-containing meal)– and just when the store rebuild seems like it’s done our DM has one more idea (and there’s more to be done after Christmas) and of course, I’m relatively new at my job, so I screw things up.

I hate, hate, hate that I’m not doing things right.  Hate it.  Hate me.  Hate everyone, really.  I cannot describe the depths of loathing and nausea and anxiety dreams I have about a store that is at the same time my happiest place.  I’m used to being the Smartest Girl in the Room.  We’re too busy (like, 10-20% over planned business and understaffed most days busy) for my co-managers to explain things to me and I feel stupid and useless and I get resentful and we don’t always have the best groups of personalities working together even as I really do like all my co-managers– but … a thousand times but.  Everyone’s human, everyone’s stressed, I’ve got extra issues on my plate that I bring  in with me, and I’m hair-triggered to want to curl into a ball and just … slit my wrists or take all my medication at night because I set up an endcap the wrong way or someone moved my cheese mission table to a different part of the store.

I feel badly that I will occasionally go off and work on a project and pout in my way and bitch about whoever’s “earned” my wrath du jour, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it in the moment, from needing to do it– teary-eyed, usually still pretty productive, inclined to be brusque and slam things, and as my co-worker said in effect yesterday, “I can always tell when you’re upset, you stomp really loud.”  I demurred in my way, made some crack about being Stampy the Elephant reincarnate (doesn’t it all come back to the Simpsons, that or Monty Python?) but– that didn’t stop him from making jazz hands and trying to get me to smile on the way out, he who’s even more of a grump than I am.  That there’s a Frank Sinatra CD on constant replay in the store that’s full of songs my husband used to sing to me and at some point, the singing, it stopped and I never asked why until later, too late– well.  It hasn’t helped.  (What? Me?  Make teary-eyed retreats to Receiving every time “Fly Me to the Moon” or “Come Fly With Me” comes on to break down some boxes or hurl something into the dumpster out back?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

I know that I’m really fooling no one.  Everyone, from the co-workers I don’t get along with to the ones I go drinking and dancing with, all know exactly how messy and graceless my heart is.  They’re just kind enough to play along because everyone there, they’ve got some kind of story, you just don’t always know what it is.  The store is full of people who get up and come into work and are on second careers or on “I never finished college” or “I’m taking a break from X” kind of trajectories (career pauses? ask me about being a lawyer, really!)– we don’t ask, we let each other tell.  I try to give thanks and praise for jobs well done (or hell, even completed, it’s one more thing off my list) if I can stop long enough to take a breath (and sadly, my friend who used to tell me to breathe got promoted out of the store and now I’m feeling doleful because I have to remember that, too.)  We try not to be too hard on people who show up five minutes late and sometimes flake on their shifts so long as they perform when they’re here and they’re trying, goddamnit.  Sometimes I feel like we’re the last Isle of Misfit Toys and if we can’t be kind to each other among the inter-familial snarling and sniping brought on by dumb customers and Just Too Much Work, then there isn’t any safe place.  I have other friends, outside of work, who have also been wonderful– real rocks, but I don’t see them every day.  I need to remind myself to reach out more but damnit, every effort’s hard, like slogging through cement.  (And yeah, every teardrop’s a waterfall, too.)

I know I’m depressed.  I upped my meds so the passive-to-active like a turbo-charged racecar suicidality would regress a bit but… that done, I still feel lots of sadness, regret, self-loathing, doubt.  All of that shit.  Anger– at me, my husband, every stupid customer who can’t write the name of a book down or keep their toddlers from hurling toys or just watch where they’re going, much less stop offering to hold my food while I’m on break so I can go fetch them a book rather than wait the two minutes it’ll take for someone to help at customer service.  It’s the usual short temper  (exacerbated on occasion with a little manic-depressive rage, but hey, I’ve got pills I carry for that) of someone who’s terribly lonely when it’s her own doing and she doesn’t feel like making her bed anymore.  (Or of doing much anymore, frankly.  My therapist asked me what expectations I had of my meds, of other people, of hopes for the future… I had to answer– “Not much.”  Still, I do try to get out, make plans, try not to go to bed before 9, and sometimes, I even have fun.  I understand the concept of Faking It Until You Make It, Smile Like You Mean It, all that Oprah-esque shit that still holds some water.)

I was talking to my husband the other night after a party I decided I would try to go to– I lasted ten minutes, right until someone asked me how/where he was, and then I had a panic attack as I answered that he and I were no longer together.  I always tell people that we both had changed and weren’t able to find a way to reconcile those changes– when I called him like the stupid hysterical melodramatic Movie Cliche that I am prone to being these days (in the car, on the drive home, no less) and asked him how he handled those questions, he said he usually took the blame.

It made me feel awful, even more awful than I usually feel, because as much as there are days when, if we ran into each other on the street (and I felt even more awful when he said he’d seen me driving and I hadn’t seen him, as wrapped up in getting to where I was going as I had been), I’d throw hard objects right at his head because I am so fucking lonely and exhausted right now and just want someone to give me that ridiculous, unobtainable Unconditional Love (oh, and on-demand cuddling and footrubs and an adorable cat and lots of backrubs and sex and a sack of unmarked thousands while we’re at it) and be psychic and know all the things that I am still incapable of articulating (this writing, it’s easier than the talking, almost always, except when I can’t even write, but still, even then)… the fact is, I really do believe what I said, which is that we both changed and that we couldn’t make it work out once we started really talking– something that took us too long to do, for reasons so complicated that the Gordian Knot’s a cakewalk, even without that pansy sword shit.

I don’t want to just be ok (though that would be nice).

I want to feel silly, stupid, ridiculous goofy love and not have to have the bittersweet worry and wonder I know now by heart.  I don’t want to wonder if we’re going to stay together until we die.  I want to let myself have romantic faith in my partner, learn what that might mean.  I don’t want to look at or unpack the sentimental things I almost randomly chose when I moved (and I’m still mooning over the things I miss but that I left behind for my husband, since I was too choked up at the time to ask what he might want, since I was afraid that the answer was All or Nothing, nor did I want to be That Evil Bitch who took everything), nor do I want to feel this dumb and maudlin and swoony forever.  I have to look away from the pictures my Dad has of us up in the halls because I’m not ready to ask him to take them down, even when this was my choice– I would still rather be alone than pretend that everything’s alright.  I’m scared as hell– I may never figure it all emotionally out, may never get my financial feet under me ever again, may be a retail wage slave forever.  I feel hopeless and hapless and stupid most of the time, and I know no one said it would be easy, but I didn’t know it was going to be open-heart surgery without anesthesia every day, either.

I look in the mirror (when I look in the mirror at all because I don’t like to, because I don’t know what I see there, morphologically, emotionally, all of that shit) and I never know the answer to “What are you doing?”  I don’t know when I will know.

I know fully well I am flawed.  Broken, even, maybe beyond repair for the sake of being with anyone, much less my husband.  We thrashed through to a point where it became clear that the things that I think that I need are things that he just can’t do, not and be who he needs to be.  That isn’t an issue of fault, whether he believes it or not, even if it is an issue of both of our flaws and not being able to make them mesh any more.

I know I am fragile, prone to hair-triggered reactions, that I can’t take criticism at all because of the way my Dad rarely had a nice thing to say when I was a kid, that I can’t accept people taking or offering to care of me because my mother’s narcissism made all her caretaking attempts about her and therefore inherently useless and suspect, that I avoid confrontation and would rather cut off a limb than get into a fight with someone I love because of the way my parents fought (unless I’m in a real or imagined position of power and then, ooh, watch out for my mighty powers of condescension).

I know that my need to try to be perfect and my need to make things perfect and to avoid being seen as the flawed, occasionally really crazy and often lacking-insight-into-my-feelings person that I really am contributed to the way my marriage fell apart– I know that I take on too much over and over until I just crash, my responsibility and nurturing kinks crashing right into my resentment over having to “always” be the one to take care of myself and everyone else.  I want someone to just psychically know the things that I need– I don’t want to ask, because my emotional history “tells” me that even if I asked (and understated the need for help, more than likely, because years of not getting help has trained me to only ask for a little help and do the rest on my own…) I wouldn’t likely get a response.

But the fact is– still remains– that I really don’t feel like it’s his fault.  It’s ours.  Just like our marriage was ours.  (And yes, he knows about this blog.  He might read this, though there are times in the past where he treated this blog and earlier versions as “private” to me, one of many differences in our understanding of one another that we couldn’t resolve.)  There were a million things I could have done differently if I had been wiser, braver, bolder, known myself better at a younger, saner, something-er point in our marriage.

But we don’t get do-overs or slingshots around the sun or Tardises, do we?  Just regrets about fights, confrontations, fuck-yous, fuller-soul searching I could’ve, should’ve done at some earlier point before I thrashed my way through to a realization that I didn’t feel like me any more, just some fake, plastic, worn-out version of a simulacrum wife that had to get out or she’d lose whatever vestige of herself was left and try to either find some old joy or make some new version– and in the meantime, trying to work it through with my husband once he agreed there was something to work on and half the time feeling enraged for his reactions/inactions during the process and half the time feeling like I was the villain and putting him through torture. He said as much– therapy wasn’t his thing, the talking cure was like bamboo under his nails, and I regret like hell that it took me so long to figure out how unhappy I was and that I couldn’t make it any cleaner than it was, though who knows if it’s ever possible to be clean about these kind of things?  Anyone who had a heart would turn around and break it, it turns out, even as I’ve got him deep in the heart of me and any attempt to move on would be a disaster even if that was something I wanted right now.  I don’t know what I want anymore.  I only know what didn’t work anymore, and that we couldn’t agree on anything else.

It was all I could/can still sometimes think about, cry about, rage about– and my urge to confess to everyone all the time was something I squashed except to a few friends because how tedious, really, how fucking pathetic.  I also hate/d being the recipient of the looks of pity, frankly, preferred the looks of interest from people who only saw my whittling waistline (they didn’t know I wasn’t eating because I wasn’t taking care of myself and my mood stabilizers make me anorexic, yet at the same time was so relieved when some friends expressed concern and asked if I was okay) and the haircut I halfway got because my husband said not to get it and fuck him, I’d cut my hair if I wanted and I’d enjoy the Gaze I would get at work and soak up the compliments/flirting and dress up for my co-workers until it became uncomfortable and I felt awkward because– yeah.  I don’t know what to do with this body because nobody’s done anything with it in so long, including myself.  I hate it– me– more than a lot.

I left when I did in large part because I wanted to go before I started to feel something like hate for my husband.  I wanted to leave while I still felt love– compassion– only occasional anger– for him and all of our problems.  So far, I’ve been lucky that that’s been the case.  Whether it makes a difference to anybody but me– to his family, to the adorable nephew I no longer see– well.  It’s my problem, really, but hey.  Most of them are.

So for now, every day– I’ll take my meds.  Comb my hair.  Eat my breakfast.  Go off to work.  Know this is changing me.  And hope that it will save me.  I would take back hurts to my husband and his family that I’ve caused by accident or on purpose because I do love my husband– miss him– still care.  It’s so easy to remember how we started as very good– really, best friends– and how we’ve laughed over the years, but as for the rest– I’ve got to learn to stop beating my dead emotional horses, even as they feel like wild ones that want to stampede me or make me swim until I can’t see land.  And maybe, just maybe, one of these days, I’ll get it all figured out.

Smiling through Christmas in June (and other off seasons)

Some days (rainy days and Sundays, they always get me down pump up the sales volume), they roll up the cranky busloads in thousands, and there’s nothing at all you can do but grit your teeth and forbear the waves of stupid questions, nosy questions, bad flirting, even more bad flirting even after you say sorry-not-interested-no-it’s-none-of-their-business-if-you’re-single-or-not, and then there’s the people interrupting you while you’re carrying your food back to the break room or a till full of money and they offer to hold it for you while you go get them their book.

On those days, all you can do is smile and tell them you’ll call for more help at customer service or say you can’t hand over the till and/or you’re sorry, but you’re on your break  and you’re sure they wouldn’t want you to violate state wage and hour laws; or it’s always bad when your competitor goes out of business and you feel sorry for the folks soon to be unemployed ten miles up the road whose big box is closing their doors; you smile whether or not the customer’s got a sneer on their face and keeps sneering at you about the cost of your store’s membership fee; they hate emails cluttering up their inbox; they interrupt you before you can get out all the questions you’re required to ask and are too busy talking on their phones to notice you’ve handed them back their cards and their receipts…

The fact is, I’m not holding a gun to your head to make you shop here versus the other chain that’s closing lots of stores or our website, which yes, does have cheaper prices but no, doesn’t have a search engine query for “Blue Book With a Dog On It” (i.e. this one).  Don’t buy the membership if you don’t want it, really, I just have to ask, but please, stop ranting at me about how “evil” (I truly quote) my company is to charge for the privilege of an annual discount for volume book buyers (if you can’t do the math, don’t buy the card, it’s that easy, I promise), when lots of other people do like the program and when I can see perfectly well from your wallet that you paid to join BJ’s.

Just move on and get out of my line, and also your coupon’s expired, so no, I’m not going to apply it because guess what, I can read and I’m not a moron, and yes, I gave you your credit card back because contrary to your opinion, most people aren’t thieves and you might not remember, but you just offered to hold my till full of money twenty minutes ago because you couldn’t wait two more minutes for the one person in line ahead of you at the desk to be done and I’m sure you never would have even lifted the lid even once when I was off looking for that Twilight book you just bought.

Thank goodness for macros.  And to bookseller friend L., who showed me the site in the first place.  Because too many customers think they are Courage Wolf:

(I know.  Two bookstore posts in a row.  Geez, you’d think I worked there full time or something ridiculous like that.  : ) )