A week or so ago, I met up with a few friends for lunch, some of whom I'd never met in person. A funny thing we said to one another was how very odd it was to say "How nice to meet you!" when it felt like we'd met ages ago! It's a wondrous thing, the human heart, the way it knows before any of the other senses come into play.
Of course, I was lucky enough to spend time with other friends too who I'd had the pleasure of "meeting" before. It was a wonderful brunch with wonderful people and it ended all too soon. But one thing in particular has caught in my mind like a fish hook.One of those dear friends, in greeting, very kindly and sympathetically touched me on the arm and said something to the effect of, "I'm sorry you've been so down."
I was very touched at her kindness—she's the kind of person who sees into the heart of others and simultaneously makes you laugh until you wet yourself—but at the same time, I was almost confused. You see, I've been doing pretty well, better than I have in years, really. How had I given her such an impression?
Well...duh, right? All a person would have to do is scroll through my blog posts and think, "This one's headed for some Egg-Carton Walls." But I didn't catch on to that because I've been otherwise distracted from bloggerdom.
At first I thought I should write a quick post, point at the sidebar of archives and say, "You may have noticed the sporadic posting *cough*onceamonth*cough* and that all of my posts tend to be downers. That's mostly because I've really only written for catharsis to get the gunk out of my system. But if you look at the data, or the lack of posts, you'll see that for the other 30 days of the month, I'm totally happy!"
Because, yeah, everyone's a mind reader, right? Or as obsessively analytical as I am.
But the truth is, how can I expect people to know I'm happy if I don't act like it? (In this case, blog like it.) I actually am happy, happier than I've ever been. I've been working hard for the last three years to overcome some personal demons, get some health issues in line (still have stuff to work on!), and develop healthier relationships. I've gone from a place where suicide was once a many-times-a-day thought to maybe once in six months. Perhaps that's a bit too honest, but for me, recognizing that in my life is HUGE. Every now and then it strikes me that I don't have those dark days and weeks and I wonder how I ever managed it before.
I'm different inside and yet still the same. It's strange to be "me" without all the me. But it's freaking fantastic! I laugh a lot. My husband and I tease and joke around and I'm not near as touchy about it as I once was if the jokes stray into fiercer areas. I've let go of some control issues (so freeing!) and I've tried to repair relationships that I realized I had a bigger role in damaging than I thought. My sons and I giggle and play and I've quit worrying over them with an iron fist. (Now it's more aluminum.) Things are better. So. Much. Better.
But I don't reflect that here. I suppose part of it is that I've dropped blogging quite a bit. This last year demanded a lot out of me with regards to my son's education and everything outside of that wasn't as high priority. The year before that saw some personal loss and staying away from the internet was a good idea. (Trust me.) And part of me just got out of practice and let it all slide. I'm not here much and sadly, I've gotten into the habit of gravitating to the blog when I'm trying to sort out my thoughts. Not a bad thing—unless you only gravitate during a low tide.
When the idea struck to address this issue, I had the notion to "prove" how happy I was but I don't really want to do that. (Forget the six previous paragraphs.) I just want to live a life where the things I do, the people I share my time with, the moments of kairos that slip into my days are the proof of a happy existence.
I want to hug tight, chase around the yard, snuggle up close. I want to kiss the nape of my husband's neck and feel him reach out in his sleep to brush my skin. I want to read books and form words and make differences. I want joy. Love. Contentedness. Peace. Even if it's flavored now and then by misery. It's worth it. I want life lived with optimism and enthusiasm. And in the end, all of those things, all of this living, is proving to make me very happy, indeed.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Recently, I went for a drive. It’s what I do sometimes when all of this everything boils up inside of me and I just need a moment to gather myself. There’s a certain kind of solace that only comes from 100 miles of road, white noise, and a world swathed in night. I’ll listen to songs I know by heart and while my lips repeat the words, my mind is very far away.
Time was, I drove a lot. Now, my boiling point is not as easily reached. But it happens and when it does, I grab my keys. Sometimes it takes a half an hour. Sometimes….It’s a gift I’ve been given, this time of deep reflection.
It’s worth the gas money to me. Fifteen, even fifty bucks is a small price to pay to clear some of the space in my mind and heart. With just me and a stretch of near-empty road, there’s no use in anything but stark honesty. It’s a safe place for it. No one hears the thoughts in my heart. No one judges the selfish pain. No one placates me and I’m free from spoken admissions. It’s just me, the noise, the road.
The hard part of all of this aloneness is the loneliness: knowing there is no one I’ll tell my troubles to. Yes, I share all things with my husband but there aren’t words for some things. And even when there are words, they aren’t necessarily good to speak aloud. Thus, the road and me.
This last drive, I found myself reflecting on a place I’ve traveled before. I so desperately wanted to go back, to speak the unspeakable things, but I realized that you can go to places you’ve been before, but you can’t go back to the places you’ve been.
That’s not easy for me. I find my heart yearning for someplace to be when there’s nowhere to go, a person to hear when there’s nothing to say, somewhere to turn when there’s nowhere to turn to. It's impossible, an unreachable standard. And still, in my roiling boil, I want those things. But I can’t even speak words enough to ask for what I want, let alone share the mire of my heart. And in the stark honesty, I always end up admitting to myself that it just doesn’t exist.
There are things I know about God and man and the understanding between us, but hope and faith can seem awfully distant in moments like this, moments where I crave tangible communication. And I also know that though it’s distant for me, it’s not for God. Still, it’s lonely.
So I drive for a while, let some artist sing a jumble of words that don’t quite fit, and wait until the pieces of me shift enough to settle. Often, when I pull into the drive, I feel wrung dry. I’ll climb out of the car, listen for a beep-beep, and enter back into the life that I love.
But sometimes…sometimes the words are still unspoken inside of me. Sometimes I can’t swallow past the knots. Sometimes, I spend a sleepless night waiting for the existence of the impossible.