There are people who are awesome in a crisis.
I am a person who is awesome in a crisis. Like a specialty tool, I can be brought out to solve things when other people can only sit on the couch with their hands over their faces wondering why they have been chosen for yet another round in the “Oh shit” hamster wheel of survival.
When awful things happen, I shrug and do what needs to be done. A breakdown won’t help. The more pressure there is, the calmer I am. The worse the situation, the more focused I am. I can find a pinpoint of hope and worry the edges and peel away at it over months – years if need be – to let the sunlight in.
Since childhood I have been praised for my ability to handle a crisis. I did not blink when I took a box of turtles to my mother in the beautiful rehab facility on the hill. I smiled and was friendly and everyone thought she had a lovely daughter. When I got that same box of turtles from my daughter for Christmas, however, I almost lost my shit. The smile plastered on my face barely stayed and if my daughters were more observant in that wary way I was as a child they would have seen the slip.
I am beginning to feel useless.
The budget is done through November. I spent about ten hours putting it together. Now? Once a week I change the projected paycheck number with the actual and the only thing that changes is how much leftover goes to the credit card paydown. It’s a whole system and it’s done unless an emergency happens.
My daughters are getting through their last two-ish weeks of school and then it will be summer. So I don’t have to balance all the reading log signatures and the historical walking field trips that need jackets and extra snacks and they are signed up for camps for the summer and they have softball through July and they’re doing well so they’re on auto-pilot, too.
Dinners are planned in advance and a pork roast is thawing in the kitchen. Everything taken care of.
At this point I could be totally replaced by someone not-smart, someone entirely not-me. I have this really scary “my work here is done” feeling that makes me feel not just useless but like an imposter in my own home. It’s not that I wanted to be poor forever, it’s just…it’s what I’m used to. It’s part of my identity.
What do you fight when the fight is over?