“Are you alright?”
Shit. I thought I had done a good job presenting myself as ok. I showered. I did my hair. I put makeup on. I filled in my eyebrows, dammit! If I put eyebrows on, that means it’s serious. But somehow my anxiety came radiating through.
“I’m ok. My brother passed away a couple of weeks ago, and I just get emotional from time to time.”
“Your brother died and you scheduled your pap smear right after?”
The nurse practitioner looks to be all of twelve, a female Doogie Howser except she is not old enough to understand the reference. She gushed that she can’t wait to be a mother when I told her I stayed home with my two kids. Maybe she doesn’t understand how motherhood means you just keep going day to day, even though really all you want to do is eat a tray of Brownies and lay in your bed watching Inside Amy Schumer reruns until your stench had reached an exasperating level and you have no choice but to shower. Perhaps she is just inexperienced at the bedside manner portion of her job. I don’t know her. Who is to say?
“No, I didn’t schedule my PHYSICAL (it was a yearly physical, not just a trip to the stirrups) after finding out about my brother. I had the appointment for a few weeks. I had to reschedule it two other times because of conflicts with my kids’ school schedules, so I figured I better just keep it this time.”
Now that we have this squared away, we an get back to reviewing my cholesterol counts and looking for unusual moles on my glaringly white skin. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh.
Today was to be the day I got back to normal. I told myself I would give it through the weekend to mope, and then I needed to get back in the swing of things. My kids are frothing at the mouth for attention. Ben had to get back to work. The boys needed to return to school. This was the day.
Except on most days I don’t do my hair and put on fifty lbs of makeup. I’m lucky if I put on some concealer and lip gloss. But this morning I just wanted to look ok. I was reminded of that line in Say Anything where Ione Skye says something like “I put on these clothes and I just thought if I looked right, someone would talk to me. But I look awful and I feel awful.”
I have a mixed view of makeup. I love the fun of playing in makeup, seeing yourself transform into someone else. As a little girl, I liked nothing more than to paint myself with the remnants of some old green eye shadow and a half used tube of my mother’s coral lipstick. But as a feminist, I hate the idea that you MUST put on makeup. That you are less attractive without it. That your wage and chances of promotion can be dependent on it. That you feel ugly when you don’t have it on.
But this morning, I was just happy to feel pretty. The makeup felt like a mask, a barrier against people seeing I am still falling apart. Not all day, not even most of the day, but still there are frequent moments when I find myself crying at a tangential thought of my brother.
A friend came to bring me dinner, and stayed to talk for a little while. She mentioned I had been blogging a lot lately. Yes, I replied with a hint of guilt. I can’t seem to do much else. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to write about another topic.
I know I have other actual things to do. On top of my normal routine, I have Spanish homework to finish and thank you notes to write. My husband has been holding down the fort so to speak. I just walk around in a weird state of half normalcy, giving way to unbridled emotion and ending with a zombie stare.
I desperately need to get back on track with exercise and eating right. A friend asked if I was eating, and I replied that my appetite knows no grief. I like to gorge on my emotions. Today I went to a bakery and walked out with three separate desserts.
She could see I was kind of bathing in the loathing pool and said “You’ve got to focus on one problem at a time. You are putting a lot of this on yourself. Today, you got up. You did a few things. Tomorrow, you’ll do a little bit more.”
And she’s right. Today, I made my kid a lunch and got my preschooler to class on time. I went to a horrible doctor’s appointment. I took Kellen to the library. I know each day will get easier, which is good but I also resent it. I hate the idea that one day it will be ok, or at least normal, that he’s not around.