I had a very bad no good hide under the covers day on Sunday. Literally. I came out from under the covers for about three hours in the middle of the day. I had been looking forward to meeting a friend to see a movie, so I showered (woo-hoo!), went to get my glasses fixed, got some more bad news re: Mom, went directly to bed and cancelled the movie plans.
Monday wasn’t much better. Maybe a smidge. I got to raise my voice at a nice but naive and uninformed new Doctor and then fall apart in a spectacularly public way which resulted in me getting what I wanted, so I can’t say it was all bad. It was just mostly bad. The only thing that got me through the day was looking forward to crawling back under my covers as soon as I got home.
Yesterday my fabulous, genius, creative Mom with great hair (even after brain surgery) came home from the Dreaded Hospital which should’ve been cause for super-sparkly-celebration and it kind of was, but I was ready to get back to my hiding spot under the covers around 6:30 p.m. — maybe earlier.
In theory, hiding under the covers is a good idea — safe, alone, protected, warm. Unless you are me and you have monsters.
There is a Monster Rumpus under my covers.
It is anything but quiet under my covers. The little beasts are screaming for attention and feeding off one another and probably eating a LOT of sugar and washing it down with espresso. Their eyes are huge and panicked and some are actually crying. They look like they haven’t slept in days, maybe weeks. And, unfortunately, they are starting to smell.
It sounds a lot like this:
AARRGGHH! Mom can’t come home, how will you take care of her? You’re all alone! No one will help, they say they will but then they don’t and it will be just youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Why does anyone think you can do this? Why do they think you are strong and brave? You’re NOT. You’ve never been those things, why should it start now? And what about money??!! If you take care of Mom you won’t be making money and then she will die and then where will you be? Homelessssssssssssssss. Homelessssssss! Such a failure. You had such potential….. Disappointment=you! What if you get super annoyed by Mom and you are mean to her! She’s dying and you are a horrible, selfish, bitch and everyone will know it. This is just the beginning of the end and you will have NO LIFE until this dying thing is over and then what? Then you still have no life because you will be depressed. How can you even think about your silly life when Mom is going through all this? Overwhelmed! Sadness! Nothing will be good ever again, or at least for such a long time that you will be super old AND probably get ovarian cancer, so it just won’t be good. And do you think your one child is going to take care of you when you get sick? He needs to have his life. You don’t want to be a burden on him, but you will be an orphan and sick and all alone. You will probably live in one of those homes where sad, sick, old people live and no one will remember you. And you will still owe money for student loans! LOSER! Good thing you got married so many times before because you are never ever going to find anyone to love now. Who would want to spend time with someone who is going through this nightmare with her mother, much less get involved? And when this nightmare is over you will be even closer to (or god forbid over) 50, FIFTY! You think you’re going to find love and companionship when you’re so old? You probably won’t even be able to find casual sex! Sadness! Fear! Overwhelm! And don’t forget you probably have to move out of this house that Mom had to have and you have to do it all alone. And the house is huge, you will never be able to get it done and where will you live?? Doom! Doom!
Ya, it sounds like that, but much, much worse.
I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to realize that the monsters have all but ruined my under the covers experiences and, more importantly, that I have the power to reclaim the safety and protection of under the covers anytime I want.
Which is now.
Me: (with bullhorn – the pink one) “QUIET! I want to talk to the Loudest Monster right NOW. Everyone else will be quiet.”
(lots of whispering and squealing and shoving and jockeying for position until an altogether beige and dreary looking, droopy monster with sad eyes makes it’s way to the front of the pack and says….)
Monster: (heavy sigh) “What do you want? I’m really very busy right now and would appreciate it if you could refrain from interrupting me when I’m working.”
Me: (momentarily speechless…) “Excuse me? You and your band of doom and gloom and all things awful are driving me CRAZY. What is this all about?”
Monster: “You are our person. We are trying to protect you. As usual…”
Me: “By depriving me of a safe space and convincing me that I am useless, a disappointment and powerless and nothing ever works out?”
Monster: “And reminding you that you are alone, you are just one person and this situation with your Mom is too much for you to handle.”
Me: (chest feels heavy, sadness) “I can see why, when I was much younger and things were truly out of my control, you believed that you had to protect me this way. Thank you. But that was Then and this is Now, I’ve changed and you haven’t. It makes me sad to think about how long I’ve listened to you and believed you, even in the face of evidence that none of what you say is even true.”
Monster: (defensive) “What do you mean it isn’t true? Of course it is. Look at your history. I, we, love you, but you have made some bad decisions and you are, in fact, all alone.”
Me: (again with the sad…) “You guys really do only live in the Then, don’t you? You must be really tired dealing with all of the crises that you create. I think we need to come up with a better strategy. I would like to just get rid of you altogether, but that would make you sad, plus it is totally unrealistic. On some level you must be helpful, right? Or maybe not. I don’t know, but I do know that I just need you to quiet down. What will it take to make that happen?
Monster: “We are tired. Maybe if you didn’t wait until you were under the covers to acknowledge our existence and we felt “heard” we could relax a bit. Maybe even take a nap or have some quiet time.”
Me: (indigant) “I am pretty fucking good at acknowledging my fears – out loud – so I’m shocked when you say you don’t feel “heard” — do I have to be freaked out and overwhelmed and bawling before you feel heard? That is bullshit. Now I’m pissed. You don’t just want me to acknowledge you, you want me to buy into you.“
Monster: “Of course we want you to buy into us, duh. How else could we control — oops, I mean protect you.”
Me: “This discussion is not going the way I had imagined. I thought I needed to embrace you and try to acknowledge you and I was prepared to try to do that, but I don’t think you care about me at all, so why should I even bother with you? I can handle some fear and sadness, I know they will always be part of my experience, but this whole monster-palooza in my head and taking over my life needs to be over. The party is over. Pack up your shit and get out. This past few days of misery were your last hurrah.”
(monster panic ensues “nooooooo, you neeeeeed us!” and “but, but, but…!” and “you will never survive without us!” and squeaking and whining and crying and stomping of feet…)
Monster: “Interesting. You can make us leave, but we will be back. You don’t even know how to do life without us.”
Me: “Whatever. I am totally onto you guys now. You may be back, but you will never have the same power over me and your visits will be much shorter and less fucking painful. Maybe you should re-evaluate your process and see if you can, in fact, find a way to be helpful and protective.”
Monster: “Oh ya? You’re still all alone.”
Me: “Except for the fact that I’m not.” and “Fuck you.”
Wow. That didn’t go the way I thought it would. I’m a little riled up and pissed off at those monsters. And at me for listening to them. Oh well, live and learn, right? I think they will be less of a problem from now on.
Mom is home and it isn’t as awful and scary and doom and gloom as I imagined it would be. She is really happy to be here and is getting around really well, even tho our house is almost entirely stairs. Thanks for all the support and love and telling me I’m not the worst person ever to walk the face of the earth.