I’m sitting here (Sunday night) waiting for the laundry to finish so I can put the girlchild’s soccer stuff in the dryer for tomorrow morning. I’m actually kind of wide awake…must have been that 26-minute nap I took this afternoon when I realized I couldn’t keep my eyes open. That’s the problem with hike days…they do kick my ass and I get very little else done, which is why I can’t do them every weekend. I can’t lose a day every weekend.
This is a 3-day weekend, though, so I still have tomorrow (Monday, yes I started this on Sunday night) to play catch up. I had a rough day yesterday. I actually cried on the hike…usually I don’t, but strangely, being in a group that large was isolating for someone like me. I’m not an extrovert at all. I need space, both mental and physical. I felt like some alien creature. It was so loud and raucous and overwhelming…I had to strike out on my own and physically super-challenge my body so my mind wouldn’t freak out. I have an event coming up with a lot more people than that…and I’m worried about my ability to deal. It’s strange…I spend all day with tons of people, but I don’t feel so out of place with my students…they are safe. I can handle interactions with them. Interactions with large groups of strangers? Fuck that. I’d rather stay home. I will be that crazy cat lady who never leaves the house if I’m not careful. The hike was redeemed slightly by the last 30 minutes spent talking to one other person. I can handle interactions like that, but you have to have something in common or at least something you can talk about.
It was a relief to come home after the hike and space out for hours, grade some papers, hang with my kids, cut out some Wonder Under. I appreciate the physical exertion and being out in nature, but hanging out in groups isn’t making me happy. Then again, nothing much is making me happy.
So in the middle of this post, the rant came through and became its own post, and then I went to the gym to try to leave some of my irritation and anger there instead of carrying it around. I’m debating calling the doctor (hemorrhage!), I need to find eye doctor paperwork for the kids, I haven’t prepped for tomorrow, I need to go to school to check for lab supplies, but I can’t get out of my driveway, because they are in fact digging holes in my front yard so my toilets might work properly someday. I’m wondering if I will ever stop grinding my teeth, if my eyelid will ever stop twitching, if I will ever sleep properly again.
The part I was having issues with was people making assumptions about other people based on how they behave or look or are labeled. I’m constantly amazed by how different people are than what they project…my leach-field guy looks like a redneck, talks like a redneck, and then starts talking to me about the Lord of the Rings trilogy and how many times he’s read it and whether Smaug is the coolest dragon around or what. The guy is 64 and you’d never think to look at him that he could have slogged through that series (god knows I haven’t been able to after multiple tries). You cannot make assumptions about people. You have to talk to them and listen to them and turn on the part of your brain that pays attention to someone besides your arrogant self, and only then can you make any decisions about people, and you still have to leave open the possibility that you are completely wrong. Maybe I know that from teaching middle school for so many years. Maybe I’m just that kind of tolerant person. I don’t know. I just know that it’s not OK to hurt other people. And sometimes people think your emotions are hurting them, but it is really their response to your emotions that’s the issue. I had the girlchild full on screaming at me this morning and I realized that she was having the same issue…her emotional reaction to what I had said was hers and hers alone. I was not the cause of the screaming. She was. Granted she’s a teenager and doesn’t modulate her responses well…she’s not Asperger’s, but teens often have this idea that they are the only people on the planet (shocking!) and it can manifest in similar ways. “My way is the only way.” Boychild and I often have discussions about her inability to realize there are other people in the world who might not have the same priorities as she does. In this case, I let her stomp off and slam a door, and then she came back and it was eventually all OK. I wonder what it will be like when they are both gone and I no longer have to tiptoe around those kinds of emotional outbursts. I wonder if her roommates will survive! I wonder if having the girlchild as his sister has helped the boychild navigate emotions any better…god knows they are full on in his face on a regular basis. His sister screams. His mom cries.
Wondering about my own sanity. Wondering after reading someone else’s blog if there is actually always a way out of depression, or if it just becomes something you live with for the rest of your life. After this weekend, I don’t see a way out, I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t feel like it will ever change. It does not help that my hormones are going ballistic. I could really live without that additional mess in my head…hence the thought to call the doctor…more because of the physical symptoms than the mental…the physical symptoms set off all the alarms on the stupid online symptom checkers. But I already know what they will say, what they will want to do. They’ll use the words ‘abnormal’ and ‘dysfunctional’…ironic because those can apply to my physical symptoms and my mental symptoms. OK, not fully dysfunctional, because I do manage to function fairly normally…I’m just patently aware of how nonfunctional my functioning is.
Anyway. I find the solution to all this angst, short-term as it might be, is that silly thing called art. My brain wandered about a bit, trying to figure out what it felt like doing, until that urge to draw came a banging at the brain door…so I pulled this one out from before, in December sometime (was it really that long ago?)…
I had copied it and taped it to another page, so I found that and started drawing downwards…
Shades of the Celebrating Silver quilt…I still need to put yet another page on the bottom…
because she needs more room. She wants the rest of her body. She told me. She demanded it. I listened. And I need to figure out what else is happening here…maybe more of those crazy birds. Who knows. Draw, Kathy. It gives you some peace. Draw the assholes out. Draw the arrogant jerks out. Draw the emotional reactions and put them on paper. Make someone see what’s in your head. Make someone feel what’s in your head. Make.
I made it to my quilt guild tonight, for the first time in 12 months, I think. Mary Pal was speaking and she and I had seen each other Saturday night at the Coast to Coast opening. I think we might be sisters from another mother…we are in the same shows, feeling some of the same artistic angst. I hope for her sake that she is not feeling the rest of my angst. It was nice to hear her talk, to feel her deep hug again, to feel a connection to a fellow artist who plumbs the depths of her artistic self to make work in the middle of the night, by the skin of her teeth, in the early morning light. To feel a connection that deep to someone you barely know…simply because of the place you go when you work.
Art can be amazing that way.