I promise, the very next post will be about screen printing with latex paint. I promise, no more detours.
This post struck me out of the blue as something I really needed to write. If you are wondering where I’ve been (or not), I have been busy scraping myself off the floor from exhaustion and maybe even (undiagnosed) depression.
Welcome to the Sandwich Generation.
It sounds so lovely doesn’t it? Like, “excuse me miss, might I trouble you for a sandwich?” (in a british accent of course). This term conjures up delicious images of the most decadent fillings, pressed together by a yummy glorious bread…oh great, now I’m hungry for carbs…
Anyway, this quaint little term is what we use to refer to people like me: balancing parenting and household responsibilities, full time work, part time business, AND taking care of our elderly parents, while trying to maintain the highlight reel that is our social media presence. Oh yeah, that last one is a recent phenomenon.
My father was diagnosed with Dementia a few months ago, although we have suspected it since he moved down from Alaska into our town 4 years ago. His legendary shenanigans just seemed to depart of his personality quirks. He has always subscribed to magical thinking, especially about money. When he started to lose money to scammers, I knew something wasn’t really right, but he seemed lucid most of the time so I was not sure what to make of it.
Of his 4 children (2 of them teenagers), I am the only one that lives locally, and the only one saddled with the responsibility of caring for, and managing him. If I don’t seem overjoyed about this task, it is because our relationship was difficult and awkward prior to this. Despite our awkward relationship and my resentment of his irresponsibility, I find that I cannot just let him wither away with no one to advocate for him. I manage and care for him out of a sense of duty, not because I really want to. I have long ago divested myself of any guilt.
In the last 2 months he has recently taken a terrible decline, taking me down with him.
With his decline I have been slammed head-first into the reality of the indignity of old age when you have a lifetime of regrets. Those same regrets fuel your delusions, causing you to torture the people who are tasked with caring for you. That is a fate I will do my very best not to repeat.
A wise man once said, “Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest.” I know it could always be worse, but from where I am sitting, it is pretty bad.
I feel like I became a world-class champion at ‘rising above.’ I rise-above all day with my students, children, father, and husband (who by the way, still wants my attention too). It feels like everyone is constantly pulling at me, and all I can do is rise above and give a little more of myself.
Then I started to I notice that I was getting sick with more frequency. The day before the last Third on Third Market, I was so sick that I could literally only lie down on the sofa all day. I still did the show the next day because, the show must go on, right? I am still recovering.
I was getting sick because I was not taking care of myself.
I was not getting enough sleep because I was burning the candle at both ends.
I was getting more eye infections because I wasn’t resting my eyes enough (that’s my theory anyway, but could also be due to all the germs I’m around as a teacher).
I was getting fatter because I was not exercising and I was (am) eating my feelings (ice-scream daily, anyone?)
A sista was (and let’s be honest, is) tired! After dealing with crises all day, the last thing I want to do is put on a fake happy face for social media. So I have kind of dropped out. You may have noticed that I have been less present on social media. I’ve mostly been consoling myself with lots and lots of beautiful Pinterest pictures.
I was trying to do everything equally well at once, and failing miserably at most of them. I couldn’t catch my breath.
So I decided to just let it go.
Let. that. shit. go.
I have chosen self-care. I have decided to start getting the 8 hours a night of sleep I have heard so much about. I have even started breaking out my Yoga mat again, even if it’s just for a quick 5 minutes before bed.
I have accepted that I can not do it all. I simply just can not. So I have to let some things go for a little while.
Unfortunately, the things I had to release (just a little) are the things I would rather be doing.
None of my obligations are going away anytime soon, but yay for summer break! With summer break starting in a few hours, I hope to be back.
So please be patient. That follow up to the Latex Textile Printing post is coming.