It was one of those amazing fall weekends, a mix of clouds and sunshine, the scent of leaves and earth in the cool breeze, the makings of vegetarian chili warming the kitchen, and a fall hike and fire surrounded by the river and the myriad changing leaves. To say it was a good weekend is not enough. To have this weekend amidst all the change and all the self doubt, to see the way my child smiled and laughed, the way he looked at me as I stood in front of parents and children speaking aloud, teaching tiny but significant lessons for scouting, reaffirms my decision to bring us back to this place that holds so much of my memory. This city is where I really became me, where I grew into the beginning of an adult, gained my confidence, felt my highest highs and lowest lows in constant flux, holds six years of my life in a row, the longest I’ve committed to living anywhere since moving out of my parents house. In my subconscious, I knew how difficult this move was going to be for me, and that’s not taking into account leaving my stable life and beautiful city, the amazing friends that made me laugh, listened and heard when I spoke, knew that if they needed anything I would try to my best to help, the school system that had an amazing childcare program, friends my child was leaving behind, and new parent friends that I was just beginning to get to know.
Last week was tough. I tuned out my phone, slept while my child was at school, and felt like a complete failure. This was without alcohol. I know all of the things that I need to accomplish, but the more I think about them, the bigger that feeling in the pit of stomach gets, the more anxiety builds up, and the more I want to tune out to get away from all the things going on inside of my brain. Overwhelming, that’s just not a big enough word. Overwhelming is when you’re standing in the middle of a group of kids that seven and eight years old trying to get them to listen to you, overwhelming is moving to another city and being surrounded by all of your boxes, not knowing which box or room to begin with, overwhelming is the feeling that has the capability to go away once you begin working on something. No, I’m talking about the feeling that is always lurking, always ready to come out, the feeling that no matter where you start or how much you do, it will never be enough to make the feeling GO AWAY.
This weekend, just the simple act of selling popcorn with my kiddo and connecting with other parents, renting video games and playing with him, making homemade chili, going on the scout hike in a gorgeous park, doing all these things that we did, together, our tiny two person family, made me feel like I will get through this. Maybe just this episode of helplessness, but, hey, that’s one more difficult time managed and another feeling of accomplishment and sense of mental strength to boost my spirits.
I’m writing this because writing helps me make sense of all the bullshit that is constantly going on inside my head and all the world around me. The internal monologue goes on all day, and keeps me from sleeping at night. Anyone that is able to just shut the lights off, lay down and fall asleep, I envy you greatly. Not everyone has that luxury. And sleeping aids, the few that I’ve tried, mess me up like crazy the next day, and some even feel like they mess with the way my heart feels. Not pleasant. I’m writing because I’m sick of trying to just make it through, and it’s impossible to discuss. I’m not well spoken, especially about the awkward, difficult stuff. My words tend to go through a million versions before they leave my mouth, leaving my sentences sometimes stuttering and half baked. Some fifteen years ago-ish, my boss before she was my boss, thought I came to a job interview high, something she later admitted to me. Oftentimes, I start a conversation in the middle, forgetting all that banter in my head pre-conversation is just that: in my head. Writing the words gives them meaning, gives them order and sense, almost like a list that is all jumbled up and I get to reorganize to make sense.
This weekend was important for so many reasons. It was a moment in an infinite universe, filled with all the things that make life worth living. And life is hard. The biggest, most rewarding things seem to be the most difficult, the most time consuming and emotionally, physically, or mentally draining. I don’t know how many people actually think about the world, their lives, the moments that feel imprinted and significant, the way I think about them. We live such short lives, it seems I can’t horde enough of these close to perfect moments in the space my brain has allotted. So here I am, putting them in typed words on this screen, and later, when I feel defeated or numb or depressed, they will be there to help me through. The smell of the spices going into chili, the vibrant orange, red and green of the cut vegetables, the wooden suspension bridge over the water and the way it shook as we trooped over, the excitement of the cub scouts as I passed out the trial mix we’d made the week prior, the warm body of my seven year old snuggled against me as he tucked in for the night and I read Harry Potter, and his porcelain skin, eyelids slightly purplish, as he fell asleep for the night.
It is the best life.