I'm too accustomed to bottling things up. It's been my survival mechanism for years. Ten years.
I know I've said we have a family member with some pretty deep issues, and that person can destroy your day with a phone call. Similar to some of the stuff on Intervention, but with our own mix of pain and confusion. There are times where it feels like life might be normal, and then there are the times where it is normal -- our normal -- and I feel like my insides are crying. Everything inside is broken and sad, but I still have to plug away and walk around like a capable human being.
I swear to everything it seems like when I feel like I've got some sort of handle on things, life goes sideways for this person. I've really gotten better at not letting it rule me, but it's unnatural. When someone you love is in pain, drowning, it is unnatural not to try to save them, but at some point it's what you have to do. Instinct says throw a lifesaver, jump in with all your clothes. Reach them! Instead, you stand on the shore and watch them bob up and down, gasping for air, arms, eyes, skin reaching for you... as they kick themselves deeper into water. Catch me if you can.
It's a dangerous game. It wrenches your insides in directions like a roller coaster, a sickening ride. Mental illness/addiction in families turns everything so upside-down skewed sideways that if you've never dealt with it, you never understand.
I have a love/hate relationship with almost everything.
Last week when I got the dreaded call that this person was going to face some uncomfortable consequences for their continued poor decision-making, my heart sank. My shell instantly sprang from wherever it sits semi-dormant. I did what I could to get through the next few hours, trying not to ride on the wave of emotion that this person is addicted to. Tears pushed inside, confused, twisted.
After there was no more for us to do, my husband and went to get a beer.
We walked in, hoping for a moment's peace, ended up seeing people we know.
People we care about, enjoy, and would love to be with any other time.
We both locked up our secrets and emotions and played normal. Something we've gotten good at.
Our friends sat, and for the next 20 minutes, proceeded to whine about the difficulties they are dealing with as their remodeling project drags on and on and ON.
Normally the guttural urge to simply face-punch would grip me. But my sadness on that day was rooted so deeply that I had given up on even fantasizing about such a thing. I listened, I consoled. Not two seconds after that couple left, I exchanged glances with my husband. We didn't have to say anything.
Maybe that's what keeps us together. Besides not having the strength or resources for a divorce (and pretty deep feelings regarding that all together), we are just to weary. Life itself takes so much work that there's nothing leftover. This is the easiest thing.
I can't really think about that right now, about our relationship. Because it seems stupid.
Everything seems pretty stupid right now.
Do you know what it feels like, for real, not knowing and somewhat expecting to get a call? THAT call? Having to live life, braced? It sucks. We're all fragile. I know this. Any moment can be anyone's last. I know, I'm just not talking about that kind of fragile life. I hate even talking about it, period. I'm wading through each day trying not to live like I'm wading through each day.
I'm trying, and I've succeeded a lot of the time.