Friday, April 16, 2010

creature comforts and riding the coaster....

Its not just family and friends who stumble through the painful transition of a marriage meltdown, it also includes the whole atmosphere around you.  Our lenses alter dramatically,  foisting us into seeing things in such a different way.  Its like a multi-sensory seismic shift on top of a teutonic plate of moving perspectives, shaky perceptions, and growing alternatives.  Everything has a different meaning.  Some things become more powerfully symbolic.  You can do your best to predict what may trigger your sensibilities, but you can't  prepare yourself fully.  

I guess this is all a part of the roller coaster ride I am on at the Camp Destructo Theme Park.  Frig, I wish they would shut down the power and turn the lights off for a spell!  They keep playing our songs! They keep throwing me curveball items that are attached to meaningful moments in the 25 years I shared with this man I still refer to as my husband but shouldn't.  Even where I am writing this (my kitchen), all I have to do is lift my eyes and I'm surrounded by "things" that were wedding presents, birthday gifts, pieces I use when we've had fabulously fun parties.  It is a minefield of memory triggers that tend to hit the hardest when I am the most raw and tired. Sweet Jesus!  I'm staring at a Bugs Bunny cookie jar that seems to be smiling back at me!  A birthday presnt to a Looney Tunes fanatic who despite everything still makes me laugh.

This list of these unpredictable triggers seems endless, even if I'm not so consciously aware of them because they make up my home.  The esthetics of comfort which display our personalites as individual family members, and as a whole family that we have carefully accumlated are like rings inside a mature tree.......... a giving tree.......... a tree we planted together with hope and dreams in our hearts.  

My home is shifting.  The pictures on the wall, the photos lovingly framed and displayed throughout the house, the furniture and colour scheme, the knicknacks and dinnerware, the bookshelves brimming with favourite stories, pottery given as gifts or chosen because it fit who we were,  shells picked up on beaches, candles which burned so brightly not so long ago..... all seem to have a layer of archeological dust on them now. They sit in inanimate silence, but hold stories that all seem to start with the same sentence..........."Once upon a time......"  Sometimes, their silence is deafening.

It used to be that this home felt like a haven, not just to me but to my family and to our friends who have joined us in many celebrations over the years.  It is an extension of us.  It is an extension of me, especially this kitchen.  I created this haven....... this place people felt so welcome to walk into.   It used to be that I was his home.  He told me so. Often. I was his home.  Like a broken platter, once used to carry cheer, I have been replaced.  His home is somewhere else.....restyled and fresh. It's where his heart is.  Comfort in a foreign land.

My heart is here.  The person I called home is gone.  I feel adrift. 

Its easy just to brush off the idea that stuff really has no meaning.  It does and not just for me. It holds meaning for all of us.  It holds meaning for my children......... much of it allows them a sense of security inside a place that is shifting. So, I can't just push it all away and start again from scratch.  I wouldn't want to do that anyways, because I know my sharp jolting feelings I get when the roller coaster takes a nasty curve will eventually slow down so I can readjust my senses and fix my windblown hair.  

Some of the things will be moved out to join his new home (or maybe not....his new home may not want that.) Some will be tossed onto a heap for a yard sale, refreshed by a new colour scheme, a new "look", a new feel.  And some, will eventually be used over the seasons when the time is less ripe and more right and will represent a softer look back on a different time and place, when this was a dwelling for a family of four and a dog who hasn't quite figured out the lay of the land yet.  We are all suffering from a bit of canine confusion.

What triggers me now, I will eventually come to terms with.  What may take a much longer time to settle is the way I define home and the way he has chosen to define his.  In the meantime, I think I will avoid a few cupboards and choose carefully the soundtrack of music which used to send me into a place of comfort and joy....... which used to ground me into a sense of love and belonging, until the dust settles a bit.  Its the best I can do.  That and sometimes gather the courage to press play on a song from our past and have a good long cry.   Unfortunately, Van Morrison will have to wait a long, long time before I can return to his melodies.  It just too painful.

You know, I used to LOVE the amusement park.  I guess I still do. Roller coasters are my favourite rides.  Water slides too!  Maybe its time to chose another form of amusement.............. calm.   NO!  That's just not who I am. It may be what his other home offer more of........ calm.  But, here?  The rides may be painful and long at times, but they also offer an exhilarating array of joy and a sense of LIFE living.  I'll take the Polar Express option any time over a bland merry go round.

ps.  I have started making changes............. I now live in an indigo blue bedroom thanks to the help of my sister who came to visit over the Easter weekend. More to be done in there before it feels like a sanctuary again, but just by changing the colour and some of the decor I see hope through this long transitional time in my life.

I'll work towards refreshing my soundtrack too...........slowly.


Anonymous said...

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh.
As always my thoughts are with you.

Brother David said...

Can't find any better words than Christopher Robin; but the colour scheme and word sanctuary sounds fantastic.


awareness said...

Thank you Mavis..... It was wonderful to bump into you in front of the cantaloupes last weekend. What I love about this city is that eventually you bump into everyone around the melon section. hahaha!
Your words jumped out at me this morning, and then as I was teaching today (Crisis Intervention...what irony!!) in a classroom usually used for the Early Childhood Education class, I walked by a framed photo and the SAME quote from Winnie the Pooh was written on the photo. :)

David....Indigo, it turns out, is the colour of mystery. Sanctuary is what I am hoping to create. I must go slow and be patient.

Jen said...

Dana, every time I read your writing, I am reminded to slow down and feel...whatever it is that I'm trying to NOT feel.

Thank you.

You are indeed a beautiful soul.

awareness said...

Thanks Jen. I wish I felt like one. Right now, all I seem to feel is ugly. The wounds of betrayal gape and weep. I want it to stop.

Jen said...

I know you are hurting.

Please forgive me if this is out of feels instinctive...

when I've been betrayed, in similar fashion, one of the most healing things I could do was to stay with me. Do those things which were SO VERY ME. So unashamedly me. Things that took me back to my essence, before him, before family, before marriage, before the anxiety of being anyone other than ME.

I hope that makes sense.

Marja said...

Sorry to hear that you are going to a very difficult part in your life. I can't take your pain away but in thoughts will sit next to you and hold your hand. Send you lots of love. One day you must visit New Zealand and I wil show you paradise

Gilly said...

What Jen says is very important. You are YOU. Hold on to that.

Indigo sounds wonderful!


Gilly said...

PS A large packing case might come in useful to put painful reminders in until you know what to do with them.

Sorry, I always seem to give practical advice, but I do feel so much for you too.

awareness said...

Jen. you're right, I have been doing much of the same, including listening to the music that has always done that. My work world helps. I spent the last two days delivering a workshop to a group of nursing students and I felt very much at home up in front of that class....... I even read them a few pieces I had written in the past that tied in with the topic I was covering. It exhausted me completely though! Hence feeling so raw last night.
Writing is authentically me, as is my photography. I intend to pick up my camera again today and start clicking. I'm also heading "home" today to see my family and old friends for a week, which I think will help.
I know exactly what you mean.

awareness said...

Marja... I was showing my daughter your blog the other day admiring the photos of NZ, and we both said the same thing.......that one day we'd love to visit. I told Martha what a genuinely sweet person you are, and that we would have a friend to greet us at the other end if we managed to get on a plane to take us to the other side of this world! :)
I'd love to see paradise.

Gilly....Practicality is a saving grace! I have done some of that, and I try to force myself into a head space of practicality in order to clear away the flooding feelings. My room for example was stripped down to the bare bones....decluttered and I'm gradually adding the colours and visuals which make me smile.
As for the other stuff... it'll come in time. You are correct!

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

just don't do what i did and throw precious cookery books out in temper...

what a good idea to paint your sanctuary

often thinking of you at this time

Independent Chick said...

I'm with Mavis (braver, stronger, smarter). You will come out you, beautiful you, on the other side of all this. Sending you big hugs (from someone who knows).