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thistles

i remind myself regularly, sometimes hourly, that my life is close to perfect.

i have a wonderful husband, two beautiful and brilliant children, good friends, a lovely home, a good job, strong work relationships. my mother gave up her home to live with me and help me with my children. we have limited debt. i am well-respected and well-liked. i can't remember the last time i took a sick day. i think i laugh a lot.

and yet some days i can feel such misery and frustration sweeping over me that my arms go numb while my heart rages hard enough to rip itself from my chest. then i want to curl up in a ball in my bed/the closet/under my desk at work--or if i can bite back my fear of being seen, i might actually venture past the low-walled cubicles--eyes glued to blackberry so as to avoid eye contact--to lock myself in a stall in the bathroom down the hall. i have anxiety attacks in the car, in crowded restaurants. i rely on surface tension to keep the tears in check. i hope cam won't notice but he always does.

i have no right to be so unhappy. part of me feels like i'm having a meltdown over my SHEER BALLSY LACK of right to have a meltdown. people in my circles (and just outside them) have real problems. when i start to feel the agony under the skin, i remind myself that i'm just self-indulgent. i try to shame myself out of my "moods"--how dare i weep over being overworked when i know people unemployed for far too long? how can i be so exhausted when i sit at a desk all day long? how i can i feel worn out and stressed by my kids when i know people who would do anything to have children? how i can complain about the behavior of my children when my own inability to communicate effectively has created the barrier between us? how can i be upset at my boss when he has so clearly made his priorities known? where do i get off being miserable about a headache when just about everyone i know has a serious health concern? i can't do anything right.

but i have good days, weeks, even, when the quality of life rises above sea level and i feel normal. fun. sassy. even my hair looks livelier than usual. my zingers have more zing. in those moments, i am ashamed for thinking that i have any kind of true emotional upset. self-indulgent prattle, indeed. call it pms, call it hormones. i do, and i hate myself for being so conventional.

and then back into the pit. cam's worried eyes haunt me. i would do better, i would try to be better, for him. the kids know to be quiet when mommy is crying. soft hugs and clumsy pats. i would try to be better for them, too, if i knew what to do. one day they'll look back at my mood swings and be scornful when they grasp the lack of reason behind them, but for now they are kind.

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