It must just be that time of life. Warning: Self-pity disguised as...well, pretty much just not disguised.

(Tangent: Today, the new manager of the department walked up to me and asked me how I was feeling. Thinking somehow he'd known I've had a gawdawful sinus cold and sounded like I was going to die yesterday with all the hacking and snorting, I said, "I feel a lot better, you know, the sinuses are no longer dripping snot down the back of my throat. Ugh." He gave me this look and said, "De, thanks for keeping it real." I just have to mention that he's black, and he laid it on a little thick for a second there. All right. The guy's not quite the stuffed shirt I'd feared. He'll do.)

It's too early to be menopausal, so it must just be that I'm approaching...twenty nine.

I was in the process of having a bad day and getting over it when suddenly Lee asked me, "But what do you want to do?" and I broke down. For the last couple of days, Jeff (Joe's buddy from Iowa) had been staying with us, so on top of every other damn thing I had to pretend to be a semi-sociable person. Admittedly, Jeff's a charmer, so it wasn't hard--nevertheless, being in the house was equivalent to having no private time to recharge. And, since the guys stayed up all night playing Magic, having no romantical time to get down, either.

What I want doesn't matter.

--That's not to say that what I want doesn't matter to the people around me. And that's not to say that I never do what I want. What I want doesn't matter to me.

Here I am, twenty-eight, reviewing my life subconsciously, I guess, and toting it up, I've accomplished miracles in areas I have no talent for. I have a good marriage to someone I love like destiny, and I have a joyful daughter that reciprocally delights me.

What about the rest of my life? I work at a bank. If that doesn't say it all, here's some more: most days, I don't feel like bouncing off the walls or saying something stupid just to mess with somebody's sense of reality.

Seriously, the only thing that keeps me from dying inside is the writing, and...it honestly doesn't matter whether I ever finish this book. The accomplishments, the accolades, the appreciation, the respect of success and everything that goes along with it, I may never have. Even if I quit writing and try to do something else. Which I really don't want to do, but for all my brains, I'm a housewife and quality checker for data entry at a bank.

I am so not satisfied.

And on a daily basis, it seems like a lot of my time is dedicated to making someone else happy, whether they appreciate it or not. I can trace this back to my Midwestern upbringing: I feel like I've been brainwashed into thinking that assertive behavior towards people I care about--or even people in polite contact--is selfish, low, and rude. My job is to take care of the house and the kids, my job is to support my spouse in whatever he does, my job is to just automatically, without comment, give up the things I want that conflict with my duties. It drove my mother crazy for many years, and it's a burden on me now. Brains, in a woman, are of no importance. Creativity, outside of craft projects, was a glitch. The eighties didn't help--having good grades was a stigma.

So it's hard to have faith in the things I want to do and the things I'm good at.

Well, I'm tired of listening to myself whine, and I'm starting to trigger guilty feelings about letting it out again (because that's selfish, you know, to express your real feelings when you're upset. Go, Midwest!). Enough for now.