I didn’t write.
I didn’t call.
I kind of dropped off the face of the earth on this whole blog thing. I just logged on and saw it has been 2 months since my last blog entry. I had planned to make this a weekly thing. I thought – hey – summer – I will have all this free time and I will hit this whole blogging thing HARD.
There were a number of reasons. One is the most simple… It is summer. It is finally hot and sunny and I can go outside and that means no hunkering down on the couch in front of my laptop feeling sorry for myself. I have been out there with my family. Beaching it and stand up paddling it and occasionally getting a run in when it is not soupy out.
Another reason is the job that caused me to have my complete breakdown ended Thursday, June 23rd.
The job that I knew would be over in early February finally came to an end.
The job that nearly ended me finally ended.
That whole week was a blur. That very last day though was razor-sharp. For good reasons and bad reasons.
Actually – no – scratch that.
All for good reasons.
I was kind of over the “supportive” comments from everyone telling me everything happens for a reason, the whole something better out there thing. The windows. The doors.
Life at my job was becoming a daily cracker jack box of surprises to the very end. Sucky surprises where I get to discover yet another person who I thought had my back and was my friend actually did not have my back. And was not my friend.
Like Susan. (Name changed, FYI!)
God I loved Susan. And she seemed to love me. It takes a lot for me to open up and trust and feel love for another person. Especially after the year I had. But right from the start this woman was my gal.
She was this older woman who worked in my school. And she was so goddamned cool. She reminded me of my friends at the folk fest I go to every summer (I will post about that another time – I promise!)
Susan wore funky long skirts and had tapestries of hippie stuff up in her office. She would give me little painted boxes and rocks and crystals and she always hugged me. She always squeezed my hand and told me I was doing an amazing job.
I honest to fuck believed in Susan. In the shit hole that was my daily life of walking through the hallways, she flitted into my feels like an adorable little feel good pixie dust angel full of glitter and rainbows and unicorns.
Everybody loved Susan.
God I loved Susan.
Of course, there’s a teensy weensy chance I may have been projecting some of my mommy issues onto Susan. I was so damaged and so vulnerable, there is a slight possibility I may have wanted to crawl onto Susan’s adorable little lap from time to time and sob hideously onto her patchoulie-smelling shoulder.
I never had a fairy godmother come and rescue me. I guess at 42 years old I was still pining for one. Lord knows I never really had a mother to get my ugly cry on with.
So there is a chance I was viewing her with smitten-colored glasses. Placing her adorable little smiley self onto a ginormous pedestal.
I kinda get that now.
I kind of glossed over the times her jingly jolly little personality would slip and she would respond angrily at benign comments I’d make. She would then immediately apologize and hug me and call me that night to make sure we were good.
I always forgave. Everyone is allowed to have a bad day every now and then. Also… I adored her. And she adored me. She told me all the time.
I also listened without judgment at something she once shared with me. She told me her therapist once told her (we talked about therapy together! She trusted me! And I trusted her!) that her nice personality was her way of controlling people. Of disarming them. If she was overly nice, then people treated her overly nice in response and then there would be no conflict or difficulty with others.
It made sense. It DID work. But that was with other people. Not with me.
Towards the end though, the Susan I knew began to slip away. I felt less of that love and warm feels she always tossed my way. I figured it was the end of the year stress that everyone starts feeling in schools.
On the very last day, we walked into the school together that morning. Chit chatting. I looked at her and felt that love well up in me again. I had become so numb by that point, that I appreciated the people who still made me feel something. Susan was still one of those people.
I asked Susan if we could keep in touch. If I could use her as a reference. After all – she KNEW me. SHE knew my work. She always praised me and raved about my work. She always told me she loved me and cared about me.
But then something happened to Susan. Right before my eyes. It was so fascinating, I didn’t even feel heartbroken.
Her entire being turned cold and stony. Her bubbly adorable voice changed. Her glittery dancy eyes went dark.
“No.” She said.
And then she walked away.
And then – something happened to me.
Me – who spent the previous 5 months leading up to that moment sobbing in my spare time. Beating myself up. Not being able to get out of bed. To look at myself in the mirror. Me – who needed someone to blow smoke up my ass to make me feel important and special and loved and strong.
Something happened to me.
I didn’t crumble. I didn’t even get upset. Yes – I was shocked. Like – jaw open and frozen watching her sashay away in her cute peasant skirt and cool dangly earrings.
But – I stood there and realized how naive I have been. How trusting and needy I have been. How easily I was controlled and manipulated by so many people there. Even Susan. Beautiful loving Susan who showed me who she was all along. But I refused to see because I didn’t want to see. I wanted someone to trust and depend on to the point of blinding myself every step of the way.
Susan gifted me with a lift of the veil. Not of herself – that was there all along.
She lifted my veil.
She showed me I don’t need someone to be the things I wanted her to be. Susan showed me that I did not need to crawl onto any laps or cry onto any shoulders.
Susan taught me that I was the one who got in my own way. And I am the one to get out of my own way. That path is so very much the same and so different at the same time.
Susan’s stony interior covered by that soft loving facade was the wall I needed to hit to wake me up.
She didn’t mean to teach me any lessons that day. She didn’t mean to snap me out of the zombie haze I was in.
Susan never asked to be my mommy, my cheerleader, or my support system. Susan was just struggling through her own shit and fighting her own demons and doing the best job she could with whatever her internal landscape was doing to her day-to-day existence. And Susan had enough of my needy bullshit.
I had enough of my needy bullshit.
It was my LAST. DAY.
And I survived.
And I got a call on my very last day for a second interview. I was asked if I was available to come in the next day (Friday) to meet with the director of a program who was very interested in meeting me after she heard so many good things from the person who interviewed me months before. (That’s for another post. I promise)
Yes. Yes I was absolutely available.
On my last day I remember Susan.
I remember that phone call that came out of the blue.
I remember the day being over and the buses pulling away.
I remember getting the last things out of my office in a rush. As if something would happen that would never allow me to leave.
I remember stopping to say goodbye to one person. The custodian I befriended. He hugged me as I shook and said “holy shit – this is it. I made it! I am done.”
I remember trembling and shaking as I walked to my car.
I remember getting into my car.
I remember waiting behind a long line of cars waiting to pull away from the parking lot.
And then I was driving away.
I played this song while I drove away:
I felt this song to my very core.
There was a time when I honestly, truly, sincerely didn’t think I was going to survive the day where I would walk out of that school.
But I did.
And then it happened.
It was a loud, howling cry with fits of laughter in it. And it was bottomless and it overtook me to the point where I thought it wouldn’t ever stop.
But it felt So. Good.
I kept thinking about the ending of Texas Chainsaw Massacre where the girl survived and jumped into the back of that truck and watched Leatherface trying to get her. She had the same kind of howl/laugh/cry thing going.
Like “holy shit I just survived the worst hell of my life”.
It felt like a newborn cry.
I drove home the whole way like that. Listening to Sia’s song of triumph and feeling like I was given a second chance at life again.
Or whatever number I am up to by now. I have been through a lot of shit in my life.
But there was something I peeled away that day. Something I was able to leave behind. Something I no longer needed.
And now I am alive and piecing my wholeness back together. Almost from scratch.
Because it turns out… I had more prepared inside of me than I realized.
I forgive myself for not seeing that all that time. I cannot hold on to any more anger.
I did the best I could with what I thought I had. I was too distracted with my pain to see how much more I had inside me.
In the last 2 months, I explored what I did have.
Like Christmas in July I unwrapped each and every gift of myself.
I am sorry I didn’t write. I am sorry I didn’t call.
I was spending time with myself. I was rediscovering myself. I was falling in love with myself again.
I was rediscovering what being alive means to me.
Turns out – it means a whole hell of a lot.