…or maybe it was just my first experience with heat stroke! We had temperatures that hovered in the hundreds for most of the day, but for some reason I can’t explain, I felt it was imperative to start a landscaping project that could have easily waited until September, October, or any other flipping day that the thermometer didn’t read 103 degrees!
I know my flower garden looks overcrowded, and extremely weedy, but my lawn and gardens are not the only ones on this planet that happen to look like crap right now! My grass, like everyone’s around me, is the color of burnt butter, and when I walk barefoot all over it, it feels just like I’m walking on a bed of broken sticks! Nobody in their right mind cares what their lawn and gardens looks like right now, because any normal person would have made a cocktail and stayed indoors to watch a repeat of Dr. Phil, or the Kardashian’s. Instead of staying indoors and doing something similar, or reading a good book about hot vampires, I was furiously digging up overcrowded iris plants, daylillies, pineapple mint that had grown wild, as well as thinning out my beautiful peonies, bleeding hearts, and a few scraggly looking lily of the valley that had been growing in all the wrong locations. Stuck in between all of that was a fair amount of quick-growing weeds, of all sorts, along with miscellaneous plants that I must have stuck in the garden at some point over the past three years, but now I can’t tell if it’s a weed or a real plant. Needless to say, this garden is one sorry looking garden!
A landscaping job like this would have been hard for a 25-year-old healthy male, but for some reason, little old “survivor me” thought she could tackle it with some cheerful looking pink garden gloves and a bottle of water. If my Oncologist would have seen me, he would have written me a prescription for a “mind-numbing” drug, along with a polite referral to see one of his “special friends;” the ones who sit on couches when they talk to you. Thankfully, when my husband verbalized what most people driving down the road were probably wondering, “What the hell are you doing out here…trying to die!” I couldn’t really look him in the eye and come up with an appropriate answer to give him, because it was a totally stupid idea to begin with!
All I can say about my actions, sometimes, is that they are based on a lot of adult guilt that I carry around. Even before cancer came into my life, I always felt this tremendous sense of guilt about things that I didn’t do right all the time. Why didn’t I clean up my bathroom last week when I had the time? Why did I forget to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and now it smells like it’s “alive?” And why can’t I stop the military procession of little brown ants that are on some kind of “tour of duty” in my living room right now? Why do I always feel like I am constantly being judged all the time, on things that I wouldn’t even judge another soul on? It’s not like I was ever on top of all the disorganization or grime in my house at the peak of my life, but now…well, let’s just put it this way, I feel more “under the peak” than over. So now, I’m a middle-aged woman with far too many things going on in her life, with less energy to deal with everything, but for some reason, the sense of guilt feels even stronger. What’s up with that?
If a friend of mine disclosed half the painful feelings of inadequacy as a wife and mother as I do, I would calmly tell her, “Hey, girlfriend, what the hell are you talking about? You fought your way through cancer! Why would you even care about such a stupid thing as having a ring around your bathtub right now, or worry about the stupid ants in the living room? I don’t care white kind of shortcomings you think you have…I totaly love you for being you!” And then, if she still felt inadequate about stuff, well…then I’d help her out by neatly straightening up things while she was off in the bathroom, cause that’s what friends do. Simple as that! I could care less about what her place looked like, or that one of her daughters constantly cut up cardboard boxes all the time, so that the living room floor always looked like a sandy beach in Barbados. Really..I would know enough about her to know she wasn’t a loser at all, and that she was doing the best she can, with some funky kids that like to dissect boxes for fun. She’s got a husband, cardboard cutting kids, an ant-infestation that really isn’t that big of a deal – I call that wonderful, and lucky! Not everyone gets to be alive at the end of this stupid plague! And her kids are lucky, too! I bet they could care less that the iris plants were overcrowding the daylillies, or that she doesn’t know the difference between a weed and a flower. They’re just happy she’s there with them!
Man, I just gotta learn to lose all the guilt, but it’s so flipping hard! Maybe I should listen to my own advice and loosen the noose that I have so tightly fastened around my neck. Today, instead of finishing up that stupid garden that I half-finished yesterday, maybe I’ll just sit down and drink a glass of cold lemonade with “cardboard kid” instead. And then maybe I can get her to draw me up plans for a new garden design of such immense creativity and beauty, preferably on one of the backs of those boxes she has all over the living room, and we can make plans to bring it to reality sometime when it’s cooler out…or maybe we can just watch “the ants go marching, one by one, hurrah, hurrah…”
Toodles, from one Sassy Survivor to another!