When I woke up and looked at my phone yesterday, it didn’t say “Carolyn Baker’s birthday is today.” It said, “you have a notification from Carolyn Baker.” I nearly jumped out of my skin. Of course it was the birthday thing, but the wording set me off. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, I was in full-on panic mode. I took my psych meds, including Klonopin for anxiety, but grief this deep is not something that psych meds can touch… the relief is that I wasn’t feeling the physical effects that anxiety brings, such as shortness of breath, brain and heart race, cortisol pulsing through my body so that I am feeling like a wet cat backed into a corner, claws extended.
My original plan for my mother and Dana’s birthday was to go to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s house, because that’s the trip that my mother and I had planned for this summer. I was about to get into the shower when I got a call from my sister that my dad had a heart attack. That was my official “fuck this shit” moment. I waffled between dropping everything and driving down to Houston so that I would have my car once I got there… and getting into bed, possibly under it. My dad and sister chatted with me on Google Hangouts so that I could see that my dad was okay, and told me not to come. So, I did what any self-respecting depressed person would do… I got into bed and alternated between staring at the ceiling, overthinking about it, and zoning out to videos on my laptop (I started Orange is the New Black, because I found out last season that if I didn’t watch it butt-quick, there were going to be spoilers on Facebook that I didn’t want to see… for instance, I found out through an AD that Samira Wiley had gotten a new job…).
I would overthink and overworry until I couldn’t take it anymore, then take a break, then overthink and overworry some more.
My dad has now been given the all-clear, and will possibly go home from the hospital today.
In other news, I’ve got a job interview with Blackboard tomorrow for a Client Support Engineer position. I am very excited about this possibility, because I have been in academic technology for a large part of my career. Digital pedagogy is a passion of mine, and I love Sherry Turkle, the premier expert in the field. She does a great job of advocating for online education, but balancing it with in-person conversation. She personifies an Anne Lamott quote which is that “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” I have made it a goal in life to meet her, and I can’t imagine she doesn’t come to DC once in a while for book readings, etc. I will just make it a point not to yell at her or give her a hug while harboring an infection… things which I lovingly refer to as “dumbass attacks.”
I am so tired of hearing bad news that tears came to my eyes when the Blackboard recruiter e-mailed me. It was just for a short phone interview, but it’s the first step toward achieving a major goal. When I wrote him back to tell him of my availability, you cannot imagine how hard it was not to say “oh dear God you cannot imagine how much I needed this today my mother died my grandmother died my father had a heart attack and I am one step away from crawling under my bed.” There’s no punctuation because in my head it was a huge run-on sentence with no breath whatsoever.
I need this job. I really need this job. While it will be nice to get paid for something I love, it has been hell on earth not to have any distractions at all from thinking about everything that’s been going on since October. The one saving grace about having that time to myself is that I really dug deep into my feelings and dealt with them right away. I read a story in the news that Prince Harry is just now getting counseling over Princess Diana’s death, having stuffed it down for 20 years.
I have been able to sit in deep grief since it happened, so that going forward, it will be a more shallow well of pain. When you lose a parent, grief never goes away… it just changes. I’ve been amazed at how much it has changed just in the last few months. Progress is happening, albeit slowly, but every journey begins slowly until there’s a little momentum behind it. I feel that the regular routine of having somewhere to be every day is that inertia. Maybe I’ll be able to laugh a little more and cry a little less. Maybe going out into public won’t be so scary. Being on a team again sounds like a hug from Jesus.
I also don’t know what the salary range is for the position, but if it’s anywhere close to what I’ve made in the past, I’ll be able to go back to school shortly. The possibly of working for Blackboard and going to school on Blackboard is hilarious to me… the haha for my day. I have to savor them, because of course in deep grief you don’t get all that many.
I am also going to dinner with Pri Diddy on Thursday and possibly to a Game Night at Dan’s this weekend. Look at me! I have plans for leaving the house TWICE!
I ask for your prayers, and if you are not a God person, your presence tomorrow at 11:00 AM… and by presence, I do not want you to show up at my house. 😛 Hold space for me, keep me in your mind, send positive energy, say your own special kind of black magic prayer. I’ll take it.
And now I have to let you go. I only have 21 hours and two minutes to get ready.