So, you know, I made my mom cry last week.
Yup. I am The Worst Daughter Evah.
On the drive home from The Christmas When My Mom Was Stoned Because She’d Thrown Out Her Back, I realized that I come by my workaholic tendencies honestly.
When I was growing up, my dad would come home from work around 5:30. He’s lie on the bed in his underwear and watch the news, and then we’d eat dinner. Well, and he’d get dressed at some point in there, too. Then, after dinner, he’d go back to the office until 9 or 10. He also worked every Saturday morning.
As a child, I just thought that’s what you did. And then I thought he was avoiding me. And then I decided that’s just what you did to be successful. My dad owns his own business and I’m so proud of what he has built. It all fits together. You have to work hard to be successful.
When I was in third grade, one of my dad’s assistants quit, and my mom went to work for him. Temporarily. For 15 years. She became the office manager, a role that grew as the business grew – and she hated it but wouldn’t admit it. She worked long hours at a job she thought was supposed to make her happy, but it didn’t. And then she got cancer.
These are my work role models. See any issues?
I gently mentioned this in yet another “Cha Cha must stop working so much” conversation with my mom. I left out the cancer part. But she got all quiet. And I knew that I had made her cry. She told me I was very perceptive and that she hoped I could learn from their mistakes.
I felt horrible.
Cut to yesterday. I woke up exhausted – I had dreamt that I went to my parent’s house only to find the leadership team from my division at Corporate Behemoth in my parent’s house. The ‘rents? Nowhere to be found. Gee, subconscious, could you hit me over the head just a tad harder?
Later that morning, I realized that the department parallel to mine has four people doing the workload that I, alone, carry for my department. Gee, no wonder I’m exhausted. And then I realized that my last vacation day was in August. For my grandpa’s funeral.
And then I sort of lost my marbles.
The good news: there was no crying at work. The bad news: I’m ashamed that I’ve let it go this far. It’s not like I think Corporate Behemoth will collapse if I’m not there for one whole day. But I do think that I’m not really needed elsewhere in my life – there’s nobody depending on me on a daily basis. Sure, my friends and family love me and want to hear from me, but they don’t expect to see me on a daily basis. Sometimes I worry that, like the old lady in the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” ads, if I got hurt or died in my house, it would take days for anyone to figure it out.
So, one of the things I dig about the gig at Corporate Behemoth is that they need me and expect me to be around. And if I die while I’m there, I figure someone will notice.
But right now, I can barely function. I know that what I need is to detox. To sit. To breathe. To not fucking work. So, tomorrow I’m not working. I’m getting a massage and a full-body wrap instead.
So why do I feel so lonely?