Twenty minutes prior to this tapping finger trance ensuing my laptop creaked eerily as I slowly opened it and blew off the layer of dust that has slowly, and deliberately, accumulated on it over the past six months. Well, six months and seventeen days. But who is counting? The anxious and neurotic tapping of my fingers calms me in a most peculiar way yet does not give me the answer I'm looking for to the question swirling in my jumbled brain. Or what's left of it anyway.
Where to start writing about the past six months and seventeen days, or if I even should? Some stories are better left untold. Or are they? Tap. Tap. Tap. The drumming of my fingers doesn't help me think more clearly after all. Neurotic fail.
I finger through the play list on my iPod looking for inspiration. There has to be something in here to motivate me and throw me from static inaction to inspired action. I must have a thousand songs in this electronic cabinet of musical mood enhancers yet the perfect song escapes me. I need a song. A great song that will serve as emotional morphine so I won't quite feel the awkward cringe as vividly when I pull the rope and begin to lift back the velvet curtain. The heavy curtain that has been hiding the rock under which I've in turn been keeping time while hiding.
Keeping time just like the music that I just can't seem to find to fit. This shouldn't be so melodramatic or difficult. Shit, I really need a chill pill and to get over myself. Then it occurs to me that every song in that iPod costs about ninety nine cents each. As I use rough math I quickly add up the investment in my head. Rough because I admittedly had to take Algebra twice, Well, this was a bad investment because now this useless menagerie of music and it's rough cost made my insides churn. I really should have paid better attention in math class. And in my Economics classes for that matter. Wait, I got an A in both Micro Economics. That professor must have been a complete asshat. OK, focus. The only music that now comes to mind is the whimsical bounce of a circus theme. That's it! Entrance of the Gladiators by Czech composer Julius Fucik. Even his name is appropriate. Indeed.
The past six months of radio silence have been humbling, terrifying and, more importantly, needed. I think. Life happens and things happened in particular that I wasn't ready, or even sure, I should write about. I've always spoken from the gut, even if it was cringe worthy. I have been honest, to the point of being painful. I've made fun of myself, to the point I've peed my pants and increased the stock price of Depends. And then I took a back seat so that I could regroup, refocus, prioritize and reset my inner GPS because clearly it was leading me way off course..
I had nightmares for months and couldn't sleep. The puking, that was the worst though. You'd think that stress hurling would be a perk and a great counter solution to the accompanying stress eating. It wasn't. My life was a house of cards once built with aces
I was broke. I was behind on my mortgage, slow on my bills, I had student loan debt up the left side and old credit card debt crammed up the right side. Then before I knew it my pay went down and the house of cards did what houses made of precariously balanced cards tend to do, it fell. I failed. I had to do what I swore I would never, ever, do. I cried Uncle
I couldn't figure out how it happened, but it had. I didn't spend my money on clothes, shoes with names I can't even pronounce, hair cuts or mani/pedi's. I'm not a clothes horse and I loathe shopping. I hadn't used a credit card in three years, purposefully moving to cash and paying down cards that never seemed to go down even though I wasn't even using them. I wasn't over mortgaged, my rent used to be more than my mortgage. I live modestly. But it happened and I"m not one to find someone else to blame for what could have only been my own failure even if I didn't know how. And it crushed me.
It has taken me six months and seventeen days to decide if I should write about something that was so unbearably embarrassing to me and that I was so ashamed of that I wanted to hide. From everyone. It took me a really long time to admit it to the most important people in my life who were also the ones who were the most proud of how I've done as a single mother, my parents. They were proud of me while I was quietly, covertly, drowning in stress. Pride is a double edged sword that can be use to defend and preserve yourself or it can be used to slowly and methodically torture yourself with. I turned the sword on myself.
Six months and seventeen days is a good amount of time to quietly, and alone, come to peace. To make amends with what is and not what one wishes they were is a dubious sojourn. It's a bath in ice cold water that awakens one to reality in a most uncomfortable but necessary way. It stings.
Things have turned around. I've saved my home, my sanity and myself from, well, myself. My sense of humor is slowly returning though I am not the same person as I was and I can never be. I've learned to let go of my guilt, let go of the ego crushing shame and to stockpile the unexpected and invaluable life lessons. I am reminded that, like my joyful and beautiful yet sometimes nauseating carousel ride as a single mother, my experience is not at all unique. I do not take comfort in that but instead I am also reminded that is the very answer to my question; should I write about this? That I know I am not alone in this is why that at the end of the day, or that at the end of two hundred days, give or take, I came back here to share my story. It's not the mistakes I've made that I'm proud of, I could never be proud of those, it's the lessons learned and that I have allowed them to change me for the better that lift my head back up. The lessons that aged me, humiliated and humbled me, also made me wiser, calmer, stronger.
And without assuming it matters to anyone but me, I live to write another day. Shove another