Eight weeks ago I fell really ill. I had a fever, my back was covered with KT tapes, my feet were in compression socks, my knees pained in spite of knee bands, and my left eye twitched non-stop. I tried all my go-to remedies—Advil, Tylenol, Tiger Balm, Biofreeze, soaking and aroma oils, and heating pads. Nothing helped. It felt as if someone had sucked the life out of me.
I couldn’t even lay peacefully in my misery, as I kept on worrying about all the things that needed to be done. Whenever I looked at the multicolored collection of sticky-notes of my to-do list on my computer screen, my eye twitched like crazies. And I burrowed deep inside my bed.
I thought that I might be depressed. After all, this May marked ten years since I graduated from Texas A & M. And the three years at TAMU are something I don’t like to remember.
Also, this year was my milestone birthday. And before every birthday I remember the asshole-ness of my family. Imagine living in a house where on your birthday you woke up to verbal abuse from your mother and where your younger sister never acknowledged your birthday. Instead the younger sister would walk down a flight of stairs, walked to the adjoining row house, climbed two flights of stairs, wished the neighbor girl “happy birthday,” descend two flights of stairs, walked back to her house, climbed a flight of stairs, plonked herself on the living room sofa, and sniggered at you. Believe me, you would always be vulnerable on your birthdays.
And then there was another reason. Something that took me a few days, sleepless nights, and a phone therapy session (my first), before I disclosed it to my husband. And the non-sharing bothered me. I am still not ready to share it with the world, probably someday, but not right now.
Despite a collection of emotional issues, I realized that I wasn’t depressed. I was pissed at the happenings of my past, but thankfully nowadays I don’t let my past f**k with my present.
As my eye continued to twitch, the unread emails collected in my inboxes and my to-do list grew longer and longer. One night while I sniffed the pungent Tiger Balm, I had an epiphany—I was mentally, emotionally, and physically fatigued. That I needed time for me and time to spend with my husband.
So, I boycotted everything—personal emails, friends and acquaintances, writing, cooking, blogging and sharing, critique groups, volunteer work, gym, hiking . . .everything.
I went on a mission of living. I voted. I went on a vacation with my husband. I ate and drank and shopped and ate and drank some more. I didn’t work-out and gained five pounds. I binged watched Nurse Jackie and Marcella. I wrote but didn’t post it on my blog. I went to two readings of my work, and afterward, I ate and drank. I rested and celebrated my big birthday. Of course, I shopped and drank and ate—in that order. For days, I snacked on the leftover cake. I celebrated and watched the 4th of July fireworks.
After eight weeks of shunning the world and avoiding all responsibility, I feel rested and my eye has stopped twitching. But of course, now, I have to catch-up with life and all the pesky emails and the to-do list.