Adulting sucks

So, today I tried to make a list of the stuff I need to do. Last night I realized, in somewhat of a panic, that I will lose my health insurance subsidy in about a month if I don’t figure out how to file taxes for 2020. I am somewhat stymied by that, because…I have no income. I am living from savings…still…and I don’t understand how to file INCOME tax. I suppose they consider the Affordable Care subsidy income? I don’t effing know. My panic was exacerbated by not being able to find some my old W2 forms that I should have been filing since I was laid off…but after finding them once, in this crack-house apartment, I lost them again. Hence, the panic.

It wasn’t just the approaching deadline for resolving the issue of the tax quandary, it was the self-flagellation for being so disorganized as to have lost the W2 forms for the second time. When I woke up this morning, I was somewhat proud of myself because I got up almost immediately to look for the forms, and thought I had found them. I was gratified that I had found some of what I needed, but literally bludgeoning myself for being in the position of having lost important documentation not once, but twice, within the confines of my disorganized living space. Moron was the kindest word I can repeat here.

It turns out that I need further IRS documentation, and it occurred to me that even if I had every single thing the site says that I need, I still don’t have any clue how to file the 1040 form, or the auxiliary form they are demanding. So, I had a thought. Usually that’s a scary thing, but I finally realized that I’m not going to mysteriously intuit what to do about completing the forms, so I my thought instructed me to call H&R Block and pay THEM to figure this out. It kind of irks me that i will need to pay for this, but at this point, it’s worth it a twice the price. So I made an appointment for later this afternoon. Enough with the anxiety provocation, already.

It is a good thing to have done something concrete to get myself out of this jam. It is the adult thing to do. I don’t like this adulting thing. I just don’t feel that life should be this effing troublesome. But it is. The bigger issue, though, is taking an honest look at how I’m living. I’m living like a drunk, with so much crap swirling around in my orbit that I might as well be a tornado, like they talk about in the Big Book. I don’t like that one bit. I know better. Much better. It’s not even a question of wanting to be the perfect recovering person, it’s a question of having generated all of this anxiety myself. All on my own. Nobody did that for me. I am talented like that.

So, I did flagellate myself quite a bit for having let this get so out of hand, and yeah, I understand that I caught it before it went any further and that’s a good thing and all that, but I am way to effing old to be still doing crap like this. I had some choice words for myself. Words that don’t exist in any reference book, or even the urban dictionary. Words that underscored how ridiculous I really believe myself to be most of the time. I did, however, push the adulting a bit farther than making the H&R Block appointment, and called my former (and hated) employer to get MORE copies of all the W2 forms that I will need to clean up all the taxes, all the healthcare issues, everything. Dammit. I had to send them an email, and it’s supposed to take a few working days, but whatever. I am just ready to have peace back in my space.

It mystifies me how I get into these predicaments. Truly, it does. I am not stupid, and I really don’t believe myself to be inherently lazy. But, it seems the older I get, the less I am inclined to figure out stuff that I can’t see my way through. There’s some emergence of shame, for some reason, and that does trouble me. It troubles me quite a lot, actually, and I’m not quite sure how to handle that. That shame triggers a depression cycle, and I really don’t need that. I think such a cycle is what I’ve been buried in for the past year or two, and once in it, I’m virtually paralyzed.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, and we share a few similarities about the cycles we repeat in our lives. She has been diagnosed with adult ADD, and asked me if I have been diagnosed with that as well. I have not, but was screened for it by one of my medical providers a few years ago. There wasn’t any conclusive diagnosis, and we haven’t dealt with it since then, but I wonder if that could be some part of my repetitive patterns. My friend was describing the tendency she has of getting overwhelmed with things, which causes her to want to withdraw and procrastinate on tasks. She also described the feeling of wanting to blame herself for the pattern, and how badly she feels about herself when that happens. I could relate fo’ sho’. I have gotten better at the self-blame, but last night and this morning I made up for lost time.

All of that to say, I know that I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. I do wonder if some of my inability to focus over the past few years is the result of erosion of my ability to compensate for something like ADD, or maybe just depression. I have not been quite all the way in here, in my body and in my psyche, since my mother died. No, wait – that’s not even correct. I haven’t been myself since my mother fell of the face of the Earth and lost contact with reality, and that was about 2015. When her body ceased to function in 2017, that was a second death. I had lost my mother at least two years before that, when I had to take over managing her affairs (even though she didn’t know that). I felt as though I was living for two people, and essentially, I was.

When I started paying her bills and making sure she had power and water and bills paid, that was logistically difficult, but the psychological distance was still there. When she had to go to a nursing home, a part of me just kind of withered. It was fine for a while, but then she began to decline very badly, mentally and physically. By the time all was said and done, I had been twirling in the breeze for almost three years, and my mommy was not there to reel me in. But I tried to cope, tried to put on my game face, and then…six weeks after the funeral, I got laid off. My performance had been slipping since almost exactly 2015, and I just couldn’t keep things pieced together any longer. I could no longer compensate for the inhumane treatment, the effed up management, the sabotage of co-workers. By 2016, I didn’t have anything left, although the corpse of that work situation didn’t give up the ghost until 2017. I really hate that corporation, how they do (and don’t do) business, how they treat people, how they treated me. It is merciful that I no longer work there. It’s a pain in the ass, though, because when you work for a corporation and have benefits, you don’t have to go through all this crap that I’m going through now with health insurance. But, I am grateful that I can put it together at all. Some people who lose a job with benefits have no resources and wind up with no health insurance at all. So, gratitude applies, but it’s still a pain in the ass.

So, me compensating for things I find less than acceptable is a pattern of mine, and now I see how that ends. I don’t think I can do that ever again. I was looking online for jobs yesterday, before the panic about the tax forms, and saw a posting that I wanted to read in more detail. OK, that looks good, yeah I can do that, and that, but…deadlines? Fast-paced? Nope. A nervous twitch started in my upper lip, and there was an involuntary lurch in my stomach. Not going there. I don’t mind having a time frame, but this “urgency” bullshit is not going to work for me. I would rather go and live under the bridge, out of the back of my truck. I don’t want to hear about metrics and performance objectives. I just can’t. It’s like PTSD, and I am not exaggerating. I’m way too fragile to be dealing with that, so I’m not going to do it.

When I contemplate this stage of my life, it’s such a temptation to fall into the hole of self-defined failure, disappointment to so many. I definitely feel as though I am not exactly where I want to be. It could be so much worse, and I understand that. This morning I was having such a hard time settling myself. I was a live wire, jumpy and twitchy, feeling as though naked wires randomly connected, with no warning. Sitting down to do this journaling has calmed me somewhat, and that’s a good thing. I definitely feel the need, and the motivation, to be doing more of the de-cluttering and cleaning, though. It’s time. I don’t understand why things have to get to this point of extreme pain in order for me to take action, but it seems that it’s always been this way.

I don’t always understand what goes on in my brain, in my psyche. I don’t get why it takes so much for me to stop doing harm to myself. I don’t cut myself, but I overeat to the point of self-harm, so that seems to be the same end with slightly different means. I feel as though I bleed, though. As though I have to do some of this harm in order to convince myself that I’m actually alive? I’m not sure if it’s to convince myself that I’m alive – I know I’m alive, because I feel pain, I feel dissatisfaction, I feel unfulfillment. But, I don’t feel a broad range of emotions…frequently just a flat line, then some unexpected extremes one way or another. Like an EKG. Very erratic.

Back to the earlier mention of shame…I think shame may well be my base of operation. Everything seems to radiate from that core of feeling that I have no real purpose in being here, that my purpose comes from other folks’ acceptance and affirmation of me. Does everyone go through that? From what I hear, they do not. I am perplexed to find that I don’t know where that came from, but seems to be so much a definition of me that I suppose I don’t know if I would persist if that feeling was erased. I cannot, in good conscience, blame this on upbringing. Somehow, I think it’s just how I am wired, how I’m put together, how I came here. Is it brain chemistry? Who knows, but it’s what I’ve got, so without it I wouldn’t be…me.

My tendency to believe myself to be a failure seems to be perpetual. I don’t remember it so much when I was a kid, up to the part of puberty at least. When I was the little princess, I thought I could do anything. It didn’t occur to me there was anything I couldn’t do. I didn’t think I could do everything, but it just didn’t occur to me there was anything I could NOT do. That changed after my whole world fell apart around 1971…and the pendulum didn’t swing back. It’s not that I didn’t accomplish things, but it always seemed like the same pattern as the lost tax forms – I have something to do, I don’t do it, it proves to be way more difficult that I thought and I do it half-assed at the last minute, having to run to catch up, and with great anxiety and angst, finally get it done at the last minute by the skin of my teeth. What the eff is THAT all about?

I also have no patience for practicing things, or working my way up to finishing tasks. I am accustomed to sitting down and making a first attempt, maybe tweaking a few details, correcting a couple of minor errors, then hitting then *poof* done. I got through college like that. It worked just fine for English and Philosophy classes, but not so much for Computer Science. My lust for learning extends only to the point of being bored…when the stimulation dies, and boredom sets in, I lose interest pretty quickly. But the deadlines remain, and my fear of punishment demands that I finish whatever it is, but it’s a minimalist endeavor at that point. Why why why why why? I don’t know. I wish I knew. I feel things might work better for me if I could be more disciplined, or something. I feel that I have the soul and the brain of one of the great charmed circle of writers, or artists, but…not so much the brilliant talent. But that’s how my mind works, like the descriptions of Gertude Stein and Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Sylvia Plath. Those romantic and tortured souls who marched to the beat of something other than a drum, something only they could hear. Driven to some point in the distance that remained unseen by anyone else.

I feel like there’s some point in the distance that beckons me, or at least to which I am oriented, pointed toward. Not sure if I can so much see it, but I know it’s there. I don’t know how I know it, but it’s such a strong feeling that I know it has to be true. Perhaps it’s not on this plane of existence, I don’t know. I sometimes wish that I could describe it, name it, explain it, but I can’t. Maybe that’s best, because my small perspective would probably not do it justice, would limit it. Sometimes I feel that I’m constantly fight that sense of being self-limiting. It’s very frustrating to feel an indescribably potent longing to expand, but somehow feeling trapped. It’s very much like the feeling in a dream when you want to scream, but nothing comes out. Going through life feeling that way is disconcerting, at best. Some days it makes me want to give up, but I don’t.

I can visualize so many wonderful things that I could do, but when I’m at the starting line, I freeze. Or maybe not so much freeze as just dissipate, like air being allowed to escape from a balloon. It could have flown so high, but instead, it deflates slowly and falls ungracefully to the ground. Gravity is not a theory. This I know to be true.

I don’t know where any of this diatribe came from, or where it’s going, but it has calmed me a bit to be doing whatever the hell this is, this regurgitation on a computer screen. The blank white paper of the new millennium, I guess. It feels good to write, to get the turmoil in my head out into the ether. Perhaps one day some of this will congeal into something that makes more sense, but for now it is what it is. I am not what I was when I started this, but that’s how it goes.

I’ve got music in my soul, and I gotta let it out.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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