Stare the unbearable in the face

I found this article shared by a Facebook friend, titled: There Is No After. This quote jumped off the page at me:

In the place of a shared sense of reality or collective expression of mourning, I see a torrent of advice on how a person who managed to survive can feel more self-actualized once they return to the shuffle between the office and after-work drinks. To me, this looks like denial, the first tentative step towards what I’m told are seven distinct stages of grief.

Molly Osberg, Jezebel

This. THIS. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but this feeling I’ve had of being “left behind” as things open up and friends gather and vacations are planned…..all as I am still at home, watching the case numbers rise. AGAIN. And this article defined it for me – maybe it’s not that they aren’t affected, but perhaps it’s the opposite, that the masses are so desperate/traumatized that they are willing to deny that this isn’t over – to claim that there is an “over” – to avoid feeling the tidal wave of overwhelming grief and loss. Loss- of life, of safety, of community, of normalcy. I feel alone in my grief.

It’s unbearable, and I’ve always been the type to stare the unbearable in the face. Look at this! Look at how terrible things are! Let’s dissect and marvel and wallow and grieve this terribleness! Who’s with me?!

To be clear, I feel the urge to deny as well, because one can’t bear the unbearable for too long, uninterrupted.

When I was little, I remember having this recurring nightmare. Do you remember that wolf with the glowing eyes from The Neverending Story? It represented The Nothing – fear, destruction, depression. It terrified me. In my nightmare, it would hide in the darkness, under my little brother’s crib. All I could see was its eyes, glowing and staring right into mine. I could hear it growling, threatening me. I was terrified and frozen. I wanted to run but was physically unable. My only option was to stay and stare it down. I mirrored it. I was down on all fours and growled back, even though the first few tries wouldn’t produce any sound.

And that’s it. That’s the whole dream. I still have it, sometimes, even now. That’s what I do, even in my dreams.

Rage. fear. desperation.

My little girl was almost hit by a car today. Almost.

We were on our way home, crossing a busy street. My son was on his bike, my daughter on her scooter and I was on foot. We looked left, we looked right. No cars. We were in a crosswalk. We did everything right.

To the right of the crosswalk is a traffic circle, and I saw a car whip around and it wasn’t slowing down. By this time, I was halfway across, my son was behind me, and my daughter was ahead of me.

I screamed, STOP, [HER NAME], STOP!!!

My girl started to slow down and I lurched forward, groping for her, even though she was still out of reach. I later told my husband that we’d both have been hit if the driver hadn’t slammed on her brakes.

If there was ever a time when I felt like a crazed, full-blown Mama Bear, this was it.

JESUS CHRIST!! I screamed at the car.

SLOW DOWN!!! I bellowed as I threw my arms wide in rage, fear, and desperation. I’m sure my eyes were red and smoke puffed out of my ears. Certainly, adrenaline was pumping through my system.

The driver gave a gesture that I interpreted as apologetic, but it all happened so fast. I just wanted to get back home where we’re safe.

This is several hours later, and I’m still trying to shake the rage. fear. desperation.

A similar incident happened a few months ago, but I was able to shake that one off much sooner. The differences: we weren’t in a pandemic, and I didn’t feel so constantly vulnerable, thinking about health and loved ones and safety and loss. That time, I was close enough to her that I grabbed her hood and yanked her back. Even if the car had continued to run the stop sign, I had successfully pulled her out of the way. Lastly, everyone was moving slower: me, my daughter, the car. It was far less scary, in a far less scary time.

Also a contributing factor: I’m currently experimenting with different cold brew ratios/recipes/techniques and dear baby jesus, I think I made this last batch way too freaking strong. Today I’ve been jittery and strung out. My husband says I’ve been talking a mile a minute today, buthowisthatpossibleIdon’tknowwhatyou’retalkingabout.

Not to mention that I’ve had two nightmares in the past week, one of which was technically a nightmare within a fucking nightmare (so I guess that makes it three nightmares in all). I shit you not, I had a nightmare and in the dream I went to sleep, had yet another nightmare, “woke up,” BUT WAS STILL IN A NIGHTMARE. When I woke up for realsies, you’d better believe it took me a hot minute to be quite certain that I was conscious and the world before me was indeed real. I think it’s high time I made myself a totem, BECAUSE HOW DO I KNOW I’M NOT BEING INCEPTED?! Leo?! JGL???

As a surprise to absolutely no one, I’m also knee-deep in a violent dystopian novel. My choices amaze even myself.

Soooooooo there you have it. Too much, too often I feel like the world is burning and I have a front row seat. I can feel the warm glow on my face and I can see the ash falling from the sky.

Everyone, just please do me a favor and SLOW DOWN when you drive. Check the crosswalks. Then check them again. Thanks.

And go easy on the cold brew.

 

Frozen Terror

Aaaand now I have two sick kids in the house. Ugh.

To put a funky spin on things, because normal illness isn’t fun enough, my oldest woke up last night in a sweaty, fever-induced screaming night terror. Well, technically he didn’t wake up, but my husband and I did. Thank goodness my other sick kid slept through it all. Oh, and it made the cat nervous in the service as well. Don’t get me started on how weird our cat is.

Most things about parenthood make you feel powerless, but this one pretty much takes the cake. And dear baby jesus, they are aptly named.

Took me a long time to calm down and get back to sleep after that.

The funniest part? My son was screaming lines from Frozen, which would have sounded way creepier had I not immediately known the reference.

Creepy because the line was, “HE HAS NO BONES!!”

I guess Frozen-inspired nightmares run in the family?

Maybe we need to lay off the Disney raves for a while.


nanopoblano2019

Walking Dead takes over my braaaaaains!

So last night was the season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead.

It was long awaited.  Highly anticipated.

It did not disappoint…..for the most point.

In therapy, I often remind my clients that we need to pay attention when people show us who they are, and then accept them for being who they are and not any more or less (and not trying to fix them, change them, or expect them to be any different).

I have had to work very hard reminding myself, each and every episode, that these characters have shown themselves to be immature, impulsive, stupid, and incredibly lucky to still be alive in their world of increasing numbers of brain-hungry walkers.

That being said, if the characters did everything I shouted at them to do, then the series wouldn’t be very exciting because they’d be happy, healthy, and safe.  So I continue to yell and they continue to defy me.

Unfortunately, the agony/excitement doesn’t stop there, as these pesky walkers pranced on into my nightmares last night not once, but twice.

My first nightmare had me jolt awake at about 2:30am.  I don’t remember too much about the dream, but I do know that I was in a group, my partner was included, and we were at a point where we were cornered, desperate, and fighting for our lives…and it was getting pretty gory, too.  I am thankful that I woke up at that point, because I usually don’t.

Of course, I had to pee, but there was no way in hell I was gonna get up and face almost certain death and dismemberment with only the cat to protect me.  I turned towards Brian and considered waking him up.  He was out like a small child purposefully given too much benedryl by his parents, and I just couldn’t do it.  So I rolled over and punished my too-small pee sack by ignoring it.

Brian gets up considerably earlier than I do, and his alarm woke me up this morning.  By that time, my bladder was backed up to halfway through my left kidney, and so I followed Brian to the bathroom so he could protect me while I peed.

Wouldn’t you know, I had yet another zombie dream in the sleep I got between Brian’s alarm and my own.  In this one, my mom and I had to go to the dentist in the middle of the zombie apocalypse (what can I say, dental hygiene is very important) so we went together for moral support and protection.  When it was time to leave the dentist’s office, we noticed a lot of people cowering in the waiting room, and we looked through the blinds to see that we were pretty surrounded by the undead.  Being the faithful Girl Scout that I am (our motto is “be prepared”), I reached into my purse and grabbed a giant hammer and handed it to my mom, and then I took a small axe for myself.  I asked my mom if she was ready and then we started chopping and bashing our way to the car.

What a stressful way to wake up…but if that’s what I get for watching this show, then it’s all worth it.