Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You Can't Win With Me

Tell me that I seem to be doing well.  Tell me that I'm looking good.  Tell me that I'm handling everything "better."  Tell me that you're glad to see me acting more like my old self. 

And I will probably nod and smile and be absolutely furious.

You think I'm better?  Can't you see how hard things still are for me?  Can't you tell that my heart is still broken and it still aches to breathe sometimes?  Don't you see that I am barely holding it together a good deal of the time?  Can't you tell that I still cry more than I would ever have believed possible?  Don't you see how much effort it takes for me to be pleasant and sociable?  Don't you know that I would still do anything if it would bring back my baby?  Don't you know how much she was wanted, how much she is loved?  Can't you tell that my new version of happiness is nothing but a weak imitation of the way I used to feel?  How could I possibly be better when nothing can change what happened?

So tell me that I've changed.  Tell me that I'm dwelling in sadness.  Tell me that you thought I would be better by now.  Tell me that you think I should consider anti-depressants.  Tell me that you don't know what to say to me anymore.  Tell me that you miss the old me.  Tell me that you think I need to focus on moving forward.

And I will feel even MORE fury and frustration.

Can't you see how hard I'm trying?  Don't you know how far I've come since last December?  Remember that I managed to teach last semester and this summer AND land a full time job for the fall in a shitty and hyper-competitive job market?  Don't you know that I'm showering every day and going to therapy and taking vacations and doing yoga and eating healthy and staying married?  Don't you see how much I work to hold myself together?  Haven't you noticed all these little projects I'm taking on?  Don't you know that I'm being as social as possible?  Can't you see how hard I'm trying to appreciate small things and take happiness where I can find it?   I am doing the best I can to survive this and still feel like a human being at least part of the time--why isn't that enough for you?

You see?  There's no way to win with me.  Anything you say will piss me off.

It's a wonder anyone still talks to me at all.


  1. Yes yes and yes. You are up awfully early for the midwest my friend. I want to copy and paste this to my facebook status. Can you have a status this long? I keep ranting on my blog, but the thing is. Just like you, I am doing what I can to live and find happiness. I am okay with who I am and what I am doing. I wonder when everyone else will figure out that I cannot meet their expectations? So very frustrating. I truly hope it gets better for you Brooke. Love to you and Eliza always~

  2. I don't think anyone can truly ever know how someone else is feeling, or doing, but I think people are hurting for you and happy to see you happy. It's a testament to how hard you are working that you appear to be "happy" to an observer.

  3. I tend to swing back and forth throughout the day so there's no winning with me either. We're all just doing the best we can. No one can really expect any more.

  4. People still speak to you because you're an awesome, and honest, and funny and an amazing person. All this, despite the fact your heart is broken and it's hard to breathe.

    BTW, couldn't agree more, with all of this. But you still give more than you get, and that's why.

    PS. Can't win with me, either.

  5. A classically-brilliant Brooke post... agree, agree, agree! It's so hard to constantly feel like I'm coming down on people for every little thing they say/don't say and do/don't do. But then again, this is an impossibly hard situation. My wish is just that people would say, "What a terrible thing... she deserves a huge break." And then just be a friend.

  6. I don't think there is ANYTHING people have said to me that I couldn't find one way or another to be offended by it.

    You are right there is no winning.

    When you said "Can't you tell that my new version of happiness is nothing but a weak imitation of the way I used to feel?" I just couldn't agree more.

  7. What the heck is google doing with this underlining business? Not a fan.

    I agree. I'm offended by everyone these days. Or at least I want to be.

    I guess I want entitlement or something out of the whole deal. IF I had to suffer and you didn't, THEN I am entitled to be a royal b---- to you.

    No easy way. None.

  8. Yup.

    In fact, this could be a transcription from one of my therapy sessions. Seriously, I remember having almost this exact same conversation with my therapist. No way to win. Nothing anyone says or does or doesn't say or doesn't do or assumes or doesn't assume is going to be right with me.

    Fucking impossible, and so hard to be in this space.

    However, I can say this: I find you outrageously compelling and wonderful, all the time - in the dark spots and in the bright ones. At your best and at your worst.

    And I would bet all your friends do too. This is such a tough road for anyone and everyone to navigate, and damn if it's not really super bumpy all the time. But the true friends will stick it out through the bumps, will see a familiar light in your eyes whether you're crying or laughing, and will always, always, always remember your beautiful Eliza with you.


  9. I'm sure you are strong, and that you're handling this as well as anyone could, but I wish you didn't have to. No one should have to work for this kind of "better."

    Thinking of you and your Eliza, and sending love.

  10. Whenever anyone comments on "how I'm doing" I always just want to say 'I don't need you to interpret my grief for me. I don't need to measure good or bad by your standards. If you want to know how I am, then ask me don't tell me.'

  11. Thank you Brooke for saying what is in our hearts. Its been almost 6 months without our darling girl and I experience every single word you have written each day.


  12. Brooke I couldn't have said it better myself. I feel exactly the same way. Everyone wants me to bounce back, like a rubber band, except they don't understand that the rubber band snapped and I'm trying to mend it back together.

    I also am extremely irritated by all the unsolicited advice. Makes me want to flip people the bird!

  13. Yep, this is so it. And I can say that for me, almost three years out, so much of this still rings true. And just want to second Jess' (afteriris) comment. She nailed it, too.
    Thinking of you and Eliza.

  14. I feel it Brooke... 150%. One of the harder aspects of living life 'after' is dealing with all of the ridiculous comments from family, friends and strangers.
    Stay strong mamma.. and don't be afraid to sound off at any comments that trigger your emotions. Sometimes I think the world might be a bit better off if more of us responded in a way that lets people know their comments hurt and do the exact opposite of helping us heal.

  15. Yes, yes. I agree. I feel this storm coming...it's only been four months for us so I think we are still in the "safe to be depressed" zone with everyone.

  16. I'm gonna sound like a miserable nut for saying this but I could never write this one my own blog...
    People, aside from other Baby Loss Parents, never even ask how I am anymore:( My grief time frame is up, I suppose, especially with a new baby almost here. Sometimes it feels like he never existed. Sometimes I wish for those awkward moments from people just so I can say his name aloud or hear someone else say it.


  17. Grief is a bitch. I finally understood how someone could take their own life - it felt like the pain would never ease up and I couldn't live in that kind of pain forever. And why do other people think they get to dictate others' grieving? Arg.

  18. As usual, you said it all. One time, my mom asked me how I was doing, and I said I was "okay" but I guess I didn't say it with enough enthusiasm because she said "Well, that doesn't sound very convincing!". Oh, I'm sorry, did I not have enough "pep" in my voice for you? Is this uncomfortable for YOU? My sincerest apologies!! And that was my own mother!! People can lay all the expectations they want on us, but that is THEIR problem. I am where I am in my grief, and it can change minute to minute, second to second, and if that isn't okay with them than they can pound sand. The only ones who really understand are other BLM's unfortunately. We know what you are going through Brookester, because we are right here along with you. But, yeah, it sucks.

  19. I still feel and experience all those things, and I probably will for years to come.

    As for anyone still wanting to talk with me? I don't think there is anyone. People approach me with caution these days.

  20. word.

    this was wonderful.

    and painfully true.

  21. Abiding by you, Brooke and remembering Eliza.

  22. You are a parent, you have buried your baby, you have a lifetime pass that permits you to be as F'd up, honest, sad, melancholy, etc., etc., etc., as you NEED TO BE-- HALLELUJAH... HOLY SHIT!