I Really Can’t Muster Up a Tear

Do you ever have one of those days where it just seems like nothing is the way you wished it were and you just want to stay in bed (or crawl back into bed if you made the mistake of getting out in the first place) and pull the covers over your head and sleep forever? Yesterday was kind of like that for me and for no particular reason. It was like every other day in my life. Nothing extraordinary happened. It was just a regular day. But it was rainy and I was feeling gloomy. I went out for a bit in the morning while the sun was up, but I got home and sat down on the couch and spiraled into a sort of sadness. I just wanted to have a good cry to get my frustrations out, but I couldn’t, because I wasn’t really frustrated for any one specific reason. And I couldn’t find my copy of The Notebook to watch and boo hoo over so I just decided to save my tears for another day. I woke up and got ready to write this morning because I couldn’t last night. I just couldn’t find the energy or the subject matter and, lo and behold, my internet was off. Not that this is the first time this has happened and it wasn’t because it just slipped my mind. It was because, I, like a lot of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Though it’s really more like payday til day after payday and then supreme struggle for 12 more days. And I thought that was going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt the tears in the pit of my stomach. I felt them in my throat. I even felt them behind my eyes. So I went to take a shower. I do my best thinking and my best crying in the shower. I don’t remember the last time I had a really good cry in the shower or anywhere for that matter. Actually, I take that back. I cried July 5th of last year for 24 hours. I cried like a baby because my dog of five years ran away when the neighbors were blowing off fireworks. I wasn’t home. She jumped out the window, through the screen and took off. I cried so hard for so long, I gave myself a terrible headache and a swollen face. Then someone called me to tell me they found her and all was right with the world again. But I feel like that cry doesn’t really count because it was over something  significant. The best cries are the ones that are a build up of everything wrong in your life and then you get a papercut, or burn the toast and you lose your shit and cry that shoulder shaking cry for 10 minutes and then you wipe the snot on your sleeve, splash some water on your face, and feel better. You’ve cleansed away all your worries. Until next time.

I don’t remember the last time I had THAT kind of cry. That’s the kind of cry I felt like I needed today. I was having a pity party for myself. I was thinking that I am in the same exact place today as I was 13-15 years ago. Struggling. And when I went to the shower to get that cry out of my system, I started thinking about my life 13-15  years ago, and I couldn’t even muster up a tear.  All those years ago, I was living in Erie, Pennsylvania, in this tiny two bedroom apartment with three kids. I was going to college full time. I didn’t have a full time job. And I was living on student loans. My apartment cost $230 a month and was in a terrible neighborhood. My neighbors were trash. The people who lived below me were very nice, but simple, and nasty. Our apartment was mouse infested in the winter. I would set no less than ten mouse traps a night and I would wake up 2 or three times to empty the trapped mice out the window to the feral cats that waited in the alley for their midnight snack. It was around that time that I had my last baby. The one I mentioned the other day, whose dad lived around the corner but couldn’t come check on his kid. It was around that same time that my electricity got cut off. Luckily, we had a gas stove. The apartment was so small I was able to heat it with the oven and warm the water up on the stovetop to give the kids a bath. There were times I went days without eating anything but dry toast because I wanted to save what little food we did have for them to eat. Things haven’t really been that bad in a while.

And I got out of the shower with renewed energy. Who cares that the fucking internet is off today. I’ll get it back on next week when I get paid. My kid ate last night and this morning. I haven’t had to rely on sending him to school just so he gets a meal lately. My power has not been shut off in years and I haven’t been late on my rent since I moved in to the house I’m currently living in. I’ve been there almost two years. So I was crazy to think that I’m in the same position now as I was then. Am I still poor? Yes. But it could be so much worse. And I feel like maybe that’s why I can’t find the time for a good cry these days. I’m all cried out. I’ve been at the bottom. I stayed there for a long time. I’m comfortable now compared to where I was years ago and it’s not often that I have to remind myself about those days. I keep them mostly blocked out, but today was one of those times where I just needed to give myself a gentle reminder that everything we go through is exactly where we are supposed to be to make us exactly who we are supposed to be. And for that, I will be happy.

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