I do have some hearing loss in my left ear (driving for years with your window down (no a/c) and going in excess of the 70mph speed limit’ll do that to you), and for whatever reason I struggle to understand people when they are in front of me, and I often read their lips a lot for cues, but shit people say from my side or behind me? I hear and understand every. single. word.
Thanksgiving was rough this year. I made a truly amazing dinner for my clients at work but primarily with no help, and was on my feet for 10+ hours doing it. I am already stressed out due to various work stressors- a toxic environment from my bosses who expect absolute compliance and give no room for error, fire people in a hot second and then call them idiots when they really just didn’t jive for whatever reason, where I am salaried but have been told that it is expected I work more than 40 hours/week and “that’s why you’re salaried, so you can work extra” which, um, no? Pretty sure that’s actually wage theft, or at the very least, rude. Where my going to HR and bringing up that something was particularly triggering to me during a meeting somehow was turned into a performance review where my job was threatened. Where I’m afraid to say or do anything out of line, and I just hide in my building, and run my program… which is being evaluated by CARF to determine if I will be certified next week. No pressure at all.
I was originally planning to go to my parents’ house after work on Wednesday, but I was so emotionally and physically wiped out I couldn’t even. We were going to do a 5K the next morning, and I had to be up by 6:30 to get there in time. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t do it, and physical fitness is an obsession in my family, and I have never measured up or been found worthy in that domain. I was so anxious and stressed out I didn’t fall asleep until 4 am, so obviously I slept right through my alarm. I then decided not to go to Thanksgiving either. I was so triggered and anxious, I was a mess. I ended up calling off work FMLA on Friday, and still feel guilty about it.
So this brings us to today- Saturday. My mom started the tradition of going and cutting down our own tree after she remarried, for just us- my brother, sister, mom and I, so every year we go out the weekend after Thanksgiving to cut down a tree. I was feeling up to people by then, so I came out to participate.
I know I can be a know-it-all sometimes, really. And I didn’t hear everything that was said, due to multiple tractors, chainsaws, and various other machines being used to trim, shake, and bundle trees being brought in, but after a random comment about how emu tastes like ham and how I know that (my Renaissance Faire in Ohio, sells “turkey legs” but they’re actually emu) and a mild disagreement that this was actually the case, but I am pretty confident in this fact, as turkey generally does not taste like ham, and turkey legs aren’t that HUGE, and it’s something of an open secret among the Faire folk.
As I was climbing down off the wagon, helping my nephew so he didn’t fall, I heard my mom say “..it’s like the Disney-Pixar thing.” Earlier in the day there had been a conversation in the car about Diney and Disney-Pixar being two separate elements, and their movies are totally different, so I had been clarifying who made “Inside Out,” Pixar or Disney. So I guess someone asked mom about me being, well, me, and needing to be right or clarifying things or whatever, and it was just… said like that. It hurt, but I didn’t say anything, partly because I wasn’t sure who had asked the initial question (pretty sure it was my brother-in-law) and I wasn’t sure what the initial question *was* though there aren’t too many possibilities, given the answer.
I avoided people for two days and texted my sister to see if mom was mad at me, after I was only able to give monosyllabic answers when my sister called to see if I was coming to Thanksgiving. (Pretty sure the entire conversation on my side consisted of five words. “Are you coming?” “No.” “Really?” “Yes.” “Are you okay?” “Not really.” “Okay, well, try to come to cut trees on Saturday, okay?” “Sure.”) I have been very anxious about if people are mad at me, if they are disappointed, walking on eggshells to try to survive, and I finally started to let my guard down again and then… that. A reminder that I can be a know-it-all and we’re just going to whisper it behind her back.
Except I’m not deaf back there.
I’m not sure if feelings were trying to be spared or what, but I was so upset. I wandered off for a while and cried, avoiding people and bonding with a very friendly, very patient draft horse in the petting zoo area of the farm. I just shrugged and pretended it didn’t happen when it was time to go, and tried to go back to normal, but I was right back on those damn eggshells.
Thankfully I have one more day to avoid people. Next week is CARF and I imagine I’ll be a disaster next weekend as well, and then I have to make Christmas happen for my residents and I’m sure I’ll end up doing that all on my own, too.