Random equations in the mathematics of life

Posts tagged ‘love’

A Remainder of One

4604500425_0d3b924ab6_oThis week kinda sucked. My headspace went straight to hell about a week ago for some inexplicable reason. I realize this is not statistically significant – it happens to everyone on occasion, and I’m no different.

The only problem with this particular time for me was the fact that it’s careening headlong into the holiday season, which can exacerbate pretty much any emotional state that’s left of center for me. The holidays bring Golden Boy back into the neighborhood, along with my mother’s manipulative attempts to guilt me into doing whatever whim she’s focused on at the time. Last time she lied to both me and my sister, in an attempt to get me to attend the “family” gathering. My sister approached me a few years ago about not doing them anymore – I agreed, as our kids have grown apart, and everyone felt a bit forced. This was fine, but I should’ve seen her suggestion for what it really was, because now, the rest of my bio family gets together except for my crew. I’m sure I should feel upset and betrayed by that, but really? I actually find it funny.

But the impending tension does set me on edge. So when I wind up in a conversation with the Quilter on Sunday about the fact that I don’t have the capability to be “in love” with anyone, it took a slide and shoved it into a spiral. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but that conversation was then followed by a related one the following night with the Professor and the Scientist at dinner. Follow that up with the 6 month mark of the Moore, OK tornado that took Sydney, mix in a horrifically stressful week at work, and I’m pretty well done.

Feeling broken is something with which I’m quite familiar. I’ve written about it before. It’s still hard to explain though, to someone who thinks that the inability to be in love is a choice. This isn’t something that I’ve chosen; I am not denying myself some level of bliss by design. Instead, I stagger through my world, seeing people falling in love, having that light bulb turn on, and resent the fact that I can’t comprehend it. There was an internet essay about how a special needs child is like planning a trip to Paris and winding up in Holland. Different, but beautiful. For me, this is more about wanting desperately to plan a trip overseas, but being ineligible for a passport.

I’m not going to bore you by rehashing why I suck at marriage. You can always go read it if you want.

But seeing my kid struggle to comprehend why her mother isn’t in love with her father, and hates the concept of marriage, but has chosen to stay in it anyhow, really broke my heart. She worships her dad, as well she should, and she knows that it hurts him. I didn’t have the words to explain it to her any more than I could explain myself to the Quilter. All of my talents at “translating” information, which make me an amazing teacher, failed me.  There are things in my past that my kids will never know. No one knows some of the things in my past except the people who were there, and that’s the way it needs to stay. However, the Scientist will tell anyone who asks that I’m a “fabulous wife”, which amuses me to no end. It’s true that I try to be good to him. He is a truly wonderful man, as a father, as a person, and as the best friend I’ve ever had. I live with the guilt every single day, knowing the selfish choice I made and why I made it, but he has decided that this life with me is better than the alternative. I still feel, and will always feel, that he deserves better than me. People have tried to reason me out of that, and guess what? It hasn’t worked yet, and it won’t work. So save us both the hassle and the boredom, and don’t bother.

As much as I deplore a particular coke-headed neurologist who tried to pass his psychotic ramblings off as scientific fact, I do agree that we learn a basic sense of trust versus mistrust from day one. Your very first intimate relationships are with your caregivers and family, and when those relationships are destructive, that foundation is too damaged to hold up anything else. And like any other permanent structure, once it’s built, you can’t go back and fix the base. Laws of physics and all that.

Having this mess swirling in my head all week has definitely been a double edged sword. The one side of the blade is that it reinforced the fact that I am, by nature, a loner. I spent a lot of time in my head, ear-buds firmly tucked in, music blaring. However the other side of blade reminds me that, on occasion, as soothing as my solitude is, it can also be a lonely place. Despite the fact that I am almost never alone during the week (with the obvious exception of my hour-long commute to and from work), I felt little shards of loneliness slip in here and there. Such an odd feeling, as it’s quite rare!

As the week wound down, my headspace started to settle at least a little bit. Being swamped at work helped that, as I didn’t have time to brood about my messed up head. Some creativity this weekend is a priority, as that will help more than anything else.

At some point, I hope I can learn to realize that even though I’m broken, I’m functional – maybe even more so than some others!

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Squaring the Circle

About 6 years ago, I had a doctor’s appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who had ruined my knee.  (Yes, worker’s comp still had me seeing him for it.)  This was approximately 14 months after I started physical therapy with the amazing PT that I’d come to really adore.  He had always told me that he would not stop pushing me to improve until the time came that therapy turned, and did more harm to the joint than good.  That time had come.  I carried the report with me, and it felt like the heaviest piece of paper I’d ever felt.  The Therapist and I had talked for an hour the day before, and his disappointment at the failure of our joint efforts was palpable.

Because this was a worker’s comp case, I’d had what was called a Functional Capacity Evaluation. In this, I was hooked up to a computer that measured my ability to do numerous different activities, with the injured leg, but also with my hands and arms, to see how my body functioned as a whole.  The guy who administered it explained that the computer prevented people from faking the results, and laughed at my confusion as to why someone would do that.  My question was, “Why would you want to fake this?  I would think people want to get better.”  My naivete amused him, but he was sweet about it when he told me that some people want to bilk the system to get a higher disability rating.  I scoffed at that idea and told him that I wasn’t doing that – I had a life to live.  The results of the evaluation were quite clear.  Overall, I had a 92% deficit in my right leg.  This means that on average, my right leg functions correctly 8% of the time, and that is it.  That report also went with me to the doctor that day.

The doctor came in, having read the Therapist’s letter, along with the FCE Report, and his eyes were sad.  Despite the crap that had gone down, he really did like me and hoped I would get better.  He sat down with me and said that the official conclusion, based on all professional opinions and official tests, is that I will not walk by myself again.  Ever.  I can do it in small, enclosed spaces, like my bedroom where I can hold things and catch myself on furniture if I start to fall.  But I can never do it outside, where the ground is uneven, and never with shoes on, even inside because they impede my ability to feel the floor.  I was, in a word, numb.  It never once occurred to me that I wouldn’t recover from this disaster, and now I was faced with the possibility that I truly wouldn’t.

I spiraled a bit that day.  I climbed back, but only with the help of a few certain people.  As I am a huge fan of showing gratitude, I’d like to do it here.  These are in no particular order – just the order in which they popped into my head.  (P.S.  The tattoo is Latin.  It’s a quote from the philosopher Cicero, and translates to, “While I breathe, I hope.”)

The Musician – you and I have been best friends for a long time, and we know each other better than pretty much anyone else on the planet.  You are the person who has never given up, even when I almost did.  You sent me articles on athletes who had experimental procedures, you called me out when I was sliding too close to the edge of “I quit” and you have loved me even when I snapped at you in frustration.  You provide perspective when mine is skewed, and you have never failed to be there for me when I needed you.  I am so incredibly blessed, lucky, whatever you want to call it, to have you in my life every day.

The Photographer – my sister from another mother, my twin, separated before birth.  It never ceases to amaze me how well we have gotten along, never even having argued or snarked at each other in thirteen years of friendship.  We founded the Little Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence together, and kept the Sisterhood alive in the Sisters of Bad Habits as well.  You’ve gotten drunk with me, you’ve sniped and snarked with me when I needed to vent, and you were the one who compared my knee to a cheap whore when it acts like one (going down without getting paid).  I’m not sure what the hell I would do without you in my life, and I sure as hell hope I never find out.  You and I have told each other stuff that no one else knows, and for that, we’ll always been on even ground, since we could bury each other.  =)  No one quite understands us as sports moms, and that’s why you were the one person who didn’t bark at me when I spent 8 hours at a track meet, 2 days post-knee-surgery.  I love you every day, and I cannot wait til we can head to the islands together.

The Trainer – you have been in my life for the shortest amount of time in this crew, but you have made a huge impact.  You are the one who always helps me find the lesson, and I do the same for you.  No bullshit between us, no mincing words.  From pathological leprechauns to fruit bats, you are the one person who can strip everything else away to see the real problem I’m having and help me address it.  I can be who I really am when I hang out with you, and for that, you have no idea how grateful I am.  No masks to wear, no pretense to maintain – just me.  You became part of the “village” the “raises” my children, and they love you as much as I do.  No matter what the circumstances that brought you into my life, I will be forever grateful for the fact that you chose to stay there.  Thailand awaits us!

The Ambassador – so many stereotypes fly about teenage boys, and you break every one of them.  Your dedication to being there for me whenever I need you, and even sometimes when I don’t =), your protective streak that is a mile wide, all make you the son that other parents wish they had.  I know that my situation was part of the reason you decided to become a physical therapist, and to know that I helped to inspire you makes it all worthwhile.  Your smile and your humor make me feel better when I don’t feel well.  Thank you for being such an amazing young man.

The Artist – you and I have always had a connection, and that was so evident when I was sick.  You knew before anyone else did when I was in pain, and you’d magically appear with ice or meds, or the perfectly brewed mug of tea.  Your creative spirit and your ability to quietly get it done when you need to inspires me when I’ve had enough.  Every time you dance to your own drummer, you show the world what it is to be a strong individual.  I wanted to raise strong women, and you prove to me every day that I have succeeded.  I can’t wait to see how you rock the art world.

The Professor – From the time you were a baby, you have been so sure of yourself, and such a complex individual.  Other parents were fascinated by your natural resistance to peer pressure, and your self-assurance in who you were.  It was such a gift for us to see you come of age, and see how you developed.  You checked on my every day in the hospital, learned to do the IV infusions with quiet confidence, and appointed yourself my personal caretaker.  You are a natural born caretaker, and it shows in your sweetness.  My Pi Baby has become a Math/Econ Goddess!

And last, but certainly not least, The Scientist.  You and I went to hell and back multiple times over the years.  We certainly did a number on each other, and the damage can’t be undone.  But despite having to tear everything down, declare it “over and done” and starting from scratch, I think we’ve built a pretty cool friendship back up.  You’ve always been protective and supportive, and have done so much to help get stuff done so I don’t overdo it.  Your protective streak is definitely what spawned the Ambassador’s, but I’m grateful for it just the same.  I’m lucky to have you at the end of the day, every day, walking in the sand, swimming with the stingrays, and watching the sun go down.

Things may be deteriorating with my knee now, but I find solace in the fact that these people have chosen to be in my life every single day.  So even if my body decides to fail, the love I receive will keep my spirit perfectly intact.

Integrations

Sometimes it’s surprising to me how much I relate to the music I hear.  Now, I have absolutely no musical talent.  I have tried in a few different places on my timeline to learn various instruments, and I am a miserable failure.  To me, this isn’t a character flaw or anything; we all have our talents, and music simply isn’t one of mine.  However, it does render me almost stupidly fascinated to watch the Musician, for example.  One afternoon, we walked into a music store, and in the midst of a conversation, he chose and plucked exactly the right guitar off the wall and sat down to play it.  Then he went to a keyboard and started with the song that really represents our friendship to both of us, a song that is so special to me.  Watching him play it for me moved me nearly to tears at his talent, his innate ability to translate what he hears into his own music.  Another man was there too, messing with a different keyboard, and he started playing some random song.  The Musician listened for a sec, and then followed him right along, and they played this amazing harmony.  I was stunned.  It was a profound experience for me, and I really feel that way when I’m at almost any musical performance.

We saw Girlyman the other night for the 3rd time.  It was fun as always, hilarious at times.  Ty played a new song that she wrote (called The One You Want) and while I cannot recount every lyric, I can tell you that I nearly cried as I listened.  She wrote it because there are times when she thinks of herself as a pretty good person, someone who’s good to be in a relationship with, and “well, then there are times [I] write songs like this.”  Her words spoke of someone who wants to love, and wants to be loved, and wants “to be the one you want.”  I think that’s my greatest fear, really, when it comes to relationships.  I’m just not sure that I have what it takes…I’m just too much of a loner, spend too much time in my own head, and prefer to keep my own counsel.  I can love, and I do.  I love deeply.  But trusting is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and as the days go by, I sometimes feel that while I make a fantastic friend, and a pretty good lover as well, that maybe I’m just not cut out to be a “life partner.”   I heard Ty’s song, “Genevieve” for the first time on Sunday (how in the hell did I miss this one?) and all I could think was, “Wow.  What peace and joy it must bring to feel like that!” but it was quickly followed by, “I’m not sure I’m capable of that.”

I use music to bring myself out of moods a lot, or to indulge a mood as well.  If I’m melancholy, and I’m allowing it to bloom, I’ll choose songs that I know will induce the cathartic tears.  If I’m pissed, I go for ones that bring up energy, even without rage.  (Most music doesn’t piss me off.)  I have a whole island playlist for when I’m struggling with missing my home; it always gets me out of that funk and into smiling memories of the sun, the sand, the water, the palms.  However, as I write this, it occurs to me that my playlists are really old and outdated.  I need to haul my Zune into the media computer later and build some new ones.

For now, I’m just winging through my stuff, hitting whatever song happens to strike me.  Pretty telling about my mood for now, I guess.  (Along with having a really bad AD/HD day!)

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