My Chefs

When I first got here I was strong. I was motivated. I knew I could tackle anything this adventure I took on handed to me. Hell, I’ve been to jail. I have spent a year in a place where you have to get strip-searched when you enter the place you reside and also pay “rent” to “live” there.

I knew I could do it and I just knew that I would have support along the way. My job is letting me work remotely for them and by the grace of God, I’m somehow thriving more now than it seems I have been in months. I had just got my car out of the shop after 6 months of being there and I was on the road for Kansas with a fucking plan and a determined mind and heart that “I fucking got you Grandma and I got you family and I’m coming to save the day.”

33 days in as I write this and I’m not as good as I thought I would be. Neither is my grandma. And neither is my family.

[Insert cli-fucking-ché statement about the savior complex here.]

I had to check on my grandma to make sure she was breathing tonight. Because I was scared maybe she wasn’t. today they put her on oxygen because today her kidneys are starting to actively fail. Her face and her hands were a bit swollen and apparently, that’s a natural sign of kidney failure – water retention.

It upset me because I was upset this weekend. I was soooo upset because I was so tired. My role as her caregiver is to give her care – to feed her, to give her her medications, to help her to the bathroom, change her clothes, wipe her ass, etc, etc, etc.

But I was exhausted because she had gotten up to go to the bathroom so many times overnight and during the day that I think over the weekend I had collectively received maybe 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I think on Sunday she’d gotten up every 30-45 minutes since 9am and by 1pm I was crying in the afternoon I was so tired. In the middle of that, my friends back home were all hanging out and going to see movies and having lunch together – things that normally I would be instigating we all do (or at least I’d like to think I’d be invited to do). Not only that, but I thought I had made plans for my best friend to come over and have lunch with me at my grandma’s, but she had something come up – which was fine, but she never called me back to tell me she was never actually coming. I just assumed she wasn’t when my phone call and 3 text messages weren’t returned after 4 hours (going on 36 hours now).

And I fucking lost it. I fucking lost my goddamn mind. I sent hateful texts to my friends. I sent passive-aggressive bitchiness to get a rise out of people because in that moment I think I needed to even see if anyone cared. I posted a nasty comment on said best friend’s social media. My goddamn old suicidal ideologies came back inside my head like those fucking monsters tend to do.

Some good, tough loving conversations between my best friend and my brother/roommate today helped me realize that there are people out there who understand the struggles of mental health. Specifically, my mental health. And while I hate to admit that people have seen me at my very fucking lowest sometimes I am so grateful for the days that almost broke me and the people that stood beside me. THEN AND NOW.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral’s Kiss

I am so ashamed of who I am in those moments. In those moments when I let the evil inside my head and the hatred that I have for myself at that moment spew and spillover towards others. I never mean to hurt people but it seems as if – in that breath if only someone could just feel what I feel or if I could get someone’s attention then maybe, just maybe – I won’t be alone.

But the thing of it is – that shit only pushes people away and you end up more alone than you were in the first place. If you would have just asked for help to begin with.

But like Eric Church said – “I’ve learned that the Monsters, ain’t the ones beneath the bed.”

And those monsters tell you that you don’t need anyone. They tell you “fuck those people if those people can’t take the heat then they didn’t need to be in the fucking kitchen to begin with – it’s your kitchen!”.

But none of that is true. It’s not true that they didn’t need to be in that kitchen because, despite the fact that yes – the kitchen I am cooking this unbearable shit storm in is mine and mine alone and YES – I chose to be here despite the warnings against it, I STILL NEED THOSE CHEFS. I still need those people. And I know that because the moment I push all those people away is the moment I realize I’m alone and I don’t have anyone to help me fight these demons and these monsters off.

So here’s to moving on to day number 34. May I offer my fellow chefs some milk and sugar to mend my relationships and hope they will come to cook with me again. Because, my God, I cannot do this alone. And I know, I fucking know, it is not going to get any fucking easier from here.

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