Every version of you
He came around the corner to see the woman he’d loved with every fiber of his being for so many years uncharacteristically crumpled on the cold hardwood floor, sobbing. He knew as soon as she answered that call she would fundamentally change forever and he would have to learn to love a new version of her. Without saying a word, he laid down beside her on the ground, pulling her close so she could feel the comfort of something familiar in this earth shattering moment.
OCD: the real life version of Birdbox
envisioning horrifically graphic and realistic ways people I love die thousands of times a day.
Once upon a time is such a cliche way to start a story but here we are. Sitting outside this nondescript building, I wanted nothing more than to turn the key in the ignition and drive away. I did what I said I would; I came here. I could omit the fact I didn’t actually go in. It would be our little secret, the building‘s and mine, that I never actually went in. If I never go in, I don’t have to start this cycle all over again with a new therapist. Someone with the best of intentions who will ultimately tire of their lack of success in turning me into a normally functioning human being. With a deep, reluctant sigh, I slid out of the car door. Here we go again.
An Unrealistic Bliss
I awake in sheer panic, frantically fumbling for an alarm clock I surely forget to set or have been completed ignoring. Through shuddering breaths I realize I had no need to be awoken so early. I scan the sounds of the house in this new morning light. Why do I not hear the sounds of competing iPads, blasting YouTubers at deafening volumes? Could it be the humans I’ve made might actually still be sleeping, even though the sun is risen? I quietly slip out of my bed and tiptoe through the house. An aroma is filling the air. A steaming hot cup of coffee and a cheese Danish is sitting posed on my completly bare and sanitized counter? I take the piping mug into my grasp and my eyes meet our family activity calendar. Everything has been crossed off for today? How is this plausible without inclement weather or glitch in the time space continuum? My Roomba hits my foot, and aboutface turns to continue its work without prompting. I take a nibble of the pasty, fully assuming it would conjure someone asking for a bite who would then proceeds to chew loudly with their mouth open, triggering my misophonia. No one appeared. Instead, I stand in the quiet, clean, caffienated fantasy, or what is most likely a delusional episode or psychotic break. I close my eyes and breathe. I curl up on a freshly fluffed couch with an orgasmically soft blanket and exist for myself for five whole minutes.
The simulanteous joy and grief of holding your child of any age, knowing they will be never be as young as they are in that moment.
Zero missed calls
I'm always waiting for calls that aren't ever coming because the dreaded call already came.
His songs are catchy, but the reason I like him is because he takes you on little adventures in his songs. He makes you feel like you already know the people he writes about. So many good choices to pick from in his discography: Two 10s, Straightjacket, Stay Next To Me, Worst, 60 seconds, Winnebago, Flare Guns, U and Us, Good Thing Go .. the list goes on and on
Read Myself Back to Life
I had always had a voracious appetite for stacks of books, devouring them one by one. Not only was I a fast reader, I wasn’t a picky reader. I welcomed all genres. My eyes were bigger than my stomach as I’d carefully ring out my incredibly large portions of literature. The passion for new stories and characters to swirl around in my mind like noodles on a fork fueled me through otherwise dull, mandated curriculum. I couldn't wait for the moment I could escape into an imaginive smorgasbord and binge.
I never would have phathomed a time when I didn’t want to read, but it happened.
After my mother unexpectedly passed last year, I was left with a stack of her books that were simultaneously cigarette smoke infused and crinkled at the edges from the steam of her baths she would read them in. The titles leered at me from the corner where I stacked them, reminding me of the stories she’d never know the endings of.
I’d completely lost my appetite.
When I’d feel peckish, I would look for books in grief and loss. All the titles seemed so pithy and obvious. They all insinuated the suck of the moment but the need to push forward. I couldn’t even be bothered to read the synopsis of most of the titles. I then came across C.S Lewis’ A Grief Observed. This was more of where I was; an outsider of my own life that currently went from dawn to dusk, waning between being catatonic or complete riddled with anxiety.
He spoke of the loss of his wife in words that made complete sense. He said losing a loved one is like an amputation and I had felt the tentacles of my being being lopped off with every passing day. He said there is laziness in grief and it was enough to raise me from my unshowered permanence on the couch in agreement. He said his wife’s absence was like the sky and covered everything and I too felt blanketed yet, also under the crippling weight of being in my own body without her.
Before I could even ask myself if I was hungry for this content I had already taken it down and was dabbing crumbs with my fingers. Complete muscle memory and the heart kicked the brain into action without me interjecting. His tragically beautiful words spawned me little by little back to life; one that I was unwilling to live without my mom before. He met me were I was and let me sit in the painfully uncomfortable.
He fed my starving soul.
I’ve taken that lesson with me everyday since I first read A Grief Observed. I remember to meet myself where I am. Take the inventory. Do something, or sometimes, nothing. I meet people where they are too and often we are in very different places, but there is always room at the table for a good helping for when everything else just doesn’t sound appealing.
1. Alterior Motives
2. Every Other Saturday
3. Misappropriated Funds
4. In My Heart's Mind
5. Intentionally Harmful
6. Running on Fumes
7. Peak Scottsdale Vibe
8. Never Promised Perfection
9. In Arm's Reach
10. Practice Makes Possible
2020 send off
2020 got from my household one uterus, one appendix, one broken arm, one concussion, three separate covid tests and one set of emergency stitches. It gave us a mixed bag of joys and sorrows. It gave me fear and anxiety beyond my wildest OCD imagination. There were so many tears. It was the only year in my life so far where my mom was wasn’t here for any of it. So I ask, in not so cordial a way, for 2020 to go fuck right off.