The Stress-Relieving Powers of Sarcasm

I'€™m visiting my mother'€™s house. It€'s great and all, except for all the ways in which, over the past year, it€'s become awful. I pretty much let my mother know this back in November. I believe there was no shortage of funny faces, somewhat rude comments, and a variety of other ways in which I was somehow able to say "I'€™m dissatisfied with this."

What I've found is that I've got a similar thing going on now, except that things are a little bit better. However, she is now using other physical cues to tell me that being in her home causes me great stress. Back in May she told me I needed to lose weight because I had somewhat high blood pressure, which was apparently evident because my foot wasn'€™t as bony/veiny as it should'€™ve been. On Thursday when I came back, I thought my foot looked okay and showed it to her, hoping for evidence of some kind of progress with my health, but she said it looked just as bad, and she introduced the possible factor of stress.

It occurred to me that it is probably pretty stressful for me to be here now. It isn'€™t as though I really dislike her or her house, or even my brother, but they'€™ve made some choices in the past year that it'€™s really difficult for me not to comment on. And yet, after some of the disasters that happened last November, I'€™ve managed to do very well holding my tongue in December and then again in May. Mom told me this past Thursday that it must have stressed me out pretty badly, the thought that I'€™d have to come here.

I suppose it did add a bit of stress. At mom'€™s house, I sleep in the office on a couch(1), everybody smokes but me, and the entire thing is allowed to be significantly more messy than it ever was in the past, in addition it'€™s become a much more "€œopen" environment where any one of my mother'€™s many new friends(2) can just walk in and out as they please.

What I wonder, I suppose, is whether or not I'm stressed because I don't feel I can speak openly. One of the things I suppose I became used to at NAU is the expectation that I was able to say pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to say it. So pretty much everybody knew how I felt about a lot of things, because I didn't feel bad about making snarky little comments about things. Here, on the other hand, the slightest little offhand comment that wasn't intended to mean anything, goes a very long way, down a dark, destructive path. Recovering from those tiny comments takes much longer than it should here too.

Ah well. They'€™re my family and I suppose that means I'€™ve got to love '€˜em. It probably isn'€™t as bad as I think it is, and I'€'m sure it's healthy for my mother to be indulging in such things as having friends, and running her house as she chooses. I'€™m just not quite adjusted to the changes I suppose. I'€™ll be back at dad’s house in a few days anyway, and then back to NAU on the 23rd.

1. Which, believe it or not, is actually worse than just a mattress on the floor.
2. Most of whom I don'€™t particularly like.

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