Sunday, February 26, 2012

some things change you forever

That was my reply to a comment on one of my last posts. Which?

It's been a while. You probably thought I was gone from this blog forever.

No. Just positively overwhelmed by life in these last few months. I've been trying to swim in the great tidal wave of life folks. Probably just like you but, funny, I manage to always convince myself that my problems are more complex, my feelings wider and deeper and more fragile, and this my friends is exactly how we get into too deep waters alone without a lifeline.

The sixish month old kitten I adopted is sitting quietly blinking at me with her night-time black eyes by the firelight. I can't tell if she's grieving over her lost sister who we buried just yesterday. I am. Grieving particularly hard that I couldn't stop her illness, couldn't find the right alchemy of love and medicine and herbs and such, had to watch her die rapidly, helplessly and hopelessly holding her tiny head to feed her useless concoctions written by our last-hope-vet. Grieving (absurdly, I know, I get this) that I failed her.

And perhaps my mind uses this grief a little too much because at least it's grief I can handle, instead of letting sink in all the way to my marrow just how messy Kyd's life is, how I have so little control over that, how I failed him too (yes, again, absurdly brow-beating myself -- it's what we mothers do). Though it is in my marrow. I never escape that swirl of guilt, sadness, hope, frustration, anger, and love. I am driven to an awful distraction.

The fire is waning and I'm mostly here to purge. I have work left undone that must be done by morning and instead of doing it I have slipped into that familiar paralysis that accompanies self-pity. This is a predictable formula. Self-pity = paralysis + procrastination = more self-pity. I don't need to check the math on this one. 

I got an email a couple days ago from a Buddhist list-serv asking for tonglen practice for this woman's sister-in-law who in the last year was foreclosed on, ended her 15 year marriage, witnessed a drug/alcohol induced suicide off her own balcony, and then just recently was beaten to within inches of her life by two robbers who stole away with a measly $150. She will need facial reconstruction surgery and may lose her sight, at least in one eye.

And it knocked me into perspective for a moment. My god the suffering life can heave upon one person's shoulders in such a short amount of time. It hardly seems accidental, does it? 

My own life rushed back in, as our lives are wont to do, in short order. The sick kitten who needed tending, the grief and rage over her life being stolen no matter how fiercely we wanted her to live. Kyd shifting from helpful and pleasant to raging and toxic without warning, without clues. And the packing up house to move, something that is supposed to be joyful. We, or rather Roi, bought a new house and it's beautiful.

I have so many feelings about this house, about moving, that I can hardly keep up with them. Instead, I become mute, fold in on myself, find comfort in the physical activity of packing boxes, and then lay sleepless on my bed wondering if I will ever feel ok again, or if indeed as my comment suggested I have been changed forever. 


  1. Hi Briar,

    It is always wonderful to "see you," no matter how long its been. I always marvel at your sensitive writing that has its unique "voice" without being contrived. But even more-so, your keen insights into your own psyche. Oh, how I can relate, especially to the self-pity = paralysis... That is something that I too, have struggled greatly with. The "what the hell is wrong with me that I can't get this DONE?" feeling.

    I asked my psychiatrist and obvious question. "Do some people have more shit than others?" and he said "absolutely!" And as you inferred, its on a continuum. There's shit and then there's SHIT!!!!!!! And we can always find someone who's far, far worse off than we are, which actually, for me, doesn't help my feelings of "what the hell's the matter with me?"

    My therapist gave me a wise and simple response. I don't want to say the hackneyed "baby steps." And YES, sometimes, even those small steps seem impossible. However, her point was well-made not to become overwhelmed by the enormity of our problems. Take it in small increments. (is that better?)

    Sometimes, and maybe I've said this before, is just to change one thing. (I know, sometimes even THAT is impossible) Or make one small goal. The other thing I do, and I don't know if its helpful or not... is I see WHERE it is that I want to be, no matter how far-fetched. And its a vision of this apartment which only exists in my mind (or maybe Paris---LOL) high ceilings, gorgeous huge French doors, transoms, mouldings, cognac colored floors, a fireplace... Oh, it exists. Its just a little bit outta my price range? A girl can dream, can't she?

    Hang onto your dreams Briar and mozel tov about the gorgeous home! Even if you don't own it, make it your own. I'm envious. :) xo ~ L

  2. Lexie, nice to hear from you. I'll have to catch up on how things are with you.

    I wish my dreams involved only a beautiful home, but I still feel as though my life dried up and atrophied starting in 2008 and I haven't figured out how to breathe the life back into myself.

  3. Briar, it's good to see you on here and hear from you again. I've been thinking about you quite a bit the last few days. I was looking back on my own blog and saw you were my first follower and offered words of encouragement when I felt so very alone.

    I'm sorry that things are still in turmoil for you. Especially with Kyd. We as mothers do take our children's joys and faults as our very own. It's engrained in us in our DNA.

    I hope that you find happiness in your new home and within yourself. Please always remember your blogger family is here for you and we understand. We've been there too.



  4. Holy moly. That is a serious shot of perspective indeed. I'm so sorry for your loss—catfriends are the dearest friends—and it is so hard to feel there is more you could have/should have done. You are an amazing catmom, though, and your kitty was so deeply loved. Please don't beat yourself up for the self-pity/paralysis/procrastination? SInce the beat-up isn't the way to break out of the cycle.

    And above all congratulations on your new house. May it bring you all peace, stability, joy, and real HOME.

  5. L, I'm glad I found you in those early days. I remember how utterly, utterly alone I felt at the beginning. I should have started blogging then, but I waited several years before starting this blog.

    JSA - so easy to tell myself I shouldn't beat up on me, but the mind has it's own will and does it anyway. It gets exhausting beating up on my mind for beating up on me, ha!