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Archive for the ‘emotions’ Category

The “P” Word Is the “S” Word & Vice Versa

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...magical things were always happening

WordPress asks today, Are You Stressed Out? My initial response was to throw my keyboard at the flat screen, which would have been an unambiguous response to the question. But I withheld the theatrics and was going to delete the email when the light bulb brightened ::TING:: (isn’t that a great sound-effect? TING). Because, WordPress, as a matter of fact, I am stressed. Like the whole flippin’ country. Well, most of it, anyway. And the thing about stress that can be scary is the way in which it bolts so easily into pain. And then you become the emo poster child, which is rather distressing.

I make light, much of the time, of my current situation. I am helpless, really. I don’t know how else to react. I joke and smile, holding up my head, trying to run a business and raise my 3 ½ year old LOVE and take care of myself and keep in touch with people who are concerned about me. But much of the time, I just want to sink into a blessed silence, where no emails or phone calls or face-to-face contacts can completely and utterly destroy me for the day or the week or perhaps even the month.

I am gutted by the helplessness. I can’t sleep, made worse by my daughter being gone for nearly 2 weeks with her father. Her presence, her smallness and need, keep me level-headed with no time for feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been holding it together for months. But the unraveling begins beneath the surface. Then the tell-tale signs appear on your exterior: black marks beneath your eyes, bad hair days, no make-up, weight loss. People, mostly your close friends and family, know what’s going on so when they see you, they want so badly to help you, to make you feel better. They read your face: Quick! Get out the Kleenex box!

I don’t like talking about what’s happening in my life with the people I see day to day. I don’t return phone calls, emails have a 50/50 chance. Marriage, business , finances – everything tubed down the chutes at the same time. Every bit of it, the Trifecta of Tragedy. I am, for the most part, a robot right now. How does one determine what is the “right thing to do” in the midst of so much upheaval? My husband walked out and asked for a divorce; should I have hired an attorney when there is no money? My business is tottering with the economic crunch; should I bail? My husband stopped paying bills and the mortgage; should I file bankruptcy? I don’t have any answers, though I have started praying an awful lot. Awkward and snotty, I don’t really feel like I know how to talk to God. But who else do I turn to when the answers I’ve given so far have earned me an “F” in the Pop Quiz of Life?

IT IS SO, SO PAINFUL. I hate it. I hate this uncontrollable emotion, the sobs and the strings of snot that get in my hair. I often wonder if it would be easier if there had been an affair or an addiction; I know it’s pointless to wonder. Our situation is so mundanely textbook as to seem ridiculous: baby, house, business – too much responsibility at the same instant, communication break-downs, long days & nights at the office trying to make it work, tight but manageable finances – everything hinged on balancing it perfectly. And failing utterly.

I would block the emails and the phone calls, but they are the only form of communication for talking about the needs of our daughter. I black out the attacks. I ask that we “not go there.” I want to stand on the higher ground. But in the middle of an abyss, the higher ground seems unattainable. I can usually ignore the parts in the emails that stand on the grassy knoll of my character assassination, but the sniper has more of a serial personality, and stalks me later in the day or week. After the 3rd attempt, I respond in these short, terse phrases that are interpreted as remorseless narcissism. And that pisses me off. Then all my promises to myself to hit “ignore” go unheeded. After running from the stalk all week, the pain and the stress make me shout, then cry.

That’s how I began my morning. Pained stress. Stressed Pain. One in the same.

5/360: PostADay

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Written by cr8df8

January 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

The Angle of Repose

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Angle of Repose: the maximum slope at which sand grains are stable

n. the maximum angle of slope at which sand, loose rock, etc. will remain in place without sliding, as on a hillside; the maximum angle at which a pile of unconsolidated material can remain stable.

From Michael Welland’s blog, Through the Sandglass: Anywhere that granular materials are stored, whether it be in silos or in piles of aggregates, mining products, or cereals, the angle of repose – and its sensitivity to changing conditions – is something that needs to be carefully managed. Failure of the slope of a sand pile is a regular cause of tragedies on the beach and gold mining in placer deposits…

I finished reading Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose last week. Though this is a third read-through, I felt as stunned as I finished it as I have every time I have read it. It’s as though I erase the ending from my memory every time. I suppose, too, that each stage I have inhabited in my own life during each reading of that book has colored what I take from it. This time, 3/4 of the way through the novel, it was like reading my own life and the description of the demise of my own marriage.

“What bothers me most is to watch the slow corrosion of the affection and loyalty that held (them) together. I am ashamed that he hits the bottle when he gets low, I hate the picture of (her) sitting in the canyon house, a sulky, sullen dame, worrying half spitefully that he may fall off the bridge coming home, or show himself sodden and sottish before the children. And feeling, too, the profoundest, most hopeless pity, wanting to help and having no notion how. She knew that drink must be an almost irresistible temptation, even while she expected him, if he was a man, to resist it.

Less and less a companion, more and more a grind, she was bolted to her desk by her desperate sense that the family depended entirely on her; and the more she drove herself to work, the more she resented the separation that her work enforced between her and her children and husband. I can visualize her coming in the still early morning and looking down across the lonely desolation where she lived, and shuddering for what had happened to her; and if she caught sight of her own face in the water bucket’s dark pane, she was appalled…

…Miserable, both of them, everything hopeful in them run down, everything joyous smothered under poverty and failure.” (p. 431-432)

I was shaken reading those few paragraphs; I had to read the words, stop, reread and consider, and then read again to grasp the brilliance of how Stegner fashioned a history for the characters of this tale. Brilliant because the keen sense of loss I felt recognizing myself and my life in fictional characters was nearly overwhelming, especially when one considers that the history with these characters begins 150 years back from today. A lifetime and a half ago, there should be a generational gap that yawns, with no bridges, across a gorge of difference between then and now. Yet Stegner has captured, in 7 sentences, the very essence of the burdens that weighed down a marriage in 2010, and eventually ended it.

And what are we all but loose sand? Our slope remains stabilized only until…well, only until it’s not. An earthquake, a storm, a dynamite blast – a surge and suddenly the slippage of sand on sand avalanches until the slope re-establishes it’s angle of repose. The angle of repose, especially when man is involved, must be carefully managed, Michael Welland tells us (Welland is a professional geologist who knows his stuff. He’s made a practice of studying how piles of sand will react to changing conditions).

Conditions change. Sand shifts. And you mitigate your loss when the avalanche tumbles.

Written by cr8df8

December 28, 2010 at 2:41 am

Posted in book, divorce, emotions

Circumstance Is a Spendthrift

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Off with their heads!

I am counting down the days until I can officially say this year is over. 2010, be gone, git! 2011, come be a hit! That’s the extent of my poesy. It captures my current emotional state, that is to say, my bah-humbuggery. I posted elsewhere that I have these secret fantasies of running around like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, turning crimson and screaming, “Off with their heads!” Or pretending I have Tourette syndrome, standing on street corners, waving my arms and shouting obscenities at cars as they pass by. And I have these outlandish hankerings to kick people in their ankles, for no apparent reason. Puzzling. I am agitated, but it’s all beneath the surface, bubbling like some cauldron of green goo.

Is this normal, you might well be asking? No, thankfully, it is most decidedly abnormal. I have always loved the holidays. Getting into the spirit of it all…baking and craftiness and eggnog and good cheer. Shop til you drop. Craft bazaars. Christmas carols. Full-on Martha Stewartitis. But this year; well, everything got toppled on its head and into the maze of Figuring It Out. Husband out the door, a 10 year relationship flushed down the pipes with nary a “Fare thee well.” Me standing in the doorway of 3500+ square feet of underwater real estate, holding the hand of the 3 1/2 year old heart of my heart, watching the retreating backside of the Beginning of the End. I suppose my unrequited desire to kick that rear view is manifesting itself now in my Queen of Hearts and ankle abuse fantasies.

In spite of that, all of that YERGH I have simmering beneath my skin, I am today nearly 30 lbs. lighter than I was this time last year. The boxes of cookies and chocolates my clients and vendors bring to my office are eaten by my skinny staff. Meanwhile the will-power that was so difficult for me to come by last year is rooted firmly in that place, wherever it is, that keeps the eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog from overwhelming me. Though I am thrashed on so many levels (…emotional, financial, physical, spiritual, psychological and any other word ending in -al you can think of…), I am more in control of this one aspect of my life than I have been in a very, VERY long time. I track daily. I consider what goes in my mouth. I look in the mirror. I weigh myself. I notice the difference.

It has given me pause. A great deal of pause. Shambles all around yet driving, relentlessly, to keep this part of myself in check. Why? I have no desire for a relationship right now. There’s no hidden agenda of needing to “fix” myself for some fantasy in the wings. As the bits of my world have been summarily pulled apart by that spendthrift Circumstance, I have gone into this spot where the intention of eating a certain way equates a specific result. I find it fascinating. Circumstance may yank my mooring from me, but this one thing, NOTHING except for me controls it. Circumstance may throw a hardball. I may have a black & blue eye and a goose egg on my noggin. But that hardball cannot affect a change to necessarily make me act differently. I am my own science experiment.

And because I am still not safe to be let out in mixed company for fear of the emergence of the Queen, Tourette’s or ankle punting, I am avoiding many holiday obligations I would normally have participated in. The few I have gone to (on my best behavior, mind), have not created an appetite for indulgences.

As wise old Abe said in 1859, “‘And this too shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! — how consoling in the depths of affliction! ‘And this, too, shall pass away.'”

Written by cr8df8

December 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

forward?

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I didn’t think this would be so hard.  Caring so much is part of the reason why I find myself here at all. It is both my grace and my fall from it. I have always cared more about what he thought than about my own well-being. This is historical. I have done this for as long as I have sheltered love in my heart, for as long as I have yearned to share the deepest, innermost bits & pieces of my soul.  Such a cliché. I am textbook, making myself into the codified image of another’s desire. I never quite understood how doing that would leave no room for me.

I talked to a lawyer. I told him and his paralegal how things had become over the past few years – the oddities and the way our marriage had veered so far from what I had imagined for myself back when I actually still thought about how my marriage might be. Those dreams and wishes and longings didn’t include stock-piling food in the garage nor guns hidden beneath the house nor silver buried in the backyard. My hopes didn’t include the unilateral cancellation of Christmas, like some peevish Sheriff of Nottingham, followed by Easter then Halloween, with an eye on birthdays in the foreseeable future.

My dreams have always been colored in a palette rich with the hues of family traditions. My hopes are awash in the smells of my memories – wood smoke winters and mustard field springs, blackberry thicket summers and damp leaf autumns. My fancies overlap my childhood with my daughter’s, always centered in the warmth of a kitchen – Valentine’s Day cupcakes, St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef, Easter eggs, Mother’s Day brunch, Father’s Day barbecues, Fourth of July blackberry pie, Halloween candy making, Thanksgiving pies,  Christmas cookies. How does one make a home? How does one make a family? Do you have these hopes and then just let go of them, one by one? We didn’t start out 10 years ago with dreams of stock-piling supplies in case of Armageddon. But somehow that’s where we arrived.

The lawyer and his paralegal glanced at one another. They stared at me, then shook their heads. “You’ve become desensitized, you know,” he told me. His assistant nodded her head. “You said you never talked about any of this to anyone. And now you’ve become desensitized. Do you know how NOT normal it is to bury silver in your backyard?”

I look back at him. I shrug. “The only way I knew how to cope was not to talk about it.” Talking, now, is a relief. I think of the 600 pounds of grain and flour and beans, labeled in 5 gallon buckets, slowly souring in the late summer heat of the garage. He left with the silver and the guns; I remain with the rancid wheat berries and cans of tuna in oil.

That it must come to an end isn’t a question. My difficulty lies more in the fear that I will somehow harm this man. And I am reminded of how I have done this in the past. Cared more about someone else than they cared for me. Overcoming this fear is crucial. The courage required seems like it should be a no-brainer. It shouldn’t be so HARD. I think of what the lawyer has suggested I ask as part of the divorce and I know it will set him off. I know he will riot in ways I can’t begin to comprehend.

Moving forward, I am stepping into the complete unknown.

Written by cr8df8

September 19, 2010 at 8:55 am

Posted in divorce, emotions

automaton

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I am taking a hiatus from my business. It burns too much. The uncertainty of my future, the fickle nature of clients who misinterpret the best of intentions. Coupled with the double hit of divorce and a weighty financial albatross.

I wrote to a friend this morning who lives near London. Told him how empty everything feels inside, but mangled and weird, too. Like a hamster ball of frenetic and chaotic energy in my belly, bonking around my intestines and gall bladder, but not escaping the hard casing.

I keep busy; pulling weeds, moving furniture, changing the scenery. Emails from my husband set my teeth on edge. I want him to file for divorce and be done with it; it felt devastating at first. Now it just doesn’t feel like anything. I haven’t returned the phone calls of the bankruptcy attorney that I contacted. I make breakfast for my 3-year old daughter. She goes to daycare. I try to figure out what to feed myself, and drink coffee instead. I don’t hear my cell phone ring. I make lists of things I need to do. I have piles of crap in the garage I have removed from the house to sell or give away. A 3-car garage filled to the gills with the history of my life. Of a life once shared.

I don’t feel sad. I only feel that hard ball in my belly, rolling around, knocking against the vacant places. And the scrabbling of the weird flurry caged within, clacking around, trying to get loose.

Written by cr8df8

September 10, 2010 at 6:57 am

Posted in emotions

Tagged with , ,

venturing

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It’s been so long since I have ventured into this shared and public space. I am not sure how I feel, other than I find it difficult to say much of anything. I am numb. Grasping at straws whilst gasping through straws whilst treading water in the deep end of the ocean.

Wooden. That’s a better description. I am wooden. Movements, brain function, emotions. Like a marionette. Clomp, clomp, clomp across the stage.

Written by cr8df8

September 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

Posted in emotions