I’ve been really reluctant about making this update which covers why I have been MIA on all fronts. It’s pretty demoralizing to talk about and frankly I don’t want to do it, but given that I’ve more or less done a disappearing act I figure it’s a good idea to put it out there.
About 3 years ago I was getting ready to move house. I’ve been living in a multi-unit building and after a few years in a 2 bedroom I decided to downgrade to a 1 bedroom, so I packed up my stuff and moved into a vacant unit downstairs. What came next was a year of sleepless nights, as I had apparently moved from the family-friendly part of the building to the student ghetto. Loud parties, shrieking college girls, doors slamming at all hours. It drove me nuts and I was exhausted, but I ended up putting on earphones and channeling all that into a couple of projects – actually, that’s how Shadows May Fall (Wattpad) came to be, along with a side project which turned out to be a way to make some decent cash.
I had planned to move out of the apartment in the city and relocate to a small house about 30 mins away. The drive would have been annoying, especially in winter, but I figured it was a decent trade-off to get a less-expensive place where I could work in peace.
That didn’t happen. Long story short, I ended up moving in with my grandmother, and it was a terrible mistake.
She raised me (more on that later.) She’s in her mid 80s and has been on her own since my grandfather died in the 90s. She did pretty well once she was widowed – learned to drive at 60, for example – but the past few years there have been a few declines. Aside from going out less, which is to be expected, she’s been letting the house and herself fall apart. There are issues with food hoarding. She has trouble understanding letters sent to her, so she constantly needs someone to read them and explain. Dishes weren’t being washed but rinsed off, and so on with a multitude of other little things you’d probably see on some weird TLC show. The house I grew up in was slowly becoming a shithole and the woman who raised me turning into a shabby old woman content to let everything fall apart.
Coming with the bundle is my mother, who lives with my grandmother and has Munchausen Syndrome. I won’t get too much into what that is, but to quote Web MD:
dishonesty is common with this illness.
Luckily for me, the most of my raising had been done by my grandmother. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I had this ridiculous idea that I could help to make things better and put up with the stuff I couldn’t.
Needless to say, I did not.
Three years and nothing has been done. I now have a fat bank account and my grandmother has talked her way out of every single repair, and since it’s not my house and she’s still of sound-mind I can’t do anything about it. Small victories usually aren’t worth it – I wanted a dryer installed in a house that had never had one and it became a year-long battle of wills. I got the damn dryer, but it was exhausting.
The sensible adult in me says to use that money I saved to put a down-payment on a home of my own and leave it to my grandmother to come to the conclusion she should look at living somewhere that doesn’t require constant care, but I can’t. If I do, she would be left all alone and she wouldn’t come to that conclusion. She’d pride herself on being the spry old woman who still shovels her driveway until the last slip puts her in a wheelchair.
To make matters worse, my mother has decided pretending to be sick isn’t nearly as fun as it once was — rather than pull up her boots and helping out, she hooked up with an old boyfriend and just left. And by left I mean she’s letting him cook and clean for her at his place (or rather, his landlady’s place — he was kicked out of his trailer and would be homeless and is renting a single room in someone’s house – you can’t make this shit up) while she maintains her address at my grandmother’s, thus getting her out of having to pay any rent like an adult for a change.
I’m not sure why September was the catalyst, but something shifted during my last cottage vacation. Where I should have been on the beach enjoying the last few days of summer or rooting out spots that are hidden to most tourists, I sat in the cottage and watched TV and worried what I was coming home to or what was going to fall apart next. I haven’t written a single thing since. I had to confess to a very good friend I spoke to daily that I hadn’t been in touch in months because I simply had nothing good to say and I didn’t feel like unloading.
I’m stuck and I’m feeling stuck, and as a result I have little desire to do much of anything I love. For a while I was writing for the No Sleep Podcast, still writing lots of things, reading and baking, flirting and dating and all those things I used to enjoy. I even signed up for post-graduate studies. All those things are either on hold or an uphill battle. I tend to keep away from social media because, aside from the inundation of bad politics, I mostly follow writers and book folk and the last thing I want to do is read about other people living a life I once had. And, of course, work sucks. I always tolerated my day job because it was merely a source of income, but now that I’m not going home to get to doing what I love I’m far less tolerant
So here we are. Depression that had only poked me a little over the years has come back with a mighty vengeance. Now I’m not suicidal, so don’t worry about me on that end, but I do have less fight in me than I once had. I always had the mindset that better things were just around the bend and I was usually right, even if they didn’t turn out to be what I expected, but right now I’m just feeling like I’m never going to move anywhere. I used to joke to an ex-boyfriend that the house I grew up in and that I would go and visit was like Grey Gardens with less flamboyance. I guess now that makes me Little Edie, just waiting for something to change so I can get on with it already.
To the point: I won’t be writing for a while. I don’t really have anywhere I can do it and feel focused, and it frustrates me to think about it. I still have ideas and I will still jot down the occasional flash of inspiration, but I’m nowhere near ready to go back to the old routine. As it is I need to put focus on at least surviving the first leg of my post-grad work and actually getting an appetite so I don’t make myself sick.
I won’t name names, but I do want to give thanks to those who have reached out to me via email or tweet (or a hilariously-timed video dropped into my DMs – you know exactly who you are.) I promise I’ll get back to my old self one day, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be soon.