My last post was a heavy one. It was full of emotion and anger, just like I was at the time. It was a declaration, but only to myself, written as my own sort of therapy without any agenda in mind or expectation of response or pity. It was made public so I had no excuse but to own what I was writing, not putting it in some sort of private journal or Word document. It felt weird. It felt GREAT.
Now, to the many people who reached out to me, either through comments, private Facebook messages, or emails, I want to say “Thank you.” I was blown away by your replies, because I definitely didn’t expect to receive any. The kind words, encouragement, and optimism shown by everyone who wrote me (you know who you are!) mean a lot, so I want to let you know that I really really appreciate you. I was shocked at how many people felt safe enough to share their own similar experiences with me, and it made me feel less alone with these feelings. The book recommendations, offers to get together and talk, and just the fact that you took the time to send me a word will go a long way.
So thank you. Thank you very very much.
Now, apparently I have taken up writing some sort of poetry so enjoy:
There was a moment, while we were standing on the beach next to the water, with the pouring rain and the blowing sand, when I turned to face the blasting wind and all it brought forth. I stood there, receiving it all on my face, dripping down my cheeks and chin onto my chest, feet sinking into the accepting sand. There was a moment when I flew, arms stretched out above the cloud-like sand, and felt like I owned myself. I had power. I had strength. I had the will to do it all on my own. That was when I turned and saw you facing away from me and the wind, away from all that I received into my being. It was all for me. This was my moment. I smiled and turned back around, toward it all, to see what has happened and face what has not yet come to pass. I’m still smiling.
Ok, now that I’ve got you laughing, it’s time to get serious. Very recently I’ve had to face the worst kind of betrayal a married woman may encounter. I’m not talking about “someone ate the rest of my Nutella and put the empty container back in the cupboard like nothing happened” betrayal, but one that genuinely, absolutely, incapacitates you. The kind that makes you feel like you just lost half of your soul. The ache it leaves behind is staggering.
I have a lot of support from friends and family and it is overwhelming wonderful, especially when it seems like the last week of my life could be made into a Lifetime movie, but when you’re away from the voices that reassure and comfort and offer help, you are still left alone with that remaining half of your soul, the bitter and betrayed half; it’s the worst kind of company.
That half of your soul wants to obsess about what could have been done to prevent this betrayal. It seethes and smolders and pushes right on your forehead as it consumes your thoughts hour after hour. You develop a form of insomnia as you toss and turn at night, running through the whole experience in your head, rationalizing and justifying events like you can go back in time and change what happened. The fact that there was, and is, nothing you can do just makes it worse.
I am angry. It took a while to let myself feel that way, but I am absolutely furious. I was wronged, disrespected, and deliberately deceived. I feel like society doesn’t let women be angry. We’re supposed to be good and kind heavenly creatures that are only allowed to be “frustrated” and “sad” but never completely and entirely enraged. Just the ability to say out loud “I am angry” without some sort of guilt attached is extremely difficult.
I am broken. It’s like a violent raging party just took place in my chest and I’m left to clean up the broken Red Solo cups and vomit – all by myself. I was the type of person who always looked for the good in people and accepted it as truth, wanting to trust what they said at face value. It will take a long time for me to mend the pieces of that part of myself so it can function again. It’s like a broken plate you glue back together with hope – it may look as good as new, but when you hold it up to the light you notice all the seams from the original broken shards; sharp edges visible, scarred.
I am traumatized. It seems silly to type that, because it’s not like I was just diagnosed with cancer, or assaulted, or survived a horrific car accident, but it’s the only way to describe the shock I’ve felt this past week. I feel like a whole part of my life was a lie, like it never existed, or was just covered up by another reality. I turned around and unveiled a rotting, stinking body of lies that has been slinking through my being, stalking me disguised as something familiar and good. Once this was uncovered I felt like I was unable to comprehend or cope with what was there. The shock of facing those lies was a trauma in itself and the more I uncovered, the more repugnant it became. It feels like I’m being repeatedly kicked in the stomach.
I am bitter. Ooooooh, am I teeth-clenchingly bitter. My mind is constantly full of snide comments, violent accusations, sarcastic jabs, and vindictive declarations. It is all I can do to keep them that way: inside my head. I want to take the high road, be the better person, but it is so damn hard. My mind is a 2 liter of root beer that’s just taken a rocky trip down the Grand Canyon; I may blow at any time.
I am betrayed. You may be able to guess the details, what may have happened to start what will be the ending of my marriage, but the important detail is that I had no control, no say on what occurred. I was completely left in the dark when it came to the real circumstances and the actual mission at hand so I was unjustly left behind to be taken prisoner by self-doubt, anxiety, distrust, and never-ending nausea.
This is not a cry for help or sympathy. If you know me personally, you know this is not something I ever seek from others. This is a statement to myself in order to say that it is okay to feel these emotions. It is healthy. Is it natural. It is good. What really matters is how you act on these feelings and whether or not you let them affect other people. It is an hourly (sometimes a by-minute) struggle, believe me, but I’ll continue until I see a hint of that light at the end of the tunnel. Until then, it’s still pretty freakin’ dark in here.
Wooooo wee! Nothing like hot-boxing yourself in a small room all by your lone self. Don’t worry, I’m just burning some kick-ass incense. I got me my overstuffed yellow chair, most likely manufactured when Nixon was in office, a “mulled cider” candle burning, some peanut butter cups at hand, and hot chai that will probably keep me up all night with multiple two minute peeing sessions (TMI? Don’t care!).
I’m also craving this thing a guy at the Target Starbucks had me sample the other day when I was buying my footie pajamas. I don’t normally take free samples from strangers but he had the Starbucks apron on which was apparently a sign to trust the man.
Ask me for soy milk ONE MORE TIME.
I took a sip and he asked me what I thought it tasted like. I said it was a mix of strawberries and Cheerios? (I stated it like a question.) He said, “We call it Captain Crunch!” (very enthusiastically). And you know what, he was exactly right! Apparently their strawberry and caramel syrups, when combined with other smoothie ingredients, make Captain Crunch flavored deliciousness that doesn’t scrap the skin off the roof of your mouth. My burps tasted (and smelled) like this concoction for the rest of the night. Totally worth it. And now I find myself wanting more! I hope the same guy is working there the next time I go to Target. I do need some more scented candles…
Also, this just happened.
So I’ve been working from home for about two months now. Most importantly, my 25 year old sister recently bought a house! I live in a giant house instead of an apartment now and it’s very very nice. I freakin’ love this house.
I have a view of a freakin’ lake!
The leaves are also changing and Fall (my most favorite of favorites) is here. I freakin’ love Fall! It seems like I can’t stop saying “freakin'” today so I’ll stop before I drive you away. The house is located in West Salem in the beautiful suburbs surrounded by houses full of families, trees that have made themselves at home, and a lot of joggers/people walking their dogs. After three years of living in the middle of Portland it’s a nice change. The only thing that keeps me awake at night is the absolute quiet. I purposely hung a ticking clock above my head in my bedroom to try and solve this problem. We’ll see what happens.
I started this post with something in mind, a list of the things to watch out for when you work from home, but then I got distracted and I need to go to bed because I’m driving to Portland early in the morning. Just for the day, mind you, but I’m getting my cats back! I’ll return next time with a real list, so for now, I’ll leave you with this little nugget of random/awesome because it involves space and robots and Mars: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/curiosity-bright-plastic/. It’s nice to know that smart people, not to mention smart robots, are also distracted by shiny objects.
Bwahahaha. Still can’t resist the puns. This is Part 2 of my Bee Saga, so if you haven’t read the first part GO BACK AND READ IT NOW! It’s been a long journey getting this down, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of these guys:
Yep, got me some footie pajamas.
So you left me, Lauri, and Molly in the woods, in a lot of pain, with no where to go but forward into a two hour hike. We obviously can’t go back through those bees so we decide to hike a bit and see if we can find a way back to the car. Like I mentioned before, every step for me at this point is sheer pain and I am, for lack of better terms, extremely grumpy about being out in the middle of the stupid woods with the stupid bees and stupid weather being all hot and humid. We all have a touch of PTSD at this point and whenever any type of insect buzzes or flies within a five foot radius we FREAK the HELL OUT.
Lauri is in better shape than Molly and me, just with her Popeye arm remember, so when she sees a path leading away to the right she suggests that she look ahead and see where it goes. She appears a few seconds later to say that it looks like some sort of campsite with a gravel road leading out of it. Molly and I shrug and say “Why not?” before we follow her back the way she came.
It is a sign of getting out of this hell hole, but the idea of walking down a road and not knowing if it will just lead us to getting lost or further away from our goal sounds like a really bad and painful idea. Lauri (a.k.a. Xena: Warrior Princess at this point) enthusiastically volunteers to run (yes, my freaking amazing sister is willing to purposely run for our cause) down the road a ways and see where it leads her. I am mostly like “Yeah, whatever, I just want to go home” at this point so she takes off.
Don’t worry, I’ll get us out of this mess.
Molly and I stand around comparing our stings, drinking water and, well, to tell you the truth, I don’t really remember much of what happens during those moments. I look back and it seems like we stood there for about five hours (later I figured it was more like 15-20 minutes), but it eventually gets to the point where Molly and I keep sharing nervous glances and shuffling our feet more than we want to. Lauri has been gone a long time, TOO long.
MY MIND CAN’T HELP BUT GO HERE.
Molly and I start to walk down the ominous gravel road through the ominous woods towards Lauri’s ominous disappearance. We are convinced that she should have been back by now and that something definitely is wrong. We walk and walk and walk, occasionally screaming “Laaaauuuurrrrriiiiiii!” There isn’t an echo and that creeps us the hell out.
And then my mind went here…
That was the longest six hours (okay probably another ten minutes) of my life. We keep yelling Lauri’s name and hearing no answer, twitching at the slightest buzzing sound and slapping at imaginary bugs that are out for our blood. All sorts of scenarios were running through my head, all involving Lauri being macheted and buried alive, or Bigfoot dragging her to his cave for a late lunch. What if there were creeper moonshiners in the area and Lauri accidentally found their stash? If someone showed up with a banjo I was going to pass out. Finally, Lauri magically appears walking toward us! Good grief, are we relieved! She said she found the car. HALLELUJAH.
Everything is going our way. We actually found a way back to the car when we were at most hoping for some major road where we could hitch a ride. Things are looking up. We are going HOME away from the bugs and toward the popsicles. There is a huge sigh of relief all around. But then IT came.
To this day I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it sounds the “buzz” of a hundred bees as it swoops down and flies right past us. Of course I am the only one that panics, which draws it back to try and land on my arm.
Pretty sure it was this giant bastard.
(Note: don’t Google “Big flying insect” or your ears will ring from the screaming of your mind.)
At this point I have had enough of all this flying/stinging bug crap. I scream and swat at that mofo before I push past Lauri (she is walking in front) and start hauling ass to the car. (If you ask Lauri about this moment she will recreate my scream and the horrific look on my face for you before she laughs her ass off.)
So I am running down this gravel road hoping to get away from this thing. I run about ten yards and stop. Then, “Oh my god, this thing is actually following me.” I keep running while I am hearing this giant bug buzzing and laying into me like I am Cary Grant from North By Northwest. You get the idea.
My mental breakdown is all queued up as I flail like those nature-hating women in movies of which I always made sport. I actually remind myself of the evil fiance Vicky from The Parent Trap (The Hayley Mills version). I am a hot mess, swinging my backpack at the bug each time it comes around, yelling obscenities and whimpering like a butt-hurt chihuahua. At one point I stop to gasp for breath when the buzzing abruptly stops, thinking the thing decided to finally leave me be. I stand there, a petrified piece of prey, as I wait to hear if the Jeff Goldblum-sized insect was still around. I glance behind me to see Molly and Lauri still casually walking with nothing buzzing around their persons trying to murderthem. Why was this thing only after ME?
Then I hear it again! I flail, backpack swinging left, right, left as my sunglasses fly into the bushes. I remember screaming “What the HELL is THIS THING?!” At this point I think Lauri takes pity on me and hears the extra crazy in my voice because she grabs the car keys from Molly and books it toward the car. She disappears from sight and I soon hear (through the incessant buzzing around my person) her start the car with gravel flying everywhere as she speeds towards me. The bug disappears yet again for a few seconds so I think this is my moment of escape as I hazardously run toward Lauri in the car.
It returns as I make a last mad dash to the car; a final whimper escapes from me as I fling open the car door and hurl myself inside the still-moving vehicle. I am safe. I am safe as I watch Molly non-chalantly walk to the car without worry, without an elephant-sized bug stalking her. Anyone watching the scene from the sidelines would think I was bat-shit crazy.
I take a look at the clock in the car and determine that this whole ordeal, the hours of getting stung by bees, hiking toward “non-hope,” and getting chased by predatory, Jumanji-esque beasts took 45 minutes. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. The time it takes to get a pizza delivered.
When we got home I took a picture of my sting from an unflattering angle and here it is in all its glory so you can feel sorry for me. If I had a raised-relief option it would look like Mt. Everest.
Talk about an extra saddle-bag.
And so ends the tale of how I was defeated by all nature could offer me that day: some homicidal insects and a paranoid fear of being murdered in the woods by demon trees and rapist hillbillies. I actually woke up in the middle of sleeping that night terrified that there was a bee in the room trying to swoop and sting me. I am actually still jumpy around buzzing things outside, haunted by my memories of that day. After spending a lifetime of camping, backpacking, and actually sleeping in the middle of the woods without fear, I had a single experience that sums up everything horror movies warn you about: you will end up wounded and running for your life from something that wants to kill you. You will also lose your sunglasses.
I actually enjoy my time shopping for groceries immensely, moseying down aisles of delicious food, meandering slowly through the produce section; it’s a time for relaxation and solitude. I purposely schedule my shopping at a time after which I don’t have anywhere to be or anything to cook, and when most people are at work. However, there are certain moments that cause me to reconsider venturing through those automatic sliding doors ever again.
1. That moment when you are trying to figure out what brand of peanut butter to buy this week (basically the cheapest) when a man slowly walks up behind you so that he can figure out what kind of peanut butter to purchase as well. This particular man doesn’t understand PERSONAL SPACE and brushes against you as he reaches across your person for his choice. This may have been done on purpose, since he then turns to make eye contact and grin, mouthing “Pardon me,” with a gleam in his eye. It makes you want to instantly leave to go home and shower. Twice.
2. That moment when Mrs. Old Lady ahead of you in line pays with a bajillion coupons and a slowly written check. She has the clerk scan the coupons slowly, one by one, so she can monitor the whole process by reading each coupon out loud and comparing it with the “amount owed” screen. If she doesn’t get 50 cents off her 24 roll pack of Charmin, by golly, she will speak up in outrage! The line is getting longer behind her, but she pays absolutely no mind. After everything is rung up, because of the intense concentration needed to micro-manage the employee scanning the items, she just now starts to dig around in her purse full of used Kleenexes, Werther’s so old they unwrapped themselves, and countless Sweet n’ Low packets, to find her check book. Now she needs to find a pen. Finally, the clerk exchanges her neat, calligraphic check for a receipt, but then she needs to stand there another few minutes to study it like a twelve year boy and his first experience with an R-rated movie.
3. That moment when you realize you forgot your “Earth friendly” reusable bags at home and now have to use the paper ones provided at the store. What you have to look forward to are the judgmental stares from the people in line behind you, and the unspoken accusation from the judging checkout clerk’s eyes as they WHIP out that paper bag, causing you to wince with guilt (this is all times ten if you are shopping at Whole Foods).
4. That moment when you leave Roth’s with their trademark insistent “Let me help you carry your single bag out” employee and you can’t remember where you parked your car.