Tuesday, January 18

chaos, life would be so perfect without you

In the past few days I have managed to break two glass dishes. And neither time was I afforded the satisfaction of having thrown them. (Yes. I'm a chucker.)

First came the medium-sized farmer mixing bowl while I was doing dishes and chatting with my daughter.

Sigh. There goes that set.

Next was the large sugar jar that fell from the cupboard while I was attempting to start breakfast and trying to save I-don't-know-what-else from falling out of the cupboard as well.

Sigh. There goes all the sugar.

The bowl at least broke in the sink. The sugar jar - all over the kitchen floor. And the sugar jar shattered first thing in the morning. You can always tell it's going to be a good day when that's what you start with. Pretty sure by that point my whole body was twitching with the "this-is-just-effing-great" motion.

Let's face it. It hasn't just been fragile items that I've broken in the past week, even when one counts the light bulb I screwed in that then burst in my hand. (Really, it's those wicked hand exercises I've been doing.) I've dropped a variety of other things that are nonbreakable and all the less thrilling to throw.

For all this dropping stuff, you'd think I was pregnant - but I'm not. In fact, just the opposite (if there is an opposite... hm, pondering the takes on that...) - my cycles couldn't be more out of whack and my body in less hormonal harmony. I don't recall any desire to board this emotional roller coaster but, somehow, I found myself on it: front row of the front car and, dammit, someone forgot to come around and check my lapbar before the train left the station.

SIGH. Or should I say: AAAAAACK! I just know there's a point where I'm supposed to throw my hands up and scream and heartily enjoy this ride but I'm pretty sure the scream that's eminating from my mind right now makes others question my sanity.

I've been told that every woman has their own version of the emotional thrill ride. I don't know what other women's coasters look like, I only know what mine looks like. Preferably my ride would be Splash Mountain because I actually do love the Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da/Ev'rybody's Got a Laughing Place medley. However, at times like these, hearing Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da over and over again in my head makes me more interested in finding someone to strangle than in finding my laughing place. (Though I am pretty sure I'd be laughing if I found someone to strangle, even if it'd be rather maniacally.)

In reality, on the inside, my roller coaster looks like sheer chaos; from a fleeting moment of bliss to that of fear, paranoia, joy, anger. The list goes on and the cycle continues. None of it rational or logical. But all of it very real and intensely experienced.

On the outside, I can only hope and pray I don't sound to my children like a screaming tea kettle. While inside I am screaming "take me off the f*%king stove already", I don't want that to be what my children hear.

Especially my daughter.

Because I don't want her to think that being a woman is anything less than wonderful or that moments (or, perhaps, days) of fleeting emotional chaos makes her any less than divinely made.

Which brings me to how I'm handling this whole e-ticket scenario. Beating myself up for not being perfectly stable, perfectly in control, perfectly Donna Reed - probably not the most healthy approach. And trying extremely hard to protect my children from my inner turmoil and thus placing undue pressure on myself to be outwardly stoic - probably not the best idea either. Seems more Joan Crawford, wire-hangers-ish and less let's-deal-with-this-and-be-okay.

Yesterday, I took my kids to Calico Basin/Red Springs to hike around a bit again. (It's a place we often visit when it's nice out - but yesterday it was glorious - middle of January and 74 degrees. Woot!) On the short drive out there, I thought about this Great Emotional Coaster and my handling of it. I decided that at that particular point in time, there wasn't much I could do to make it magically shut down or me magically immune to its nauseating effects.

What do I do then? The answer : just be here. Just be in the outdoors. Just be with my lens. Just be with my kids. And just enjoy it all.

And that's what I did. And while I found I wasn't able to turn off the flooding and saturating emotions, I was able to step outside of them and just enjoy what tangible love I had in front of me. My conversations with my daughter were different, positive, encouraging. My dealings with my son were kinder, lighter.

In my mind the sounds of rushing emotional waves did not cease, that's for sure. But that wasn't my goal. My goal was to find a bit of shelter from the storm, to recuperate, to gather myself before traversing that swift river again. Unfortunately, I have to carry my children across that river because it's not a part of me that I can just remove like a prosthesis nor can I remove myself from their lives to "save" them. But I can make healthier choices in how I deal with the chaos. And with that one small choice, this one afternoon, I did just that.

My ultimate goal is to either altogether get off this coaster without having to jump (and hope I make it) or to slow it down to a manageable pace where I can actually enjoy the repeated drumming of Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da. I'm guessing the most realistic option here is the latter.   So tomorrow I'll be discussing and discovering with my doctor how exactly I am chemically unbalanced so that we can create a more healthy approach to the upcoming sharp turns, loops, and dramatic dips that either this coaster or life is going to bring my way.

In the meantime, over the sign inside my coaster car that reminds me to "please keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times" I'll be painting - in big, bold type - the words:
B E  H E R E . B E  G E N T L E . Because, right now, that's my best option for an in-ride barf bag.

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