Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Breaking The Surface---Part One

I've been sitting here for the last fifteen minutes going back and forth on the title for this post. It started out as "Surviving" then changed to "Breaking The Surface". I fear it may be too early to declare that I've broken the surface of this thing, but I think I'm doing a little better than surviving. So let's call it "Breaking The Surface---Part One".

How am I doing? Well, I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass and tell you I'm fine. And yes...I did just say "ass". I swear. Frequently. It's one of the many millions of facets to Mel. As with the rest of them, love me or not...just don't bust my chops over it. So, I'm not fine...this isn't's not just going to go away...but I am learning to deal with it.

I thank everyone who has offered prayers, support, encouragement, and suggestions on how to "c'mon get happy". many of you now have the theme from The Partridge Family stuck in your head? Evil. Just one of the services I offer...just one of the things that I find makes me smile.

While everyone's support is much appreciated let me just share with you the sentiments that have helped me the most. Again, these won't work for everyone, but for me they were priceless.

The day after I wrote the "Becoming" post I received an email from someone who means a lot to me. It said, "You know what? YOU CAN DO THIS." This person is the strongest human I know. Ok...I can do this. A friend from high school reminded me that this situation isn't like the common cold. It's not going to be done and over with in 7-10 days. A friend from college sent me a card. The front said something like "The things people say to make you feel better: 1. This too shall pass. 2. Things could always get worse. 3. Smile!" The inside listed the responses that you feel like giving, "1. Shut up 2. Shut up 3. Shut up" That made me laugh out loud.

Something else that doesn't ring true with me? "Each day will get easier." it won't. When I first started crawling out of this pit I would have one or two days where I could barely function. Then I would have an "up" day. That doesn't mean I was giggling and frolicking about and tossing flower petals in the air. What it was, was a day I could BREATHE, relax...perhaps a period of stasis describes it better. I would look forward to the next day and it getting "easier". Wrong...back down into the pit. It felt like one step forward and at least 47 back.

Figuring...what the can't get any worse...I threw caution to the wind and scheduled a road trip. All right...pick yourselves up off the floor. Yes, it's been ages since I've been the driver on a road trip...and I've never taken one by myself. But let me tell you, it was something that absolutely appealed to me at that moment. I got a sitter for August 17th, informed the family I was taking off for that day, and that was that. The closer the date came the more "up" my mood became. I got everything ready for the sitter, cleaned out the Jeep, printed out maps, made a list of what I'd like to look for, chose what CD's I was going to take. Hey, that in and of itself? Getting to listen to my own music in the car? That was enough to make me positively giddy!

So...the morning of the 17th arrives, the sitter is here, the car is packed and! Flying down the highway at speeds we won't discuss...that I haven't hit in a verrrry long two Steves blasting from my stereo...the sun car seats in the back seat...I felt positively SCANDALOUS for close to two hours. Not only scandalous...but one might say blissful. I reached my destination, jumped out of the Jeep...and the minute I got inside felt the very distinct rumblings of a panic attack. HOARDS of negative feelings..."you're too old for this"..."you should be at home with your kids"..."who are you fooling"..."you're in a strange city"..."you don't know anyone here"..."go home!" Yeah...they were all swirling around in my head. I got them under control as best as I could...walked around for about an hour like I was in a daze. Went into a couple of stores...wasn't really feelin' it. I passed a place that did henna tattoos...hmmm...I was interested.

I forced myself to go into another store and was down on my hands and knees looking at a bunch of thumb rings (I have a MAJOR weakness for those) when my phone rang. Thinking there was something wrong with the girls I clawed my phone out of my front pocket and made a break for the exit. God is good y'all. On the other end of that phone was a voice that never fails to calm me down from my ledges. Thank you my friend...I owe you YET another one. Not only did that sweet, strong voice talk me down from my freak-out ledge, it also told me, "Go into a store and BUY something!" So I did. I went into Buckle, a store I had walked past twice before when the voices were telling me I was too old to go in there...and I bought a hoodie...for $80. I know...I'm still in shock too. So I guess I won't tell you that I went back to the same store later and bought a shirt and two pairs of earrings. After that? I went to the henna tattoo place and got the little ditty on my hand that you can see in the picture at the top. Did a little more shopping...had some chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory that was to DIE for...back to shopping...and an idea hit. This was a pretty major event in my life. I needed something special to commemorate it. I headed to Things Remembered and chose a bracelet...again...see the picture. One side of the heart has "Mel" engraved on it. The other side has a favorite song lyric. That lyric can mean how I have been living...a negative connotation...but it can also mean how I am now trying my damndest to live...a positive connotation. The girl who did the engraving wanted me to explain it to her. She thought it was the perfect sentiment...congratulated me on getting out and doing something just for me. She also told me that as long as I spent $80 on a hoodie for myself, it was ok! After that? Another two hours in the car with my two Steves and home in time for my walk. Thoughts of that special day still make me smile!

My bracelet? It's rarely off. I'm going to have to take it to a jeweler and have it put on a sturdier base...the leather cord and clasps are already falling apart. It has become my talisman. I am constantly looking at it...touching the heart...reminding myself what is to come. I plan on adding a new lyric bracelet for each new major challenge I meet and overcome.

So all was well after that? Oh you silly, silly people! I wish. But no. Remember...I still had to send Hope off to school. We'll save that for Part Two.

While I was shopping I came upon a huge play area filled to capacity with screaming children and their mothers of all ages and races. I stood there looking at them for the longest time...and sadly saw myself reflecting back at me. Every...single...woman...was simply staring off into space...beaten...the same God-awful look of emptiness, despair, and utter exhaustion. It was beyond surreal. These feelings my friends...they are epidemic proportions.

If I had a dollar for everyone who has told me in the last six months that "all I want to do is get in the car and leave...and never come back"...well...I'd have a huge smile on my face and I'd never have to worry about money again. I've been there friends. I've BEEN in the car...with $80 in my wallet...and an hour from home...with absolutely no intention of ever coming back. No plans, brain on autopilot, just gonna drive until the car is out of gas because THAT'S how down and out and empty I was. There's probably a couple of you reading this that can give me the exact date of that trip too. Yes...I turned around. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I have too much common sense to just run away without having everything planned out down to the minutest of details.

I'm here...I'm surviving...I CAN DO THIS.

Catch y'all later in Part Two...


jay said...

You're doing good. It's not 'every day gets better' but more 'three steps forward and two back' very often. So long as you're making progress in the right direction you're doing incredibly well. So long as you're not slipping backwards, you're doing OK. If you slip back, it's not irredeemable. Life is fluid.

I love the story of the road trip and the hoodie, the henna tattoo - and the jewellery too! Good for you!

Carolina said...

Hehe Mel! That bracelet is soooo cool! And so are those rings. Fear not! Oh, and the henna-tattoo is wonderful too. But I really love your bracelet. Good for you for taking 'a day off'.

Every year I lose my voice. Really lose it. No sound whatsoever! For about 6 weeks. Sometimes twice a year. Very frustrating but there are worse things. Been to the doctor several times, to specialists, blablabla. Since there isn't a physical problem they can find, it must be psychological. Uhuh. 'You have to take some steps back and live your life more relaxed', one specialist professor said. I tell you, if I'd be more relaxed I'd be dead. Still, my voice is gone again ;-) I've lost the clue why I'm telling you this... oh yeah, the amount of advice I get from people, total strangers sometimes, all very well-meant, but I so want to scream sometimes (if only I could) SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP. Hehe. You know what I mean.
Lots of love.

Mel said...

Jay---I should've known *you* would get get *everything*. Thanks my friend...I'm getting there!

Carolina---I've worn the Fear Not ring for YEARS...same with Mickey Mouse...that's actually my second one. And well...the thumb ring is relatively may have heard I'm addicted to them. My bracelet, yes I do LOVE it. I know *you* get it too. And I thank you for ALL of your comments...I'm so blessed to have someone like you who can "hear" Mel through my written words. Love you too!

And girls? Just wait until you see what I did three days ago...keep your eyes open for THAT post...

Carolina said...

What did you do three days ago? Was it even wilder than buying that hoody? Gosh Mel, you really live life on the edge ;-) Please take care of yourself though. We all love you. You know that. And I do think you are gorgeous! I'd love to look so good on a picture *sigh*

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