you don’t yell at a sleepwalker. he may fall and break his neck – from sunset boulevard

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i think in dramatic words sometimes. above the din of my sarcastic humor and chastising taskmaster is the voice of my internal norma desmond, her tongue lingering on the L’s in romantic, tragic words like languish and lament, and on her lips making O’s in gentle words like repose and opiate. 

languish is a favorite word of mine lately (opiate might be if i could do something other than lament the absence). even as my life blooms with possibilities and positivities, i wake most days to a wilted spirit. many mornings i lay with a single eye open, attempting to motivate myself for a work day. first i navigate my regular monday-through-friday desire to pierce my jugular with a nearby ballpoint. i imagine the gentle return to sleep as blood loss saps the energy already en route to my list-maker and worry wheels. (ok, norma, your toddler would not appreciate the leave-behind of life without mommy….though i suspect she’d be delighted at the opportunity to use an entire box of dora bandaids with no lecture on how many bleeding children in the world can’t afford them.) after wistfully ruling out a dramatic, unexpected suicide after which all my words would be published and celebrated posthumously, i imagine my life without corporate responsibility and the need for 8 billable hours a day. i laugh at the anticipated death of the word deliverables in my life and lexicon. lastly, i drift through a few fanciful ideas, words, projects, plots and characters that i’d rather play with today.

that last part leaves me relatively certain i’m not just a sad sack of lazy. i’ve convinced myself that if i had a different focus, my jugular wouldn’t look so inviting to sharp-ish objects, and my natural spark would keep my smiles and insides warm. i picture a life where i write, read, cook and love my family full-time. in it i get to paint and decorate our new house without so much as a nod to anything but my daughter, my man, my aspirations and a sunny sky. i sort through all of these imaginings before i change my sleepy breathing. finally, i reluctantly rise and pry my mind open enough to make coffee. problem salved.

truth is, i’m not the kind to embrace i’ll-be-happy-when’s, but i’m not thinking so clearly lately. i turn 40 in two months. i’ve been divorced a year this weekend. (this, at least, is offset by cinco de mayo and my new love’s birthday…plus the fact that the word “weekend” applies.) then there is the part where my mom passed away less than six weeks ago, followed closely by my beloved old kitty. maybe someday i’ll blog about what it’s like in the maelstrom of a catholic-military family reunion-funeral. picture way too much alcohol, more proximity than any of us can stand experience regularly, and you get a lot of bittersweet nostalgia plus a giant bag of tempers and tears. i got predictably ill upon my return home and just haven’t felt my Self much since.

but i am working out. sometimes i eat well. i’m here writing words. i’m loving my loving and lovable friends. and i’m trying hard to crawl from languishing to largess in my spirit of accountability and professional pride. i’m using what i know, and i am happy much of the time, despite the morose tone today.

grief is a funny thing. it doesn’t stay separated into nice neat piles based on cause, and it doesn’t respond all that much to logic or efforts to “express it all” so as not to stumble across its remnants later. it also isn’t clear about itself, hiding in clumsiness, self-doubt, old hurts, and sudden loud noises. you can drink all the water you want, eat a field of whole foods, run around the world once a day, journal, pray, numb out…none of it can fill the gaping wound of loss any faster than it could fill the gaping wound of surgery.

i’m sort of dreading mothers’ day this year. i’m excited for the celebration with my tiny daughter, but there is a blurry spot where my focus has been all these years. this year my spirit will celebrate with my mom’s, and that has to be enough…beautifully enough.

that’s one thing i know about this life…that it is enough, beautifully enough, whether we like it or not. when it’s grey inside you, the sun still shines waiting for the return of your toothy smile and easy laughter. when grief is a stifling syrup of breaths and blur, the relief that one day comes is accompanied by new vision and a deeper soul. it’s always enough. many times too much.

i grew up next to sunset boulevard. the tiny one in melbourne beach, florida. perhaps that’s where my norma was born, bound for luxury, luster, lazing and a laugh lines. i’ve already got the last part in place. that’s the best one anyway.

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8 responses »

  1. This is so wonderfully, and yes, sadly put, with a hint of the possibility of future happiness just lingering at its edges: “that it is enough, beautifully enough, whether we like it or not. when it’s grey inside you, the sun still shines waiting for the return of your toothy smile and easy laughter. when grief is a stifling syrup of breaths and blur, the relief that one day comes is accompanied by new vision and a deeper soul.”

    Thanks for sharing this soulful post!

    • thank you for reading it cuhome, and for pulling something out that you liked. here’s what’s funny…a few friends that read it felt the need to “check on me.” one threatened to come take all my ballpoint pens away. i guess they didn’t pick up on the melodrama i was throwing.

      • That is really funny!!! I’ve encountered a couple of just such situation, and I had to say, “Hey, guys!!! This is a blog– it was tongue in cheek, but thanks for checking on me, anyway!!!” Life can be verrrry funny, eh?

  2. This was beautiful – I could see the rays of sunshine beginning to peek in through the sadness of losing your mom. And even though I didn’t know her, I just *know* that she is so glad that you are beginning to feel them too. Keep writing!

  3. So incredibly poignant. That is all so much for any one person to process. I am sorry for your losses. What comes through in your writing is such raw sincerity and truth. Peace and healing to you…I am a fan.

    • that’s a great response, lilabell. thank you so much. it’s hard to throw “raw” out here into the ether, but a writer and good friend of mine often quotes to me (and has a tattoo of the quote): “write hard and clear about what hurts.” (hemingway) i think sometimes you have to in order to satisfy your writer’s need to communicate real emotion, and connect your soul with your work. that’s where you find something to “say.”

  4. Pingback: splatter art with guts and goodness – she’s ALIVE! | actionfiguretrish

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