Trying to Find Myself

It’s been over two months now since Mom died. My dad and I seem to have settled into a routine, but of course not everything is perfect. But I feel like we’re getting along okay, both in life and with each other. It’s still not easy having conversations with him, but we’re making an effort.

The nights when he’s at work, though, do have the potential to get a bit lonely, especially between the time he leaves until I go to bed (which is sometimes as early as 11:30 pm or as late as 2:30 am). Since this is for four days each week, I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep myself occupied during those evening hours. Sometimes I try to knock out some dishwashing or laundry (oh boy 😐), but most days it’s been watching history videos on YouTube and going through my social media. Sometimes I get some reading in or I try to watch some of the programs I’ve accumulated on the DVR but haven’t gotten around to watching.

I’ve also been trying to incorporate some physical activity into my evenings. At the moment it’s only once a week or so, but the plan is to gradually increase the number of days at some point. I’ve been experimenting with both yoga and cardio, and I’ve already learned some things about myself and what I need to do to get to my goal, which is primarily getting my body to feel good. Right now, my body feels kind of worn down, like it doesn’t want to get along with me. My legs feel like they have lead weights attached to them at times. I think it’s both a lack of fitness and maybe a lack of confidence as well. I haven’t quite figured out what works for me at the moment, but I’m liking the experimentation and switching up.

So…what about my future?

Well, I always knew I was going to have to look for work once my mom passed away, and that is on my radar…but this whole pandemic thing has thrown a wrench into the works. Florida is one of the biggest hotspots in the COVID-19 pandemic right now, and frankly it’s not worth the risk right now for me to go out and look for work. My dad has been back at work for a couple of months now and his job pays well enough that he’s been able to take care of most of the bills at the beginning of each month. I don’t ask for anything extra being under this roof, and I make a concerted effort to try and keep things running smoothly. Our household is financially stable, the only thing I’m needing to do is to try and start saving on my own, which is why I want to try and find work. I probably could work from home if I needed to, but the fact that I have so little experience seems like a liability for whoever would want to hire me (I’m not starting my own business or anything like that). At the moment, I’m keeping an eye on the COVID situation, but I’ll likely have to wait until we can get things under control before I can begin looking for a job in earnest.

Another goal I want to eventually achieve is to get my driver’s license. Luckily, in Florida, this has been made a little easier. Due to my age (33), I don’t need to obtain a new learner’s permit to learn how to drive. However, past experience of attempting to learn how to drive in the field (in other words, driving around the neighborhood) has left me with a somewhat agonizing case of anxiety behind the wheel. My dad and I have not discussed this yet, but I think the best option for me would be to attend an actual driving school. I feel like I might need the controlled environment in order to conquer my anxiety. At the moment, the COVID is keeping the driving schools closed. In the meantime, we do have a riding lawnmower that I could at least learn steering, acceleration, and braking on…

The COVID has also put a damper on my desire to socialize. Saturday marked the first time since March that I had been anywhere other than my brother’s house. (I went grocery shopping; yes, I wore a mask, and I was able to get a box full of disposable masks while I was there.) I’m hopefully planning on getting my hair trimmed and maybe visiting a bookstore soon, so I’m hoping to go other places in public at some point. Most of my friends don’t live near me anymore, unfortunately…and most hangout spots (like bars) are hotspots for the COVID as well. Thank goodness for the Internet, right?!

Seriously, though, the opportunity for me to finally have a social life popped up at a very bad time. I haven’t been on a date in years, and part of that was because taking care of my mom was taking up all of my time (except for sleeping, and even then the sleep was never very full because my body had to be on alert for anything my mom needed or her sundown episodes). I also am notoriously terrible at reading signals for anything beyond a friendship. I’m not skilled at flirting, small talk, anything like that. I think I’ve written about this before, but I’m so used to being single that I don’t know how well I’d function in an actual relationship. My parents had a very committed, loving marriage, and I often look to that as a role model, but at the same time I’m not my parents. The thought of maintaining a romantic relationship frankly scares me, but at the same time I know I really want that companionship, knowing that I have someone who will always have my back, and who appreciates everything that I am and doesn’t try to turn me into someone I’m not. I’ve been craving companionship and affection for years, but I haven’t found anyone I want to share that with.

Honestly, the thought of any man finding me attractive still boggles me. I’m no beauty; I inherited the stocky, squatty German-style body from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family (although I also did inherit decent boobs from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family, who were from Sicily, so there’s that), my face isn’t anything spectacular, and my default expression seems to be Resting Bitch Face. I’m the epitome of Plain Girl. According to Harry Burns (Billy Crystal’s character from When Harry Met Sally…), I’d probably be unattractive with a great personality. A guy could sing “My Funny Valentine” to me unironically, that’s how plain I am.

As for my dad…I just want him to be happy. He signed up for a dating site recently (one of those ones for people over 50); more for meeting women than jumping into a serious relationship so soon after losing his wife (although Mom’s death was just the physical end to a long farewell to her, to the woman we knew and loved). I haven’t really told him this yet, but I’m okay with whatever he decides to do. No woman can ever replace my mom, but as long as my dad is still alive he deserves to be happy. If his happiness includes a new girlfriend or possibly getting remarried, then I’m good with that. It still does feel a little strange that the residents of this house now are a 61-year-old widower and his adult, unmarried and unattached daughter.

At the moment his main focus outside of work has been working on his motorcycle and getting it running again, which he was finally able to get done. He’s ridden it to work a couple of times, although last week his motorcycle slid through some wet grass and ended up tipping over at the bottom of our driveway (he was idling the engine and letting the bike coast to the bottom, so it wasn’t accelerating; kids, this is why you never pedal as your bicycle is going downhill…let it coast and control your speed with the brakes if needed). Thankfully Dad was not seriously injured (just a “sore right but-tock”, as he put it, in no doubt inspired by Forrest Gump), and it looks like the motorcycle just suffered a damaged turn signal lens (which he’s attempting to repair with clear packing tape) and maybe some cosmetic damage on one of his saddlebags. He said to his crew when he got to work that night (taking the Jeep instead) that he had “…gotten thrown from the horse.” He said it wasn’t the first time that happened, either. At least he’s got a sense of humor about it.

I realize it’s been a couple of months since my last post. It took me a while to find my knitting mojo, but I’m making some progress…slow progress, but progress nonetheless. But I think that is for another post.

Thanks for your patience.

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  1. Kris

    After caring for someone for so long, it is difficult to get back to yourself. I was fortunate, immediately after mom died, I had to focus on huge other problems (septic, debris, pets). Take baby steps Crystal. You will be ok. It eventually gets gentler. Not better, but gentler.


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