Riding with it

Photo by MZ

Lately, the words and ideas bud, bloom and scatter like seeds on the current before I can capture them.

I’m speechless. I’m caught most days without a headline or an introductory paragraph. It’s all buzzing around, free range, while I distract myself with other things: tending to our ever-growing and demanding gardens; amusing and entertaining and otherwise protecting from harm my Girl from the East; arguing, reasoning with and compromising endlessly with Girl from the West; trying to find a few precious moments to myself which generally do not involve the computer; working to put our financial house back to rights.

That last one is the boulder in our path, the one we must find the correct tools to chip away at until we have passage to the rest of our lives. I don’t care what anyone says, things are still tough here in Michigan, and I don’t see great signs of a major turnaround. A few contemporaries have found new jobs; I am happy for them. Still many more face an end to unemployment benefits and slim prospects of new work. It all depends on what industry you are in. Life may never be the same for me.  It might get worse before it gets better. I’m trying to ride with it.

Yes, overall things are better today than 12 months ago. But the scar tissue remains. It will not be eradicated without the intervention of a specialist.

“I don’t know how you do it. I would just fall apart,” a friend says to me as we sit on a stone bench watching our girls prance and shriek in a water fountain on a day too bright to be depressed.

She makes me sound so brave.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” is what my husband said to me earlier in the week, after I vented about what feels like an endless loop of hope and letdown. I vent early and often. I vent until he cannot stand it another second. He takes it personally. He wonders why there are so many words running around unchecked.

He makes me sound so immature.

Truth is, hard times and traumas are triggers for past traumas. Good times keep the demons tucked away and quiet. Hard times stir  the lair and the ugly escapes. I don’t always feel like holding it together. I have the tools. I know what I need to do. But some days, I just don’t open the box.

Yesterday, I busied myself with errands. I took Girl from the East to Target to buy provisions for our upcoming holiday weekend at the pool and the park. Hours earlier I received word that a woman I know died of a massive heart attack. A woman my age. With two children. A personal trainer and fitness guru. Alive one minute on a night out with her husband. Dead the next before anyone knew what to do.  I wanted to block out the news, bury the thought. Instead, I  bit into it and chewed. I tasted my mortality. We stopped for coffee and a snack.  I sat in silence, listening to the Asian family next to us talk in their native tongue. As I tried to translate their words, to determine if they were speaking Mandarin, a neighbor approached me and tapped on my shoulder.

“You look different,” she said. “What did you do?”

New hair color? Different cut? Did you just get a massage?

“Nothing,” I said. “I don’t know.”

“Well, you seem so …. serene. I didn’t recognize you.”

“Oh, my god, does that mean I’m recognizable as a ball of stress?” I joked.

“Oh, no. But I saw you from the checkout line and you just caught my eye you looked so peaceful.”

She made me feel so determined to keep going.

I’m riding with it. Yes, I think I am.

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