Saturday, August 16, 2008

Only A Shell Of My Former Self

I have lost my ability to resist the effects of stress. Several years ago, my life was nothing but stress. I had a boss that hated me, I didn’t really like myself very much either, I was barely making ends meet, and I was alone.

Every day involved some sort of stress, whether it was work related, or how I was trying to repair the shambles my personal life was in. I was tough. I had nerves of steel. I never cried or became emotional over my problems. I just tried to deal with them the best way I could. I was hard core. No, really I was.

After I moved from NC to TN everything changed for us. I got a better job, even though initially I took a pay cut. I had my family around for moral support. I got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Truly I did. For the most part, stress became a thing of the past. I had some school stress, but that was OK. It was OK because there was going to be a reward at the end of it, a college degree.

I have to say for the record, that I have no use for meaningless stress. You know money, bills, kids that need school clothes, principals that need to have their eyes popped out like little grapes. That kind of stress. I have had THAT kind of stress for weeks now. It’s been one irritating thing after another. It’s not really life threatening or anything, but it’s piling up.

The problem is that this Steel Magnolia has turned into a sniveling, whining, wimp. I can’t take it. I just can’t handle stress the way that I used to. I am not wired for it anymore. My nerves have softened over the last several years of a pretty much stress free existence. I find myself ready to throw a hissy fit or burst into tears over seemingly minor issues.

Let’s take this morning for example. Today is my birthday. MY birthday, as in Susan’s birthday. The anniversary of my birth date. My family was planning to take me out to dinner on Friday night. I was speaking with a family member whose identity I will protect. I was saying that I would really like to eat somewhere that I can get some crab legs. I heart crab legs a lot. Plus you know, it’s my birthday. The anonymous family member points out that if we eat somewhere that serves crab legs, they will be unable to attend. They would be unable to attend because their kid(s) will want crab legs. Family member does not want to pay for crab legs for their child(ren).

I have a suggestion for you. Tell your kid(s) NO. Tell your kid(s) that we are eating out for Aunt Susie’s birthday and they will not be able to eat crab legs. Tell them we are eating where AUNT SUSIE wants to eat, because after all, it is HER FRIGGIN BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Or don’t bring your kid(s) then you don’t have to worry about what they will or won’t eat!

I had to get off the phone with this person. I just couldn’t take it. I was so freakin’ pissed off. (Are you guys seeing a pattern here? I was really ticked off at the principal a couple of days ago, now I am ready to bash my own relatives). I was so upset that I was ready to UNinvite this person to my birthday dinner. Then I considered canceling the birthday dinner altogether. Then I was almost in tears.

What’s happened to me? I used to be so tough. When my dad was in the hospital several years ago I didn’t cry. When I had to call 911 for a family member a couple of years ago, I didn’t cry. When both my new nephews were born I didn’t cry. Actually I didn’t cry when either one of my own children were born. Or when I got married either. When I realized how much it was going to cost me to go to college I didn’t cry or even get angry.

Is this all it takes to reduce me to a walking black ball of fury and/or tears? COME ON!!! My ex husband doesn’t even get me worked up like this. It shames me I tell you. I do think it’s self- centered of someone to try to dictate to me where they want to eat for my birthday based on what is comfortable for them. Let’s face it, it’s not the end of the world, and it’s certainly not worth getting myself all in a snit over it. I am telling you, I can’t go on like this. I wont be able to stand myself. I will be getting on my own nerves. I will be trying to figure out how I can get away from that moody, irrational woman that lives with me. Oh! Wait a minute……that IS me.


Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Happy Birthday...and I'm sorry that you've been so stressed out...When I get like that I KNOW it's time for a break...somthing different, maybe lunch with a friend who will let you blow off a little steam...get you back on track...

I hope that you enjoy your day!

Astarte said...

Well, that was a totally rude thing for them to do! Seriously, jeeze. If you don't want to have to pay for your kids, don't bring them.

Is there anything else going on? I absolutely do not think it's wrong for you to have been upset, but if you don't usually cry, then maybe there's something underlying that's worn you down somehow. They were entirely rude to you, AND you were looking forward to this for a long time. As parents, we rarely get to treat ourselves. My birthday is on Halloween, so you can imagine how invisible it is to everyone on the planet because it's overshadowed by the biggest kid holiday EVER (and no, I wasn't allowed to have parties when I was a kid, so it's pretty much always been a disappointment). I rarely even get a phone call from most people because they're too busy with their kids. Blah.

Anyway, I want you to have a wonderful day!!! I hope you have a happy ending to your sad beginning!!!!! I would TOTALLY take you out for crabs.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Happy birthday! I'm with Astarte, it's rude to tell you that if you go to where you want to go for YOUR birthday dinner, he/she won't be able to go because the kids will want an expensive meal. That's THEIR problem, not yours. Here's an idea for them: say NO. It's possible, really. I say it to my kids ALL THE TIME.

Anonymous said...


Hope you had/are having an super cool despite (despite the crab drama)

I agree with the rest that its not on what your relative did! I would have cried (but then I cry for everything) AFTER I had told them to not come then (I cut off my nose like that)

I have no advice on why the sudden need for tears tho ;( Maybe its cos you dont HAVE to be tough? When you had major stress you couldnt afford to be all teary?

HW said...

Well, Happy Birthday. I'm sorry it's been kind of icky for you.

Seriously, kids can go out to eat and not order what the grown ups have. Or they can stay home. It's okay for kids to be treated

Putting on my therapis hat now - I think what you are experiencing is kind of a delayed reaction to all the stress you were under the last few years. Your instinct was to remain stoic while so much was going on, because you had not time to "break down," but now that some of the stress (college, divorce) has been relieved, you are allowing yourself to release some of the stress. Change, even good change, is hard and can bring about reactions we don't expect. I'd let the tears come for now and see if you feel any relief within a couple weeks - allow yourself a catharsis. If you don't feel better, please see your doctor. It could be depression.

And find a way to eat those crab legs with somebody fun.

Karen Deborah said...

Sounds like hormones. Cut yourself some slack, geez. Did you get to eat crab legs?
Wishing you a happy birthday and some big HUGS!!

Farrell said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! Hope it turned out okay!!
I am the same way - I don't cry when it's important.
Chalk it up to the full moon - i've been feeling the same way.

Anonymous said...

As always, I'm a million years late getting to this post, but you know what all this boils down to? You've spent SO LONG doing things to better your family and the lives of those around you. Granted, finishing college is also for YOU, but it is still something you had to wear yourself out to do... in addition to making ends meet, being a good mom, and handling all of the other stresses...

The fact that you were ready to break down is OKAY! You NEED to be pampered. Seriously. Really, truly pampered. Part of you knows this and wants this badly... another part of you resents yourself for feeling selfish...

BUT... regardless... it SUCKS that you couldn't even be pampered on your b-day night out.

Get pampered. Indulge yourself in something exclusively for YOU and tell everyone else to SHOVE OFF (even your kids, if you have to! LOL!)!!


Love from your cuz,