22 May, 2016

(living on) the edge

i'm fine. i don't miss our old home except in the most practical of ways, a.k.a. don't make me mention the lack of deep pull out drawers here again!!!!! i'm busy: painting walls, unpacking, finding places to put things, finding the things i put in places i don't remember, and i'm fine. i am busy and i am doing things and i'm checking things off my to do list and i'm dealing with issues as they come up, and i'm fine. and then, suddenly, every once in a while i'm not. i sit at the top of the stairs and i suddenly realise i now own a large suburban home with a garden and a pool and a large number of bathrooms and bedrooms and it requires maintenance and cleaning and new knowledges and skills and i feel like i am suddenly tottering on the edge of an abyss. i curl my toes and dig in and breathe deeply and talk myself out of the rising tide of panic and then i'm fine again. after all, many people live this life or aspire to this life or dream about this life, and here i am, actually living it, and daring to even consider having a panic attack about the sheer awesomeness of my existence. and then i'm fine again.

we went out on friday night and had very delicious margaritas with a deceptive amount of tequila hidden within them and so yesterday i was badly hungover and not particularly happy and then we had a social engagement engineered by mr. monkey (a very rare occurrence in itself - very very rare!) and i so didn't want to drive an hour into houston to hang out with a bunch of people and be nice and polite and interesting and interested, but i did, and it was fine, but then driving back (i was the designated driver), driving along the highways and byways, driving along the rampant development, driving under the huge ads for medical centres and cancer treatments and mega churches, driving along the overpasses and underpasses and flyovers, there it was again, the edge of an abyss, and i had to concentrate on driving and changing lanes and making sure i kept us safe on an interstate that was still inexplicably busy near midnight, and i breathed and focused and made it home, but some of the darkness remains.

next weekend is a long weekend here and we will be hosting a big bunch of uninvited guests* and i am nearly sick with anxiety about it. i'm nowhere near ready to receive, not to mention that a big part of moving here was the implication of reduced social obligations, but we will suddenly be inundated with 5 people who want to spend the weekend together and who want to spend the weekend with us, all because one friend whose wife is out of the country seems unable to travel without a pack. i know you will advise me to call the whole thing off. i know you will say i don't have to do it. but the alternative (for them all to stay in the tiny apartment of the people we visited last night) is not feasible, and these are friends of mr. monkey's and they all have plane tickets purchased already and i don't want to be a dick about it. plus it'll all be over by tuesday and i will survive. but my reaction to this is colouring everything leading up to the weekend in the darkest of colours and it's taking all my mental wherewithal to keep even keeled. mr. monkey is going away until friday and i usually relish small bits of time alone but this time the long weekend looms. not to mention that since moving here, mr. monkey has lost his every second friday off privileges (oh, america!), and a long weekend is the perfect opportunity to go exploring. instead, i'll be picking up empty beer cans and making sure nobody gets my couch dirty. yeah, yeah, i really should relax, but you know what? it ain't happening.

once again, i realise i haven't been meditating and i'm paying the price. meditation does wonders for keeping the abyss at bay, and perhaps these glimpses of it are a good reminder that while eternal vigilance isn't exactly a good way to exist, being aware of the nearness of darkness might motivate me to more regular self-care.

on a happier note, we just saw our house lizard larry climb up our living room window. we're big fans of larry though he seems rather not as taken with us.

*having stayed with tb for well over a month completely uninvited, i do feel a little bad bitching on this topic.


Zhoen said...

I'm sure Larry loves you too, in his own lizard way.

The best way to prepare for guests is to take care of your own mental health. Then when they arrive, give them a mop and show them where the garbage cans are, and tell 'em you'll be back in a couple of hours.

Oh, pc. I so get it about the house and move. I know those panicked tears welling up and the cliff beyond. All the chores - like a swarm nosing against your skin, never letting up. Or the moment it does, there is one more thing broken in your hand and you want to smash up the whole place. It does get better, but not right away, and not all of a sudden - only a gradual ebbing of the inundation.

Here, big hug, and a strong pot of tea, with a chocolate cookie.

Geneviève Goggin said...

I'm sorry you're being invaded so soon after moving. I hope it goes alright and that the anxiety will be kept at bay long enough to survive the weekend. Your yard looks like it might provide some rnr after they leave.

polish chick said...

thank you, ladies. it will be ok in the end, i know it. and really, people are dealing with far far worse, so i am being more than a little self indulgent in this thing. i remember a similar level of anxiety when flying to poland via london, and the whole "spending several days in london" thing was a huge stone around my neck. eventually i had to laugh - i was freaking out over SPENDING TIME IN LONDON! and now, i'm freaking out over HOUSE GUESTS. i'm certain that there's a medal for bravery somewhere in it for me, maybe even a knighthood. never mind wars, refugee camps, and violence, this woman's lived through a visit to london and houseguests!

Lucy said...

When we first moved here all those years ago, after the exciting summer stage there was this miserable winter come-down, and even really ordinary things, houses, people etc, looked weird and alien and hostile. Then I found out they were just Breton and they were weird and alien and hostile! But I got used to it anyway.

I know it should be salutary to consider all the suffering millions and how lucky we are and that we should pull ourselves together, count our blessings etc, but I'm not sure it really helps that much, just makes you feel a bit more crap really.

Submersion in water is often helpful, enjoy the pool!

Zhoen said...

Had a vet counselor tell me, when I was dismissing my distress over what was relatively a minor war event , that the worst pain he ever felt was the shrapnel injury in 'Nam. But that when he gets a papercut, at that moment, that's the worst pain ever. Told me not to compare pain, not mine to his, not mine now to mine any other time. Adding guilt to it doesn't help.

Anyway, I've found that to be a useful attitude. Where do we get this from? Being told by adults that our scraped knee is nothing compared to others, so quit crying? Then we tell it to ourselves? Sounds mean, really.

polish chick said...

yes, you are right. i think it's good to keep things in perspective - after all, whining about small things is fine on occasion provided it doesn't lead to self pity, and reminding yourself of how lucky you are is a good way to staunch the flow. but yes, pain is pain, and in the moment it can be all consuming.

as always, it's a balancing act.