I write constantly. But sometimes, the words never make it from my head to the laptop keys. It’s been like that for the last few months.
It is 4 am and I wake up from another dream. Not a nightmare exactly, but a continuation of a situation that is not in my control.
I grab the cats and move to another room, trying to shake the cobwebs out. It is too quiet, and there is just enough ringing in my ears to keep me from falling asleep. So the “brain writing” continues.
And then I wonder, “Why am I not getting these words on paper?” That question is followed by another question… “Who would the audience be?”.
I don’t write for other people. But I realize other people read my writing. As I share experiences and stories, it’s nice to know there is often a connectivity that comes from my little blog. I write some observational humor. I write about past memories that I want to remember, and I hope they will stand the test of time. And I write about times when I’ve dealt with heartache or sadness or when someone I love is dealing with those things. And in those cases, I’ve found a way through it. So I am usually comfortable with sharing.
What I have been writing in my head lately doesn’t fall into those categories. I have not come through anything or found my way. I cannot offer comfort or words of wisdom to anyone going through a similar experience. And… I do NOT want to remember what I am going through right now. Which I think is the main reason I have not been writing about it.
More than that, for the first time I am realizing why I have not been reaching out or sharing with my friends and family.
33 years ago, something was taken from me and it left a deep scar. I can’t change what happened, but I survived it. Very few people know the story, and it’s not a pleasant one to share. I don’t go tripping down memory lane to that time in my life because it hurts to go there. The feeling of being powerless… of not having control… and the cynical phrase “Money wins” running through my brain… This is where I find myself again, and I’m more than a little scared of what comes next. Because what came next 33 years ago was self-destruction.
The person who saved my life back then left this world more than a decade ago. The person who loves me the most now is making me grilled cheese sandwiches and taking me for long drives. He is listening to me as I try to sort things out. He has a front-row seat to my pain. I am not a fun person to be around right now. And I am no help to anyone who needs me. And THAT may just be the worst of it. I want to “shake it off” and get on with my life… but as much as I thought it was the struggle to deal with change, it’s more than that. It’s not being able to deal with loss.
25 years ago, my husband and I rented a little house in a quiet neighborhood. After years of apartment life, this felt like home ownership. We went crazy planting gardens and building a gazebo and painting rooms and adding light fixtures and windows and all the things new homeowners do to make a house their own. We poured money and time and energy and love into that house and yard, and then one day the actual homeowner decided he didn’t like his wife anymore and needed the house back so she could have a place to live. We were devastated. I wrote him a letter making a plea for him to sell us the house instead. My writing worked! He sold us the house! It was a happy ending. But it also should have been a cautionary tale.
Pouring your heart and soul into something you don’t own can be dangerous. While it can be fulfilling and satisfying at the time, it may very well end in a broken heart.
In my dreams, I am walking through the garden behind that tiny house and saying goodbye to the roses. I am pulling the last of the weeds, and popping some plant food spikes into the soil for the last time. I am touching the walls we painted and turning out the lights we installed. Only in this house, there are a hundred people, including half a dozen children who were born there. This is their first and only home. My mind drifts and I start to wonder how many children have been born here over the last 18 years. There are single moms and teachers and senior citizens on fixed incomes. There are people who lived in this house long before I got here.
The realization that this house was never mine isn’t as difficult as realizing I have to say goodbye to all the people inside. Hundreds of people have come and gone from this house, and I have felt connected to every one of them. I have felt responsible for them. Now I am helpless.
Last June, I had to say goodbye to a very special place. A place I had loved for 3 years. It was sad, but I dealt with it by writing about all the good memories I had enjoyed there. But that won’t work this time, because it’s not about me. And that is why, when my friends and family reach out to me to ask how I am doing and if they can help, I have no answers for them. *I* will be fine of course. This isn’t about me.
I am blue. And because my heart was so invested, I will probably be blue for awhile. I am smack in the middle of dealing with something disgusting. I am weary of seeing money take importance over people. Greed sucks. You’ve reached a real low when people become a commodity. And I am sick to death of smiling and pretending it’s all okay. It’s really really not.
Something was taken away from me. I get it. It was never mine. But I will never be sorry for taking ownership and making something good. Something better. Something beautiful.
I don’t want to talk about ME any more. I want this whole situation to be over already. It has dragged on long enough. I need to move on.
Ah, but there’s the thing. Moving on means leaving them behind.
I realize I can’t do anything about it. But I’m going to carry this guilt for a long while.