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Out of Focus.

I Wanna Go Home || Mars, Pennsylvania May 2018.

My mom was approved for a liver transplant and added to the national list about two weeks ago. She's been sick and shuttling between the hospital and a skilled nursing facility close to the hospital. She wants to come home, but she can't. She doesn't have the constant supervision that she currently needs. While everyone else in the family thinks her constant care should fall to me, I can't do it. There's always this guilt trip because I'm not working, but the thing is, I AM working. It just doesn't pay any money. It pays in things like me being able to look at myself in the mirror and not hate myself. Or, I'm writing again.

Small steps and deep breaths get me through those moments, those conversations.

I started yesterday with every intention of getting shit done.. I have a writing job that I need to wrap up. I have website updates for a client that I need to finish. I woke up early, felt great, and then the phone rang.

It was my mom. She could barely speak. They were taking her back to the hospital to have the fluid drained from around her lung. "I haven't felt this bad ever, Jessica," she said to me, sounding fragile and older than she actually is. I told her to go get some rest, and she'd feel better in a few days. She listens to me. I keep things extremely upbeat with her, but also slightly detached, because I have to. Boundaries. I tell her I love her, she says she loves me too, and I hang up.

Immediately drained. Immediately beating myself up for not being at the hospital with her; not going to visit every day. Feeling selfish.

And then my phone rang again. This time, it was my brother. Our talk goes basically the same way: give a pep talk, give some good advice, get off the phone, get back to feeling awful.

The migraine set in, and I fell asleep. I woke up groggy and gross, and tried to get some things done. I was wholly unfocused. I had sunk into the guilt. The self loathing.

But what I had actually done was give my already limited energy to people I love, but people who never ask me how I'm doing before launching into their own feelings and struggles and bullshit.

I quit speaking to a friend earlier this year because she made me feel the exact same way. Drained. Upset. Unfocused. Because she would talk about her problems, and what an expert she was on what needed to be done and what needed to change...but she did absolutely nothing. She had a horrible relationship with food; it was almost sexual, lustful and greedy. She would smack her lips loudly and grunt and moan as she stuffed her face. I would avoid food situations around her, but it was impossible to even have a dirty plate on our table without her wanting to know what we ate, how it tasted, how it felt to eat it. And while I respect that her problems are hers, I also realized after a while that being around someone so deeply rooted in mental illness and various addictions was not bringing me down, but it was making me feel trapped. And it was also making me feel guilty for taking care of my own mental illnesses and addictions. So I made the decision to not be her friend anymore, because I only have so much energy in the day, and she routinely zapped it.

Today was better. I went to Old Navy in the 90 degree heat to pick up a new cardigan. I have an interview tomorrow, so I have to do the ol' "cover up the tattoos" dance. I also got a cute tee with a Palm Springs graphic on it for $2.99.  I went to Aldi and picked up some things we needed. I went to Target and picked up some deodorant and a new tube of my favorite mascara (L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black, you can thank me later). I made dinner early, and found time to sit down and write this before I jump in and finish those web updates.

I did a lot of texting today, which doesn't suck the life out of me. My mom is back at the nursing home; they drained her lung this morning and took her back after.

I took care of myself first today, and I'm glad I know how to do that now.


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