Monday, August 24, 2009

My Disconnect

divine, adjective, heroes with divine powers-of, from, or like God or a god
As I get older, wiser, I'm realizing I'm bad at lettings things go. But, not the usual things you would think. I'm good at letting toxic friends go. I'm good at (eventually) letting lazy boyfriends go. I'm good at letting bad habits go, or at least saying I'm going to. (No more fast food, no more fast food.) I'm pretty okay at letting stupid arguments go. What I'm not good at is letting moments go. Six minutes I spent reading (and crying throughout) this article. 3 minutes watching (and laughing hysterically at) this video. Moments when I am flooded with so much emotion I can't breathe. Moments that, within the confines of my mind, never end.

Whether I'm sitting in traffic, or staring at my computer screen, I am still stuck in these moments. I blame my bad driving record, my lack of productivity on them. I blame the fact that I often don't feel "quite right" on them. The pain of a splitting headache is really the image of the author's husband, standing in the kitchen doorway that morning. Flashes of the way he looked: clean-shaven and wide-eyed. Haphazardly consumed with love for this woman he shared almost 40 years of his life with. And the dizzying spell of nausea is really King Curtis' triumphant return, and declaration of war to preserve "Havin' Fun," and chicken nuggets. His high-pitched voice layered with such conviction, such supposed wisdom, promising that he will not bow to Joy's rules.

I should be able to let the video end, dry my tears and fold the rest of the laundry. I should be able to click out of the article page, press my cursor onto the small red "X" in the top corner of my screen and get back to work. Go back to my life. Therein lies my trouble though, my struggle.

I don't want to detach from these things. From the warmth of the purest forms of love, from the most hysterical laughter. I like to swim around inside them--reeling and reveling--so far from so much of the sad reality that surrounds me. One of lessons learned and loneliness, where as we get older, our growth isn't measured only in pencil marks on a door frame, or in numbers and letters, but in our capacity to hurt one another. As children, with soft, plush palms, we hit to get our way and yell out strings of meaningless language to hurt, but we fall short. We are picked up, brushed off, bandaged up and sent on our way--blissfully unaware of the pain we were so quick to release, to forget. As adults, with thicker skin and manipulation, we can see so clearly--so quickly-- how to get our way. And that's what we want. Some still use their fists despite the fact that most of us frown upon it; though we are all hard-hitters in our own, secretive ways. In our lying and in our selfishness, we deliver far more fatal blows than our fists could.

So I close my eyes and latch on to these moments so desperately. So fully that a part of me may slip away in exchange, but I let those morsels of myself drift off--as I do so many other things--without worry or discomfort. And I let out a deep sigh or inhale a strong shake of laughter in hopes that I've learned to let the bad things go. In confidence that I'm embracing only what's good--and holding on.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Empty Nester

nest, noun, a structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young.

I'm an empty nester again. Sort of. I got home early from work today and wandered from room to room, tapping small items into their proper place and pinching small bits of paper off of the carpet. I flipped the blinds open and began lighting candles to scare off the emptiness with light, and to keep me busy. When that wasn't enough, I did the dishes, scrubbed the sink, brought in the recycling bins, vacuumed (even the stairs) and gave Marlee a bath.

I'd be lying if I said that the idea of coming home to an empty house isn't tempting. No one else's bad day to talk about. No one else's messes to clean up. I like to come to the clean slate, but I think that's because I know someone will eventually be there. Someone will eventually be sharing this space with me. There will be conversation and laughter and noise from the T.V. There will be life in this house. But tonight it's just me, Amelia and a soggy Marlee who isn't too happy with me. And, I know, never happy: but it's too quiet.

We're 22-year-old empty nesters. Callie has moved on to sleep on someone's couch while they look for a place in D.C. And with that, all catering and shifting and considering and adapating and being nice to a third person in the house ceases. We don't have to be quiet, or leave a key under the pot. We can have loud arguments without guilt and go on dates on week nights without that leaving-someone-out feeling. We can pick-up-and-go, even if we probably won't. The funny thing is that she was gone most of the time and when she was here, she was barely seen and never heard.

But it's still an adjustment. It's still realizing you can sprawl out on the couch a little bit more. It's still learning that you can leave all of your bottles and brushes out on the sink after you're finished when them in the morning. It's still missing having someone to vent to about your long day full of pointless meetings or annoying coworker--having someone who knows exactly how that frustration feels. (All of this sentiment, literally 12 hours after she left.) Oie.

Empty nesters fill up their nests with bits of scraps to provide protection or at least give the illusion of security. While it may be nothing more than a bundle of sticks wound together with string and bits of dirt and clay, the nest is very important. It's where the magic and the motivation happen. It's where I indulge and accomplish and scratch things off of my to-do list. I'm working to make this nest more homey, more safe. More inspirational. More of place where I can write on a regular basis, and remember to brush my dog's hair once a week, try new daring recipes and invite over new friends.

It's time I start living in this little nest.