I left the house yesterday evening, sat in my car on the front passenger seat with my door open in the back driveway, and listened to the heavy post-rainstorm drops clap down through the trees to make their final splash on the rocky ground. Those giant three-pronged sassafras leaves happily sproinged up and down with each plop-plop-plop of exhausted expended cloud remnants. Drip, drip drop little April (June-y) showers…
My usual evening grief was trying very hard to become a full blown panic attack. I did not intend to sit in the car and listen to the results of the storm. I didn’t intend to sit in the car at all. I left the house to leave the house before I screamed. I did not want to frighten SonHerisme or make any attempt to engage in explanatory conversation with MotherHerisme. I just wanted out of the house quickly. I could feel the squirming firey swirls of panic burbling around in my stomach and radiating down through to my knees. It’s like my nerves are on itchy fire and screaming at me to just do something, anything, just go, go, go… total flight response. I’m not the only one, right?
I thought about walking and phoning someone. I walked up and down the steepest bit of the driveway hill a few times before I decided to sit in the dry car for a bit while I contemplated who to phone. As I listened to the water falling and birds settling into post-storm nighttime routines, I decided not to phone anyone. I decided to just be and see how long I could be there without screaming, running away, driving away, or phoning anyone. I did send one text at some point, reading, “I need an entirely different life.” I deliberately sent it to someone I knew wouldn’t receive the text until the following morning as they would be well into children’s bedtime routines. Just in case something happened, I wanted to reach out. I don’t know what I thought would happen.
Since early 2014 I have been expecting a complete breakdown. It hasn’t happened, not even close (I don’t believe), but the expectation has been there. And not just from me – family, friends, therapists, my primary care doctor were all on high alert for some time, watching, assessing and speculating about when I would finally break. At some point I suppose I passed an invisible threshold where this became unlikely. I suspect due in part that I have also passed some other threshold in my brain where I am absolutely broken without hope of mending, but have accepted that to be whatever it will be.
No breakdown. No walk. No phone call. No screaming. Just sitting in the front passenger seat of my car as if I’ve arrived home (having been driven by someone else I suppose) or am about to head out somewhere, listening to the late evening post storm noises of the woods.
It occurred to me that I have been driving to and from this house for 15 years. This is by far the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I have been getting in and out of this car in this driveway for almost 13 years. WHAT the WHAT WHAT I know the rocks I am looking at because we have been looking at each other for a very long time now. I know where invasive plants are finally giving up and over to the native plants. I know where trees were that aren’t anymore and where there were none now there are some. I have witnessed how the hill changes throughout the seasons and where the chipmunks go to nest. I know that turtles, snakes, skunks, and groundhogs swap out residence underneath the shed by the back fence. The other night, I spotted a new small Mr. Jeremy Fisher who will soon be big and fat, over behind the rose bushes.
I thought about what changes might happen over this next year with the woods. I thought about how I will be completely different in another year on some cellular levels. My liver will have completely turned over all of its cells by this time next year. And on a total body cellular level, I am in all ways not the same person from 7 years ago. There is nothing physically about me that is the same – every single cell in my body is different. Only ideas, thoughts, memories have carried over – nothing tangible about my cellular physical me-ness.
I am different, regardless of my will to be different or to stay the same. I am not the same.
“I understand that nobody understands me, but I can’t be someone I’m not.” – Audrey Tautou
Maybe this is my heartbreak. I cannot be someone I am not, but I keep thinking I should try to be. “I need an entirely different life,” is what I wrote to my friend, not remembering I already am an entirely different life. Why am I trying so hard to be or to do something different when I am going to be different no matter what? Instead of spending my energies trying so hard to be different than, why not stop fighting, shaming and blaming myself, and just be and see what happens? Time is going to pass anyway. I am going to be someone completely different again in another 7 years no matter what.
Have you read The Midnight Library yet? I read this from the book today, “To be part of nature is to be part of the will to live.” Oftentimes, just about everyday at some point, I do seek solace outside. I try to eat outside at least once a day (unless the weather is too awful), even in 90F heat, rain, snow, etc unless extreme. I love walking outside. The trampoline is ridiculously bougie but fun. My healing body is so happy to be able to move around outside and walk to the creek or lake. I go outside because I need to not hear inside noises and I need to breathe. For 5 months in 2014 I couldn’t open any of my windows in the house or sit outside because of fear. I remember when I knew we finally had some safety secured, I went around the house to open all of the windows, and just breathed. I wonder if I need to be doing the outside things more. Outside in nature or water play were always my go-to’s when troubled emotions became too much for SonHerisme or NiecesHerisme, and they worked every time. hmmmmm
I don’t know what is going to happen next, except that I am very glad to know that I am cellularly not the same person from 7 years ago. I am also glad to know that my liver will be entirely different on this day next year. And I am most grateful that none of this change requires any effort on my part – it just gets to be.
I hope that you enjoy the new you.
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo
ps MotherHerisme tears brought to you today by no one (myself or SonHerisme) bringing milk to the table for her on her timeline (SonHerisme was in virtual school meets in the back of the house, and I was not at home). The refrigerator is maybe 20 feet from her dining room table seat… She texted me while I was driving to ask if I could bring her some milk as soon as possible. She is struggling y’all and refuses any outside or water time. Although she was later convinced to shower before the home health nurse arrived for her final visit. Bandage changes and health monitoring for MotherHerisme falls back to me again. It will be fine – just another regroup/reset for my own expectations, which I am skilled at. She is currently loudly cursing (damnit, shit, g-d damnit etc) at her iPad. Yup – just fine here.
If you were hoping to hear something about the movie Seven Year Itch, released in June 1955, then I will say something about that now. The guy is a creepy creeper. Marilyn Monroe is beautiful, funny, and underrated as a complex interesting person. I used to have a Marilyn Monroe CD. I have enjoyed martini’s and also have put clothes in the freezer.
I hope that you go outside today, if you’re able. If it isn’t safe for you to be outside today, know I am looking at everything twice in order to send outside vibes (with productive cicada sounds) to you too!