I own all the content and pictures on this site, except where noted. If you steal anything from me, and
especially if you do anything mean or inappropriate with them, I will find you. Then I'll sue you for
theft, slander, libel and any other law that applies. Then I'll ridicule you in humiliating ways
here and everywhere else I contribute to. If you fuck with me, I'll get get all Gladiator on your ass
and unleash hell. Think I'm kidding? So did my a couple of my exes, my old neighbors, as well as
some assholes who ripped me off on Ebay, and last I heard, they were all still trying to undo the
damage I caused.
In the midst of my funk, Max has been developing a cough over these last few days. It's been no big deal, and besides, what can you do for a cough? Lemon and honey, and that's about it.
He was doing well yesterday. In fact, I'd been looking forward to the start of our holiday vacation because I've been feeling for a long time now that I need this downtime with my son. I've been so caught up with Max-related issues (school-hunting, behavioral problems, etc.) that I haven't really focused much on Max himself. I've really been needing to kick back with him and not feel the pressure of the daily rush. During this break, because his dad will be working, I'll be able to spend time with him every single day, and I've been so thrilled about this, welcoming this chance to feel like a normal mom again.
We got off to a good start and had a great day yesterday, a very lovely time of us running errands, enjoying lunch, playing in the park and chilling out at home. Through it all, he'd cough from time to time, but again, no big deal. Everything was normal until a short while after he fell asleep. And then.
I'll say that word every parent knows and many fear: croup. While croup in itself needn't be extremely serious, when it's late at night and you hear your baby struggling to breathe, that terrible, terrible cough echoing through the house, getting worse as the night progresses, it's just -- ugh. Awful. Frightening. I wasn't doing too well on a personal level to start with, but the croup just sent me over the edge.
The thing about this particular illness is that it's the one that sent a six-month-old Max to the hospital via ambulance and kept him there for three days. Max doesn't handle croup well; he gets it whenever he has a cold and struggles for many long hours over a number of nights. It's maddening and frightening, because however swiss cheese my memory is, there's no erasing that desperate night when nothing was working and 911 was called and hours later he was still struggling and I was told that his body wasn't taking the medicine and he needed to be admitted. Every episode of croup makes me feel like that night is on the brink of happening again.
And last night, trying the remedies I know and waiting to see if any of them worked, pacing and checking and worrying and feeling exhausted and sad -- it was just such a hopeless feeling. At one point I was thinking about my life these last few days and I totally caved to self-pity, hating myself for it but feeling like there was nothing left to feel. And meanwhile, there's my boy, trying to sleep despite the swelling and the cough, and all I can do is watch him and watch the clock, for any sign of either worsening or relief.
By around 4 a.m. he was doing better, the cough having subsided some. The cough, though not as terrible as it is at night (typical of croup) is still there, and I can tell by his behavior this morning that I may be in for a rough day, but right now he's o.k. He's his usual chipper self (which is in and of itself confounding, how he can be so sick and at the same time be cheerful and chatty - and he's been like this his whole life), and he's been kind enough to grant me this half-hour to write and disconnect before I have to get us dressed and out the door.
It's gonna keep pouring, but I really hope my boy gets a break.
I started out here this morning by babbling about this aspect of my personality, about my hyper-awareness of my actions (many times to my annoyance), and how that, I think, makes me pretty mindful overall of how I approach everything. It was something that made sense to me since I understand what I'm trying to say, but which is difficult to communicate. And where maybe on another day under different circumstances I could share something about myself with coherence and insight, it wasn't happening today. I just couldn't put it together.
So I switched tracks, trying to write about how we all need a safe haven and how much it hurts when you realize something wasn't the haven you thought it was. Of course, I wasn't writing about it in such a simple way, because in this context it stretches into other avenues, things about myself and the patterns in my life and my notions of faith and how in a rela ... blargh. I got all convoluted and had to stop.
And then I went back to myself, my sense of wrongness and the feeling that even when I try so hard to not do something wrong, I still do, and it's like running into this same wall over and over again, because if you're consciously trying and you're still in the wrong, how the hell do you stop that, much less fix it? I don't know, and that's it right there: I don't know. But trying to delve into this, this felt like I was running in circles and my brain was throbbing with this third attempt to wring all this out.
And then, obsessing over all this this evening in the shower, it came together in the best way it has so far: I've experienced a moment where the veil has been lifted and I've seen something about my life and myself in a way I had not before, had not even contemplated as a possibility. I've seen it as it really is.
This affects so much now, but I'm too busy being stunned to even really break that apart. I'm stunned, so stunned that the only thing I've come close to feeling for days now is this numbness that's so intense that it paralyzes me. I can barely function, so no wonder, then, that I can't even write.
I am trying to make sense of what I realize now is a mix of big things, things about that moment where you unexpectedly catch a clear glimpse of what someone really thinks of you, and it's ugly, and things about the way that nothing - no person, no place - is ever really safe, and how perplexed I am to feel so stunned by this, as if I've never been here before. But I have. I have.
All day long I've wanted to put these jumbled thoughts into words. I've wanted to do this as if it would - I don't know - shake me out of this numbness, give me clarity, put some words back into me. But I can't even think straight, can't line these thoughts up in any rational, linear way. And so there's no way to do this.
I think that my utter lack of writing these last months should have made it abundantly clear that I have very few functioning braincells lately. Between work, school and my personal life, I've had little time (or energy) for anything else. I am fried. FRIED, I tell you!
(Aside: there are other, more personal, reasons why I've been avoiding this blog, but I've not wanted to get into it for purely political reasons. And while I'm frustrated about this - both the reasons and my not feeling able to write about it - the most I can do is state this and leave it at that.)
With the semester over (A's all around!) and work quieting a bit (for, like, 3 minutes, but hey, it's something), I'm feeling like I can breathe for the first time in many months.
Whenever I go through one of these cycles, I always say I'd like to get back to regular writing. I always mean it, even though there are times when it just doesn't happen. I'm there right now, wanting to get back to regular writing, even if it's mundane stuff, for the way it relaxes me or helps me through things. I don't know if it'll happen this time around, but at the very least, I'll give it a shot.
And what better way to start than with a meme! I went through a phase a while back where I did one of these just about every Friday. Ah, fun times. And then the other day I was tagged by BohoPoetGirl. Girl knows I love a good meme, so why not?
(Note: it's actually supposed to be three items per category, but I cut it down to two each.)
Before I begin, though, I've decided to use answers that are unrelated to Max. Because Lord knows he's my biggest joy, and that my greatest fear is losing him (followed by dying while he's still a kid and leaving him orphaned), and that my goal is to be a really awesome and fun mom to him... it's too much of a given, you know? And it would make this one boring little game! So yeah, this is the non-mommy version.
1. A really good meal. I'm not a "foodie" (that term annoys me) or a food snob: I just like to pig out. I've never known what it's like to not eat because I'm watching my weight or am worried about being unladylike or uncute. I love food to much for that nonsense. I've got blood-sugar issues, which helps keep me in check, but when I eat, I eat. Delicious food is such a joy for me - it makes me feel warm and satisfied and at peace. Whether I cook it, or someone else does, or it's enjoyed at a really good restaurant, a good meal can be the highlight of my day. And when it's shared with good company... I'm in heaven then. (And now I'm totally feeling that it's time to revive Foodtastic! Hhmm....)
2. A beautiful view. I've been a nature-lover my whole life. Not that I've ever been athletic or active; I just love being outside. As a kid, I would spend hours up in this tree we had that I loved climbing, or lying on the grass, staring at the sky through the leaves. Some of my best poetry's been written when I was sitting somewhere so beautiful that it was easy to access the thoughts and feelings and words. I'm mesmerized by the sky, by tree trunks and flowers about to burst into bloom. I love sitting in the shade and watching the sunlight bounce off houses, cars, buildings. I constantly feel aware of how beautiful the sky is (thinking that I love bright blue skies best, only to change my mind when it's dark and threatening), of the way wind whips and bends and changes the landscape. My favorite view is when I'm sitting in the sand, staring out into the sea (preferably on a gray day). It's then that I feel this painful, but wonderful, mix of longing and hope and peace.
1. Plummeting. I have dreams where I'm driving on the highway, and as I take a curve, high up over the city, my car sails over the railing and I plunge to my death. The thing about flying? It's not being up in the air or potential terrorism; it's the terror that something might go wrong and we'll plummet down to earth. In every instance, it's the fact that I would be aware of this awful, uncontrollable, final plunge that freaks me the hell out.
2. Failure. Just when I feel like I abhor it and don't have the patience for it, I realize that - at least when it comes to myself - I really just fear it. I hear all the time that I'm too hard on myself and demand too much of myself, and that might be true, but it's because personal failure is really hard for me to take. In the end, it's really because I fear what would happen if I failed.
1. Publishing the book. Which one, I can't decide, and that's the problem. My dream? A collection of poetry, since that's my first and deepest love and what I've been working on for so long and I really don't care how archaic that is. I'm not in this to sell a billion copies (I mean, at least not with the poetry). But I have other ideas, mainly essays, and lately, much to my amazement and horror, a novel's begun to take shape in my head. I'm at zero when it comes to this, with no ability to pick something and stick to it, and no knowledge (past the last research I did on this topic in early 2002 - and a lot's changed since then) on how to get a book published. But, I want to, and the desire, long dormant, has become pretty strong lately.
2. Get the house in shape. Geez, this has been a goal for more than two years now. It's shameful, really, my inability to finish purging all the clutter in my home. I think I've mentioned here that the massive depression my marriage's ending plummeted me into basically paralyzed me, and so for like a year I just let crap pile up. In the year-and-some since those dark months passed, it's been a mix of being too busy, feeling overwhelmed and pilfering my free time on things like snuggling with Max and going off on adventures with Jevo. Shameful, I say. Jevo's a great sport about this, never judging, encouraging me to move along and helping me out. He likes to tell me he's gonna have to sweep through and toss everything out, a half-joke that touches on a deeper truth: I have to clear stuff out so that his will fit. And that's a sweet goal to work toward.
1. Obsession itself. I've been thinking lately about how prone to obsessing I am. There are just some things that bring out the obsessive monster in me. It can be exhausting and overwhelming when an obsession hits. This is probably why I also practice a ton of restraint in my life, even when it's not necessary or it's regarding something I'm actually not being obsessive about. I think I try to compensate for one extreme by summoning the other. I used to do my obsessions of the week as a fun activity, but it was all true. Some things just drive me crazy.
2. These effing boots that I can't seem to find. I've been on the hunt for low, casual black boots for six months. Years ago, I had a great pair that I wore to death, and I'd like a pair similar to those. The problem is, I can't find anything that fits the bill. Either the heel is too flat, or too high; more importantly, most of the boots I've seen (even ordered a really pretty pair that I had to returned for this reason) don't have the right shaft height. Most of these low boots hit right at the ankle, which is really uncomfortable. I need a couple inches more so that it looks and feels right. After months of this craziness, I'm down to three contenders. The problem now is that I can't make the call and decide.
Facts. Random! Surprising!
1. I can't sing for shit, but I LOVE singing. I sing a lot - in the car, in the shower, as I do housework. And it all sounds terrible. Yet I feel great doing it! (Ten to 12 years ago, I was a freak about karaoke, like each performance was my own American Idol-esque moment of glory (a euphoria helped along by a few drinks). While I still enjoy it from time to time, I find myself feeling over it and not into it like I once was. I still have my old karaoke machine, though!) If Max is around when I start belting it out, he very quickly tells me to stop. Gotta love an honest critic.
2. A big chunk of blog post titles here are song lyrics. I never do it on purpose; usually, a line is stuck in my head and it somehow leads to all these other thoughts that end up being a post. The line that inspired the post ends up being the title.