Underneath my yellow skin

Slipping away

I’m done. My sleep has been a hot mess, and how the hell did I ever deal with this in the past? I can’t believe I used to get by on four hours of sleep and that I used to go to bed at eight in the morning. One thing I was working on before the pandemic started was getting my sleep on track. I wanted to be more like normal people because…I don’t even know why. I think because while I like being awake when other people are sleeping, I do feel like even more of a freak for being on the opposite side of sleep for most people. In addition, normal life was hard to navigate when I was on the late night tip. If I had any appointments, I tried to make them as late in the afternoon as possible, but it was still hard to make it to them. And it would throw me off my game for the rest of the day.

It’s not a matter of restfulness, either, because I’m always tired. It’s just a fact of life. Much like I used to always have headaches. They were lowkey and I was able to ignore them most of the time, but they were there. It’s the same with sleep. I’m always tired. It doesn’t matter how much or how little I get. There are days when it’s worse than others, obviously, but it’s always there.

Anyway, I was making strides in my sleep pattern before the pandemic hit. I started pushing my sleep time…back? Forward? Earlier. Since I was consistently going to bed around five-ish, I pushed it back to four. After a week or so, I pushed it back again to three. In this fashion, I managed to get it to one/one-thirty. My goal was midnight, but I was ok with where I was at. Then, during the pandemic, it began to become a bit more elastic. It was one-thirty to two, which, while not great, was fine. Then, the phone call. My meltdown. The immediate panic.

Side note: Briefly, my mom called, and I knew immediately that she wanted to say something she knew I wasn’t going to like. I could tell because when I asked how she was, her voice got that tone that it gets when she has something unpleasant to say and she added a little laugh, which is also a tell. Of course, that put me on guard, and I was predisposed to dismiss whatever she had to say. I tried to be patient, but let’s face it. Things were tense between us whenever we talked, and I was not in the mood for difficult.

She went on to mention visiting for Christmas, again! That put her on thin ice because she and my father had mentioned it every time we’d talked for the past few months, and I was sick of it. I had told them Christmas as a last resort because they were pushing to come during the summer, which was a very, very bad idea. The last time we had talked, my mother had mentioned that her brother-in-law, one of the million doctors in the family, had said that my father and mother shouldn’t come back until there was a vaccine at least because of their age and health issues. Like, I had said something similar every time we talked, but I’m not a doctor so what do I know? Anyway, this time, she mentioned it again as if we hadn’t talked a million fucking times about it already. That was bad enough, but then she said that they were thinking of doing a family hotel thing like going to Duluth or something. Now my blood was boiling when she laid the final bit on me–they wanted to go to Seattle for my uncle’s eightieth birthday party, which would be in a hotel.

That’s why I had a meltdown and lost my shit. They know that I have been self-isolating for the past four months. They know that I worry about having even my brother come into the house (though I do allow it). They know that I have autoimmune issues that means if I get the ‘Rona, it will be awful. Despite all that, they were expecting me to go with them to Seattle. Or rather, my father was. I lost my shit on my mom and told her I was angry at her for bringing it up. I mentioned all of the above and told her that if they came, I would hole up in the basement or consider moving out while they were here.

Side note to the side note: They don’t understand how bad it is here.  Taiwan was aggressive in handling it, and now, they’re going back to life being normalish. I don’t think they get that there’s a large subset of the American population who are being fucking assholes about this. In Taiwan, everyone wore masks willingly (when they could get them) because that’s the standard for them. They allowed contact tracing for everyone who got it AND ratted out people who weren’t complying with the standards. There were hefty fines for people who didn’t wear masks, for example, and none of that is happening here.

After I rant at my mother, she says that she knows this about me, but my dad doesn’t know me like she does. First of all, bullshit. She doesn’t know me, but she does know how I feel about the ‘Rona. Second, I’d had the same conversations with my father, so he knew. Unless his dementia was an issue, which is very possible. That’s a different post, however, and one I don’t want to write at the moment. More importantly, though, is that it rammed home the point that my mom would do anything to placate my father, including the risk of pissing me off. I mean, I knew this already. I’ve known it since I was a child, and it was rubbed in my face in my late twenties. To have it thrown at me in this fashion, however, just really fucked with my brain.

My mom knew this was a bad idea. My mom is a constant worrier. My mom knew it would upset me. Despite all this, she brought it up because my father was being a baby and a jerk about it. I know how he is. He can be really unpleasant when he wants to be, which is whenever he’s not getting his way. My mother has made it her life’s work to make sure he’s never unhappy. Again, irritating as hell and sometimes maddening, but the pure rage I felt this time was something else. Normally, it’s not a life-and-death situation (though his driving is in fact that), but this time it is.

Let’s put aside me for a moment. Both my parents are in their late seventies/early eighties. My father’s health isn’t good at all. In other words, high risk. They’re proposing flying for nearly 24 hours to get here. Then flying to and from Seattle at some point during the stay. I mean. Just that alone is worrying enough for them. In addition, it’s difficult for them to travel these days, physically I mean. My mom: Well, your father misses everyone and his business isn’t going well. Me, internally: Well, bully for him. Suck it up and deal with it like the rest of the world.

It’s not nice and it’s not kind, but I don’t feel nice or kind when someone has no regard for my health. I get that it’s hard, especially for an extreme extrovert like him. But that doesn’t override the fact that we’re in a fucking pandemic. But, he can’t seem to grasp the idea that the US is not doing well with this issue. He tends to think of things in absolute, so in talking about Minnesota, he was like, “Oh, all that open space and people with German and Norwegian ancestors! (Don’t ask. He has very definitive ideas about nationalities and traits.) You’ll be fine.” Minnesota is doing better than many states, but we still have a not-insignificant amount of cases on the daily. Every time we talk, he assumes things are better. It’s so fucking frustrating, and I hate having the same conversation over and over again. I let him know as well that I was not pleased with their desire to come here for Christmas. Did it sink in? I have no idea.

For all that, I’m madder at my mom than my father. Why? Because she fucking knows better. She knows that what she’s talking about is unreasonable, but again, she’d rather upset me than deal with my father. After I lost my shit at her, she said as she always does after we fight, “Well, here’s your father. Talk to him.” What spun me out was that she had less of a problem with putting my health at risk than she did with putting her foot down with my father. Now, I know my father. I know how exceedingly unpleasant he can be when he’s mad. It’s abusive, and I know my mother bears the brunt of it on the daily. I know that it’s not easy to live with him. And, I know that it’s hard to leave an abusive relationship.

I can try to be sympathetic to all that. But in the end, it’s killing me. I’m already struggling with the pandemic. I do not need this as an added stressor. My bedtime is creeping later and later. I went to bed around for the past two nights, and I had to force myself to do it. In addition, the sleep itself has taken a drastic plunge. The weighted cooling blanket had made sleep better, but it’s not helping at the moment. One night, I got four hours of sleep, and it was five-ish last night. I used to do this on the regular, but I’m not used to it any longer. I’ve been getting six-and-a-half to seven-ish hours for the past year or so, and to be shunted back to my old sleep patterns is not helping my mental health at all.

I’m depressed. I’m anxious. But most of all, I’m furious. I do not like it one bit.

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