Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hope and Defiance

As I was ringing up a customer on July fourth of this year I had a sudden cold pulse through my veins and found it difficult to breathe as I had an abrupt revelation of mortality. Not so much that I could die tomorrow, but that some day I could grow old and live in fear each day of my life. I have not had these fears since my father died when I was a young girl. Mom and I laugh now as she loves to remind me of the time I humiliated her at a family reunion when introduced to my great grandmother. The wrinkles in her skin sagged in such a way that it seemed the ground had some kind of magnetic force, clinging to her and pulling her down within it. My tiny voice wailed in fear that this woman might drop dead at any moment, and I would be the witness of it, “Is she going to die?!” Mom says luckily great grandma was hard of hearing, but I spent most of my childhood after that avoiding glancing in her direction. I regret that now. So much I could have learned from her, and she honestly loved me despite my fear of her. It wasn’t until she approached me at my father’s funeral, called me by my correct name and smiled at me that I realized she was obviously not the symbol of death but unconditional love and forgiveness.

It was probably the near loss of my grandfather this past February that reignited this. I would sit by him and tell him how great he looked, but solemnly he’d look at me with that screaming fear in his gaze and say, “I don’t feel better.” I would have twinges of the pain that I remembered from childhood. My empathy would feel his vibes of defeat and fear of not seeing another birthday or Christmas. I would talk to Uncle Robert about how much better Granddaddy was looking, he would shake his head, “kid, you gotta realize it’s all downhill from here, there will be no more okay.” I would act unaffected and numb to his words, but I was so full of the realization that this fear I had as a child is a real one that I wanted to squeeze it out through my tears.

My fear is not of death itself, my fear is living in anticipation of it. It makes me anxious to think of growing old and not having control to jump back. I would rather just end it then sit around and wait in this torture. So all of July I reflected, until the words of my most recent fling bounced in my head. I looked over at Stephen, “Can people really work themselves to death?” He looked at me as if that was an obvious ’give me’, “yes”. I nodded and said nothing, but my brain began calculating, this was all just too good to be true. All my life I had looked at the deep ditches or high hills I drive across and thought of just driving off, but I was too afraid of surviving with more stress than I had then. I thought of shooting myself, but I didn’t have access to a gun, and quite honestly I wanted to go out in a more original or notable way than that. I thought of going the Plath route and gassing myself, but then I remembered the story of the lady who came home to her mobile home, which unknowingly had a gas leak and blew up, and I couldn’t put Steve or my animals at risk like that. I also thought of how it could hurt my animals or Steve regardless with all the fumes that will linger. I thought of hanging myself, so beautiful it would be to go out dancing and swaying…well in theory, then I think of the idea of the pain if I don’t break my neck immediately.

As for a suicide note, what to say? I’ve had writers block since college; I’d sit down and stare at the blank page and have nothing left in my stead. I know for Stephen I would leave a check for my entire bank account, down to the last penny for what I would owe him for screwing him over on rent (I even discussed with Jim our financial advisor and friend on making Stephen the soul beneficiary to my mutual funds should something happen to me). To my mom, a simple I love you and you did a fantastic job; for I know she would find a way to blame herself. To my brothers some quote of encouragement and inspiration perhaps? To my step dad I would write a thank you for sacrificing his life to provide an amazing upbringing despite the odds.

No, instead I decided I would just work myself to death. Just work until I collapse. This way it wasn’t necessarily labeled that I killed myself, so none of my loved ones will be in remorse with guilt. Most importantly I would go out doing something I was passionate about, just like my father who died of an arrhythmia while scuba diving. I also would be giving my team and the company I work for everything I had! No one could call this selfish.

I didn’t necessarily have to go out of my way for this as almost immediately after I launched this plan I was volunteered for a ton of travel and overtime in stores other than my own. I could not be any happier to volunteer those hours and then some! Quickly I began to lose a significant amount of weight and my eyes began to sink into my head. At night it became difficult to breathe. When my boss gave me days off I spent them in movement, traveling and participating in unhealthy activities. Since I became sober May 2009 I had not taken in as much alcohol as I did these past few weeks.

Then something happened. A wrench was tossed into the gears of my smooth running scheme; hope. A hope for a life with a house, kids, and a man that loves me, and a hope of a brighter tomorrow to live for. I hoped for a published novel. I hoped to see more of the world as I took in the breathtaking red rocks of Sedona, AZ. I found a quenching for a Pumpkin Spice Latte and the fall season of sweaters and colorful leaves dancing in the cool breeze it preceded. A psychic was the key. She told me so much of my life at present so accurately, and then started to drop hints of what to anticipate. One of which was a soul mate. It was a difficult concept, ‘you mean someone who loves me unconditionally? Someone who can know everything about me and love me for it? Someone I can love through life’s adventures? Will we just click?’ I looked at Clark’s parents and saw how in love they were. We spent an evening with three bottles of Sauvignon Blanc as they told me the story of how they met and how they fell in love. I’ve witnessed since my 18th year just how genuinely happy they are together. I want that. I want to experience that before I die.

At work I was offered all sorts of compliments not only for my work at present but for my dedication through the years. My life seems to be moving forward in that direction. I feel more fulfilled in what I do, and I know that there is far more room in my professional life to continue growing. I’ve even found myself in Sedona one last time. I want to see where I end up this fall. Where does this path lead?

Most importantly I am writing again. I started a blog as a way for those who have been shut out of my life (not on purpose but instead due to my rigorous traveling schedule) to gain insight of what a day in my life is like or who I’ve become. Instead as I practiced my voice on paper I very rapidly regained the voice I had lost years ago in my darkest of days. I really believed it was gone forever, but now I look to write a book. I will be published! But what should I write about? Next step is to rediscover my muse.

I told Stephen last week that everything suddenly seems to taste amazing. Every food I eat explodes with magnificent flavor on my tongue; even the every day edibles such as chai and potato salad. I looked at him in surprise, “I believe my depression has lifted!” I do believe I’m going to start experiencing more and stop putting off trips to here or there. I will wait patiently, in less than 13 months I could possibly come in contact with that man of mystery. Within 6 months my life could be completely altered in my career. And within the next two years I hope to be a published author.