I can do it all…I just dont have to.

28 Apr

I remember this time last year vividly. I was sitting at my desk at work when all of a sudden a big bright light came across my computer screen and wouldn’t go away. “Damn”, I thought. “I don’t have time for my computer to go out on me!” At the time I had a gazillion projects due and would have been screwed by the death of my pc because I never back my work up like IT has repeatedly instructed. I decided to walk away from the computer figuring all it needed was a break from my incessant key board pecking, desk top publishing, internet surfing, Facebook posting, IM chatting abuse.

 I walked to the kitchen to refill my coffee but the light seemed to follow me. At this point I’m shielding my vision with my hands like you do when you leave your sunglasses at home on the sunniest day imaginable and the sun seems like it is literally sitting on your shoulder. Hummm. Maybe it wasn’t the computer after all.

I returned to my computer just in time for a new message to pop up on my screen. As I began to read the message I realized I had no idea what it said. My first thought was that either the sender of this email was a complete idiot and didn’t have a good command of the English language (someone fire him stat) or the email was in Spanglish? However, another glance at my 27 inch monitor confirmed that it was indeed English. I could read the words but I wasn’t sure what they meant. I called my boyfriend and told him I felt something was wrong. I was also thinking damn, because I couldn’t remember his name?? Why am I forgetting stuff? This was getting really scary so I hightailed it to the emergency room.

I spent several days in and out of the hospital lying in cold rooms that were pitch black with a loved one standing over me holding my hand and staring at me with a worried smile. I took a spinal fluid test (sweet mother of Christ that was uncomfortable) and a MRI. I had really cute hair extensions at the time and I swore if they asked me to take them out because they interfered with the brain scan I was going to tell them I’d rather die first, lol. I also took a battery of heart tests, a urine test, and  blood tests. Whatever tests they had, I took it.

After it was all said and done it was determined that I didn’t have a stroke as was initially speculated nor brain hemorrhaging or anything else serious enough for me to file for FMLA and take a much needed paid vacation (some people get all the luck). I was diagnosed with Complex Migraines. What is that you ask? It’s something that you never want to experience. Imagine a vaginal child birth with no pain medication and pushing out a 12 pound baby and then multiply that by say, Five. Yea, that’s what they feel like.

Now for a person that has never even had headaches before, much less migraines, I was dumbfounded by this new diagnosis. I felt fine and life was finally going the way I wanted it to. What could have been the cause of migraines after all these years? Well apparently migraines of this nature are triggered by stress!  GO FIGURE! Only problem is I didn’t feel stressed.

(I guess there is some truth to the celebrity claim of being hospitalized for stress and dehydration. All this time I thought it was crack!)

At the time I was only working 40 hours a week, commuting 10 hours and 300 miles a week, teaching cardio kickboxing 5 hours a week (most after working a full day of work), studying karate 6 hours a week, and being a single mom 168 hours a week. Not to mention supplementing my free time with friends, a boyfriend and Facebooking. Who in the world has time to be stressed. I was too BUSY to be stressed! I had a kid who was acting up in school who required my attention 28 hours out of a 24 hour day and I had just start working full time after being unemployed long enough to see my credit score and checking account drop into negative digits. God had yet to bless me with a six figure salary and a personal assistant. I didn’t have the time to be stressed.

Or maybe, as my doctor pointed out, I was too busy to notice.

DAMN! I hate when a man is right! Even if that man happens to be my doctor and holds the key to life and death, or at the very least, a prescription to very effective pain management medication. Fine! Okay Doc, I say, what do I need to do to get rid of these migraines? He replies, you need to get rid of some of your activities and relax a bit. I look at him crazy with one eye brow crocked up thinking I was probably more likely to get rid of my hair extensions.

I returned home with my prescriptions in my hand and a promise to figure out a way to eliminate some stress. But honestly I had no intentions of doing such a thing. I mean, I am a single parent. And by single I mean SINGULAR. I work, clean, work, cook, work, help with homework, work, do laundry, work, and entertain the kid all by my lonesome. It’s been like this for so long that I am not sure if its by design, due to the lack of a dependable support system or because it’s a badge of honor.

As I discussed my quandary over drinks with a friend she looks at me sweetly and says, “Super K (that’s what she calls me) maybe it’s all three. We all realize that you can do it all by yourself, but just because you can doesn’t mean you have to”. She might have a point. However, I hate needing people, I hate asking for help and I hate being disappointed. Asking for help and depending on people is worse than being on government assistance. At least I expect them to be egregious, ignorant and selfish. When I get dissed by a family member or friend in my time of need it’s the worst kind of crime. Help? Nah, I’ll pass. I eventually cut an activity or two and got my schedule down to a more reasonable pace. I was now only busy 20 out of the 24 hours a day. And yes, I did consider this an improvement.

It wasn’t until last night, however, as I was sitting on my bathroom floor crying into the phone that my girlfriend’s words came back to me. A year later my schedule is still busy, I am still a single mom and I am still struggling to get everything done on my own. My migraines are less frequent but still there nonetheless. Yesterday my son complained that kids were making fun of his hair at school. He decided he wanted to grow an afro. He has beautiful curly jet black hair so he has the ideal hair for this style. However, I’m so busy I can’t manage to get him to the barbershop regularly enough to keep it maintained.

Damn, I cried into the phone, I’m surrounded by useless people! (sorry, this was how I felt at the time). I never ask for help. Is it to much to ask for someone to just help me get him to the barber shop? My friend listened sympathetically and after my 10 minute rant asked in a very matter of fact manner, “Well, Kimmah, who did you ask for help.”

Of course I was stumped. Who had I asked? I mean, I had insinuated hadn’t I. I had mentioned to a person or two. People KNOW that I don’t have any help. I mean, they do don’t they?

Closed mouths don’t get fed. My grandmother always said that and the phrase passed in big neon letters across my glassy eyes and tear stained face as the moment of revelation hit me. I spend so much time proving to the world that I can DO IT BY MYSELF that I forget that I don’t have to. I complain if I have a boss that micromanages and can’t delegate yet in my own personal life I don’t trust anyone to help me when my plate is just too full.

So okay. Let’s just be clear. I can do it by myself. I can stay up with a sick child, sleep 3 hours and still pull a 12 hour day on 3 cups of coffee and not a single morsel of food. I can search the internet for 5th grade math equations that were long forgotten just to make sure I’m helping with homework correctly. I can sit through a 3 hour movie in 3D with a migraine just to reward my kid for a job well done. I can do all of these things and then some with no assistance from another human being. However, I realize that I don’t have to.

So the next time I call, don’t go sending me to voice mail. I may be calling you to shoot the breeze or I may be calling in need of a little help. If you say no, don’t worry. I won’t write you off. I’ll just ask someone else. (maybe)


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