Saturday, April 9, 2011

Playing House

Playing Life.

My most overwhelmingly generous and kind friends Connie and Charlie have set me up in their duplex furnished apartment until the end of the month, two blocks from work, a cozy nest.

I placed my most treasured icons on the sill -- remnants from this life whose path has taken unexpected and zig-zagged switchbacks. Out of breath, this time. Gasping, too far above my accustomed personal sea level. Oxygen -- well, I could use a tank of it right about now. These altitudes contribute to a dizziness with every step, an inability to focus on the inexorable task of moving one foot in front of the other. It's all sludge. It's quicksand. It sucks. And it sucks.

While packing up today, I recall telling myself "now I am going to get some boxes so I can pack up the stuff in the bedroom" -- as I'd repeatedly attempted this task of box-fetching and failed. Speaking the words activated my brain, a direction, command to which I responded. My friend Robin commented on my organization as I labeled every box. Ha! My attempt at sanity included writing something -- anything -- on the top of each box. Funny, though, the categories kept shifting. What/where/who?

Distractions. A bit of my life here, a remnant of memory there, every step up and down recalling such sweet/now-bittersweet events, moments, dinners, the quiet holding that lovers indulge in, no words necessary.

And while I anticipated that my accumulated possessions would overfill the newly-vacated space in my Brandon Street house basement, there was space galore at the end, which felt good, cleansing, finally a clearing of all that I/we no longer need/want.

But blow upon blow: two of my paying renters have decided to give notice, young men that they are, not wanting (most understandingly) to live with a "mother". We roll and roll in these waves.
Yet it's a high and crushing surf.

And then there's scheming and more scheming: how to compound dollars to balance the crush, the deficit. I'm open to suggestions here. Rooms for rent!

But oh....the wreckage.
The rubble/flotsam/the-undoing.

I am undone.

I am pretending.

And a glass of white Rhone wine makes everything better.



  1. Dear T., I think in each of us, when unspeakable calamity hits, is the capacity to do something, anything, to stumble forward, fetching bandages, blankets, coffee for the survivors, only this time, you're the survivor--you still go into organization mode, because doing something is infinitely preferable to doing nothing, it gets oxygen into your lungs. And writing on boxes is making a claim, in your own handwriting, that you still have a life, you have a past which now makes no sense, but those boxes will become your future. Thank God you have good friends--each who can offer whatever help they are able to give. I can't help but think of the post you wrote just before disaster struck--of all the glass tumbling down at a dinner party, glass all over you, smashing all to pieces across the kitchen. And yet you were not cut. So ironic. Go easy. Remember to breathe. xo

  2. When an emergency hits you are who we want.

    You are so loved.

    Love, C.

  3. oh my friend. it is early days, still. you are in shock. you are coping the best you can, and that's pretty darned good if you ask me.

    Surround yourself with people who love you, exercise your body on long slow walks, eat good food and enjoy that glass of wine. Cry as hard and as long as you need to.

    Know that we are just a phone call, an email away, 24/7. I'm sure any number of pals would accompany you to a movie, a meal, a simple walk.

    I hurt for you every day - this is so damned sudden and crazy and unfair.

    Remember that road sign we wanted to post for a certain ex of mine? Well...I'm having thoughts.....

  4. I think Tara's suggestions are good. Go to new places, do things you've never done before, take long quiet walks.

    My late mother always assured me that 'Everything happens for the best'. Mostly she was right, but it probably seems a bit optimistic at the moment.

  5. Just do whatever needs to be done next and don't worry about the big picture. And mostly take the best care you can of yourself.

  6. Thank goodness for your excellent friends who have put a roof over your head. The rental situation will work thing at a time.

  7. such good advice, from everyone. in my fractious past, ritual helped immensely.. not the old rituals, new ones. something as simple as a check-in with a friend once a day, a phone call at 5 to mark that youve made it; a new glass for your white wine...
    one damn baby step forward after the other; and finally you'll be able to look back.

  8. Oh dear T, PLEASE take good care of yourself! Things are already working for you (Brandon Street place, can you live there?) now that renters are departing. Things will fall into place, just believe that. The Universe will take care of you.

  9. What they all said. Especially the part about "one damn baby step forward after another"--even if that next step is just sitting down (where there's more oxygen).

    Love to you.

  10. Life-saving support has reminded me many times to "act as-if," a muscle being taught to memorize a new action. A survivor has already emerged from the wreckage. You are here. Nothing else is required. Answers, in the same way as help, appear. As we look back over many things, simply being here is triumph. xo

  11. Dear T - yes, new rituals help during times of distress and transition, as Susan suggests. . . and, too, simple rhythms to fortify you in the present. These will become the bedrock of the future. Now is what matters - and being here.
    During a recent prolonged period of crisis over here, I kept being reminded of puzzle-building. How, much of the time, life is like piecing together a puzzle without having the 'lid of the box' that lets us know what picture it is we are building. We pick up one piece at a time, examine its shape, look for clues, for signs of a colour or texture we recognize, for hope and promise. . and sure enough, little by little, the new landscape reveals itself.
    Thinking of you so much, T, and lighting candles to help steady your way. L, C xo

  12. AVS = Claire B xx
    (Sorry, didn't realize I was signed in to my work gmail.)

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