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Talking around the 800-pound gorilla in the room - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Talking around the 800-pound gorilla in the room [Sep. 28th, 2005|01:31 pm]
[Current Mood |anxiousanxious]

I have a new definition for "grownup." You're a grownup when a crisis arises at 8pm, you spend two and a half hours on the phone trying to figure out how to handle it, you go to bed and lie in the dark with your heart breaking....

And at 4:30 in the morning you get out of bed, do your workout, and go to the office anyway.

(No, this is not about Ferrett and me. We are fine - doing great, in fact. It's not even about me; it's about someone I love and am worried for.)

I really could use about a week curled up in a fetal position, but there is neither time nor sympathy for that. Clients are waiting on documents, attorneys are waiting on answers, and my professors are expecting me to be in class tonight, alert and attentive. And then I have to do it tomorrow. And Friday. They say that 80% of the battle is just showing up, and today that 80% was indeed the tougher part. I'm getting through the work okay, now that I'm here.

It's a bit like my crisis of a while back. I honestly didn't think I could make it through that week without resorting to prescription anti-anxiety meds - but I did. And if I could make it through that one, then I should be able to make it through this one.

The unanswerable question is, how much can I actually take? Work hasn't gotten less stressful, simply more organized. I have more than enough on my plate without the surprise heapin' helpin's that have been tossed my way of late.

I don't blame the person causing this stress. He's undergoing the crisis; I'm just a spectator, really. Maybe a useful advisor. Certainly an ear and a sympathetic shoulder. But it's hard, watching someone you love go through hell.

[User Picture]From: also_huey
2005-09-28 05:34 pm (UTC)
I know exactly how you feel. That does seem to be going around, doesn't it? Maybe something in the water? Don't drink the water!
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[User Picture]From: dakiwiboid
2005-09-28 05:34 pm (UTC)

Here's some virtual chocolate

and a big hug. Hang in there, sweetie. Been there, done that, had the stress.
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2005-09-28 05:41 pm (UTC)
it's so true. in my third (and last) semester at UVa, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer and died three weeks later -- and i told my professors because i was going to be out of town for two days, but otherwise i went about my business. in fact one professor was surprised to see me, when i showed up in her class on a day in between alerting them that there had been a death in my family and actually leaving to go to the funeral. and at almost the same time, one of my students -- a freshman, or very possibly a sophomore -- came to tell me that her grandmother was dying and she might have to go away suddenly, or ask for an extension, or this was a thing, her mind was elsewhere; and i didn't blame her at all, certainly, but a tiny part of my mind was going "you know, i've just lost someone, too, and you don't hear me complaining about it." but of course i didn't say anything of the kind, because of the two of us, i was the grown-up.

[hugs for you and yours], though.
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[User Picture]From: richtermom
2005-09-28 06:17 pm (UTC)
I don't want to sound like I'm being judgemental because everyone has their own way of dealing with grief, but that's just it: Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief.

Death of someone you love is not necessarily a "crisis" demanding action. It may take your heart. It may take your functioning mind for a while. It may take a lot of kleenex, but usually it just takes one or two people to "make the arrangements" and get through the paper work. The rest of us are sad, and we miss the deceased, and we mourn, but it's not necessarily a crisis.

A crisis -- and I'm just pulling this distinction out of my butt -- is sudden knowledge of a situation that requires a reaction, or action, or planning, or SOMETHING done. Being a grown-up means knowing what you can and cannot do, knowing what you're responsible for and what you can help cover, and thinking critically about how to stabilize the situation; being a grown-up doesn't mean blaming someone else and ignoring the problem, or getting over-anxious and not sleeping at all and not being useful the next day, or just being a hysterical nutcase because there's a problem, OMG!!!111elevenz!

Adults mourn. Some adults may let people know they're mourning, and others may mourn in secret. But yeah, with actual mourning? I don't think your student was being un-grown-up by asking for her absence to be excused and then mourning. It doesn't sound like the student ramped up the drama or overextended grief or tried to use a death as an excuse to just get out of stuff; she was being adult and giving notice that she would be away, just like you did. That you grieve inwardly is just that, you grieve inside.

Ms Z, I hope your friend gets through the crisis. It's hard not being able to just make everything better when you're on the sidelines, and I'm hoping your friend is able to use the counsel you and others give to set the situation right. Best of luck to you guys.
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[User Picture]From: heathrow
2005-09-28 05:46 pm (UTC)
You're doing wonderfully. You keep on keeping on, because you're a strong lady.
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[User Picture]From: naath
2005-09-28 05:58 pm (UTC)
How you know that you aren't grownup... 4.30am is a time to go to bed at not a time to get up at.
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[User Picture]From: duality
2005-09-30 08:53 am (UTC)
guess i'm not a grownup then, as my normal bedtimes are after 4am.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2005-09-28 06:04 pm (UTC)
Been there. Done that. Got the Tshirt.

And I totally agree with you. Grownups do what has to be done. Usually without complaining (much).
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[User Picture]From: ruka_
2005-09-28 06:39 pm (UTC)
I hope, sometime soon, you'll be able to take the time to breathe without it interfering with sleeping patterns.
Good luck.
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From: cluelessinchi
2005-09-28 07:09 pm (UTC)
I don't blame the person causing this stress. He's undergoing the crisis; I'm just a spectator, really. Maybe a useful advisor. Certainly an ear and a sympathetic shoulder. But it's hard, watching someone you love go through hell.

Trying to understand.. this person was going through a crisis and you chose to talk for hours and help that person. It is a good thing that you chose to help him and not blame him for causing you stress.

I am not sure that this has anything to do with being grown-up. Coping mechanisms are not the best indicators of being grown up. Often neuological and other disabilities can impair coping mechanisms.
In my life the ability to have personal responsibility is the best indicator of maturity. Taking responsibility for one's own actions and words.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-28 08:10 pm (UTC)
Taking responsibility and getting out of bed and doing my work despite the fact that the crisis is nowhere near over and I really just want to cry. That's the "being a grownup" part.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2005-09-28 07:19 pm (UTC)
It's even harder when they're going through hell but no they're not, everything's fine, just fine.
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[User Picture]From: batshua
2005-09-28 09:21 pm (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: bunnykissd
2005-09-28 09:28 pm (UTC)
i don't wanna be a grownup.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-29 02:46 am (UTC)
Me, either.
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2005-09-29 12:05 am (UTC)


Why do we grade people on the amount of shit they can take and still stand? Why is it a good thing that you can get up at 0430 and continue your day? If I have a crisis in my life, the last thing I want people to say to me is, "She's taking it so well." Do you know what that means? It means I am either ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away, or pretending it isn't affecting me while the whole time I'm on the verge of a shooting spree. I've done this and I hate it. I want to scream and throw things and curl up into a ball and cry myself to sleep. Why is that a bad thing? Why does not falling apart make you a better person? I don't want to suck it up and go on. I want to break stuff. And if it's my friend and not me I still want to break stuff. I've been under stress and still gone to work and did my job. It did not make me feel like a grown-up. It made me feel like a zombie.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-29 02:40 am (UTC)

Re: Why?

Your words are almost too honest for me to bear - they break my heart. I keep on because I can't let people down, and because it's too scary to contemplate what would happen if I didn't - no matter what the outcome.

I keep going because that is what I do. I don't know how to be me if I don't.
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[User Picture]From: ser_kai
2005-09-29 04:56 am (UTC)
i don't like your definition. it might work ok for right now but in the long term i think it would do you harm.

also, spare a thought for those of us unable to be 'grownup'. it isn't because we don't want to.
i come up against this all the time. people are always assuming about me.
the latest is that i was 'being childish' cos i broke my arm while flying kites with my kids, not being the kind of mum i strive to be.
it's kinda like my mum and how she judges women that can't be stoic & silent(or at least not screaming/cursing) in childbirth.
it's all a matter of perspective. we all have different needs and abilities and just because we can't all keep it together when things are rough doesn't make us weaker or any of that BS. people don't have the same life experience, coping mechanisms or neurology and looking down on someone that doesn't cope as well doesn't make you more grownup.
i like you a lot, gini but as a friend, i can't stand by and let you think less of someone because they're in a situation they're struggling to cope with. that's not fair nor is it right.
we all have different coping mechanisms. yours is simply different, not necessarily better.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-29 10:41 am (UTC)
I did not mean to give offense. The beginning of the post was much more my rambling self-pity than any intention to judge others.

I can't imagine anyone looking down on you because you broke your arm. That's terrible.
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[User Picture]From: miripanda
2005-09-30 02:42 pm (UTC)

Silly, and generic, and likely irrelevant. But *hugs* nonetheless.

I often find, actually, that "my stress" I can deal with, but it's when other people start sharing "their stress" that I begin to have trouble dealing.

I wish I could proclaim a National "Get Back Under The Covers For A Whole Day Without Having To Lose Any Time" Day for everybody.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-30 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear.
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[User Picture]From: megthelegend
2005-10-02 10:35 pm (UTC)
Jesus, Gini, when I read your later post I thought this must've been something hugely controversial and offensive!

But it ain't.

All I see here is a person saying she had a very rough night, but still got up and did what she had to do in the morning. Which is, y'know, admirable and stuff. I didn't see ANY inferences about ALL grownups, or ALL people, or anything else that I could take personally.

Try a little harder to be more offensive next time, 'kay?

::shakes head in mock disgust::
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-02 10:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, but I clearly praised being responsible as superior. And that's just wrong.

What was I thinking?!
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