Well, have you? If you’re shaking your head that you haven’t, just go away. I can’t deal with you right now.
Have you seen that meme of the Spidermans (Spidermen?) as seasonal depression, regular depression, and COVID depression? Here, I’ll spare you googling:
I am all these Spidermans (men?). And I have no resources left to pretend to find any positive things to say about anything. COVID is terrifying. The mental health of 2/3 of the humans in my house is Not Good. More injustices and inequalities are revealed every day. We now live in a world without RBG. We live under the rule of one of the most evil, hateful, stupid, and unqualified leaders ever. It’s all a mess.
I’ve never liked the throwaway question of “how are you?” even though of course I ask it all the time in the exact same way everyone else does—as a reflex and not something I really want answered. But now, it’s just a ludicrous question. The only real answer is some sort of wounded animal noise that conveys the weight of everything, a weight beyond explanation.
A weird thing I keep doing is trying to be like, “But it’s okay! We’re so lucky! It’s fine!” Because I had the luxury of choosing to take an unpaid leave for a year from my job at school to stay home and coach my teenager, who hates school with the heat of a thousand million suns, through online learning. I had the luxury to allow him to stay home full-time. But last week, my husband worked 70 hours. And I kept saying, “But at least I’m also not working, so it’s so much better!” But I AM WORKING. I am doing all the house stuff. I am caring for dogs. I am literally teaching my child every single subject in his 9th grade curriculum. I AM RELEARNING FUCKING ALGEBRA. I am paying bills, running errands, making and ferrying to appointments, cleaning, cooking, writing, blogging, reading, and on and on. And my brain is a volatile disaster that works aggressively hard to make me feel like I’m dragging chains around all day while I do this shit. And my kid’s brain is a toxic waste dump of mental health issues and regular ol’ teenage garbage and we can’t get in to adjust his meds until late NOVEMBER because goddamn everyone is trying to get into mental health professionals because WE ARE ALL NOT DOING WELL.
Sometimes people on Twitter will communicate to me that they appreciate how honest I am about how horrible my brain is and how hard this all is. I can’t pretend. I can sometimes ignore it, but I can’t pretend it away. I keep telling Callum we have to dig deep to work hard during this super weird and confusing time. That we can do hard things. But honestly, that doesn’t help. And I just picture myself from now until June barking orders at him to try and keep him on top of the PHENOMENALLY MASSIVE amount of homework being assigned and it all makes me want to go hibernate. I tell him, “This isn’t who I want to be. This isn’t fun for me,” being this taskmaster mother-teacher-classmate-principal-friend-EVERYTHING. I’d like one role with him. It would be less complicated.
So yes, I’m grateful I get to stay home this year. I’m grateful we have resources and safety nets and all the blah blah positive things. I never for one second forget how many people don’t have these choices, these resources. But I am still allowed to say that this sucks. That I didn’t want to have to choose to leave my job. That I didn’t want to have to choose to teach my child 9th grade. That just dealing with my regular old crappy brain issues would be plenty but now they’re amplified by everything. This all sucks.
One thing that doesn’t suck: my friends. I am eternally grateful to have collected a bunch of really honest, really great friends. So I lean on them during all this. We exchange irritated texts, parenting and schooling woes, dog pictures, fun mail, and just provide a little break and distraction from whatever mess we’re each dealing with.
My new friend at my desk is this tiny potato from Jess. This tiny potato helps a lot.
How am I doing? Not well, my friends. And you probably aren’t either. And that’s okay. Because frankly, if you’re really doing fine, you’re obviously not paying attention to what is going on all around us. And if you’re not paying attention, well… that must be nice.