Unloading Some Stress

I’ve been going through a few pretty rough weeks. On the surface, everything has been good. There’s been a bit of chaos, as is to be expected with the holidays, traveling, winter weather, and a new job, but that’s been manageable. I try to focus on the good, and be grateful for my many blessings. I have some solid friendships, and many people who care about me. The people around me have mostly been doing very well, which promotes an attitude of contentment and growth. I have a job and a good salary, and can afford the live I’m living. I can even save and pay off some debt for the first time in a long while. I have a place to live, and I live with great people in a nice location.

All that aside, though, I’ve still been feeling out of sorts. I know the primary reason, and I’ll get into that, but an aside to it all is dating. I’m sick of fooling around. I’ve had shit luck with men this past year, at least in terms of anything working out into something more serious.

I’ve been debating match.com, but I’m stupefied by trying to come up with a good username. I can use initials and my birthday, but that’s apparently “too generic.” I can’t say anything with a looks-related descriptor or I’m clearly insecure, and I can’t say anything that may indicate I’m poly or pretentious or hugely awkward. WTF, right? My hobbies don’t fit neatly into one or two word names. My friend was consoling me by pointing out that it’s a positive thing that I’m too complex to be simplified into a username. She’s probably right, and yes, I know I’m overthinking it. Blerg. In the meantime, wouldn’t SpicySexpot, VivaciousVixen, and WantonWench be great…I don’t know, pornstar or alt.com names?

The primary thing on my mind lately is stress and fear, though. My mom is having open-heart surgery next week to replace 3 of her 4 valves. They say it’s a straightforward thing, lots of recovery and pain afterwards but it will improve her quality of life, and she should be fine… But, you know, they’re cracking her chest, and the last time she had surgery like that she was dead on the table for longer than she should’ve been allowed to be. Technology advances, yadayada, but she’s high risk given other health factors, so I’m worried. I’m taking off work for a couple of days and teleworking so that I can be home for the surgery. It’s horrid timing at work, being that I just was gone for 2 weeks for the holidays, I’m new still, and I had training to reschedule, but everyone has been very understanding.

I don’t want to bring it up with people and have to talk about it, but I also am scared and want to talk about it. I don’t want people to say it’ll be fine because it pisses me off – there is no guarantee of that and it trivializes my emotions. I know they mean well, but that, or pity, seem to rub me the wrong way. I’m so afraid she’ll die. Even writing it terrifies me. It brings me near tears just thinking about it.

My mom and I have mixed history. She has a violent temper, and several mental and physical health issues that make things difficult. Our past had some…well, trying moments is an understatement. I don’t call home as much as I should, and sometimes I lose patience with her because she doesn’t understand sarcasm or what I do for work and she complains about other family members to me (which puts me in an awful place). That said, I rely on her. If something good happens, I immediately want to tell her. She’s always excited for me, and it’s unbridled, unconditional excitement. She looks out for me, and her love is a constant. Sometimes I feel her love less than her anger, sadness, or insecurity, but I know it’s there and I never forget that. The thought of going home and her not being there, of never seeing or talking to her again, or no more random hallmark cards or stuffed animals…it’s horrifying.

I am also suffering worry and guilt that I don’t live nearby and won’t be able to help with recovery. My parents don’t communicate well (another understatement) and I’m worried that my mom won’t get the care and assistance she needs post-surgery – whether because she doesn’t ask or vocalize her needs, or because my dad doesn’t have the energy or willingness to care for her properly. Who will clean and do laundry? Who will help my mom shower and get ready for the day? Who will keep her company to take her mind off the pain? Who will cook?

My dad avoids talking about it, which doesn’t help. He’s trying his best, I think, but it’s a rough situation because he’s the breadwinner. He has to work, and his work is demanding. My mom’s attitude has been disintegrating more and more each day. Over the holidays, I even told her that I’ve never been around someone who was as much a downer as she currently is. Everything anyone does is wrong or insufficient. She expects the worst out of everyone and is quicker to snap or yell or scream than I’ve ever seen her in my life. She’s terrified, and taking it out on everyone around her. She doesn’t handle pain well – she’s had more health issues and chronic pain than most do in a lifetime, but she still complains and moans and freaks out, there’s no built up stamina or tolerance towards it. She basically needs someone to baby her and talk her down almost constantly, which is fine – everyone has different coping mechanisms – but it’s impossible for people to do that every second of every day.

Anyhow…emotional drama. And beyond it all, I’m still a bit frustrated that there can’t be a year – hell, 6 months these past few years – without someone in my family suffering a huge emotional or physical crisis. Since I was 7. I’m not shitting you.

In the meantime, trying to stay positive and busy.

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