I Don’t Know How To Be An Adult

I can’t do adult things. I can only imagine that there’s something deeply psychologically wrong with me (my therapist swears this is not the case) or that I am so severely learning disabled that it’s a miracle I function at all.

This morning I found myself in front of the Glendale AAA holding a blue Bagu bag covered with tiny elephants. I was using it as a purse because I couldn’t decide on any of my actual handbags before I was leaving the house so I panicked and put my wallet, cigarettes and expired car registration in a recyclable grocery bag.

It’s about a ninety-degree day in the valley. Sweat was dripping down my back. I was fighting off tears of frustration. I was waiting for my Uber car, a car that I had difficulty ordering because my debit card was turned off for fraud because I failed to report to the bank that I’d be traveling across the eastern seaboard over the course of two weeks. My phone had ten percent of its charge left and I said a prayer as I typed in the number of my emergency credit card. While doing so, I missed my mandatory call from the California unemployment office that would ensure I got the $3,000 I am owed from my recent hiatus.

I was turned away at the AAA desk for not having cash or a check after being dropped off at the front door by my best friend Ed. He’d taken me to the copy shop to print out a copy of my AAA card and my current proof of insurance because I didn’t have a copy of either and I was afraid to drive my own car with a sticker that’s been out of date for a month.

When I got home, I called my boyfriend and vented to him about the situation. Then I called my best friend and asked him if he would go back to AAA with me once my business manager had my card turned back on. I could have gone to the bank to withdraw cash with my ID, but that kind of stuff stresses me out. I have panic attacks at financial institutions. I asked him if once I took the cash out of an ATM, he could go into the AAA office with me in case I needed help understanding what was going on.

I don’t understand words that aren’t a part of my world. I tried to call a dermatologists’ office yesterday to see if they took my insurance and wound up hanging up on the receptionist because I couldn’t understand what number I was supposed to read off of my insurance card. I went three years without paying my taxes once. I didn’t address my student debt for five years after graduation. Once I just let my car rot out in my driveway because I was too overwhelmed with the idea of going to the DMV to pay my parking tickets and get a new registration sticker.

I put $500 a month into a life insurance policy that I was told is some sort of dummy savings account that the government can’t touch; I think I was conned by the person who signed me up for it. My doctor yelled at me for getting frustrated with his assistant for asking me too many questions about my co-pay. That really didn’t help the fact that I am terrified of doctors and once went five years without a pap smear. Oh, and there were the thirteen years that I didn’t go to a dentist, too. That was kind of gross. Before I got someone to help me with my money, my electricity, internet, cell phone and gas were turned off regularly.

I shower as rarely as possible. I’ve lived in California for eight years and flew back to Massachusetts to renew my license there because I was afraid of taking a test. I couldn’t bring myself to go to therapy until I was twenty-eight. Until about a year ago, I didn’t go to a single party where I didn’t drink too much. Sometimes I’d go to parties and take molly and not tell anyone I was with, wind up saying way too much then have everyone hate me the next morning.

Don’t get me wrong—I worked like crazy. I have always worked harder than most people I know. But most people I know function as adults and if they have weaknesses like I do, are better about addressing them early and often.

There’s always been a part of me that wonders why I’m like this. Maybe it’s the addict part of me that refuses to care for myself. Maybe I’m afraid of numbers and paperwork because my mom was always so panicked about money when I was growing up. Maybe a part of me is still trying to rebel against the way I was raised to save and spend. Maybe the psychic who walked up to me on Venice beach and told me I was molested as a child was right. Like, maybe my subconscious is trapped at whatever age I was sexually abused and that’s why I melt the fuck down when I’m handed an official form. Maybe my dyslexia just has me convinced that I’m so fucking dumb that I don’t even bother to try to do the things I know I should.

The weird thing is, it’s only myself that I do this to. My dog gets his shots every year. He’s bathed as much as he needs to be. He’s always had the top quality food. My boyfriend’s laundry is always done, folded and put away. I make us meals with fresh ingredients at his house. I always remember the birthdays of loved ones. My manners are, for the most part, pretty good. I’m more likely to come to your house and brush your hair than I am to even wash mine.

I don’t know if I hate myself or if I was homeless in a past life or if I’m brainwashed or if I just never figured out the tools I needed in order to be an adult. Like, maybe I should have been in that special math class where senior year, they teach you how to count change and order a pizza.

I guess I’ll figure it out when I get back from AAA. Or not. Whatever. I’ll get around to it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Gregg Jaden

Molly McAleer lives in Los Angeles with her chihuahua and can be found on Twitter (@molls) and on Instagram (@itsmolls). Her writing has appeared on your television, your Internet and the bathroom walls of your favorite cyber cafes.

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