Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys. Oh Wait. Yes It Is.

The last time I posted was right after Leslie passed away. It’s not necessarily that I don’t want to write, it’s just that I don’t want to write. Or socialize. Or smile. Or quit eating. Or eat. Or shower. Ok. Showering is fine. I have had numerous people tell me it’s time for grief counseling. I have an appointment Monday. Josie stopped her private practice so it’s a new place with a new counselor. I did 2 ½ years of counseling after Andrew. What could this new one tell me I don’t already know?

Grief takes time & there is no time frame. It’s one foot in front of the other & at some point, we look back to discover we made it through the rough, choppy season of grief & we are now in the smooth, easy days with the occasional sucker punch of memories & tears. I’m just not there yet. It’s hard to lose a friend. It’s hard to lose a young friend. It’s hard to lose a young friend when you believe without them intervening in your own life, you’d not be alive now. Or at the very minimum, not the person you are now.

The strange thing is I don’t sit around all day crying. Of course, there are days more tears flow than others. Leslie isn’t the only thing running through my mind. I’ll spare you the details of that 3-ring circus but it’s more like my whole body is just sad & tired. I am present in life. I have not totally shut down like I did with Andrew. I have gone out with friends, went to concerts, amusement parks…life. But in between these things, I am exhausted from trying to force myself to be normal. I don’t feel normal so when I am out & appear good, in that moment, I am. But it doesn’t feel natural either. This unnatural feeling is uncomfortable because… well, it’s unnatural. To not feel that way, the easiest thing to do is avoid situations that cause it. Like life. Work, church, friends, family, uhm…oh, that’s all my life is so I guess I’m done.

I clearly cannot avoid life.

Every morning, I get up & go to work. On the regular, it’s a struggle, it’s work. Not cotton candy & unicorns. But when I’m emotionally spent? EEKS. I have trust issues. One “wrong” move means I can’t trust you. I will work through it fairly quick, but being a people lover means I’m going to keep loving you even though I may think you tend to be a douche. (My pastor is going to love this following that last sentence. Ya can’t say I’m not real.) I attribute the ability to love regardless of personality to Jesus. I may not always “like” someone’s behaviors, but I will always try to interact with love & kindness because I genuinely believe love changes us. But at work, it can be negative, gossipy, & frequently critical of others. Oftentimes, I personally feel scrutinized & defensive. I’m not perfect. I have the “back away from my desk” face. I know at times I can be less than pleasant. Trust me, I know. It’s a vicious cycle. However, I try not to initiate negative discussions or gossip. I’m often someone people come to for emotional unloading so I’m used to being visited by a coworker or texted by a friend. I’m fine with that, quite happy to be there for people. Do not misinterpret this as me saying I don’t want to be there for people. But unloading life is quite different than gossip or backbiting. I’m just not sure everyone else knows that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing people in my department. They are very kind & generous. I was recently asked to coordinate a fundraiser for a woman with cancer. This isn’t our first. We have done many acts of love when someone’s life is in turmoil. I’m proud & honored to be a part of this group. But we are human. And mostly women. Soooo….

Moving on. This post isn’t about work.

Tonight, I have a dinner party with friends from church. I wish I could say I’m looking forward to it. I’m not. (Talk about total vulnerability & awkwardness. But keep reading friends!) Everyone there will be from my church family. I love them all deeply. Really. Like, I love them so much there are no words for it. Deep down to my toes, makes my heart swell kind of love. But I’m on the verge of a panic attack over it. First of all, it’s at the house Leslie called home for those last few months, I spent a lot of time there during those days. I haven’t been back since. Secondly, I have to try to face that while others are there. I’m not a public crier. I like to do it alone, hidden. I’m afraid I will melt in front of everyone. BUT… I made the obligatory side dish. I straightened my hair. I dressed somewhat cute with little summer booties. I have a cute little pedi peeking out of the toe. I should be feeling good & excited about dinner with framily. (friends that become family). Quite honestly, church on Sunday will have me in the same tizzy. It’s just hard to people, right now. What exactly is a tizzy & why am I using that word??? Hold on while I find out…

___________________________________________________

Definition of tizzy

: a highly excited and distracted state of mind

origin unknown ____________________________________________________

Ya’ll are welcome. Lol.

The other thing about “working through” anything, be it grief, trauma or other psychological “things” in life, even as simple as day to day problems, is how for some ridiculous reason, it’s never just about what you are working through. I don’t know why. But it’s like other “things” surface & suddenly I’m working through 90 thoughts running through my head. Now aren’t you glad I spared you the 3-ring circus earlier?? So, my brain is processing Leslie. Work. Feeling like my character is under attack. The fundraiser event-things to buy, things to do, places to contact for donations. Family things. Feeling lonely & abandoned (YES I KNOW I SAID I DON’T WANT TO SOCIALIZE!). My friend’s & their issues. Feeling guilty for avoiding people or events. Knowing I need to reach out to a few people but being afraid to do so even though there is no reason to be afraid. Being glad I’m single. Being sad I’m single. Questioning why I’m still single, I mean, I’m not awful, usually somewhat funny, even have times when I’m kinda cute. Wondering why I’m freaking crazy. Panicking about dinner parties. Wondering how soon I can get home to crawl in bed. Praying I get some sleep.

Oops, there’s the circus. It unpacked itself before I even knew it was happening. So now ya know. And that is just from the last 4 minutes of my mind. Imagine living with that 24 hours a day.

I’m not exactly sure where I’m taking this today. I guess, I’m just airing my dirty laundry. Maybe subtly asking for some grace & forgiveness for being a bit scatterbrained & possibly rude. I’m sorry. I’m at the place in grieving that requires us to behave like normal adults, function in society & not walk around with tissues stuck up our noses. But my heart still wants to be curled up in bed. So, I compromise with halfhearted attendances & attempts at fun, silly Matilda everyone loves.

But I do know one thing, all that up there…is my ugly. But I’m going to allow myself to embrace it. Some of the crazy is part of the grieving process, there is no time frame in which that is supposed to end. I’ve lost a lot of people over the last few years. It doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. As far as other people’s messes? I will continue to try to love them as best as I can because love changes us for the better. I will pray for their lives, their hearts & their souls. I hope they will do the same for me.

Till next time-

Matilda

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