What It Feels Like (Sometimes)- Monday October 22nd

photo by Jeremy Lawson

Tragedy strikes us all at some point in our lives. When it happens to other people, we think “ugh I can’t imagine, how do they get out of bed in the morning, how do they go on?”.  Then it happens to us, and we realize (at some point) that we go on because that’s what we do.  The human experience is hard, but it doesn’t kill us.  There’s only a very small portion of people who decide to stay in their pajamas, or to drink themselves into a permanent numbness, or to stop answering the phone when their mother checks to see if they’re ok.  We all think we’re going to be in that small group of people, then we go through what we go through, and we just aren’t those people.  We are the people who keep going (even if we take a few weeks or months to be numb, and ignore phone calls, and live in our PJ’s).  We are the people who can’t help but notice that there is beauty in the harsh world we’re stuck in. We are most of us.

A broken heart seems to shatter some timing device in our lives. Everything gets reset.  Time moves differently, and our memories are reorganized.

When it’s all over (it’s never over, but there is a time when your heart doesn’t actually hurt anymore, and you can breath without thinking “breath in, breath out”) we think that now we’re equipped with a special knowledge.  We didn’t act right when our friend/cousin/sister/co-worker went through their tragedy, but now we know exactly what to do.  We send food, we never say “well at least…”, we try to listen and not offer advice unless we’re asked, we call long after the funeral when we know everyone else has gone back to their regular lives.

But it’s not enough.  We’re so helpless to save each other.  We hate that part of our special knowledge is knowing that we can’t fix it for other people.  We can’t convince anyone else that they too will be part of the group that keeps going.  They won’t be destroyed by their grief either.  And it’s not because they are “so strong” (because no one feels so strong, and hearing that is confusing when you spend hours every day crying or plotting to run away or throwing things at the television when certain commercials come on, or pressing sharp things into the soft skin on your arm just to feel a more manageable kind of pain) it’s because that’s what we do.  We just decide we aren’t going to give up, even when we’d rather decide to be the people who give up.  We are most of us.

It feels like we are alone.  It feels like no one understands us.  It feels (eventually) that we have to hide our pain away so we don’t scare people.  As we heal we grow afraid that the people we lost are fading away, as if we have to exchange our selves for their presence.  It’s not true.  We grapple with guilt, and we monitor our thoughts with hyper-vigilence, trying to find prof that we didn’t deserve to be happy or that we weren’t good enough to keep them.  It’s not true.

Years later, we make new friends who don’t know what we went through.  Sometimes we tell them, sometimes we don’t.  We wonder if the guy who snapped at us in the coffee shop was going through his tragedy.  We try and give people a little more room.  Because now we know.  We are most of us.  And sometimes it feels like we are all together, and sometimes it feels like we are completely alone.

I’m Tired – Monday October 8th

I’m tired all the time.  I thought it would get better when Hazel started sleeping more.  I thought it would get better when I lost weight.  I thought it wold get better when it wasn’t so hot out.

I try and remember if there was a time when I had a lot of energy.  I’m afraid that this is just my personality, like I’m just a low energy person.  If I was born 10,000 years ago and all my cave-mates were like “Run!  Here comes a saber tooth tiger!” I’d probably be like “I’m in the middle of a nap though”.  Then I’d be eaten. Or, maybe I’d start a gene pool that evolves into a sub-sect of humans who have a “play dead” response instead of  a “fight or flight” response when faced with stress.

I do enjoy exercising, but I prefer it be bookended by naps or couch-sitting.

Obviously this tiredness doesn’t contribute well to being a working mom.  It’s not the working or the momming that suffers as much as the chores.  Clean and dirty laundry piles up around the house.  Hazel chases dog-hair tumble weeds and every night I have to untangle the sheets and blankets to get into bed.

I don’t mean to imply that before I had a baby I was very neat and organized.  I just feel more embarrassed by it now, and concerned about the safety risks it can create (pennies on the floor, wires snaking everywhere, constantly worrying that I’m using the last clean bottle).  I wish I was one of those people who liked being upright.   Then at least i could run the vacuum.

I’d like to write more on this topic, but I’m tuckered out.  I’d better go make a coffee and sweeten it with a Five Hour Energy drink.

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