So it seems that my mental health is a lot like a house of cards. Flimsy card houses do not fare particularly well in a breeze.
The wind is gusting this week.
People often comment on how strong I am (mentally and physically…don’t let my ice cream bod fool you…I could bench-press a lot of those toothpick-shaped women), and that they don’t know how I manage the stresses that we have been dealing with, particularly over the past year. And I agree.
I am strong.
But lately I am starting to feel like a sturdy old tree, that has one too many woodpecker (giggle) holes in it. Each stressor is a separate beak pecking away at me until I look like this:
I spent a good amount of time last night and this morning lying and staring at the ceiling, wondering if things will ever get better. Honestly, I don’t know if things are going to get better anytime soon. They could even get worse. Which is strangely comforting because it means that the current scenario is not the worst.
Tonight I decided to take some time for me and treat myself to a leisurely trip to the bookstore while Grace was at Brownies. I love the bookstore. It’s so relaxing and warm, and I instantly feel better when I am there.
Until I accidentally went right to the kids’ section. It’s a sickness I think that we can’t even shop for ourselves anymore after becoming a mother. And then it got worse…I ended up in the Special Needs Parenting section, staring at the titles, and feeling that warm cozy feeling that those books emit…that feeling that if I just buy the book, the magic answers will be in there and everything will be okay. Luckily a salesperson snapped me out of it and saved me from myself by asking me what I was looking for.
I didn’t know.
And out of nowhere I blurted “Where are your Erma Bombeck books?” Immediately, I felt like the kid from A Christmas Story did when he was madly spinning the dials on his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring. Like everything was going to be okay now because I was going to buy all of my favourite funny books.
You see, I read several of Ms Bombeck’s books when I was a kid. My mom was never one for reading…other than the Thorn Birds, which I think was mandatory reading for housewives in the seventies…but she did have If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? by Erma Bombeck.
I read that book so many times that it started to fall apart. And I bought most of her other books and read them too. As a kid. Everyone else was reading Little House on the Prairie. I’m not sure if my interest in the hysterical rantings of a housewife was foreshadowing of the ranting housewife that I was to become 30 years later, or if it shaped that outcome. One of my wonderful friends, who I promise I did not drug in order to get her to say this, has compared some of my writing to be like that of Erma Bombeck. She is now my favourite friend.
Somewhere along the way…probably during my misguided accounting years…I gave away my beloved Erma Bombeck books. I have been eager to replace them lately, and this seemed like the perfect time to treat myself. So you can imagine my expression when the clerk assisting me said “Erma who?” and required me to spell the last name. After an awkward pause, during which my head exploded, I chalked it up to her youth and innocence of what is truly quality writing.
And then the computer betrayed me.
Not only do they not have any in stock, but they never will. The books are special order only. No wonder she had not heard of the author. Isn’t that like not having any Jane Austen books in stock. No. No it isn’t like that at all. It’s a million times worse.
And yet I had my choice of any number of books about farting and toilets.
And that is what is wrong with the world today.