“It takes 10 times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart.” Finnick to Katniss in Mocking Jay
I find myself these days broken and afraid. Perhaps I have been like this since the beginning of my journey in Cuckoo Luckoo Land. Maybe the shields of my own making and the people around me who have acted like shields kept me from seeing how many pieces I broke into during his time in the hospital and when he died. Or perhaps it is only as I walk deeper and longer into a world without Russell that my entire being feels as if it is crumbling under the weight of all that I am holding up and holding onto right now.
In the end it doesn’t really matter when the breaking began. What matters is the here and now. And in this time, in this moment I feel broken and afraid. I feel as if all of the pieces of myself – my heart, my soul, my physical body, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses – all that I am is laying jumbled around my feet in a million tiny pieces. All of it is scattered around me waiting for me to reassemble it all into some kind of cohesive whole again.
I am afraid, however, that I may never feel strong or capable enough again to pick up the pieces of my life, the pieces of me and function in the world. I am afraid that the ache that settles into my chest will be as much of an ongoing, constant pressure as the arthritis in my knees has become. Always there, sometimes dully present and others so strong I am rocked to my core.
I am afraid that nothing will ever feel good enough again. Long have I struggled with expecting too much from myself. Most of the time, I actively work to be content with whatever I get done in a day, not stressing over what is still on my to do list. These days I am afraid that I will never, ever get things done from a list. Because I just don’t care enough. I don’t have the follow through energy to get things done. And any drive to push through is not easily accessible.
I am afraid that I am not enough for my children. That just me with them leaves them with such a gaping hole that nothing I could ever do will make it better. I am afraid that our combined sorrow and confusion over the craziness of this time may leave us treading water, or feel like the waves will keep crashing over us for years and years to come. When there are two parents you can share the burdens and the joys of parenting. There’s less pressure to get it all right. You can tag team on everything. You have someone to support you when you are feeling weak and vulnerable and just don’t have answers. As I settle into the reality of being a single parent, I fear that I will mess up my kids and just am not enough.
I am afraid that I will spend my days always right at the edge of having the Kraken come barreling up from the dark depths of my pain and confusion and just start striking out at everyone around me. In spite of practicing many of my coping tools today, the Kraken came barreling up like it had been shot out of a volcanic eruption. Several folks got caught in the tentacles before I was able to breathe, regroup and reel it all back on. Even as I apologized and they each said it was okay and they understand, I felt so sad that I just didn’t leave and go be alone earlier. I fear that I will hurt so many people as I am trying to wander through these lost, lost days of finding the pieces of myself.
I am afraid some days that the darkness, the Kraken will win completely and I will be left all alone in the aftermath of a rampage. I fear that I push people away in my inability to be around anyone some days.
I am afraid many, many days that I will never really heal. I still feel so lost and so confused and so stunned most days. Even on the good days that I feel pretty strong and capable of breathing deep, there is a part of me that fears I will never really be able to handle all of my life again. It is often still the simplest of things that can push me flying off the ledge, down into the abyss where the Kraken lives. I find it hard to trust that the butterfly dragon will lift me up and out of this abyss and help me soar in the light. I fear that my heart will always hurt.
I am afraid that I will not be able to remember the simplest of things ever again. I forget everything these days, everything! If it isn’t sent in text or email format I can’t remember. And if I receive messages in writing, or I write it down myself it’s gone out of my brain within minutes. I do not like feeling so foggy and confused all of the time.
I am afraid that I will lose the farm, the business, the community of Avalon that I love so much. Only when I am surrounded by the all of the Avalon kids or when I am completely alone with just the creatures of Avalon do I feel hopeful. The day to day workings of the farm can still leave me feeling confused, completely incompetent, and more lost than even when we first took over the farm. Just last week I went to Home Depot to pick up a few supplies for adventure camp. I ended up almost running from the store in a panic. Such waves of “what the hell am I doing? I can’t run a farm. I can’t run my life. I just want to be home with my kids, nothing else.” flooded over me. An easy trip to a place I rarely went to with Russell and I just about lost my mind. I breathed through and didn’t run screaming from the store. But I fear my ability to ever be able to completely manage Avalon again. Teaching lessons is okay. But scheduling lessons for new students feels like climbing Mount Everest. Feeding the horses and turning them out with someone is good. But handling a feeding on my own – nope. Answering the simplest of questions feels monumental. Helping folks work through differences of opinion, or planning for shows, or handling anything more than putting a halter onto a horse seems near impossible many days. So I fear that I may never be all there again and able to work with confidence and ease.
I am afraid that my desire to be fair and inclusive of all people in our community will fall by the wayside as I no longer have the energy to reach out to people. I just don’t have the energy or desire to invite people along for the journey. I can barely get myself and the kids out of the house some days. The thought of trying to reach out, invite others into conversations about Avalon’s future projects and direction, and make sure that people have a chance to voice their dreams and concerns is way too much. It actually leaves me feeling grumpy and ready to just quit everything. I feel myself, at times, closing the circle around myself and the kids tighter and tighter. And I find myself not really caring if others feel left out. In some ways this can be a path to a good thing as I learn to stay in my business and out of others, placing the responsibility for inclusion back on others. But right now I fear living feeling grumpy, resentful and pissy.
I am afraid that others will start losing their patience with me and my journey. I fear that then I will be alone.
I am afraid that I won’t be able to go out and have fun for an entire evening or day again. Crowds still tend to do me in within an hour to 2 hours of being in them.
I am afraid that as I sift through the pieces of myself and attempt to put them back together that there are many more good- byes ahead. Good-byes to people who I no longer can connect with; good-byes to long held dreams; good-byes to pieces of myself that no longer can fit into part of the new, cohesive me; good-byes to many, many things. Again, while I know on many levels that some of these good-byes could be a good thing, right now I just don’t know how I can handle more good-byes.
I am afraid that as I attempt to put myself back together that I am still in the breaking apart stage. If that is true it may be a long, long time before I am back together.
I believe that the first steps to releasing the choke hold fear can wrap around us are naming what they are. There are many more things that rattle through me each day. And I name those at least into journal. I want to be whole and courageous again, rather than broken and afraid. But for today, in this time and in this moment I walk my journey feeling broken and afraid.