I’m having a rough week. My adored grandfather’s health is failing, and although his soul is strong and he has rallied as often as he’s faded this week, I can’t help feeling like time is very short. I’m still recovering from surgery and am no where near being able to travel yet, so I can’t get to Richmond to see him or be of any help to my parents and grandmother. I’m grieving, and I’m feeling guilty.

I’m over the pain and discomfort following my surgery, but I’m healing slowly and I’m still weak. I may have a complication. I may not. It’s early to tell, but it’s on my mind constantly. I’m nervous and there’s nothing I can do but wait and keep my post-op appointments. I am intensely moody. I know that’s perfectly reasonable, given my anxiety for my family and my general weakness and hormonal upheaval. It makes perfect sense that there would be hormonal fallout from breast surgery, but somehow it didn’t occur to me to expect that, and I’m shocked at how uneven I’m feeling. I’m sleeping badly, and I’m crying a lot. I’m trying not to fight my sadness. It’s ok to be sad. I will venture to say that right now, it’s the right thing to be sad. But it’s wearying.

Under the circumstances, I’ve been staying away from Twitter and generally avoiding being online, with the exception of checking my email and updating GoodReads. Because here’s something I don’t talk about, and that’s making me feel especially vulnerable this week: I’m lonely, and even when things are good, I hate being single. This week, right now, is the hardest time I’ve ever had being alone. I’ve been single for a long time, and happy that way for a long time. But in the past year, I’ve become increasingly lonely and in my bad moments, I feel somehow obscurely punished because no one holds me at night. That feeling is in very sharp focus right now. I’m ashamed that I feel that way, and I don’t talk about it. I’ve never been more tempted than I am this week to start an anonymous Twitter account. Just set one up and pour out all the sadness and anxiety on the mercy of the internet and let the attention of strangers wash over me and feel briefly less lonely. Except that the internet isn’t actually merciful, no matter how soothing the balm of strangers can be – and it is soothing, I don’t mean to suggest that it’s not real. Neko Case has a great line about that: “The most tender place in my heart is for strangers/ I know it sounds bad, but my own blood is much too dangerous.” I’ve given comfort to strangers, and been the grateful recipient of comfort from strangers. But that isn’t what I want now, and it would only be a patch. What I want now is someone who knows all my ugly stuff, and loves me anyway in the grief or self pity of hormonal, sleepless 3 a.m. I also don’t mean to say that I feel unloved in general. I’m surrounded by people who love me, and I’m truly grateful to everyone who’s checking up on me. I just want more. It’s that simple, and that hard to get.

So without anonymity, wearing my own face, I’m trying to find some relief in admitting these things. I’m gritting my teeth through the ache of 3 a.m., and missing my family through the slow grief of a loss that hasn’t happened yet, and being scared while waiting on the results of my recovery, and sitting and reading and reading and reading and reading. At some point, it will do me good to venture back into the online world, where news and conversation and the sparkling 140 character wit that I normally enjoy so much will draw me back out. Just not tonight. Tonight I’m going to try, again, to sleep.

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2 thoughts on “ouch.

  1. Sosae

    Hi Kateri,

    It’s funny, sometimes even when you’re in a relationship, you can feel desperately lonely. And sometimes people who are in relationships look at people who are single, and long for the days when they had a perceived freedom. I guess we’re just human. I wear your earrings every day, and every day they make me happy. You do good things.


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