My mind lately seems to be going at about triple it's normal speed. Frantic, speed-brain, for some reason. It's strange, really, because things are relatively calm (or what passes for it in my family anyways), and yet I can't get my stupid brain to slow down long enough for me to grip on to anything. Or - alternately - I get hold of something and just can't let it go.
July started off OK - I even took the month off from doctors, because all the news was bad and painful and just more of the same and I couldn't think about it anymore. But of course it hasn't stopped me from thinking about it: At the very least though, by taking the time off, I couldn't be poked or prodded or asked stupid questions about it anymore.
And then my brother and sister-in-law took the kids to the Cape for a week, and were too lazy to drive them up for a few days before that, and all of the "good summer fun with the kids" I had planned to cram into my month (and my mind) instead turned into "days of doing nothing but sitting around thinking about my life." These days were not nearly as much fun as the ones I had anticipated. Left with entirely too much time to ponder at least two major family situations (one of which has blown over and another that continues on without any solution to be seen), my own non-improving health and relationships situations, and the fact that yesterday was the anniversary of my father's death (not to mention a very rude person who treated it as if, because my father and I did not get along, this anniversary should be pretty meaningless to me); it's been an unexpectedly emotional time. There's just all this stuff, and I feel like I need energy to sift through it, and I haven't got the energy - emotional or physical - that god gave a gnat, so it's all heavy lifting.
It's all heavy lifting.
And I don't, as usual, realize how heavy, really, until I sit here with my fingers tapping away trying to explain why I haven't posted anything lately, or taken pictures of the gorgeous kids or why I've signed up for at least three projects this summer that I haven't even begun to consider, let alone start. Until I sit here and let my fingers start talking, I let my brain rev itself up into a frenzy, and don't realize that not saying anything, not posting anything is part of the trouble.
So here's some more of what I've been toting around, this week particularly -
We've been attempting to clean out Nana's storage: Yes, 2 years is a long time to pay storage fees, but when you roll up that door and the smell - her smell - hits you, I would gladly pay for another two years just to not have to sit there and sift through the contents of her life while my uncle - who is clueless - natters on about "Goodwill" and "Junk" and my mother and aunt try to move as quickly as possible so we can just leave already, and all I want to do is sit there with a box of stuff opened around me and absorb it into my skin. I've been taking pictures and saving things from the scrap bin; trying to hold all my emotions in in case my mom needs to let hers out.
I'm in that tiny little hallway, with it's concrete floors and neon orange doors, watching as box after box after box comes out. When my uncle pops out one of the windows on my grandmother's dollhouse (they're plastic and pop back in), I bite my tongue and control my need to scream about how important it is to fix it Right Away! I watch my aunt take a box of china she shouldn't be lifting and wrap it up so clumsily that it's sure to be in pieces the next time we open the box, but I don't say anything: I just wait till she turns around and slide the box in my direction, re-wrap it when she heads out for a cigarette. When my mom opens a box with baby shoes in it - shoes that Nana had lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, for her 'baby' who died twenty years before she did - mom doesn't cry, so I don't cry.
See, I know that this stuff is not my Nana, and that - in all honesty - she couldn't really have cared about the majority of it: glasses that lived in cabinets, tea sets made of gold that never made it to the table, knickknacks from places she never traveled to, lots of things that said 'grandma' because stuff that said 'nana' was so much harder to find. She wouldn't mind if we tossed all that out, would actually have done it herself if she'd have thought about us having to do it now.
But I also know that there are memories to be found here - not just my memories, but everyones - and so I feel like I have to safeguard them - for my mom, who isn't thinking anything except "get me out of here"; for all the grandchildren who can't be in that dark little hallway with me, and for all the great grandchildren - here now and to come - who never got a chance to know just how awesome a lady they missed out on.
So I sit there, allergies acting all renegade and body too sore to take breaths, it seems, setting aside a porcelain cat for one sister, a rogue leprechaun for my brother, a picture of himself that my cousin has probably never seen. Some of this stuff means something to me, some of it doesn't but I'm determined not to let the "one thing" that somebody would have wanted get tossed in a box for Goodwill. I feel like the only person there capable of remembering that this isn't just stuff, it has value to someone, and they should at least have the chance to say "No, you can toss that" or "Oh my god, I totally remember this!" So I click the shutter on my camera again and again and again, hoping that I'm capturing the something somebody wants, before I repack the boxes and watch my uncle roll his eyes again.
It's just heavy lifting.
And I try to be gentle with myself, try to say: Even though it doesn't seem like right now is a busy time, you are doing a lot of work. But it doesn't always sink in, because part of my heavy lifting is the way I think about myself, the way I don't give myself credit for the things that I do, the way I beat up on myself for all the things I don't do. It's a tricky line, I think - to hold yourself accountable without tearing yourself apart. (At least it is for me.)
I read, somewhere, in a recent blog post of somebody's, that one of the rules to remember in blogging is that your blog is not your best friend. If you feel like you need to vent, pick up the phone, don't complain to your audience or they'll stop coming back. I think that's probably good advice, but I don't know that I can follow it. I appreciate it, honestly, with my whole heart, that you people come back time and again to read things like this, where my head is a spinning top and my heart feels cracked open.
I won't say that I don't have people in my life who would listen, if I started talking, because I do, but it's different to write it here, freer somehow. Saying what I need to say to get my head back on straight is a large part of what's kept me writing for so long at this blog, and - while it may be the reason I don't have a zillion followers - it's also part of the reason that I cherish the followers I do have.
So, now that I feel somewhat normal again, what's going on with you all? I know somebody has a new job (YAY Ms J!!!) and other people are dealing with their own brands of chaos (Hope the bed rest is going well, Laurie!). I hope that you're all enjoying your weekend, come what may, and I promise to write again soon. (And less emotionally jumbled, hopefully.)