Footies and Bed Bugs

I kicked my dresser because I was angry. Now my foot is swollen and I’m exhausted from crying.

I should be humiliated to admit that.  I can’t remember the last time I lost it like that. 9th grade maybe?

It’s because I couldn’t find my footies.

That shouldn’t make anyone mad.  But I was mad. Very mad.

You see, I pride myself in protecting my room – especially my bed.  It is my sacred space. A few days ago I found 3 bed bugs in my room. Near my bed.

I canceled my plans and I spent hours cleaning and sweeping and mopping my room.  Load after load after load of laundry.  I still have about 5 more loads to do before I’m done.  And it’s been days.

My life has been turned up side down because of those horrible bugs.  I have done everything in my power to address the problem like an adult, yet I still feel contaminated.  I feel like I’m a threat to society.  I don’t “have” bed bugs.  There’s no nest, no evidence of long-term inhabitants in this apartment.  We spray and will continue to spray.  Yet, I feel like I have a secret (well… had a secret I guess).

And this is why I can’t find the footies.

And the footies are important.

I need the footies for the shoes that go with my non-Uptown clothes.  I don’t have to “dress up” often as most of the time my job depends upon a very relaxed attire, but when I do, I need those footies.

In my mind, without those footies I cannot enter the world of the affluent.  I cannot socialize with societies acceptable and attractive.  Those footies are my gateway to social normalcy.

So I can’t find my footies – because I found those dumb bugs last week – and I need those footies to feel socially acceptable.

Do you see what has happened?  Bed bugs and social pressure created the perfect storm of emotions: powerless and unacceptable.

Powerless.

It’s horrible.  A horrible feeling.

That’s why I kicked the dresser.

 

So why am I sharing this?

I sat feeling sorry for myself for a while.  I thought idealogical thoughts about how social pressures are stupid and how stigma’s around bed bugs are mean. I thought about how I don’t know where those bugs came from – I could have gotten them from the movie theater or the bus.  I really wanted someone to tell me “it’s ok, you’re really not defined by bugs or footies.”

It was then that it dawned on me.  The men and women who I have opened my life and home to deal with this constantly.

I wonder if they’ve ever kicked something and bawled their eyes out.

 

It’s not often I have the honor of being invited into the buildings where the formerly homeless are housed.  However, two weeks ago a neighbor was stabbed in her apartment building. That next night we went to visit her and saw how so many of our friends are powerlessly living among roaches, bed bugs, mice and un-medicated/over-medicated/self-medicated neighbors.

It was an honor when my friend came to our dinner party a few nights after her attack.  She was the last one to leave and helped clear every dish off the table.

Maybe the bed bugs transferred when she and I embraced. Maybe they fell off her on one of her trips to the kitchen with dirty dishes.

Maybe they didn’t come from her at all.

 

Tonight, as I sat feeling so sorry for myself, I thought of several of my friends.  How they have allowed me to love them. How they have trusted me and entered my home.  How they have warmed up and even taken on responsibilities and leadership.  How they have taught me what is truly acceptable.

I’m so grateful for intimate relationships with men and women society has disregarded.  They are helping me dive to the roots of my insecurities and deficiencies.  And I’m finding Love there. Abiding Love.

 

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