16 November 2015
Saturday’s filled with a jumble of blissful hours. I’m recovering from the bronchial plague and it’s the first time I’ve left my house in a while. I do a little Christmas shopping with a soul sister. I spend the afternoon looking at all the neat stuff in her house as she unpacks. We collect many of the same treasures- Pyrex, teacups, cookbooks, and knickknacks no one else would claim. Her little boy’s imagination is a wonder to behold as he turns a measuring tape into a counting snake. I learn to make a burlap wreath.
Underneath all the goodness grows this little tizzy of confusion, my personal slip n’ slide into an episode. First, I explain to my friend I haven’t eaten all day. Maybe I should have something, so I have a slice of pecan pie. I can’t really eat it though. Then, the dizziness sets in. I’m getting all discombobulated. I think about how I’m coming off this here plague, but I know what’s what. My friend’s pretty sensitive to the Crazies, so I can tell her I’ve got a case of ’em about to hit me. I don’t. I ask to go along home.
Everybody’s here when I walk in the door. I try to act normal. I don’t embrace what’s happening. I don’t go and take care of my needs. I don’t eat something, hydrate, take a quick shower. I don’t say, “Hey, y’all. I’mma need to take a minute or ten.” I sit with my mister while the Littles do whatever it is they’re doing. My mister and I talk about our days and then, we have an exchange over something I did that I shouldn’t ought to have done without maybe talking to him first on accounta we’re partners in this whole living life together thing we got goin’. So, he’s a little mad and that’s when I absolutely slide down the rabbit hole.
I cry for a good hour. In that hour I tell every dirty lie on myself I can possibly tell. I’m not a good wife. My mister’s gonna leave me. I’m a terrible mother. My children deserve better. I’m a fat, ugly, no good, stupid human being. I’m so low down, my own mother never loved me. Everything I touch is a failure. My books are failures. My words are shit. My online store is a terrible idea. No one really loves me. I’ll always be alone. I’ll end up alone. Why am I even here?
I’m sobbing. Snottin’ it up good and proper, y’all. Part of me is amazed I’m so snotty after a week of such hard core bronchitis. In the middle of my breakdown, I’m thinking ’bout how all I needed was an episode to thin that mucus right up. At some point I think I went from a wailing to a low moan, ’cause my little shitass dog started howling along with me. If you’re so hysterical your dog’s howling, you’ve reached your moment.
I have a choice. Breathe or believe the lies. Breathing takes work, ’cause breathing means I choose to live. I have to pull all the pieces of myself back together. The baby no one wants. The little girl, hiding underneath her bed. The teenager hell bent on redemption in whatever god would have her. The young mother who sought cover in the herd. The middle age warrior, drowning in her Crazies. The biggest lie of all is those pieces of me are still waiting to be rescued. In the immortal, unfortunate words of a long ago boss, “That’s done been did.”
I give myself a hug. I blow my nose. I wash my face. When I rejoin my family, my mister asks me to spend the rest of the evening in the recliner, if I don’t mind. And y’all know what? I don’t mind at all. We can divide up the housework tomorrow. He fixes waffles and Conecuh sausage for supper. I take some congestion meds and more antibiotics. I hydrate. The Littles are fine. My sweet sister-friend stops by. I get a hug which feels a little like sister-friend heaven. I don’t have to believe any of the lies I told on myself earlier.
Here’s the thing about having the Crazies. Even though people have breakdowns on accounta they’ve been sick or they’re stressed or whatever reason people have breakdowns, we have to be extra careful. ‘Cause that breakdown I had on Saturday? Last year, that dog howling, snot filled breakdown could have gotten out of control real fast. Now, I’m over here managing my shit and making burlap wreaths and whatnot.