I posted yet another picture today of my feet on a soccer field…where they often reside. I was grading papers. It’s girlchild’s last tournament before her back surgery, so some thoughts were going through my head. I noticed an old friend had commented on my Instagram account that I should hashtag my feet photos as #kathynidasfeet, since I keep taking these photos…and I was curious if I really HAD taken all that many Instagram photos of my feet…so I went searching through my account…which was a path into the rabbit hole of grief.
It seems that I will never escape this mess, as photos are everywhere that remind me of things that make me inexorably sad, so sad I fall deeper into a hole. I feel like I’ve got a grip on the edge of it at the moment, scrabbling at the muddy and slippery edge, ripping off fingernails as I try to hold on, gripping the sides of the wall with my knees, trying not to fall back down, to roll back into the gunk that fills the bottom edges of my brain. I hear the grief, like black dogs, vicious ones, Dobermans, not kind black labs…scratching at the sides of the hole, leaping up so close to clamp their jaws on the air by my calves that I can feel the rush of hot dog breath on my legs, smell their rotten dog food air. I’m trying to get out. I am.
So seeing photos of a former life, dead dogs, people who might as well be dead, a whole dead life that no longer exists and never will, a life I never asked to be removed from, never expected to lose…it’s difficult. It pushes me down, holds a pillow over my face, tries to suffocate me.
I can’t say that I’m all that successful at fighting it. My counselor says that I have a life. That I have a hold on things. That I have it under control. That I can control my stress reactions. And sometimes I can. Sometimes I take a deep meditative breath and I move on, I push the bad away, I breathe through the scary and come out the other side calm, ready, poised. Well, as poised as I ever am. Yeah. That’s not so much poised as Girl Scout readiness for disaster.
But it still doesn’t feel OK. Very little does. Last night, for an hour, a conversation with the boychild about poetry and literature, authors and types of poems (I have been categorized by my preferences, and I’m OK with that). At the end, he borrows a huge pile of my poetry books, including one volume of lesbian poetry that gets me a funny look. Then again, he’s used to my feminist rants, and this doesn’t fall far from that. I’ve told him that being a woman is different from being a man. We even talk about his childhood, what he remembers. I’m tired, lying on the couch in the dark post-exercise, deciding about sleep. I’ve been tired all week. I have stuff I need to do. Stuff I want to do. But this is more important. He will remember this feeling, if not this particular conversation. It will be part of what he remembers about his mom…much better than remembering her crying for the last 8 months. That can’t be a good memory. Will he describe me as the artist? The crazy sarcastic creature who draws all night? Or as a depressoid? I’m hoping that is just one short chapter (it doesn’t feel short at the moment) of a longer, fuller life. I don’t know. It probably doesn’t matter…but as we get to the end of his being the kid at home, with college notifications happening in just two short weeks…I spend a lot of time wondering what my life will be like without these two around all the time. It was so hard when I divorced to lose them at all…it was the worst part of the divorce. I had been their primary caregiver every day for a very long time, and all of a sudden, they would go off with their dad and have a life without me and I would be alone. There’s a lot of that now. There will be more in my future.
A lot of this angst is trying to look into my own future and feel hope or excitement or a chance at happy. I can’t get there. I can deal with one day, sometimes a week. That’s it. Hiking really is only a delaying tactic, a way to psych my brain out from looking at the future. I can’t think about all that crap on a hike…I can just think about the step ahead of me. It’s an immense escape. I guess it’s a healthy one, but who knows.
I keep getting lost in the rabbit hole. I keep getting stuck in some room. I draw those rabbit holes, you know. They’re in my quilts. I just realized it. Are they hiding places? Or are they traps of some sort? Are they somewhere to go when you can’t handle anything? Somewhere to hide what you want no one to find? Or do I fall into them and find myself unable to back my ass out?
I was in Temecula all day at the girlchild’s tournament. I have photos, but don’t feel like dealing with them now. Then I came home and got ready for tomorrow’s hike, and went to FedEx to copy that 3-page drawing…I seem to spend many a Saturday night with the other losers in FedEx copying stuff. Tonight it was an older couple copying receipts…he was wearing suspenders and glaring at me (and my naked drawings) from under thick gray caterpillars of eyebrows.
I came home and exercised and meditated (cried through the whole damn thing)…and then started to tape the thing together…
There are two pages that just aren’t fitting together right…I think it’s because I didn’t push the sketchbook down hard on the copier. That seems to help everything line up better. So I’m probably going to have to go back and copy those two pages, or at least one of them.
I got about 2/3 of it put together before I realized I was tired and I have to get up early for a hike tomorrow.
I’ll finish the rest later. It’s not crucial. Nothing is. It’s going to be about 35″ wide x 80″ high. I enlarged it only 200% because otherwise it would be really massive. It’s already big. And complicated.
I have almost dropped out of tomorrow’s hike about 10 times. I’m worried about my blood sugar, so I decided to be much better about packing a variety of food, including sugar, just in case. I had another low blood sugar incident today. I’m trying to figure out what’s causing them so I can prevent them. I didn’t have an issue last weekend on the hike, so I will think positively about tomorrow. Plus it’s a hike I really want to experience…mostly for the location.
As for that damn rabbit hole…there weren’t a lot of foot pictures on Instagram, so I guess now I know she reads my blog probably…that’s where all the foot pictures are. It’s silly that my trying to assess the number of foot pictures caused me to fall backwards, to slip downwards. What a stupid trigger. In reality, I was already slipping, been slipping all week. I’ve been quiet on here, inwardly processing some level of worry and panic about balancing school and the girlchild’s surgery and subsequent needs. Being the mom means you have to hold it together and I seem to suck at that lately. Or do I? I don’t even know. I do often feel like it would just take one more thing, one more task that needed completion, one more responsibility loaded onto my shoulders, and it would all come tumbling down.
Except that’s just life. Life says, “Do this.” “Deal with that.” And you do. And then you move on. I’m trying to really adopt that attitude. Counselor says I have to. To survive. The blood sugar thing? It’s not the universe trying to take me down. It’s just a combination of medications being off and probably menopause creeping in and doing its thing. I can do my left-brain control thing and collect data and control it the best I can with that information, and prepare for its vagaries when it’s uncontrollable. Trying to plan for school over the next few weeks with the surgery and not knowing when I’ll be back at school and with testing starting? Fuck it. Does it really matter? I can wing it this week. I will deal with next week when I have to. The world will not end if we don’t finish DNA before Spring Break. Seriously. It doesn’t all have to make sense. I can give them a packet and it won’t even matter.
So yeah. I’m trying. I’m trying to let things go. I’m trying to let the crying happen when it needs to, because obviously it needs to. I’m trying to put the art front and center and not worry about the rejections, because they don’t really matter. I’m trying to stay out of that damn hole.