On Monday, I had a mini meltdown. I’d had a long and awkward day at work. This is one of those good on paper Academia gigs where you wear blazers and see billions of dollars being poured into everything but your pocket. One of those gigs where everyone constantly checks in to see if you have everything you need but you never get everything you need. I believe the young folks call it adulting. I used to think I was one of the young folks. The combined stress of being the new kid in school, sleeping in my thirteenth place in a little over a year and needing to add a fourteenth in less than a week had finally gotten to me. This is usually the part where I say how grateful I am for this job and this hospitality, but for the sake of my bedtime and your intelligence, I’m gonna assume you already know.
I got home and discovered that the application for the apartment I’d been wishing and hoping and praying and smudging for, had NOT been submitted the week prior, as I’d thought. Though the online application site had happily pocketed the exorbitant fees and dutifully sent my receipt, I’d needed to complete a final, invisible step to submit the application. Not to mention my monthly assassin had come to throw ‘bows on my uterus and box my breasts and back. My resolve dissolved. I lost my shit. I’d bought furniture for the room, I’d lay awake nights visualizing the bed and the space and the company I’d have and the meals I’d prepare. I’d planned. I’d manifested. I’d…..earned this?
I called my sis and leveled a series of expletives and shrieks. She put on her crisis counselor cap and talked me down and sent me links and made me breathe. She helped me realign. I texted my other sisters and they assured me that it would all work out in the end. I invested a couple of hours in panic —->followed by guilt —-> followed by admonishment. It’s easy to have faith and trust the process when the process isn’t aflame. I had to be up at 5am for the new gig, so I smoked some trees, rang my bell and had a nightcap.
I awoke the next morning in a haze. The past few days of activity had finally caught up with me. I constantly forget that my body doesn’t work the way it used. That I sometimes call and it doesn’t respond. That a simple 40hr work week feels like it did when I trained for six days with no recovery day. That I require more food and sleep and physical rest than my peers. It’s especially difficult because I am also no longer in charge of my surroundings or my hours or my body. I’ve already spent the majority of my life negotiating ownership of my body and now I’m fighting for it’s extradition. You may think I’m being dramatic. I’ll let you decide.
I had my first doctor’s appointment with my new primary care physician a couple months ago. I was super excited because I’d been waddling around encased in water for weeks and I was finally going to get my medication and with it, my mobility. I follow him into his office with the large file I keep for all my doctors. I’ve learned to bring my own documents. Apparently, doctors are incapable of keeping track of these things. I sit across from him as he skims through my file.
Doc: Tell me what’s going on?
Sick Chick: Well…as you can see from the chart. I was originally diagnosed in 2005. I had my first biopsy in 2008 blah blah blah.
Doc: I’ll have to read all this later.
**looks up at me for the first time
Doc: Ok. So you know how to count calories right?
Doc: And you know that morbid obesity is bad for your health?
Doc: And you’re not sexually active, right?
Doc: Are you depressed?
Sick Chick: Well, I am now! I mean, when I can walk and I’m not carrying over 20lbs of water in my legs and ankles, I’m pretty good.
Doc: Ok. Do you want me to prescribe your meds?
I’m long overdue for my follow up visit. But, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go into his office again. You’re probably thinking that I should just switch doctors. You’re absolutely right. But, I’m willing to bet that if that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not a person who battles chronic illness. You might be thinking I should have told him to go fuck himself. If that’s what you’re thinking, I’m willing to bet you don’t have Medicaid. I’m willing to bet you don’t know the fury associated with waiting three hours and repeating the same story to same doctor who sees you every month and then switching doctors and rewinding the tape. I’m willing to bet your body does what you ask of it and you never even think about it. I’m willing to bet you’d never think I need your seat on the train. I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t even notice me.
I wouldn’t have needed your seat that next morning. The MTA was on it’s shit and the train was sparse. I arrive half an hour early for my 7am shift. I sit at myself and will myself to stay awake. I splash water on my face and I go for walks and I have a few cups of coffee. I stand up and I smile and hop to get my blood flowing. I listen to music and podcasts and plot my event schedule. I go back outside and catch some air. I cannot wake myself. No one seems to notice, in fact, I end up needing to stay an extra two hours. I end up missing my appointment to see another potential home. I end up missing…my mind is in sleep mode
When it powers on, I think more on manifestation and the danger of “deserve”. I acknowledge my privilege and grasp at gratitude and grace. But it’s a process. I’m still agitated and yearning to root. It’s still uncomfortable taking the bathroom time that I need in other people’s homes. It’s still uncomfortable taking the quiet space that I need in other people’s homes. I’m uncomfortable allowing them to see me spend a full day on the couch, allowing them to see me wince, allowing them to see me tremor and struggle with words. Allowing them to see me. It’s difficult to politely decline their offers and suggestions. I’m still finding the language to thank them for job and dietary recommendations while reiterating my inability to do those jobs or prepare those foods in my nomadic existence.
I’m polishing my patience and attempting a shift from “deserve” to “actively desire”. I’m allowing myself my dramatics and I’m pushing through my discomfort to claim kitchens and bathrooms and streaming passwords. Also, I actively desire a HBOGO password. I need Insecure as a stand in for security. While I reach for that security and I approach a semblance of sanity, I am pushing the limits of my patience, and I hope to be deserving of all that lies ahead.