barely

I am here. But barely. I am skin and bones, pacing down empty hallways with doors that lead to places I’ve already been. I’m walking in circles and can’t find the way out. I don’t know where I’m going, but this doesn’t seem to be the right place.

So I carry on, with a slight sense of confusion and desperation, feeling like something is always just over my shoulder waiting to come from behind to smother me. I feel as if, any moment, I could fall and there is no bottom, just falling.

I want to talk, but there are so many words. There are so many different needs and ideas and pressing urgencies racing through my head. I lie down to sleep and something ticks inside my ear, calling out, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” and I know that I once again will essentially be sleeping alone. It’s hard to sleep in the center of a racetrack.

So I open my mouth and sounds come out. Barely. I talk to myself and it comes clear, the yarns come untangled. But I gather them up to contribute to a conversation that includes anyone else and all I have to offer are knotted up words, stretched to fill awkward silences and so frayed anyone could see right through them anyway. I’m fine, I say. But barely.

My grandma died in May. Her name was Barb.

My grandma died in August. Her name was also Barb.

My grandma died in September. Her name was…you guessed it, Barb.

I am starting to wonder if God isn’t some deranged serial killer.

My cat ran away this weekend. Presumably, to die.

I found a long-lost friend’s obituary last night. A brother from a past life. I’ve carried a secret from him in my pocket for years and I wonder now if it would have changed his future. I’ll never know – and neither will his daughter.

It has been… a struggle. I want to say I am okay. I have gone to work, I have had good shifts and bad shifts. I have seen others struggle as I have over these past few months, and I have seen some life changes happen to people I care about that have done lasting damage. I feel as if I wake up every day to continue cleaning up the mess that was my life before it stopped in mid-August with that phone call and shifted everything in my known Universe. Maybe Mercury was in retrograde. Maybe my good Karma has been depleted. Maybe I hated God just enough for Him to start hating me back.

The last class of my degree has started. It is confusing and fairly self-guiding, which means I am basically steering without a steering wheel through a textbook and some vague Internet links. It is the last hurdle to cross before that cap is on my head and the piece of paper I’ve been chasing for the last decade is in my hand.

I want to keep going. I know there are things I cannot leave unfinished. I have things to do, so many plans. I want to accomplish things. I don’t have time to grieve. I posted the other night that I was “in a rowboat, on a churning ocean of grief. I know I’m okay, I have a boat. But sometimes I am clinging to that boat for dear life.” I need to get back to shore. I need to set my feet on solid ground again. I can’t remember what it felt like to not feel the spinning of the Earth beneath me. I feel… so indescribable that I can only assume this is what outer space might be like. Vast emptiness – and just when you think you’ve hit the end, you’ve really just found another universe of the same damn feeling.

I am alive. I am functioning. I am satisfying my basic needs – I eat, I shower, I sleep. I feed my children, dress them and clean them and tell them I love them even when I don’t really understand what those words mean right now. I am okay. But… I am barely any of those things, barely myself.

I am sad. I can’t honestly tell you, or anyone, anything else about me at this point. This is who I am, what I know. This is me, on my knees, hands out to the sky. If you can find anything to take, take it from me. I’m about to drop it all.

 

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