It’s damn near 9:30 PM, and I’m wound up tighter than a new spool of thread. This is the exact opposite of how I’d imagined tonight would turn out, and I’m kind of reeling from my lack of energy, focus, and brain cells. Usually, at this hour, I’m full of funny witticisms and clever analogies. Try to talk to me now, and you’ll likely just get a long side-eye.
Riley’s been a mess of heat rash and diaper rash for the past three or four days, and every time I think I’ve got it licked, one of them (or both of them) comes back with a vengeance. We try to change his diaper every 3 hours, but end up doing it every 4 or 5 hours, or whenever the weight of his pee/stink of his poo weighs his drawers down to the floor. Okay, not really, but my perfectionist personality won’t let me live down the shame of my baby having rashes.
Rob tells me to relax, that every baby experiences diaper rash for some reason or another, but this is the first time my baby’s ever gotten a diaper rash, and that fact’s got me all kinds of worked up. Because obviously Riley could have gone his whole diaper-wearing babyhood without getting diaper rash. But I dropped the ball. And now? His butt is bright red sandpaper.
September’s been no fun for the poor babe. Riley’s been cranky as it is, what with the constant viral infections (he’s up to his second one in less than a month), his latest vaccination (Hepatitis A), teething, and all-around “Mama! Mommy! Mommy! Mama?”-ness. This rash business is putting both of us over the edge. Him, because, ya know, he’s a year old and can’t verbalize his feelings. Me, because I’m going through a lot of drama with my parents’ separation and all that’s happening because of it, and in order to avoid thinking about all of that stuff, I’m likely to obsess over something of not-as-much importance and blow it up into Armageddon proportions. Like, say, the unevenness of my eyebrows. Or the couple of rashes that are on Riley’s derriere.
I realize that that’s what’s happening. I also realize that I’m in danger of fucking up my classes and job because all of this drama is messing with my mojo and I can’t concentrate on my responsibilities. This happens every time my world gets thrown for a loop, and I hate to admit it, but by now I’m used to picking up the pieces, apologizing for my flakiness and lack of concentration/responsibility, and working with whatever I’ve got after a bout of life-altering drama. It’s really not as bad as it might sound. I think. (I’m not quite in touch with my feelings right now.)
What I do know for sure? There’s another side-effect of life-altering drama. It causes me to write. A lot.
Right now, my fiction-writing is off the chain. It’s bananas. It’s popping. It’s all that and all the other sayings young people use to describe something utterly and completely awesome, and a bag of chips, too.
More than a decade ago, I had this idea about a character who embodies the idea of American paths (literally and figuratively), and now it’s all coming together. The words, the emotions, and the experiences. It’s more than ten years in the making, and all of the energy and emotion that I refuse to spend processing my parents’ separation and imminent divorce is driving this story with the speed of a thousand horses. I can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t do anything with my spare time except for writing. My mind and body just won’t let me do anything else.
So, yeah. I’m having a hard time finding a coping mechanism that works. And I can’t help but get fixated on things that are easily fixable. And instead of making more money and ODing on study time – because admittedly, a part of me thinks What’s the use? Everything gets shot to hell anyway! – I’m creating worlds where everything is under my control.
I get it.
I know this is problematic.
I know I’m just going to crash and burn.
I know this isn’t exactly healthy or functional.
And maybe it’s not healthy, but I’ve got to tell you: the crashing and burning? They’re my favorite parts. How else can I come back, better than ever, and wow the people who are watching me?
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself right now.