I am feeling like a rickety blog writer; like a blogger who is wobbling over the words as if the training wheels were removed this morning. Writing a book requires a very different type of writing...I think? And it has been hard to make time for deep thoughts or simply more stories about my period with the final deadline for the book looming. I feel like after September, you're going to get me totally in your face saying, "have you thought of this?" or "have you noticed this?" or "can't we all just love each other." I'm going to start posting six times a day and chewing the ends of my braids (did you do that after the pool? Suck on the ends of your hair? Was that just me? Was that too much information from summer camp circa 1984?).
I think the other thing is that I have had emotional hypothermia. I guess that is the only way to describe it. At first I had told Josh that I was cocooning, but after watching a Wonder Pets episode (Save the Caterpillar!) where an inchworm's friend emerges from her pupa as a butterfly, I realized that I was not really cocooning at all. Cocooning is like going into sleep mode to emerge better and bigger. I am not going to emerge any different from how I entered. Hence the wrong analogy.
I think it's closer to entering hypothermia. That second stage of hypothermia where the blood vessels on the surface of the body constrict in order to shunt blood towards the vital organs. Emotional hypothermia is about boiling it down to where all non-essential emotions and thoughts are shutting down in order to best serve the existing necessary anxieties. Anything external and non-necessary quite literally feels as if it is constricting; as if I am constricting whenever someone throws out a new thing to deal with. Today, at CVS, I was charged an extra dollar for a package of diapers I didn't want to be buying anyway and I could literally feel my stomach churning and constricting while I dealt with the cashier who was sucking away minutes from my day.
There is the work deadline, an illness in our extended family, and a health scare we had with one of the twins. That in the end turned out to be nothing...well...it turned out to be something but somethings feel like nothing when you hold them against what you had thought originally to be a something. I couldn't come down from that health scare. I cried in the car leaving the doctor, so relieved. But I wanted to cry like an animal. I wanted to do that cry where you are half crying and half screaming but the twins were in the backseat and I had to hold it together. And I didn't even think I could explain why I wanted to cry like that after dodging the bullet.
Josh said recently that a mother would do anything to give her child what she thought would make them happy and I disagree. I think a mother would take from her child anything she thought would make them unhappy. And there is a distinct difference. I do want my children to be happy--but I always want them to chart their own happiness. And if that means becoming a Catholic, meat-eating, business tycoon, then I would bask in the happiness of their carnivorous and money-making attendance at Mass. Truly, there are few things the kids could become or do that would upset me in any way. I think harming another person falls into that "disappointment" category. But I have such a vague notion of what would make me happy therefore I don't think I could ever make the assumption that I could help them with their happiness. I can only keep throwing out possibilities and see which ones they take and run with any ideas they throw out into mix as well (such as the ChickieNob's suggestion that we eat vegetarian bacon and green apples for dinner and that is just what we did on Monday night).
But I would do anything--including harming myself--to help my child because while I have difficulty guesstimating what could make another person happy, I think we all can point to certain things in life and say, "that would most likely make all of us profoundly unhappy." Being in pain, for example. Or having your heart stamped on. Or being on the receiving end of cruelty or fear or distress.
When we thought one of the twins had a health problem, I didn't know what to do with myself in that moment. I knew intellectually that I would come to a place of peace where it barely registered as an emotional point in my day-to-day life. We can become accustomed to anything. We can take jabbing our bellies with needles and make it commonplace. We can start with it being this huge mass in our life and then have it become so familiar that we can give ourselves an injection while we watch an episode of a television show and barely register the meaning behind our nightly routine.
But what I mean is that I moved into this state of having emotional hypothermia in order to deal with the thought of having my child in pain. Because I was simply waiting and breathing, not knowing how I could remove this thing from my child's life; take it on. There was nothing I could trade. I couldn't hurt myself and therefore not have my child hurt.
This wasn't the first time we had a doctor ask us to see a specialist to just "check out a concern." We have preemies--this is par for the course. But I don't learn. I don't take on new coping mechanisms or do it better next time. I simply slip into this hypothermic state, feel as if I am this tiny being trapped inside these huge pillars that are looming overhead, threatening to fall. And we walked away having dodged the bullet but I can't stop thinking about this: the hypothemic way I deal with stress, how little we can do.
I didn't mean for this post to go to this place. I was just thinking about how rickety I've been feeling as a blog post writer. How they've felt a little stunted, a little awkward. A little like that guy at the party that you really don't want to talk to but you know he's going to make a beeline for you. And how I'm going to this place this weekend that I absolutely hate and I hate that I hate it. I hate it because we ruined this perfectly lovely spot by going there to get away from things when we were in the middle of treatments the first time. And that spot is a location casualty. It simply reminds me too much of a time when I hated myself so deeply. I never thought we'd have to go back there, but now family has begun vacationing in this spot and if we want to see them, we need to deal with this location casualty too.
I spent a lot of time before the appointment hating myself for some of the thoughts and fears I was having and how impotent I felt in fixing a potential problem. And it's so close to the same--the hate I felt for my own body, its inability to carry a child. It seemed particularly bizarre that we were heading back to this same spot. I pulled into a gas station crying a few weeks ago and I didn't know if I was crying about my child or crying about that time before they came into our life.
Thank you for letting me unwrap this. I really didn't know this was where the post would go. It feels like one of those therapy sessions when you walk slowly to your car. And jot down a few notes on a post-it pad before driving. Just because you want to understand these thoughts later. But I truly do feel better after writing this.