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Murky waters

Hard to see clearly to what lies below…

My daughter, goodness love her, is a messy child. It’s taken me eleven frustrating and messy years to realize she simply is what she is. Despite constant reminders, nagging, and bribing, she always leaves a mess in her wake.

Today, she came to me upset because her new favorite hoodie had a stain on it. Never mind the countless others from art projects and trampoline spills. This one was front and center on her pocket, and upset her deeply. Learning from past mistakes in dealing with heightened emotions, I sprang into action.

I took her jacket, scowled at the offending stain, and promised to do my level best to clean her jacket as I ushered her off to school. Super mom dusted off her cape to fight tear-inducing stains today. While she ran off to school, I waged a war on dirt!

I soaked that jacket for two and a half hours. I stirred and scrubbed. I massaged and kneaded. Every single stain was gone, but the one that put that sad look in my sweet girls eye this morning. Eventually, I tossed it in the washing machine in a final attempt at victory.

As I moved to pull the plug on the sink full of murky water, I paused. For reasons I couldn’t quite understand, I felt like that murky water. Grimy. Clouded. Used up. Being a generally peppy person, this thought train bothered me. I sat, staring at a sink full of grimy water and related to it.

I stood in my kitchen and took stock. I realized I haven’t been myself lately. Sure I still laugh like a loon, loud and slightly obnoxious, and I do all the things I normally do. But my typical zest and motivation has been severely lacking. I realized it takes major pep talks from myself just to do things like go for my morning run, clean my house, sit down and write.

It’s been a month since I wrote anything outside of a Facebook or Instagram post. Wow!! For a writer, that’s like slowly bleeding out. My brain feels like that sink of murky water; cloudy, gross, muddled. It’s maddening.

I think it stems from the world around me. Mask mandates limit my accessibility to the world. Stores still demand (yeah I said demand because request implies choice) masks be worn. People give filthy looks of immediate judgement when you smile at them. I’m still seen as a criminal endangering by the lives of others simply by trying to live as best I can.

This world is taking a toll on me. It’s hard to find joy when the world sees you as a monster. I want to grocery shop again. And smile at other people. And feel like a functioning member of society. Instead, I feel like murky, used up, grimy water waiting to be let down the drain.

Who else feels like this?

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