Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Place Between

There is a strange tango between strength and weakness: something I like to call streakness. The two seem to go hand in hand--muscle fibers must first be torn down in order for them to rebuild, repair and become stronger. Or they can sit unused and atrophy. Or maybe be used just enough to maintain their current abilities.

But this isn't a post about muscles, this is about being weak and strong at the same time and a willingness to confess it. Just two weeks ago, on one of the most difficult days I've had so far (and believe me there have been plenty) with physical, mental and emotional pain cascading into a personal Niagara Falls, I started off an email to a friend and it read, in part:

Just today, when I awoke with the ice pick once again excavating my inner ear, and all my pain (neck, ear, back - to say nothing of the heartache) came rushing back in a torrent after only a few days' break, I wanted nothing more than to drag myself to the kitchen and search out my very large bottle of nerve pills, and an even larger glass of water. I wanted to swallow those pills one by one until they were gone (all 90 of them) because the feeling of release of utter nothingness, even the idea that such a thing could exist is just so damn tempting - but then, then I would miss things. Oh how I would miss-

*that feeling of nestling in with my husband at night, our conversations drifting between us until his breath slips into a familiar rhythm and I am alone (although not truly) with my thoughts in the dark of the early morning hours

*Ellie's hugs right after school, her eyes still wide with excitement as she recounts her every discovery. And, of course, the planning of tomorrow's hair and "outfit."

*Reading Nicole's stories-creations I could never begin to dream up, and watching the ebb and flow that is sisters at play. The way she suddenly takes us off guard with her ability to be silly.

*Michelle's playfulness, the way she includes everyone, enjoys teaching, and that spark that lights in her when she's really connecting, sharing her world with me...bordering that line between teen and young adult.

*Spielberg's eye for capturing images - whether snapshots of time through film or writing, graphic design or painting...his is an eye that can see what is really there. And then there is the fact that he can make us all laugh.

*Ty, who has plenty of people who love him--more than I could ever count--who would step up and coordinate everything that goes into making sure everything runs smoothly so that he can savor the most enjoyment possible out of a life that has known pain far greater than mine.

That desire, that confession to have my physical, mental, and emotional pain be over, that is my weakness. The desire to stick around purely for selfish reasons is another (there are far better candidates out there for the mother of my children), but! the fact that I am still here writing this out, maybe this is a small strength. Maybe each word is a bird of pain that will flap it's wings and be gone from me . . .

And what will be left in it's place is Streakness: a bit of something weak, with a desire to become something bigger, better, stronger and more beautiful. Maybe one day, it will even be Strength.

All I know is these birds can't stay here locked up inside me any longer or they will carry me off.

I want to know from you, can you identify with this concept of streakness?


MJ said...

I think your desire to stick around is a deep strength -- not selfishness. And that lie about better candidates? that is the resident demon -- shake him off, he doesn't belong there on your shoulder. Only you can be your children's mother. Only you can be my dear friend, Mrs. O.

Mrs. Organic said...

It does sometimes feel as if someone else could just as easily slip into my life and love these people far better than I do.

To reach the point where I am here because of what they'd miss from me if I weren't (you know, besides the nagging). Note to self: change perspective.

The important thing for me now, these few weeks later, is that I made it through some of the most physically and emotionally taxing situations t =

Kristina P. said...

I don't have you in my day to day life, but I would definitely miss you.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say ditto to everything MJ said?

So: still lots of pain? Is any of it better? I hate, hate, hate, that you're suffering so much with this. (Are you already seeing a pain specialist? I think my mom goes to a clinic that's really great for dealing with chronic pain.)

Tebbs Family said...

Your writing amazes me! Why don't you publish something and earn lots and lots of money?! I have actually "moved out" for a day and it helped us all... but when it comes right down to it we're truly the best "fit." I am sorry one of your trials is physical pain.

radioactive girl said...

Yes. You know I totally get this. Pain makes everythign seem hopeless. I wish doctors would understand this fact. I wish I would realize that sometimes the reason I feel so hopeless about things is because of the pain, not because of anything in reality or anything about my own person suckiness as a human.

I am thinking good thoughts for you! I hope things seem more under control very soon!

TheOneTrueSue said...

This is such a beautiful post and it makes my heart ache for you. I wish the pain would stop.

Mrs. Organic said...

The doctor told me that I would begin to feel relief within a few days of treatment, but what I didn't realize is that now my face has to relearn how to behave.

My face is sort of acting like a 3 year old and throwing fits--it does not like behaving. But I am told that after a solid two months of treatment, my muscles (and also my ear) should settle down and I will be able to function w/o any extra "help".

I think I will go right now and make a paper chain.

Kalli said...

love it, and you

Omgirl said...

My mother complains of this same thing all the time. She has severe ADHD along with other social issues (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Tourettes, etc.) It makes her a very eccentric person at best, a downright menace at worst. She drives us (family) and almost everyone else she knows crazy. and she knows this. And it makes her depressed. But she can't stop, she can't change. So she often wants to die, to escape the pain of who she is. But her faith, and her reasons for living, keep her going. She tells me about this every few months or so when she breaks down and really wishes she were dead. So, yes, indirectly through her, I can relate!

Melody said...

I get this. I do.

M-Cat said...

Streakness - I love how you found a way to define the feelings. And yes, whether we admit it or not, there are many of us who feel very much the same.

And then we pick ourselves up by our boot straps, slap on a fake smile and go about the world one minute at a time : )

Anonymous said...


Muttering Mike said...

The fact that you still have positives in your life and reasons to stick around gives you strength, and that strength helps you cope with the weaknesses. Try to remember that weaknesses are temporary, and strength is permanent.