Thursday, December 07, 2006

Superman: The Dark and Scary Stuff

Away message: Crying. Sometimes it just needs to be done.

Lyrics playing:
It may sound absurd but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me

Up up and away from me
It's alright
You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy...or anything


I know Superman is a silly pop song but that is my anthem when things get like this. I went to school this morning. I had a meeting with my supervisor for my graduate assistantship. I've been meeting with her once a week this semester, and at the beginning it was me doing work and reporting to her. Then it was me not doing work because I was so busy working on Ned Lamont's campaign and telling her that as soon as the campaign was over I'd make up the hours. Then it was me telling her I wasn't doing my work because my niece was having issues and my brother is not a parent so my mother and I have to deal with her and oh, by the way, my mom is sick again and down to 98 pounds because she won't eat so I have to cook for her and have my niece over half the school week, which, by the way, is during my school week when I'm trying to complete the last three weeks of the semester as I work on two Master's Degrees and try to make up the work I've missed while taking two weeks off to finish the campaign. That we lost.

This week it was excuse me for not doing my work because I cracked the bone in my elbow last Thursday night by falling down a hill backwards (while drunk; I'm allowed to have a bit of fun, I figure, in amongst all this, and this is how I am punished for said fun), went to the ER a day later when it wasn't better, caught what I am still praying is a cold and not bronchitis, to which I am prone, from being in the ER, and found out that my mother has another tumor on her other arm now. And then of course there is the fact that at about 11 pm on Tuesday night, a night I planned on staying up all night to complete one of six 10 page papers I have due in the next week and a half, my computer broke. So yesterday I went to the Mac store and they tried a bunch of stuff and said yup. It's broke. Fix it by reloading the start up disc. Which, I might note, I spent all of yesterday searching for unsuccessfully. And now I've taken an incomplete for one course and am really really trying to not have to in a second course. And yes, the disc was finally found late last night by my parents. Phew. Light at the end of the tunnel. I can fix my computer after I go to this Graduate Assistant meeting today.

Nope, that's not the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It's the other proverbial light--that of an oncoming train. Because while I was driving over to school my mother called. She's got another tumor on her back now. And do you know why my mom is calling me? Because I am the one. The one to whom she confides all the ugly things about having cancer. I am the strong one that can take it when she tells me about how bad the pain really is. She doesn't have to coddle me and make me feel better the way she has to with Stacy and my dad. Kristy's sort of like me, but still, I'm the one that hears the worst of it. And do you know what? I am honored. My mother has always--always--favored Stacy. This is not a jealous sibling rivalry, but fact that has always been so obvious that third parties comment on it. So now this is what my mother and I share. This is the tie that binds us.

I am strong enough. When I'm with her. But the result is pesky times like this, when I spend days crying at inappropriate times like during Survey Research class and when I'm having a meeting about my work (or lack thereof) with my supervisor and when I'm walking through the department to check my mailbox. And when I am ordering coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I just look at the clerk through blurry tears and in a calm voice order a medium french vanilla (cream only) (I used to take it black before the ulcers) and pay her and leave.

I finished the meeting and I know my mother called me because she wanted to tell me all the dark and scary things today. I will go there. I will listen calmly and offer words of encouragement or just a kind ear and a shoulder as needed, while I fix my computer so I can spend all night tonight doing the first 10 page paper that is now two days late, and I will not cry. But first I needed to come home. I needed to be in my own apartment and cry and sing along with the sad songs and have one glass of wine and cry. When I am done with this, I will wash my face and go to my mother's house. I will ask her if she needs me to tell my sisters and father for her so I can deal with them instead of her. I will do whatever it is that needs to be done. But for right now, I need to cry. All by myself. I just need to cry. And then I will go.


I'm more than a bird, I'm more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It's not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees ...

It's not easy to be me


dan said...

My parents did the same thing to me. When my brother died, they needed me to help with the funeral arrangements because they knew I could do so.

Sometimes being the responsible, good one sucks the donkey.

If it helps, I believe in you. And I barely believe in anybody, so that's pretty extraordinary in itself.

Tina said...

Wow, Dan. That means a lot to me. Thanks.