I’ve cried thrice in the last month. That's three times. I don’t think I’ve ever done such a thing my entire adult life. Between one destination and an intended other, I woke to find myself 38 miles away from the city, pulling into my parent’s driveway, sobbing and wanting nothing more than my mom.
I want so bad to say I have no idea what is wrong with me. But that is a lie. I know exactly what’s wrong. If it weren’t for one red devil and his constantly blathering about his own pile of hot steaming life, I doubt I would say a thing. He’s a badass you see. A badass with a mask, whose life is unraveling.
I get that.
I am a goddamned pillar of badassery. I play that part and have deep nasty scars to prove it. Like the red one, I have a mask, too. My mask is a wicked skull with flames and crossbones and shit like that. On the front of it are three words in classic tattoo lettering: “I am fine.” I like that mask. It works for me and gets me through the good times, tough times and scary times. I have suddenly found myself in a place where I am not fine. I’m not fine at all, but no one really knows that. How could they? I’m a pillar remember? Well, that is until the last couple of weeks. And now. I don’t know what I am.
I have few boundaries. If I want to know something, I ask. I say embarrassing things and shocking things and even uncomfortable things. I have no problems asking hard questions or saying hard things and pressing for the deep dark secrets until we dig deep enough to hit the release valve … of others. Me, I’m not so much on sharing this depth. Even I have my limits or so I thought. No limits. Not today. Not right now. Not anymore, it seems. My mask fell off and I’m trying like hell to glue it together. I have staples, nails, brads. Shit, I even have the blessed Arkansas chrome, but it seems that even duct tape won’t fix my mask and that means it won’t fix me.
To whit, I am a babbling, blathering, crybaby and I can’t seem to stop the waterworks. There’s no crying in baseball, but apparently there are tears in life whether I want them or not. I choose not, but I am not in the charge of the choosing.
“That’s it. I can’t take any more.”
I told my wife this very statement a couple of weeks ago. I have endured my father battling cancer, my mom having what we thought was septic arthritis (life threatening) followed by emergency surgery and another dear love with a mysterious cancer surgery. It all ended with my wife having serious but quite treatable emergency gallbladder surgery. Like everyone, we have bills we can’t pay and a new hospital one on the way.
Individually, these would have been nothing more than steams of droplets off the metaphorical duck’s back, but they all happened together and the support team I rely upon during tough times were all fighting their own battles and that left me feeling alone, fighting dragons and demons and crazy all by my lonesome.
It wasn’t until it was all over that I recognized I didn’t sleep, had only 1 or maybe 2 meals a day and was in charge of taking care of everyone around me. That wasn’t the root of the problem.
The demands of these people and those who depend on them fell to me and it all became too great a burden. The worse part was I recognized, for the first time, how lonely I would be without my parents, my wife, my kid, any of them, all of them in my life. I was not ready for these people to die. They weren’t dying anymore; everyone was in the clear path to recovery. It wasn’t until it was over I felt anything about any of it. When I did, it was an unstoppable brick shit house on the run.
No. Freaking. More. Thank you very much.
I’m still having tremors, nasty little aftershocks of fear and burden that crack me. Not the gelatinous puddle cracks that I had a week or so ago, but enough to make my arms tingle and my chest feel hot and my emotions to be sensitive and blustery. Give it time, I guess.