Don’t Tell Me How (A.k.a. Let Me Get There)

… I am sitting, here, laptop upon, well, lap, and I feel strange. Awkward. Like a teenager whose limbs have grown too long for her body. Only that’s not something I have ever experienced. I am short. Compact. Fun size. Me and my limbs– simpatico. Except for my right leg, which is 1/4 inch shorter than my left. Making me, effectively, crooked. That’s annoying. That will never not be annoying.

Crookedness is not why I am super out of sorts tonight though. I am off because I am feeling too much. My jaw is clenched, which signals anxiety and worry. My brain is dragging, indicating sadness. My hands are restless, which usually happens when I feel pulled in too many directions. All of this is wrapped in a thin sheath of F**k Off! Which makes me a Conundrum Roll. And that really, really makes me want some sushi. But aside from happy hour sushi, it’s not an adult or prudent expense. AHHH!

I am practicing sitting in this mishmash. I am agonizing over these uncomfortable emotions because this is apparently the path to peace. Which is utter crap. Why? Because IT SUCKS. I’ve nothing but fists of rage for those who claim “letting go” is the “easy part.” Nothing about death, loss and grief is easy. Yes, I know (and actually very much love) the teachings of Buddha: suffering is optional. Only–in my estimation–there’s a time where pain and suffering are utterly intertwined. And, sincerely, bless those who can pry them apart and isolate the suffering so as to eradicate it. I wish I possessed such wisdom and grace.

Seriously. Have you ever have that dream? The one where you’re clinging to the side of a cliff? On the edge of a dangerous precipice? About to fall off a building? I remember a kid in middle school telling me that if you had a nightmare in which you’re about to die, and you actually die, you actually really do die. As in don’t wake up. I hit her in the face with a four-square ball. But that was mostly  ’cause she dissed my four-square game and made fun of my sister (NO ONE made fun of my sister… except me). Plus, this girl called me “moley.” I have moles. So what? Jerk.

I think letting go does feel a lot like daring to die. There’s the sensation of maybe something will catch me. But there’s also that unspeakable terror of what if there’s fucking nothing there? What if this is this one time I do release my grip, uncurl my fingers, close my eyes and drop… and there is no net (proverbial or otherwise)? What then? That alone is enough for me to lock my jaw (not all bad–means a visit to my super cute TMD doc and physical therapy involving hot towels and a neck massage), grab onto anyone (enter every man I’ve ever dated) and dig my heels in so hard that they snap. Letting go? Not something I can just “do.” Massive props to those who can. But I beg you– please don’t tell me how to do it. I think that’s like trying to tell someone how to swim without ever actually getting in the water. Academically and theoretically plausible but practically useless.

I just realized I sound angry. I am not. I am just being honest. My shrink and I spend a lot, and I mean A LOT, of time talking about how I find it so damn hard to be truthful (in the context of disagreeing with others) because I equate it with being mean. And if I am “mean,” I am a bad person. And he is correct. I often feel like I am a terrible human being. I devote so much energy to pleasing you. Him. Her. Them. I always have. Thing is, it no longer sits right with me. Or I no longer sit right with it, I should say. I cannot stop squirming.

Mostly, I am trying to figure out how to be okay with lil’ ole, fun-size me. At 39. I’d say that’s pathetic but that’s far too conveniently self deprecating. I know that’s the product of my upbringing, low self esteem and continually putting myself in situations that reinforce the following sentiment: I am a piece of shit.

But let’s talk about earlier tonight. When I was driving west to see my sister. As I passed the exit ramp to his mother’s house, I began to think about my love who passed away almost two years ago. Two years to the day on the 14th. Only I lied. Sorry. I think about him more often than not. I wasn’t just reminded by some geographic location. And that’s a classic example of me. I minimize. Because I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. Or maybe I don’t want to feel uncomfortable at the idea, the possibility, that I may have made you uncomfortable. Man, I am so tired of me.

I used to wish him away. Will him to vacate my mind. Pray to forget. Then I’d be riddled with horrendous guilt. I couldn’t NOT remember. Now… well… I miss him. I am pissed he is dead. It hurts. Tremendously. I am sad. Frequently. But I no longer hate that I can still smell him. Or hear his laugh. Or feel how it was to sit next to him in my car, on a long road trip. But I have also learned that it won’t stay. Just like I am aware it will never, ever leave. It’s woven into my blanket. As it should be. It is both awful and wonderful. And I can’t explain that to someone who’s not experienced an unexpected, tragic loss any better than I can teach a landlubber to swim.

Back to tonight. As I was driving out to see my sister, a certain song came on. And I began to cry. This song always makes me cry. Lately I’ve just skipped past it. Nope, not hearing that. Tonight, though…tonight, I let it play all the way through. And I cried. The sun was shining and I kept crying. Ugly, snot-producing tears. I didn’t steel myself and open the windows and push it off. I cried. And cried and cried. Did it feel good? Not even a little. Was it healing? Not in the moment. Did it feel like “letting go”? No. It was painful. It was exhausting. At the same time, the sun kept shining and the song kept playing, and this… for this first time since he died, really, this…this thought took over. He fucking would not want this for me. No way. And that, maybe that I can trust. That sort of feels real to me.

I don’t know if this post will make sense to anyone other than me. Perhaps it’s not all that important that it does. It’s the first time in ages that I’ve allowed myself to write, uncensored. Plus, a dear friend told me the other day that he checks my website every week to see if I’ve written. Despite the fact that it’s been months and months. Bless you, dude. And thank you. You are at least 78 percent of the reason why I posted this tonight. Rusty pipes, squeaky wheels, whatever.

And so, as always (for maybe some things needn’t change), all the light and love in my heart, to yours.




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