The Messy 2.5%

Well, it’s been a couple of days. I’ve been plugging away, writing the new novel and getting my arse kicked by the workouts. But if I’m honest, it’s not just because I’m so busy that blogging got pushed to the back burner. I’m going to blame two things.

1) My recently acquired and absolutely stronger-than-life addiction to Castle. Ross and I watched one episode, and now the theme song is my ring tone and I’m making Castle-eque jokes and hitting the “next” button to start another episode before I can stop myself.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

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But reason 2?

2) I am all out of motivational speeches. Really. I love the part of myself that’s all like – 

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-because she’s awesome and I am totally cool with her running the show 97.5% of the time.

But sometimes, I’m more like –

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And that Katie really needs to have her moment. Otherwise, I wind up walking down my street at 2AM, blissfully unaware that some rando dude is hanging out in the bushes near the Catholic Church.

I think I need to explain.

A couple of nightsago I was doing my workout, and Ross was taking a break from homework andplaying some video games. I had two minutes left. Dripping sweat, breathinglike I was having an asthma attack, you know. The usual. Anyway, he turns to meand says something. I took out my earbud and said in my most WHY ARE YOUTALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW voice, “yes?”And he stepped onthe landmine. I don’t even think he heard the click. He had no idea, poor guy.

He says, “Babe – I think you locked Mina in the bedroom.” Mina Harker, our idiot cat that hides under the bed until the most inopportune moment, then howls her head off until we go let her out. I kept moving, butI’m sure my workout was diminished, because I was putting all my energy into the laserbeams of unyielding indignation that were coming out of my eyes. All of a sudden, I wasfilled with this strange anger. What is that called? Oh, yeah. Post-partumhormones. Ross got the message, paused his game, and went to let Mina out.

I finished the workout and, through deep, gasping breaths, I said, “I’m sorry. Is my LIFE GOAL getting in the way of your VIDEO GAMES?!?!?!”

I knew it was crazy. After all – he got up and let her out. Case closed. I knew it was crazy. In fact, I’m pretty sure my thought process was like:

“I’m (Katie this is crazy, stop talking) sorry. Is my (Katie, you should go take a deep breath. Maybe a quick jaunt outside?) LIFE GOAL (this isn’t going to end well. You’re going to say stupid things) getting in the way of your (oh no. You’re going to say bad, bad things) VIDEO GAMES?!?!?!”

Then Ross opened his mouth and dropped an atomic bomb in our living room.

“Katie…I think you’re… overreacting.”

And my pupils got really small, my fingers clenched into little balls of fury, and I’m pretty sure I exhaled smoke.

Because, to him, I was overreacting. To him, it was a simple misunderstanding. To me, it was like he lit fuse to dynamite and stood back like, “calm down!”

You know what happened in that moment? Here’s what I think. I think it was the moment when reasonable Katie took a break, and crazy Katie took over. And my wonderful,loving, awesome husband got caught in the cross hairs.

“What?” I asked, all supposedly calm-like. Any married couple knows that that word, spoken in that time and with that cadence, is more like a back draft mixed with a simultaneous YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TO WALK BACK WHAT YOU JUST SAID.

“I think you’re overreacting,” he repeated. I stopped drinking the water I had in my hand and looked at him.

And, with all the grace and maturity of one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, I dumped the water on his head.

…but he was at his computer. He turned around with a shocked look on his face, and then I realizedhe had Aryn in the harness on his chest. And she was all wet.

And all at once, the anger melted down to a sharp, metallic, all-over feeling: YOU ARE THE WORST, KATHARYN RUTH BLAIR LISMAN.

Before Ross could stop me, I was out the door and down the stairs of the apartment, with all these angry words filling my head. Bad mom, fat mom, failure… I started crying as I reached the sidewalk. I didn’t want to call Ross, so I did the next best thing and called Amanda. She was in Chicago and it was like 4AM there, but she answered anyway.

And she listened to me as I cried, waddling aimlessly down the deserted streets of San Dimas, stopping every once in a while to save random snails from certain death by sprinkler.

I didn’t stop until I reached the Catholic Church, which is also when I realized that there were no streetlights where I was standing. I was in the middle of thinking “Well. This is stupid,” when I saw something moving in the bushes near the wall of the church. My heart stopped in my chest. You’ve watched waaaay too much Castle, Katie. I told myself it was nothing, but then it moved. A figure in a hat stepped out of the shadow and looked at me. Its face was covered by darkness, but I could see that it was a man. He didn’t say anything – he just looked at me. My stomach just about fell out of my butt, and I turned around and booked it back down the street. I could almost hear the pitch in the Writer’s Room – “So we open on a dark, suburban street. An overly dramatic twenty-something is crying, talking to her best friend on the phone. Don’t worry, the prior scene shows her throwing water on her loving husband and five week-old daughter, so no one will be surprised when she gets her comeuppance…”

Once I was back to safety (AKA the place twenty yards away where the streetlights work), I kept talking to Amanda.

“I am the WORST.” I said.

Amanda assured me that I’m not the worst. “You’re just under a lot of pressure lately,” she said.

When she said that,my whole face crumpled and I started to ugly-cry.  She was right. It wasn’t about Mina at all. For the past month, I’ve been pushing myself really hard. Like I said, I love that. I don’t want that to go away. But I realized Ih aven’t cried since I started pushing myself. (And that’s weird, because I cryat everything all the time even when pregnancy has nothing to do with it.)

And this week has been rough. I haven’t got any new rejection letters, but I think getting no response is worse than getting a negative response. It’s like I don’t even warrant a “yeah right, kid”. I have one more week before maternity leave is up, and it’s going to be hard to leave Aryn. The workouts are hard, and the progress is slow. To make things worse, I went to the dermatologist this week (as every albino should) for a check up. I pointed out a new freckle on my chest, and he did that thing I HATE. He got his little magnifying glass out and looked at it, and when I asked what the verdict was, he said, “ehhhhh….We’ll keep an eye on it.” I HATE the “we’ll keep an eye on it”. It’s basically like… “Ehh… just stress out about it for the next few months”. I can’t handle that right now. So the conversation was like this (with paraphrasing, of course):

Me: “Keep an eye on it?”

Dr: “Yeah. Take a picture, and watch it over the next few months. If it changes, we’ll check it again.”

Me: “So I’m going to…watch the freckle. To see if it turns in to cancer.”

Dr: Yes.

Me: Hell-to-the-no.

Dr: You’re young and beautiful! You don’t want a scar in the middle of your chest. It’ll be a big, ugly scar.

Me: I want the scar.

Dr: No, you don’t. Just-

Me: Please schedule the surgery.

Dr: We’ll just watch it closely-

Me: DID YOU NOT HEAR ME?? ANGELINA JOLIE THAT SH**, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. I AM A GRAD STUDENT/FAILING WRITER/NEW MOTHER/PROFESSIONAL HYPOCHONDRIAC. THE LAST THING I NEED TO DO IS PLAY “CANCER WATCH”.

Dr: …..

Me: …..

Dr: I’ll schedule it.

Me: Thank you.

….. so that’s how it went. The surgery is scheduled for Thursday night, and though I’m relieved and not freaked out, that day was stressful.

So that’s why I snapped. It felt like Ross did not understand how hard I was working to keep it all together. No one asks a woman on the edge to go let the cat out of the bedroom. Asking a woman on the edge for anything is a death wish. I know Ross appreciates how hard this whole thing is – it hasn’t been easy for him, either. And he’s handled most of the dirty diapers.

How people get bywithout leaning on God, I’ll never figure out

Anyway. So eventually Ross called me and asked me to come back. I walked back in feeling like the worst wife/mother in the world, a feeling severely exacerbated by the fact that Ross had changed Aryn into a different onsie because the other one was soaked. Because of me.

He said he was sorry for not considering that it might be hormones, and I apologized for being a nasty water-throwing wench. So, like always, we’re good. And, according to Ross, Aryn’s hippocampus isn’t fully formed yet, so the chance of her remembering my back asswards interpretation of the Proverbs 39 woman is pretty much zero.

Bottom line/lesson learned?

I can push to be better. I can write like crazy, work out every day, and keep my pity parties scarce and short. But I can’t forget to decompress. I’m going to cry, I’m going to get irrationally upset when Ross leaves his socks ALL OVER THE APARTMENT, and, eventually, I’m going to sleep-eat some carbs. And I need to remember that, because eating homemade brownies and binging on Castle will always be more fun than a total mental breakdown. That’s the nature of grace, isn’t it? I can be awesome 97.5% of the time, but there will always be the 2.5% of the time where I’m a mess. 

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