There’s this dark cloud that keeps following me

It was hard to get out of bed today.

My alarm went off for fifteen minutes before I realized it wasn’t some annoying bird chirping outside our window.

The toddler’s heavy foot was resting on my flabby stomach, like I was some old, discarded ottoman. How to get up from the bed without waking the monster up? Push her towards Carl and run like hell out of the room.

But instead of getting up, I stayed in bed, staring at the ceiling for at least another fifteen minutes until the ten-year-old popped her head in the door and gave me the “can you get your shit together or what, you lazy ass?” look.

Ugh.

Ass. Dragged. Out.

It was almost 80 degrees and it wasn’t even eight a.m. yet. While friends and family are freezing their digits off, I’m walking around in flip flops and have the AC on full blast in the car.

The weather here is great.

This is the mantra I’ve been telling myself because the weather is the only thing I like about this place I’ve been calling my home for the past decade.

There is something about this place, about South Florida that reminds me every day, that I don’t fit in here, that I don’t belong here, that I am just on the outside looking in and all my shitty remarks about the area and the people will be tallied up at the end of my life and used against me when my life is put on trial, a lá Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life.

In the past ten years that we have been here, I have made no effort to make any friends. Instead, I have spent a great deal of my time perfecting the great craft of rolling my eyes and complaining, a futile act that I continue to do as if it’s part of my every day life like breathing.

When I leave our house, I’m like a racehorse with blinders on; I don’t want to look at what’s around me for fear it will irritate me and I will continue to lose faith in humanity.

It’s a toxic and fatalistic point of view. I know, but I wasn’t always like this. Despite my anxiety and my depression, I loved living in Los Angeles. Waking up in a city of misfits and transplants was rewarding. Whenever I go back to L.A., I feel a sense of renewal, like an old book being opened and read for the first time in a long time.

Here. . . I feel like I am suffocating. Like there is a plastic bag over my head and no matter what I do, there is no breathing, only dying.

But I need to soldier on, don’t I? Because this is where my family is, this is where my life is. So I have to make the most of it.

And I need to come up with some new shitty remarks about this place.

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