That little light is twinkling again. On my dash. Every morning when I head to work & every evening when I head home. A subtle reminder that something is falling apart. Somewhere on the inside. And at any moment, it might stop working. Somewhat, hilariously, a current metaphor for my life.
My moments of being awake have been challenging lately. I’ve observed myself either spending excessive hours in my bed to try & not be or thirstily surrounding myself with anyone who will make the time. As adulthood goes, it’s hard to find friends who don’t have family commitments or who aren’t at least 30 miles away or who like to drink tap beer on a Wednesday. I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m simply trying to distract myself. From the inner workings of my over-active grey matter. I’ve been contemplating taking another job on top of the ones I already have. Just a little something more to occupy my time. Just a little something more.
So I’ve started running. I hate running. I’ve abstained from it ever since I was unfairly forced to do it in gym class. I was always one of the last stragglers during the infamous mile run, heaving up a lung on the side of the football field & holding my side because if my appendix wasn’t actually exploding, my body was telling me I need to stop with the after school Handi-Snacks. The only thing I was ever really good at when it came to athletics was the parachute & they took that away way before I was ready to handle it on an emotional level.
I’ve only been out on the trail, in this newfound way, a handful of times. A few weeks at best. I generally walk it at a nice & normal human pace so it feels slightly embellished that I’m already writing about my moving just slightly faster. But I started composing this while out there, my technically-a-geriatric 12 year old dog beside me. He looks at me sometimes as if to ask, ‘What in the fuck is exactly going on here?’ To which I cannot respond because I cannot breathe. But we keep going because if we don’t, we won’t make it back to the car & we’ll have to spend the night in the woods & I am super convinced that that’s when the murderers come out & do their stabby-stabbing.
The cadence of my feet as they hit the pavement & leaves seem to say, ‘This. Sucks. This. Sucks. This. Sucks.’ So I started wondering how people ever start to do this. Sure, some of them probably have always liked exerting their body like a bunch of weirdos. Maybe they were pushing to get back in their favorite jeans or they have a child and/or dog they’re trying to expel some energy out of. But I think most everybody is just trying to run from something else. Problems & plagues (not like the black plague, though) & matters of the heart.
Because that’s exactly why I began with this insanity. 2017 was shaping up to be my favorite year yet despite all the anguish on the news & the cool people dying & all the other terrible calamities. I mean, I used to be nervous about the Yellowstone volcano erupting but now? Meh. I was in a good place. A happy place. A too-happy-to-not-be-terrified place. And then the shoe dropped, cause that’s what it (always) does. Suddenly everything I thought I was to people, well, it shifted. Now, my life & my love stay hanging in suspension like the fruit in Midwestern jello. And like those chunks that don’t belong, it is the worst.
All this whatever feels all too familiar but somehow worse this go-around. I lost every desire to frost a cake or rake my leaves or live anywhere in my house besides the confines of my dark, moody room. If my body ever felt like a temple, now it resembles a trailer in some abandoned lot of woods, a chassis of a hollowed out car sitting in the backyard. Rusty. An eyesore.
I cannot tell you why I’m not used to this yet. Why I can’t stomach change. Why I can’t get over things I know I need to get over. Why I just wrote a blog back here about letting go & I’m struggling, still, with the letting go.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to cater to ourselves when we’re loving something/someone else so hard. Do you want to know what happens when we do that? Shit starts to break down. Lights start to come on. There are warning signs practically slapping you in your dumb face. Things make noises & start to smoke & eventually just stall when you really need to be somewhere.
I ran across a Hemingway quote recently that I forgot I had sketched onto a piece of paper: ‘The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, & forgetting that you are special too.’
I imagine Ernest, after having typed this, lighting a cigar, buttoning his cardigan & walking along the seaside with a glass of something old & expensive because that genius son of a bitch!
Whenever I think of an example of this type of plot, I hark back to one of my longer relationships. I somehow retained a saintly amount of patience with that one. Those 3+ years could probably have their very own blog, in fact. I would buy him his favorite Jelly Belly’s whenever I found the disgusting things in the grocery. I relished making dinner for him while asking him about his day. And whenever I ran across a card befitting of something I wanted to say, I’d fill it out & leave it for him in our tiny apartment because who doesn’t love reminders of affection?
He didn’t. He didn’t give two shits. I know this because after a particular fight in which I probably stated how I felt I was lacking attention & pointed out all the things I do to show him I care (only after it came up in conversation, I swear), he stated that down the road he would never remember the cards I gave him. It didn’t matter that I made dinner. That wasn’t monumental in any sort of way. That sort of thing would never be cemented into his memories of me. I was nothing short of crushed. He also chose to disclose that he doesn’t like soup & I make that at least once a week. What kind of sociopath doesn’t like soup? Only Hitler & my ex-boyfriend, I’m pretty sure. I still recall the time he wrote on my mirror in erase-able marker that he loved me & hoped I’d have a good day. I think he maybe even drew a tree in there. It might have had apples? I don’t comprehend how those things don’t mean more than nothing. I don’t want to have a roommate. I don’t want complacency. I want to matter like them to me. I want to remember small, seemingly insignificant things. Because those are the things.
And unfortunately, that very rarely ever levels out.
The thing about love & life is that for the most part, anything that happens to us will probably not kill us. Money & break-ups & infidelity & the speed of the world will not take us out. We have to just work through it no matter how it feels like we are dying from the inside out from some sort of slow, agonizing, flesh eating bacteria. Some people never feel this. Some people never feel it until they’re 53 & their spouse is having a crisis of the mid-life kind. And some of us recognize it as just another extension of every day. Just something to get used to. Whether it’s uncertainty over long distance or a new love who suddenly isn’t mutual or some other brain-exploding hasty change, you’ll be fine someday. But you will never know while in the middle. You will feel like you’re stuck in the Upside Down with poor Barb. I can’t quite decide if I believe everyone should know what it’s like or if nobody should. It’s both brutal & exhilarating. Life altering & liberating. Harsh & bittersweet.
Maybe the running is helping. And the cbd oil I’ve started taking. And the fact that I started making myself dinner instead of the 3 minute egg supper lifestyle I’d been supporting. I actually cleaned off my counters & did some loads of laundry. I poured myself some questionably old champagne that was laying in the fridge next to some carrots that have been there so long they started to make new carrots. Everything is still hard. Everything still hurts. But I’m still here. I have no choice because my organs are still functioning & I still have a job that I have to go do because sadly, I cannot yet live off of retirement.
You shouldn’t look for me in a marathon anytime soon or you know, ever. I will never have one of those stickers on my car that has a distance on it unless they make one that says, ‘You tried to go more than a mile!’ But I do have some tips. If you listen to true crime podcasts while you’re out in the woods, be prepared to shit your pants when you see someone’s underwear hanging from a bush off the hiking trail. I guess when I think about it, maybe that guy actually did shit his pants. Bring a dog if you have one or steal your neighbor’s temporarily. It eases the tension of barely making eye contact with other people. Also, buy yourself some better shoes. If you’re anywhere over the age of 30, your knees will almost immediately hurt. But be prepared, the shoe salesman will tell you that you can ‘Do some jogging moves around the store if you’d like!’ I just said, ‘Nope, I’ll take ’em!’
And would you like to know what? Because I have a propensity of ignoring things I should be doing, I took my car to get fixed today. It was not as major of an ailment as I’d been anticipating & I won’t be reminded of it tomorrow morning because he turned that light off with just a little switch. Just like those boys are so good at doing.
Now we just have to work on this heart of mine.
-a damsel & her dog-
Side note down here, some podcasts I recommend:
If you like crimey things but also laughing – True Crime Garage & My Favorite Murder are both informative & full of quotes you will be able to use in your life.
If you like to be depressed but feel connected to others – Terrible, Thanks For Asking & This Feels Terrible know how to punch you where it hurts so good.