I am not asking for some reward or pin or medal of honor for doing thankless caregiving work, I just want the world to quit telling me what a bitch fool sucker I am and that I should not have done it and what a mistake it was. I guess that’s what I get right now. “Told ya so.” I gave over a month of my life to a person with intense physical and emotional needs. I dropped everything at the beginning of December, not long after NaNoWriMo, and chose to devote my whole life to her. Immediately, I was warned not to do this thing by someone that knew her and had known her for years, that she “had problems,” but my heart told me I should help her. You don’t just leave someone to die. I know all too well that folks like me with eating disorders often fall between the cracks, and she was such a case. I was determined to pick her up, hold her hand when she needed me, and be there for her. I offered a place in my home, even knowing that this was breaking the terms of my lease. This was purely my choice. I did what I still believe in my heart was right. I think I helped her. Or I hope I did. She spent a good month in the hospital where I showed up daily and gave her hope and laughter and companionship. Then, she arrived in my home on my birthday, only stayed a few days, then fled. I guess, though, she got what she needed from me and I served a purpose in her life, so I am satisfied with that. I was not thanked and my own feeling that I did what was right is all I need. Please, world, allow me to feel good about at least that.
Please, world, stop looking at me like I am a dirty burnt-out anorexic living in on Welfare in Watertown. That was the look I got last night from the deus ex machina friends who came to rescue her out of here. Disrespect. Disgust, even. They immediately thanked me for having me over. Huh? They only stayed for seconds so this made no sense. They must have felt such disdain for me. They looked at me like I am this awful person and this is an awful place, which was I guess what she frantically told these friends on the phone, in a panic, but world, I know who I am and I am more than that. I can only imagine the conversation, about what a horrible nightmare it was for her living here, and how awful Julie is, and how kind and wonderful these rescuers are who came out of nowhere.
I guess it’s “that look” of disgust and total disrespect these rescuers gave me that causes me to now go public with this. This is the look society gives me. When I pull out my food stamps card at a cash register. When I go to the housing office to pay my rent that is subsidized. When I sit in a waiting room at a “mental health clinic” waiting for therapy or a psychiatry appointment.
I do not need you fuckers.
I guess in the beginning of December I was that good rescuer who came out of nowhere, too.
This dirty, burnt-out anorexic Welfare case did her darndest and burnt herself out even more. I put her first and myself last on the list. Right now, I’ve got a badly hurting leg to tend to and I need sleep, too. I got the flu over New Year’s and found I had no one to care for me. No one. I feared I would run out of Kleenex and could barely stand up or walk across the room, let alone walk Puzzle or walk to the store and I was dehydrated and scared I would die. I thought I, too, could use that hospital nurse and that call bell, just like she had a few miles away. She asked for me to come, and all I wanted was to get better so I could go see her and care for her once more.
Please, too, allow me to grieve now for the emptiness here, for the empty drawers in the dresser, for the empty closet and all the empty shelves I’ll leave vacant for a while. I’ll need to cancel the storage space I’m renting and take the handful of boxes I brought there home.
I prayed for a kid. She appeared in my life, was a Chanukkah miracle friend blessing to me, and then stomped out. They say to be careful what you pray for and I guess this is true.
It occurs to me that more than one life was saved, in a really weird way, though. I didn’t even ask for that. No way did I expect to live to my birthday even last week, and she was not supposed to live past Christmas. I came out of nowhere and never mind exactly where that is. Well, here we both are, fucking alive.