Life Raft

When the main vessel capsizes our only remaining hope is the life raft we may have been lucky enough to find. Maybe we had to build it with our own two hands with anything and everything we could scavenge up for materials.

That dingy becomes our most prized posession. It’s the one thing keeping us from a cold, dark, agonizing death. We rest our head on it when our body’s collapse as the adrenaline leaves us. The rafts firmness gives us a sense of security in an otherwise morbid sea of fear.

But what happens when our lifeline springs a leak. First we fill with panic all over again. We may even become angry that this one thing that had allowed us to feel so safe and secure and whole, could fail us too. Next comes the thought that we are going to die out here, all alone in this frigid water.

If we are lucky, I mean really lucky, we find hope. We rummage around for anything we may have brought with us that could repair the damage. And with all we have left we replace the fear with determination to live.

Just as we ourselves are wholly imperfect and needed that raft to keep us afloat, it too has weaknesses. We just have to be willing to set aside the initial gut wrenching, immobilizing fear in order to put in the work needed to fix it.

Now that we’ve done this, now that our life line has been restored, we can rest assured that when the next leak comes we will survive that too. All the stronger for it.

PLEASER

If a situation brings me to shaking tears in a matter of moments chances are I’m missing a boundary somewhere in there.

Fact: I am going through a ton of stuff right now.

Our whole lives are changing. Good, Bad, and indifferent. But Change is hard no matter what the motives. And change with children is exponentially more difficult.

Fact: I have a lot of fabulous, healthy support.

For others to believe I am “enough”, just as is, it’s out of this world. These people are helping me in ways I wouldn’t have believed I deserved. They guide, but do not make decisions for me. They don’t tell me mine are wrong either. The thing is, I think they believe in me. I’m not just some F*** up to them.

Fact: I have a terrible habit of people pleasing.

If you tell me I’m doing something wrong, my first instinct is to believe you. And next, my head spins with hatred of myself for not seeing something, for missing a “T” or an “I” on the list. It never crosses my mind until too late, that you could be wrong.

Fog

I look forward to this day all week.

It is set aside as this special time when I can finally breathe. Feel moderately comfortable. Completely and fully exhale.

This time it was different.

There is something dark and heavy in the air. I could tell myself I’m just imagining it. I know how to do that. But I’ve done that for too long.

I’ve ignored this exact feeling many times over, and eventually it comes back to haunt me. It rears it’s nasty two pronged head another day while I’m kicking myself, wishing I’d have headed the warning.

This fog is coming from one of two places. The traditional answer is that it’s emanating from within me. And only me. That’s the script that I’ve been trained to read. It says I messed up or missed something. I can correct it and clear the air.

The other, less palpable answer, is that it isn’t just me. I won’t be able to fix it. I can’t flip a switch and vanquish this darkness. It’s not mine to eradicate. This is the narrative I despise. In this version of the story I have to rely on faith.

Faith that somehow, some way, something else can mend this brokenness.

Hands in the air, no driving with my knees. Just allowing something else to take the wheel.

Time

Time is reminiscent of water.

An ever rolling and flowing river.

Rapid, rough and risky on one hand, and yet slow, steady and smooth on the other.

We can’t easily hold it in our hands. Maybe for a short while, but inevitably it begins to gradually seep through our fingers, drop by drop, trickling down our wrists to our elbows until finally falling back to the earth. There is little-to-nothing we can do to stop it.

It can gently wash over our wounds and soften the edges of our pain, until we are ready to let go of it. This current simultaneously carries away the sting of the venom left behind by our predators. Much in the way we skip those impossibly polished stones from the shore with all our might to see how far away we can banish them.

Just like this fickle stream, time if spent wisely, can be the lifeblood of our souls. Conversely, if squandered for too long in dank darkness, can carry with it a soul sickness the likes of which nothing short of total surrender will scrub clean.

Human Jenga Tower

No, I don’t mean a pile of bodies moving around as if they are wooden rectangles carefully being removed and replaced one by one. I mean one body. One person, myself.

Upon awakening I gently slide a prayer sized puzzle piece to the right and hit my knees.  While I’m down there it’s not so tough. It’s the getting back up that is proving to be more difficult. As I place that piece up on top of my head my body already feels shakey.

Maybe today is the day it all comes crashing down, and after only one move.

No, we keep moving through the game. One small piece at a time. My next move is a tricky one.  It’s like when someone pulls just one of the blocks out, but not from the middle, from the end, so when you go to grab another one that tower has a real good chance of crumbling down. This is when I open the door as quietly as humanly possible, hoping for just five minutes of quiet time before someone is asking me for something. 

Bwahahahaha. 

Just kidding.  No such luck.  The sticking of my bedroom door, which I thought I fixed two months ago, wakes up my oldest.  Why is it that I can yell in my biggest voice for him to get his shoes on and he can’t hear me, but that damn door he can hear clear as a bell? 

As we walk out into the hallway I hear the baby stimming in his bed.  He is up. Of course he is.  He can’t sleep well either, except he doesn’t know to cry for me. That thought takes my breath away.  No time for that though.  Quickly I place this toddler shaped piece up on top the last one, and carefully we make our way down the stairs.

The tower is solid now, hardly wavering actually, while I’m dolling out the morning fruit, cereal, milk and TV shows. Usually they smile and laugh and kiss me. Usually they quickly remind me why I do not, have not, and cannot give up. They remind me that I have value.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were reaching over and straightening up my pieces just when I need it the most.  Not sure if that’s allowed as per the rule book, but that’s how this mama plays it.

I move throughout the day pulling out pieces here and there.  One for drop offs, one for work, one for the arrant anxiety attack in the middle of the day. Another one for pick-up, and dinner, and bed.

And another one still at they very end of the day. When they are all asleep, and I am back on my knees, saying thank you.  This is usually the last puzzle piece to move.  The tower is now seriously lacking support. Just one pinky brushing up against the wrong block and it’s all coming down.

We don’t have time for that.

No one wants to hear the roar of pieces scattering and shattering across the floor.

Most of all, I can never quite get the puzzle back into the box “just so”.

It’s been used.

Mangled.

Displaced.

 

 

 

Do You Know Who You’re Sitting Next To?

I can put up with a lot of things.

As a woman who is Gay, Bipolar, and a victim of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, I have sat at many an uncomfortable table in my day.

I’ve had to listen to my friends and acquaintances throw around words like “crazy”, “ugh, I wanna slit my wrists” and my favorite, “so-and-so belongs in a mental hospital”.  Ignorance must be bliss.

Many times, especially lately, with current events as they are, I’ve sat through parties, lunches and dinners where they are callously and ignorantly tossing out hate speech about “the gays” and “trannies”.  Both abhorrent.

What I can’t do, is sit at a table and listen to people blame a woman for being raped, assaulted or harassed. Let alone these people blaming little girls for the same.

This has happened to me twice in the past week. Honestly, I didn’t realize that I was associating with people, women even, that find a way to blame a woman’s short skirt, or online dating for her being a victim of assault.

I can’t hear that. I can barely read it on my news feed, let alone hear the sentiments uttered aloud.

Fourteen years and an exorbitant amount of therapy later, I still blame myself.

Listen, I’m smart. I know logically, factually that I didn’t cause my assault, but in my heart and soul I blame myself.

If only I wasn’t drinking.

If only I was wearing something else.

If only I had done this or done that.

Screw you, I didn’t ask for this.

If a man can’t control himself around a drunk girl at a party, maybe he isn’t quite ready to dorm at college anyway?

If a man can’t control himself around my 19-year-old self’s jean skirt, maybe he has not business being a cop?

Let’s all do the world a favor, and stop talking about things we know nothing about, eh?

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