I almost put a disclaimer on here that the following post is just my semi-organized collection of thoughts and feelings that I need to get off my chest and none of it is an invitation to a Hilary With One L Pity Party or a Hilary With One L Put On Your Big Girl Panties And Deal With It Palooza, but I figured that wouldn’t be necessary because I know that you know that I’ve got an outstanding support system no matter what the situation, but that sometimes, you’ve just got to blow off some steam before you can get down to work. So. . .
It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. That right there in an understatement of epic proportions. I feel like that sentence should have been spoken by Captain Obvious, that’s how ridiculous I feel even typing it. But I have to be honest, my dear readers, I’m starting to feel all my feelings at once and I’ve got to let them out.
I’m keeping my chin up. I wake up, work out. I hug my kiddos and drink my water and weigh the options for the day. Do we go to the movies? Museum? Pool? Library? Sit in front of the TV all day?
I look for the silver linings. The 9 fans and two county trash can sized dehumidifiers that have been blowing 24/7 for the past 6 days are now gone. The silence is priceless. The adjuster has come. The contractor has come. Things are getting done, or at least, we’re in the queue to have things done.
In the quiet times, however, when everyone is occupied and I’m sitting in the dining room that is now serving as the triage for all of the broken bits of our living room, bedroom and office, my heart squeezes and my throat gets thick. I want to cry.
I haven’t cried yet.
It sounds so foolish and so selfish. Goodness, it sounds selfish, but I need a good What About Meeeeee?!?! cry. A good, ugly cry would help. I need that scooped out feeling that a full-bodied, snot running, twisted mouth cry can bring. I need to wail like a siren and whimper like a child. I need the shoulder wracking sobs and the chest thumping cries. I need to cry so long that no sound comes out, that my face contorts into a rictus grin of grief. I need to cry unabashedly, privately so that my upset can go unchecked. When I unleash the combined torrent of my grief, I don’t want to have moderate it to make those around me feel better.
The falling of the tree has set off a domino effect of repercussions that have me constantly reaching for positivity when I’d rather climb into the hot, hard embrace of the negative. When I’m asked about how things are going, I pull back a tiny corner of the curtain of these #firstworldproblems. I’m met with a variety of responses ranging from sympathy for me (oh, no!) to relief for themselves (whew!). For every hug or slow shake of the head with a soft sigh, there are some who try assuage sadness with dollops of “Things happen for a reason” and “God only gives you what you can handle at a time”.
Since I still feel as though I am in the eye of the storm, it’s hard to accept those platitudes in particular. My fist is closed in frustration, unable to receive (or ready to cold-cock someone where they stand) and unable to release. Because I am Type A, because I like to be in control, because all of my best laid plans are now slippery shards of what should be happening that are sliding through my fingers, I reach for something solid instead. I reach for the positivity, but sometimes, sometimes, pity pops up. I grab it — huge handfuls of it — and hang on. I bite off chunks and swallow them without chewing until I’m full, full, full. I scrape off pieces into a tiny pile, then bend my face this-close, blowing small puffs of “why me” on the tiny ember of unfairness. It blossoms into gray-tipped black ribbons that lace around my wrists and ankles, binding me to my pity, my anger, my sadness, when I think of cancelled plans, delayed trips, broken beams, splintered desks, unsympathetic adjusters, and water, water, everywhere it shouldn’t be.
I pinch off tiny pieces of pity. Pity pebbles that I lay in front of me and move them around, rank ordering them from bad, worse, and worst. With each move, I chastise myself for being so selfish, for being so childish, for being so caught up in my own shit. But I keep pushing the pity around because I’m in charge, finally. I’m controlling something. Finally.
I’m on the phone with my brother, pity pebbles popping and pulsing in my palm. Rather than hear me arrange and re-arrange pebbles, he asks me to consider something. What if you’re at this point because of one of three things. One of three things you need or need to do:
“If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” — Let me just say that I’m more spiritual than religious. Have you heard that before? What does that even mean? For me, it means that I believe in God. I believe in something bigger than myself. I struggle with the Word and with the ceremony that goes with it. To say that when life sets challenges in your path it is because God is testing you or because God won’t let you fail is hard for me to accept. I want to know why. Why is this happening? Is it because when I prayed for strength and patience and instead of zapping me with virtues, I’ve been given opportunities to demonstrate them? If I believe that, then I should move forward, no questions. Then I think, isn’t that what faith is? Taking the first step without seeing the entire staircase? I could go around and around with myself on this for days. Every experience makes you stronger. Every scar is proof that you lived. There are times when I don’t think I can get any stronger, that there isn’t any more canvas left for scars — the ones you see and the ones you can’t.
When I was belly-aching about my cancelled plans, a friend suggested that perhaps something bad might have happened to me (or maybe my family) had I gone. My brother danced around this possibility as bit as well, which had me rolling my eyes so hard, my great-great-great grandchildren felt it in their DNA. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of this butterfly effect scenario. Anything could happen at any time, but I still have a family to care for and my own goals to achieve. Not to put too fine a point on it, but me not taking a week-end away would have more likely resulted in something bad happening (#ifmommyainthappyaintnobodyhappy). But guess what? I stayed and we had a nice week-end together as a family.
Basically, this is karma. I must have done something that set this chain of events in motion such that I have is to look inward at what that might have been so that I can set it to rights. When my brother dropped this pearl at my feet, I ground my teeth so hard it still tastes like chalk in my mouth. Really? Really. Can I live? Can I just push my pity pebbles around and cry my tears and kick off my big girl panties because I don’t want to deal? I know that we are hardest on ourselves. I am the CEO of my self-doubt and the master composer of my negative self-talk. Turning the mirror on myself? I might implode so spectacularly, there’d be nothing left but a smoking tuft of 3c/4a hair and wrinkle in the space-time continuum. I’m having a good hair day and nobody likes wrinkles.
Shit happens, but we’re alive, we’re okay, it’s just stuff. I will digest that pity, put out that unfairness fire, and pour out the pebbles from my hand. I will grab a new pair of big girl panties and my shirt with an “S” on the chest. There’s work to be done.