Until We Are Fine

Last week, I was taking too many pills. Not purposefully, but also not by accident.
This week, I’m more solid, starting somewhat anew. Still tired and afraid, but possessing a bit of momentum. Not quite hope, but an expectancy.

I’m trying to move ahead, and have several supportive friends and family members who have helped me unburden. There are moments I feel adrift, propelled by the winds of pointlessness. Then I remember others, and decide to finish buttering the bread, get the dish from the sink to the dishwasher. I decide to answer a ringing telephone. Pretend. 

It will get better, at some point. It already has. But I’m still tired and can’t sleep, still sweaty but freezing. This isn’t going where I meant it to go. 

We have to ask for help. If we don’t ask, no one knows. They just think we’re mean or shy or FINE. But we are not fine, are we?

We are not fine. 

But…

Eat the bread. Drink the tea. Hug the child. Pet the dog. Write the poem. 

Until we are fine, or a facet thereof.

Maybe It Doesn’t Help

Asking for help doesn’t seem to be as effective as I advertise it to be. “Ask for help! Don’t go through it alone!” It seems that asking for help just makes people think you are crazy. And makes them think a) they are saviors to your cause, making it about them rather than about the hurting person, or b) they get angry because you’ve lost your marbles and the inconvenience of it pisses them off.

Either way, not what I was expecting. And I won’t ask for help again.

Drown My Sorrow

I could die in this closet tonight and no one would know until tomorrow around noon. Look right through me.

I won’t do it. It’s too mundane and makes too much sense right now. And I know that what makes sense now is crazy. So I won’t follow the crazy. But I am staying in my closet for now.

I’m in the hangers. I have too much. Stuff. Shame. Fear. Anger. Grief. Resentment. Fraudulence. I am never who I pretend to be.

But I do not know who I am, so the pretending is easy. Pens and poems and sadness do not a human make.

Right? Or am I wrong?

I Am Mother

What was your mother like? she asked, with pad and expensive pen in hand.

Like any mother, maybe. Locked in the bathroom, in the tub crying. Taking litte blue pills when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Dad would come home and always pick the bathroom lock. Try to soothe her in his rough around the edges ways, sit on the floor at the edge of the tub until he could get her to crawl out, off balance and dripping wet and cold from the hours-old water.

Mostly what he did helped, but her cry eyes would swell for days, and she always tried to line them with wax pencil, thinking it hid her secrets behind what she called a smoky eye. She seemed to think a melancholy look was beautiful.

I thought sometimes she faked the crying in the bathroom thing for attention. But Dad said no, that if she didn’t hide in the bath, she’d have walked out into our Wyoming desert with the coyotes, lain down in the sagebrush, and we’d have never found her again.

I wondered why she didn’t just leave us if she was so unhappy. Go to California or something, someplace with sun and not so much snow and coal. But I knew in my heart she was too faithful and loving and afraid to know what real leaving was.

Dying, she could do, if she’d have loved us just a little less. But she loved us more than the sun, more than the God she wrestled with, more than the stones and bones and Bibles she kept in her special drawer, and mostly she loved us more than herself.

And that was maybe what saved us all.

Simply Flawed

I don’t enjoy feeling like someone is angry at me, and not knowing what I did. No one enjoys it, I’m sure. It does seem like some people deal with it a bit better than others, though. Water off a duck’s back and such. Wish I could be that way. But instead, I’m a dweller. An over-analyzer. And possibly somewhat paranoid.

Character flaw. Just adding it to the list now. Some days I feel there are just far too many flaws than time to fix them.

I’m tired today, and so grateful it’s Friday. My job is a heavy backpack that I like to sling onto the floor with a clunk once Friday at five rolls around. Then comes the disappointment over those all too high Friday night expectations. I’m not 25 any more. Hell, I don’t know if I was ever 25. I’ve been a mom since 18. On once you’re a mom, there seems to be no age but your child’s.

I’m out of energy, out of motivation, and running out of hope in this dead end high desert disaster. The barrenness sometimes seeps right into me, gets me to the core, and I have to do what I can with books and home facials and online shopping to get to another day.

My life is measured by the delivery of Amazon boxes.

At least it’s something.

An Intro to Melancholia

My life on the high desert. It’s been nearly three years, and I’ve not yet fully acclimated. I’d consider the ocean to be my natural habitat, but this high desert home is dry and acidic. It has its own strange beauty (the deer and the antelope know), and at times it sweeps me away with its vast emptiness and grand, violet-blue sky. But the openness of it is discomforting, disquieting.

There is a book I read in college, Giants in the Earth, about an immigrant woman from Norway, who is led by her husband to the prairies of South Dakota. The vastness overcomes her, and she climbs into her steamer trunk to escape the desolation, to hide from the emptiness, to cocoon.

Sometimes think I’ll climb into my closet, curl up in a back corner in my smallest kitty-cat self, and try to relearn how to breathe.

Instead, though, I play with mineral pigments and soaps, a buy sparkly costume jewelry. I reorganize my writing desk and bookshelves. I watch documentaries and ridiculously embarrassing historical dramas. Anything with jewelry and extravagant fashion.

I like pretty things.

I have blogged for a number of years. So many evolutions have occurred, so many life changes. Reading back makes me tired. I love blogging. There is something so satisfying about writing out the heart, knowing that someone unknown may read it, and possibly relate. And there is something about public writing that holds one accountable, even if the writing is anonymously written, and anonymously read.

This blog is more a journal than anything. I am not here to teach, to advise or inspire. I am not in any position to guide anyone else, although there can be lessons learned from the mistakes I’ve so often made.

Primarily, I am writing here in order to keep my sense of self solid, to hear bones rattling in an empty  house. The high desert sometimes suffocates, and this might be a place I come to breathe.

 

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Of Here

It’s difficult to hear someone you admire say something that is, or seems, contradictory to all of the things they’ve said before. An author and spiritual mentor wrote this week that, because we feel pain in this world, perhaps it means that our spirits are not of this place, but of elsewhere.

This, from a teacher of Earth Medicine, whose writings and teachings are of the medicine of plants and animals, the magic of the soil, the air, of nature.

It’s not so much that I completely disagree with the sentiment, that perhaps our essence is not originally of here. But, the idea flies in the face of all that I’ve admired and learned from this teacher.

It feels like she’s changed her tune. Which we’re all free to do, at any time or place, but perhaps an introduction to a new idea, a preamble to a complete change of heart, a warning that everything has changed, would have been a gentler way for the student to learn.

The concept that my spirit, my soul, my essence, whatever I choose to name it this week, is not of here was a very difficult and damaging, and long-held, belief for most of my life. I clung to my Christian faith, in its many forms, ferociously, desperately, and forced it to bleed me dry and empty in its not-of-here-ness. It was a cop-out on my part. If I was not of here, I could simply rely on the “fact” that, some day, there would be an escape. And sometimes, I wanted to make that escape come sooner than it should.

I’ve had several suicidal times in my life, and still think of death in rare moments. However, it has been Earth Medicine, my faith in nature, that has brought me the farthest from the precipice, and has kept me away from swinging out over the edge. I consider the doe. What does she do? She survives. Her absolute purpose is to survive. Why? It doesn’t matter. It’s just what she does.

She is of the earth. She is earth. She survives.

And that is the belief, the knowledge, that has changed me. When I feel desperation slipping into the cracks of my fragile peace, I look to such things as the doe, the rabbit, King Prawn. I look to the sun and the moon, to the stars, the darkness, the breeze on my face. I pick up a pretty, round stone, pluck a sprig of wild sage, a cornflower, hold a twig of just the right size.

And these pieces of the mundane, these bits of silence and birdsong, these things that circle around, season through season, remind me that it is the simple things, the basic and earthly things, that are my sustenance and my refuge. A pink wildflower reminds me of my beautiful daughter. A leaf, grown so large it seems unreal, reminds me of my wildly ambitious son. A buck in velvet tells me tales of my loving husband, my best and most faithful friend.

The moon is my mother, the sun my father, and the world in green and sea blue is my realm, a place of every possibility, every emotion, every wish and desire and dream. I sit on my patio chair, watch the hummingbirds drink scarlet juice, see the ants busily and endlessly about their work, watch the clouds float by through a curtain of aspen leaves. And I am home. This earth is my home. It’s where I come from, and to whence I’ll go.

Yes, I am fully of here. It appears I am my own teacher now. And that is a story of evolution.