Wednesday, August 7, 2013

C is for Comedy

I spent most of last year angry.  Just pissed beyond all reason. 

One of my best friends is a counselor, and she said that's a sign of depression.  I don't know about that, but I know I wasn't myself.

I've always had people telling me I'm a dreamer and overly optimistic and always looking on the bright side.  Last year, those qualities have seemed to have left me.  I hope they aren't gone for good.

So much happened last year that sucked.  My FIL passed in June.  My high school sweetheart's mom and a friend of mine (two separate people) passed away within ten days of each other in the fall.  I wasn't especially close to either of those two people anymore, but at one time or another in my life, they were important to me and the world was lessened by their passing.

School keeps changing and not for the better.

I hated my job with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns.

After my FIL passed in June, I was so angry with the MIL.  She never really treated him well.  She fed him in to oblivion and she kept the house clean, but she was never nice to him.  For the few months we lived together in Parker (after they first moved out to CO), I watched her take his every misstep, misspent dollar, mistake he's ever made and fashion them in to a spiked club with which to beat him over the head every day.  Every.  Day.

My prime example of how she treated him:
We were having Sunday dinner at their place, as usual.  We'd just had a KFC meal and she'd made corn on the cob to go with it.  We'd put all the food on paper plates, to make that day easy for her.  Dave asked his dad to please pass the corn.  His dad picked it up with one hand and started to pass it.  She yanked the plate away from him, snapping, "You need two hands.  You're going to drop it."   Ironically, she'd yanked it away from him with... you guessed it.... just one hand. 

I sat there thinking, "Jeez, woman!  The man is 80-some years old.  I think he can figure out how to successfully pass a plate of corn."

Whatever they had together obviously worked for them because they were married 40+ years until he passed.   And he would sit there and take it, so... I don't know.

It made me so angry that in his last days and after he died, she would tell anyone who listened what a great man he was.  What a fine man, a good man, a good provider, etc., etc.


She sure as hell never let that on when he was living.

Maybe I should be a little more compassionate.  I probably couldn't be less so, because to hear her go on and on about it made me sick.

Maybe she finally figured it out too late?  Seems like she was suddenly afraid to be alone, even though when he was alive, she really seemed to hate being with him.

We moved her in with us last November.  It's been... interesting.

I've been with Dave since.... well, we met October 1998.  You know, I've never once seen that woman laugh?  She's never been taken by surprise and burst out laughing.  She's never heard a joke she didn't scoff at.  I'm not even sure I've ever seen her give a real, genuine smile.

This January, I sat down and had a little chat with myself.

I see how bitter and lonely and angry and unhappy she is with... well, just about everything.  I see that if I kept on the path I was on last year, I could easily end up just like that.  What a horrible existence that would be.  Not only for the people around her, but for her as well. 

So I've been making a real effort this year to have more joy in my life. 

It's tough.  Stupid, bad, scary things have happened this year (more on that in future posts).  I have to keep reminding myself that stupid, bad, scary things have happened every year of my life and will continue to happen every year I have left. 

I remind myself that I can roll with it and see the good side, the bright side, or (at the very least) that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and even if that light IS a train, maybe the train is full of candy.  And yarn!

One of the steps I've taken... no, that's not accurate.  One of the steps I've been handed on a silver platter is a new radio station in Denver. 

I hate radio.  They play the same crap over and over, there's always commercials, and most of the DJs get on my nerves.  On my commute to school (about an hour each way), I've rediscovered audiobooks.  When I'm not listening to those, I'm listening to this new station.

It's all comedy, all the time!  Clips from comedians of all types (of course, they censor the bad words).  They even do clips from "vintage" comics.  A couple of weeks ago, I was driving to knitting group, upset about something that went on in my house (don't remember what)... that station played Abbott and Costello's Who's on First!! 

I LOVE A&C.   I used to watch reruns of their show whenever I could find it on cable.  When I was taking sign language in college, we had to do partner projects (??).   My partner and I did Who's on First.  I was Abbott.  We printed it out and laid it along the table.  We moved on down the line as we did our show.  So much fun!

When I was in my 20s, I always thought it would be so much fun to do standup - all that traveling and making people feel good.   As I am older and presumably wiser, I see the flipside of that.  Sure you get to travel everywhere, but you probably don't get to actually stick around and see much of the towns you're in.  Also, as I listen to more and more of this station, I realize, there's really a craft to it.  It's hard damn work to come up with new stuff, funny stuff, relevant stuff.  Best left to the professionals.  And then there's the hecklers.   I don't think it would bother me after I'd done it awhile, but I think in the beginning, it would've stumped me. 

Here's a master of dealing with hecklers....


Let's see, what other steps have I taken to be happier...

I try to get my hands on needles every day. 

I've made an effort to spend time with friends.  Not just at knitting group either.  I have tried to meet with my friends from group OUTSIDE of group!  One on one, here and there. 

I try to let the bullshit roll off my canopy of yarn and friends, instead of letting it stain everything.

I've taken to listening to audiobooks that intrigue me and watching whatever the fucking schlock I want to despite my husband's judgmental sighs.

I try to enjoy my boys as much as I can.  I noticed that when I was tired or upset, I'd snap at them and that's not fair.  They make me so happy.  They are so damn funny and sweet!

I'm not always successful with any of the above steps, but I'm making a real effort.  It saddens me that this has become effort when it used to just be who I was.  But maybe with that old adage, "Fake it, 'til you make it", it will become my nature once again.

Enjoying the laughter, Ruth!


kmkat said...

I spent yesterday evening with a good friend and her mother, who is visiting her from Texas. Listening to the two of them, I now understand why my friend is so sharp sometimes. It must have been hell growing up in her house.

Anonymous said...


I don't comment often, but...

I understand how you feel. and godo on you for SEEING it and taking steps to try and stave off depression!

That said.. my best friend has been fighting with Depression this last year. The best, best, BEST thing she did.. was go to her doctor and ask for help. There's no shame in it. Sometimes, what we need, more then anything else in our life, is a hand up to get us through the rough patches, y'know?

I'm not a good speaker, though.. so instead, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite links on the topic:

Hyperbole and a half has done a pair of... beautiful posts abotu he deeper parts of depression. If you havn't read them yet, you should. If your'e nto familiar with Hyperbole and a half in genera, she has soem really amusing posts taht are not anywhere near as serious as the two I'm about to link. My favorite is "The Alot".

Here is Ursula Vernon's words on the matter:

I've spent some time looking around and trying to find another post she wrote... but over the course of that time, I've realized that it wasn't so much one post I was remembering so much as it was an amalgamation of a year's worth of wisdom. The quote that I remember most vividly regarding anti depressants I found, and it's not really worth linking in full as it's about a completely different topic, but this was the part that I walked away with: "it's a lot [easier/better] to get you over a rough patch than try to haul you out of a deep dark hole..."

So... yeah. It's food for thought. Only you can determine if it's right for you, but it can't hurt to look into it. But I would recommend it. You spent last year not-quite-right. That's a long time.

LaDonna said...

Geez, Ruth...I'm so sorry. I'm glad you posted all this as I've been in my own personal hell the last couple of years. I didn't realize the constant anger I feel is part of the depression. I keep thinking I'm starting to pull out of it, but last night I realized as I broke down over something completely stupid that I'm still horribly depressed. Between being in a job I don't hate, but absolutely can't stand my co-workers, the problems I'm having with Dad that I can't post about online because he has access to all of that and the delay in getting the house finished so I haven't been able move, I've been horribly overwhelmed. I had quit reading, I haven't done much crafting, I've only knit a handful of times this past year and have yet to finish anything. I can't stand being in this overcrowded metro area anymore, so I hardly anywhere except the store and work. I've wasted so much of this year living through others on Facebook. I'm tired of living like this. Really hoping some things finally fall into place soon. Not sure how much more of these I can take, especially since being sad and angry takes so much useless energy.