I don’t want to fight, but you punish my honesty with silence and absence.
I don’t want to fight, but I hear so much in the things you’re not saying.
I don’t want to fight, but you’ve been dropping balls left and right.
I don’t want to fight, but you’re suddenly too busy for everyday things and only give me vague excuses and thinly constructed lines about why.
I don’t want to fight, but I’m drowning in the missed appointments, forgotten errands, and chores that I know are left undone.
I don’t want to fight, but I can’t bring myself to remind you one more time to breathe and smile and show up.
I don’t want to fight, but I feel like your side of the room is suddenly pitch black.
I don’t want to fight, but I can no longer pretend it’s not happening.
I don’t want to fight, but I need this to stop.
I don’t want to fight, but I know I’m going to have to use words that will crack our foundation.
I don’t want to fight, but I don’t think I have any other choice.
“Never let anyone tell you you’re wrong when you’re right, Mija,” my father said to me often when I was growing up. What he meant was that I needed to stand up for myself no matter who it was I was standing against. That I needed to speak out when necessary.
To him, this was more than just words.
My parents stood by me in the third grade when I was sent home for getting into a fight with a boy who escalated from bullying attempts to hitting.
They stood by me in the sixth grade when I was accused of being “disrespectful” to a teacher for calling him out for his language.
They stood by me in high school when I helped organized a two-day walkout to protest a teacher who failed 90% of the class in his final exam.
They stood by me as my career and education goals differed from what they understood or planned.
They stood by me as I became an adult and family members accused me of being too much, too loud, or too different.
My dad was very old school, traditional and often incorrect in his views about women’s roles and, yes, about race. As I became an adult I clashed with him on more than one occasion about what he believed and said. There were words, shouting and hurt feelings â€¦ and we didn’t always so much make up as just move on.
And yet, despite the fact that we often disagreed, I did know that he took delight in my strong character. He liked watching me push up against the world, against what others thought I could and couldn’t do and shattering their expectations. I think he liked knowing that he and my mom gave all of their children the tools to go out and do more than what they were able to do themselves.
As I speak out in support of #blacklivesmatter in conversations with friends and family, I know that my father wouldn’t have agreed with what I’m saying but he would have absolutely supported my right to say it.
I hate that she seems so frail … when I look at her I can see the weakness and not the strength.
I hate that she seems so old … when I’m with her all I notice are the signs of the passage of time.
I hate how she makes me feel … impatient, exasperated, guilty, and tired.
I hate that all her requests are emergencies … there’s never any planning, everything is due now.
I hate how I always end up saying “yes” … I’m tired of asking her to think ahead, make lists, consider my time so I just do what she wants.
I hate knowing that I should be better … and knowing that I’m stuck in this gear.
I hate her … I hate myself.
I was a sickly child. I’m a sickly adult.
Allergies. Migraines. Delicate stomach. Weak ankles. Anxiety. Problems sleeping. Snoring loudly. Frequent cavities. Arthritis. Mild carpal tunnel. A pinched disc. Colds that last 6+ weeks. And many many other things.
I get sick a lot. I stay sick longer than is usually expected for the malady I’m suffering. And I’m not exaggerating for attention. In my life, being sick is a nuisance, not something that garners special attention.
I’m sick right now. I’ve been sick for nearly a week. I’m really tired of being sick.
I really need to put “sick” into perspective to help you understand here. I’ve had relentless nausea, fever, chills, all of my muscles ache, cramps, my head hurts, I’m exhausted beyond words, wooziness that comes and goes, and I’m having issues concentrating. I’m somewhat aware of what day it is, but I couldn’t remember my phone password earlier.
Can you tell why they tested me for the flu at urgent care? BTW, I don’t have the flu. I also don’t have any of the other things that normally cause these symptoms. And the symptoms I haven’t mentioned here are flummoxing the medical professionals. I’m sick and none of the treatments they’ve given me have worked so far. I’m sick and I’m not actually getting better.
But as I sit here, drinking what I think is my 10th bottle of water today, shivering, squinting against the glare on the computer, I’ve decided to share some things I’ve learned from being a sickly adult (recently and not-so-recently). If you’re easily grossed out, you may want to abandon the post right here.
- You can only use the words “pee” and “poop” with close family members and medical professionals. I don’t care how close your friends are, there is always going to be long-term embarrassment around conversations with those words.
- Most people really think I don’t already know that the need to go pee every 20 minutes isn’t normal. Yes, I’m aware it’s bizarre. No, I don’t want to discuss it. Your need to bring it up is only going to embarrass me. It’s also going to ensure that I never go out with you anywhere ever again. (And it’s not really every 20 minutes, but some days it’s not much of an exaggeration.)
- After 5+ days of severe constipation, diarrhea counts as a bowel movement.
- After 5+ days of severe constipation, bowel movements are going to hurt. There’s no way around it.
- I can’t do an enema on myself. Finding someone to do an enema on you is a test of true love.
- You can’t get in for an appointment with your regular doctor in less than a week. Give it up. It’s not going to happen.
- Urgent care is only good for a very few items. They’re almost always going to tell you to go to the ER or to see your primary care physician. Make sure you know how much the visit is going to cost you before you go.
- Vaseline is my new best friend.
- Nausea could be a form of torture.
- It’s possible not to remember the last time you ate.
- Modesty becomes optional the worse you feel. I walked from my room to the bathroom without pants or even underwear — yelling that no one should look. It’s possible that the dogs were sitting outside my room at that point, but I’m not sure.
- It’s possible to sleep comfortably on the bathroom floor with enough towels.
- There is nothing on television, but it doesn’t matter. If you’re actually sick, you’re not going to stay awake to watch whatever is on.
There’s more. I know there’s more. I’m just too tired to keep typing.
I lived through Tropical Storms Allison and Harvey, both of which inundated the city with more water than I thought was possible. I lived here for Hurricanes Alicia and Ike. And I’ve seen what just an hour of hard rain can do to otherwise safe streets. I have a healthy respect for rain and have learned to take advisories of inclement weather seriously.
So when my favorite weather site is saying that we’re going to have a bad storm, I pay attention.
On Tuesday I spent the day trying to convince people that they should listen to the inclement weather predictions. “They’re saying it’s going to be bad starting tonight and get worse later in the week,” I said. I encouraged clients to get their crisis plans in order. I successfully advocated to cancel a workshop my business was hosting the next morning. And I made contingency plans.
Of course, I was proven wrong the next day. The rain largely ignored the inner loop of the city. And while the outer regions were deluged with rain, the city itself stayed mostly dry. So on Wednesday it was business as usual.
I felt weirdly disappointed. And very foolish.
While I knew that the storm had hit neighboring cities hard enough that they were evacuating, I mistook the cloudy but rain-free sky this morning as an indication that all was well and I didn’t look at the radar until late in the morning. Then I left for a meeting.
That was a mistake.
I hadn’t realized that the north side of the city had been blasted with intense rain that morning already. I didn’t realize that the rain we were receiving was moving to cover the city. It was the kind that floods a city in record-breaking ways. I didn’t realize that I’d forgotten the “will get worse later in the week” part of my speech on Tuesday. I didn’t realize that I really should have stayed put.
I made it home without incident, after crawling my car through the freeway under a darkened sky with rain the entire way. Others were not so lucky.
- My business partner was stuck in a grocery store for hours, caught by high water while he tried to pick up his son at school.
- My siblings were stuck at work until the last kid was picked up (they are teachers).
- My nephew went home with a friend (while my sister waited for other children to be picked up and my brother-in-law braved very high waters to make it back into town). Their car was stuck in high water and they had to walk the last few blocks to make it to his friend’s house. They made it safe, wet but safe.
- And so on, and so on.
I spent the day watching news reports of the city’s flooding, of one of the top ten “wettest” storms do its worst. I spent the day checking in with family members as they each made their way to home and safety. I spent the day wishing I had been completely wrong.
How was your day?