How to Escape, When You’re Never Alone

Well, it took over two-hundred days, but I finally told my husband I fucking hated him. It just sort of fell out of my mouth in a stroke of rage, and surprised us both. It was about something so innocuous and dumb, of course, and I am NOT proud and it was NOT the three things we tell our kids statements should be: kind, helpful, or true.

Well…it was a little true. We’ve been around each other way too much recently and in the least peaceful, most high-pressured way possible. We’re almost never alone. We were unemployed before COVID even hit, and still mostly are. We’ve been co-managing a fledgling business for 5 years, and now, after we decided to stop, there’s grief and a loss of shared purpose. There’s a lot of resentment and blame and mistrust built up, and not a ton of fun.

After we recovered from that outburst and talked and talked and talked (I’ll gloss over the finer points of the convo, since it doesn’t make me look good), I’ve concluded that I hate these circumstances SO MUCH and I feel SO HELPLESS, that I’ve pushed my hate onto the nearest host…and he’s ALWAYS NEAR. The kids are, too, but, as much as they annoy me, I can’t hate them. I don’t feel like they really owe me anything, or like I depend on them to do anything other than show up and be sometimes cute.

But him? He’s supposed to be aleviating my suffering. IT’S HIS JOB. And right now, there’s much suffering, and so he must have fallen down on the job, right? I know, I know. It’s not at all fair, but it’s how my brain lashes out when it feels scared and stressed. I’m working on it.

I had legit wondered if we’re just incompatible and if we should back out of this whole marriage arrangement we have. If THIS is how retirement is going to be, assuming that we can ever afford to retire (when we’re, like, 100), do I want to be stuck with this person?? Then he reminded me that there would be a) No little kids with us, b) We hopefully will be off COVID island by then, so we’ll be able to leave the house without terror, and c) We won’t be scrambling for money then (again, in theory, who the fuck knows what’s going to happen with any part of our government or society, including the monies- we might be trading in goats again by then).

ANYWAY. All that is to say that I’ve had to find creative ways to take care of myself and my messy mind, even when drowning in my own worries and the constant presence of other people.

Some tricks I’ve learned help me keep calm-ish and loving- ish:

  1. Wireless headphones- (which he bought me, maintains, and replaces when I lose/break without me having to think about)- this way I can be doing things that need done (dishes, cooking, etc) but also listening to audible books, podcasts, or meditations.
  2. Meditation- I have now purchased TWO meditation apps, and unlike my running clothes that I bought assuming they’d make me a better person just by existing- I’m actually USING these to exercise daily. Meditation is like kegeling: no one knows when you’re doing it, but everyone reaps the benefits of me being more IN CONTROL of my important bits.
  3. Knowing my limits and stepping away when they’re about to be met- I’m hiding in my bedroom writing currently while the rest of the house does its thing, and no one is dead! I tend to do the Sacrifice Olympics thing, the martyr thing, all the time, where I feel like I’m the one who is necessary to fix things, to be there, to provide care, to give and give and give until it beyond exhausts me and then I freak out on everyone. It’s not great. So now, I’m being more self-aware and taking care of my needs, and stating my needs and boundaries OUT LOUD. It’s not intuitive as a mom/woman, I don’t do it well all the time, but I’m learning. (And my husband is HERE for it)
  4. Laughter- I’m taking a class on humor as healing (we have a comedy showcase this Sat- find details here if you’re interested), and I’m leaning hard on my funny friends and the humorous parts of myself, funny movies and shows, and it feels like huge relief.
  5. Drinking water not booze- my 40th birthday is next week and I had sort of planned to go back to drinking alcohol after my year off, but man, I need all the mental faculties I have and I KNOW I am even more short-tempered and more malicious to my people, feel even LESS in control and MORE messy when I’m drinking, so maybe…God…maybe I’ll keep not drinking for now. Until we get through COVID at least. Hell. I really want wine.
  6. I keep writing- it’s such a load off my mind to get this shit on the page. Thank you for reading.

So…blech. That’s where we are. Now, I’m off to buy goats, just in case they become currency in the dystopian future starting in….checks watch….any time, really.



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Sarah Z Writer

Sarah Z Writer

Frank and funny, Sarah writes the hard stuff of marriage, parenting, woman-ing. Ravishly, The Belladonna Comedy, Pregnant Chicken, & more. Twitter: @sarahzimzam