Resurrection in the Truman Show Era
I was texting with a friend the other day and we were talking about TikTok and how GenZ is coming for our side parts and our skinny jeans because they make us look "old," as if the generation who ate Tide Pods has any room to criticize anyone for sartorial choices. Criticize the politics all you want, sweet babies, but leave my side part out of it.
But I digress.
She said she felt old, that she would be turning 32 this year.
32? Girl, I'm going to be 34 this year.
Oh! That's your Jesus year!
Your Jesus year. Hang on. Let me check.
Okay, nevermind. 33 is your Jesus year. 34 is the year he died.
It's supposedly like a year where you have your spiritual, intellectual, and political revolution. Idk.
It's been a fucking hell of a year, dude. So... maybe accurate?
Okay, then. So 34. #ResurrectionYear.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 I AM DEAD. I just spit water all over the baby laughing.
Well, so she's been baptized!
Friends, I hope you have that friend who makes you laugh so hard you baptize your children. I really do.
Once I dried the baby and calmed down, the concept of the "Jesus Year" is pretty much all I thought about that day. And then I forgot about it. And then in therapy yesterday, I bawled my eyes out. Why? Because the last year has completely destroy me. 33 has destroyed me. Or at least the "me" I was before.
Let's take an inventory.
I have always prided myself on being a person who just handles things. When people need caregiving, no matter how intimate? I handle it. When people need to be fed? I handle it. When people need to be tended? I handle it. Other people can fall apart. I don't get to fall apart.
Let me rephrase that - I don't LET myself fall apart.
But then the pandemic happened and I gave birth to a pandemic baby and suddenly all of my general anxiety + undiagnosed-but-almost-certain ADD + postpartum depression/anxiety + social isolation + election anxiety became too much to "handle" and I fell the fuck apart. I wasn't handling anything.
But it's only been recently that I've had the space to really analyze that.
When the baby was born right before the first lockdown, I was completely consumed with her. Newborns, amiright? So I was able to tell myself that I was falling apart because I wasn't sleeping and was battling postpartum anxiety and depression and a pandemic and yada yada yada. It wasn't false, but it wasn't complete truth either.
And then summer came around and, as soon as I felt like I had the baby figured out, my toddler suddenly realized that she had to share me and lost her ever loving mind. Epic tantrums, poor sleep, general rage. It was awful. And I was able to tell myself that I was falling apart because I was emotionally drained from trying to positively parent a shrieking banshee with a baby strapped to my chest during a pandemic. And it wasn't false, but it wasn't complete truth either.
And then there was an impending election and I felt like my heart was eating itself and I was staying up way too late doom scrolling and then TikTok scrolling to counterbalance the doom scrolling and I was able to tell myself that I was falling apart because the country was being steered by a madman with a narcissistic personality disorder with a side of megalomania. And it wasn't false, but it wasn't complete truth either.
And here we are now. The baby is sleeping. She's growing. She's perfect. The toddler is having predictable tantrums and, as long as she's well-hugged and well-snacked, is fine. She's sleeping. She's growing. She's perfect. The country is at a critical place but adults are back in control again and I don't wake every morning to the immediate thought, "What fresh hell happened while I allowed myself to sleep?"
And yet I'm still a mess. I'm still falling apart.
It seems that my brain has run out of things to distract itself, completely run out of people and things to blame for the fact that I am and continue to drift. It's been a long time coming. I kept talking about how hard the pandemic has been for me and my therapist asked me yesterday to describe what my life was like before the pandemic and how it's different. You know, to see if we could replicate or replace anything.
I lost it. I sobbed. Because the truth is that my life doesn't look much different.
Sometimes it feels like everything ended when my Dad got sick. I put everything on hold in my life to help take care of him - something I don't regret - but just because I stop doesn't mean the world did. And everyone kept on moving forward without me. And when he died, there was all of this support for about a month and then nothing. Or next to nothing. I don't know. That's how it feels. And when he died, the person that I'd been died. And when my first baby was born almost a year later, I was reborn, too. As this completely different person that I didn't know. I still don't really know her it feels like sometimes.
I would like to say that this pandemic is what has isolated me but that's not true. I've felt isolated for far longer than that. Friendship is harder in adulthood. Everyone is busy. Everyone has responsibilities and commitments and schedules and none of them line up and yet sometimes it all feels very personal. Like, I feel like I have all these conversations and interactions with people on the internet and that's wonderful and I'm grateful but I wonder if any of them could tell me a single deep thing about myself.
Maybe they could. Maybe I just sell myself short. I don't know. But when you're covered in baby spit up wearing the same pajama pants for the third day in a row, standing in your kitchen and crying while your other kid watches Sesame Street because you can't dress Mr. Potato Head one more time because you literally feel like you're stuck in a really fucked up version of the Truman Show where every single day is exactly the same only everyone is poisonous, well, it's hard to feel like anyone would want anything to do with you.
So I bawled in therapy. Because I miss my dad. I miss my friends who are all the way across the country. I miss having people check in besides the two of them and my immediate family. I miss feeling like I'm good at things, like I have valuable skills and contributions. I'm tired of feeling like a bad mom even though I know I'm not one. I'm lonely. I'm frustrated. I'm sad. I'm half-assing literally everything because I don't have enough spoons to whole-ass anything.
I was wildly depressed after therapy yesterday because, as always happens, right when I thought I was approaching some sort of breakthrough, time was up. But I made myself get on the exercise bike last night and the spin instructor (while actually attempting to murder me with intervals) gently said, "I'm proud of you for showing up today. I'm proud of the person you're becoming. Because you're becoming someone amazing one day at a time and today is one day on that journey."
And then I cried on the bike. Partly because I couldn't feel my calves anymore, but mostly because even hearing a complete stranger say, "I'm proud of the person you're becoming" felt a lot like a breakthrough.
I'll be 34 in a few months. As my friend calls it, it's my "Resurrection Year." I feel like I'm at a crossroads. Maybe this is the year I do resurrect myself. I'm in therapy. I'm scheduled to be evaluated for ADD. I'm talking to my doctor about anti-anxiety medication. I'm writing my second book. I'm submitting the first one to agents next months. I've got goals. I'm getting my house together. I've cut out people who make me feel bad about myself. I'm trying to give more oxygen and time to the people who don't.
I'm still anxious. I'm still depressed. I still miss my dad. I still miss my friends. I still feel like I'm fucking up more than I'm not. But it also feels like I'm approaching something. Like I'm getting closer to pulling myself back together than I am falling apart.
I don't know. Maybe.
I feel like I'm not alone here, though. I can't be. So if you're feeling lonely and like you're falling apart, I see you. I see you and I'm proud of the person you're becoming. Because you are amazing and the person you're becoming will be amazing, too.
One day at a time. Eventually, Truman leaves the bubble and gets to eat noodles with that nice girl who wanted him to be extraordinary, not just okay. I want that for us, too. Onward.