Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Life has caught up with me again....and this time she hit me right in the feels. I'd say in the vagina, but since my surgery, I'm left wondering if I even have one of those. All joking aside with the roller coaster of estrogen patches, binders/girdles and no sex for a total of 8 months, I still feel broken.
Broken in a don't-touch-me sort of way. Broken in a I-don't-know-what-I-am-doing sort of way. Broken in a everything-I-touch-turns-to-shit sort of way. Broken in a I-cry-for-no-reason-and-yet-those-reasons-crush-me sort of way.
All the things I thought I could fix...well, they're still lingering. sort of.
There is the lingering regret of babies which is at the forefront of everything at the moment.
But not in the way that makes me run down the street to Texas Women's Pavilion, receipt in one hand, and a jar in the other. Or vacuum pack and Igloo to make sure my uterus gets packed on ice.
No, it is more of a quiet, solemn flutter in my chest, like a bird or butterfly's wings flitting across my heart, and that deep, crippling sadness is no longer so unbearable. I don't know if it's because I will it away because the thought of another prescription for Lexapro, Zoloft, Wellbutrin or whatever sour pill isn't crowding my medicine cabinet making its way into my hands is repulsive.
Or maybe it's the futility in lamenting the extinction of the what-if's with the big H.
Or maybe it's the closure I gained in the past month on my hiatus of conscious grieving. I'd like to think it's this that keeps me sleeping more than 2 hours a night for the first time in over two years.
Said closure came in the form of one of the most defining moments of my life by far. Save from childbirth, seeing my name in print for the first time, the day Hubs No. 2 grabbed my hand in public during our courtship and the day I realized my mother was one of my best friends.
Save for those few instances, I have never felt more alive, more aware, more present than the following moment.
That moment. The moment. It came in the form of Listen To Your Mother: Southeast Texas (LTYM SETX) 2016. For those of you who aren't familiar it's a national production of performances on the topic of motherhood. Think Vagina Monologues, but moms being the center of the pieces.
An email sent via my critique group with information piqued my attention shortly before the H when I was in a whirlwind of grandiose posturing, acting brave and hopeful busily filling my days with things to distract from the approaching final day. To-Do's (and Don't's), life plans and weight goals followed as I planned the "new beginning" I was certain would come.
And so on a lark I hit submit and added my name to a list of people auditioning. I put it in the far recesses of my mind because I had 5 weeks before auditioning day to determine what I had to say.
Can you imagine ME not having anything to say? Nah, neither did I. Honestly, it was more a matter of deciding what can I read that doesn't drop the F bomb too many times? Or if sexual dysfunction was an American phenomena or just my own private Hell?
Besides-it left me more than enough time to decide whether I was too chicken shit to make the drive.
With a slew of last minute appointments, the agonizing task of picking which less elastic blown granny panties to pack and the trek to the hospital, I forgot about that day. That drive.
Until I received the email reminder. As I laid enveloped in my scratchy hospital issued sheets, food court Jell-O jiggling on the tray and my morphine drip filling the silence with its double time ploop, I panicked.
But not fast enough to delete said email before my mother reached over and snatched my phone away.
A dozen questions proceeded to make their way, garbled and fuzzy, into my brain. After much buzzing and one more pump of the morphine via my trigger finger, I answered. Brushing it off, I informed her I wasn't making the drive because no one wanted to hear what I had to say.
I believe if it weren't for the IV's, nurse and cannulas she would have slapped me silly. However, given how medically high I already was I found that to be an impossible feat. Mustering a bravery I can only attribute to the Class C narcotics coursing through my veins, I informed her that there was no way I was showing up for that audition. Especially brave enough to wave my rainbow Popsicle in her face to emphasize my point.
I don't recall everything she said because she is a woman of many words, and most colorful at that, but I did catch how special she believed I was. And she insisted others would too.
And how achingly disappointed she would be in me if I failed to follow-through. In a quiet voice while looking down at her lap. She might have even mustered a tear.
You know how moms are. And damned if it didn't work.
Well...long after the Popsicle melted, cannulas came out, and I was home with the nagging fear of disappointing my mother, I stood on the lawn, keys in hand and I took a deep breath.
I was you know... Chicken shit. But not enough to prevent me from climbing behind the wheel.
Even with stopping twice due to my impressive gastro pyrotechnics.
So I mustered all my strength and wrapped my girdle tight, and off I was to Beaumont and what I thought for sure would be my doom. Or shameful rejection. Complete with sneers, eye rolling and slamming door.
Well....it wasn't. What started as soft spoken words trailing into a brightly lit room with four strangers turned into the strong baritone bellowing from my gut to an audience alongside this little extension of a family.
Following my piece, and subsequent bawling in front of four kind and patient people, I had a whole 24 hours to breath in relief and laugh that at the absurdity of it all.
Until I heard that familiar ding come the next afternoon, and there I was officially a member of the 2016 cast.
The following weeks brought about meetings, rehearsals peppered with salty tears and cracking laughter. I met some of the most extraordinary people, and listened , enthralled at every word as they shared pieces of their souls with me.
Wounded, some mended, others still healing, and for the first time in months I felt...something other than anger, grief or pity. Something other than hate, spite and envy. I felt...I felt something I cannot describe even now.
Except closure. As I stood this past Saturday night and looked down to see my husband patiently and eagerly waiting to hear my words, I knew no matter the outcome that the flutter across my heart was just that. A flutter. No crushing weight. No suffocating gasps, no undertow of grief pulling me further and further away from everyone else.
That this stop on my journey was divine destiny. These people, this moment was needed for me to quiet that lingering regret. To remind me of the possibilities I have ignored of living life.
Most of all it reminded me of two things:
I am still broken. I will probably always be broken. Maybe not in a thousand pieces like before, but maybe precariously held together with Super Glue, zip ties and duct tape, praying it stands the test of time.
Mending. And I don't know how long it will take. And I don't know if the flutter may one day turn into a beating so forceful I am thrown down that spiraling hole I have managed to crawl out of.
But today I can silence it. Today my soul isn't scattered into pieces on the floor.
Today is enough.
That I am not alone. This part is crucial. This part right here is what has allowed me to sleep peacefully since the day I stepped into a room with those twelve others. It's what sustained me to make the drive back and forth. And this gives me hope.
It gives me strength. That many of us remain broken, many of us are in various states of "repair" as we attempt to navigate past moments filled with anger, heartache, trauma, loss and regret.
And most of us never recover.
I don't know if next week, year or tomorrow the floor will drop out and I'll be back to square one.
What I do know is the flutter I once felt in my womb I now feel in my breast.
Tiny wings beating and fluttering in my ribs, I like to think it's hope. Or sanity. Struggling to burst free, but content to stay for just one more day.
All because of twelve strangers and the courage to make that drive.