Our Christmas tree will stay up for a little while longer, not because we keep it lit through any day in particular, but because I am refusing to pack everything away just yet. I say it's because lugging storage boxes to and from the attic is awkward and trying, but really it's because I find myself absolutely dependent upon tiny multicolored lights glowing against haphazardly placed shatterproof ornaments.
After everyone else leaves the dinner table, my sister and I stay to finish our drinks. Our conversation, as usual, revolves around homesickness and the conflict of living excessively good lives so far away from home. It is just after six but it has already been dark for what seemed like hours. I mention having to remind myself that Seattle is much farther north than it appears on a map of the US.
I'm having a tough time lately. And by lately, I mean always. I can't remember a time that wasn't tough. That I didn't struggle.
I do well sometimes. So well that even I don't believe that I'm on a tightrope of depression and anxiety. I feel like I'm walking that line so perfectly, so capably, that I am keeping my thoughts of doom and wrongness away. But after awhile, in they seep and I realize they've always been there. I've just been good at ignoring them. Ignoring the tightrope. The trepidation.
The kids were on Spring break last week and we did all sorts of really great, really exhausting things. We took in the zoo, multiple beaches, parks, and a whole lot of just horsing around on our backyard trampoline.
It felt great. I felt great. It was, all of it, amazing.
On Sunday I told you about the post I was writing for Stigma Fighters and how important it was to me. Well I actually followed through on something (yay me!) and am proud to tell you that my piece, On Choosing Life, went live yesterday. It was a difficult, empowering confession to write, and I am very proud of myself for having submitted it.
I have this recurring pain in my right leg. Electric jolts of nerve pain shoot back and forth between my lower back and the arch of my foot and my knees will buckle beneath me. It's really, really, awful.
For a long time I thought the pain might be the symptom of a tumor. I tried really hard not to breathe life into that fear, but still it burrowed deep in my brain. When I found a lump in the back of my leg, I freaked the hell out until Ian finally made me an appointment to get it checked out. I was both terrified and hopeful that my doctor would find something. Terrified because, OMG tumor. Please, please, don't let it be a tumor. Hopeful because please, please, let there be some reason for all of this pain.
Oh man, I wish it was just sadness.
I mean, there is sadness, but it's not just sadness. It is ache, but it's not just ache. It is restlessness and anxiousness and lack of appetite and fatigue and pain. Everywhere, everything, pain.
It just hurts right now, to be awake. It feels like sickness. Like influenza, only not.
I have no fever, no cough, no running nose. No mucous to expel as a sign of my sickness. No proof of what's going on inside of me.
Last week I sat down to do tell you about my second week doing NaBloPoMo. Moments after the piece was published, my blog went offline.
"Is the internet down?" I asked. Ian went downstairs to check on geeky Ian things and trudged back up the stairs a few moments later.
"Well," he said. "We're under attack."
I write another post about the complicated jumble inside my head and I pause. Do I really want to blog about all of this garbage?
Well, no. I absolutely do not.
I don't want to admit all of the stuff that I admit here. But it's more than that, of course. I don't want to have these thoughts, these feelings, to admit to.
We brought in the groceries, filled the refrigerator and the cupboards, and put the empty tote bags away. I tucked foil lasagna pans onto a shelf and hung my new 16 quart stock pot on the rack. And then, for a moment, I just marveled.
This was SRS BSNS, and it was all mine.
My job as a housewife is to make sure that my family is managed on a day to day basis. I cook, mostly. That's my primary superpower. I am okay at laundry. I am horrible at scrubbing. My bathroom is a failure of sanitation.
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