Sep 10, 2013

stinky laundry piles

I named this post the way I did because I don't want people (namely my immediate family) to come over and read it. SOmetimes I feel a bit like there are people in my life who I should be close to, who I am not for sad reasons, but who like to go read about how I'm feeling because i don't tell them. And I feel sucky about that. Just so anyone reading this knows up front, this is not a casual, professional, cheery or happy-go-lucky post. If you go on and read this you are reading some very personal stuff. If you're not interested or a bit disgusted that I would post something so personal for a general audience to find and read, you're welcome to stop reading at this very moment. I actually am a very private person, and don't share my real feelings a lot. But I feel a need to today, and this for some reason is a place that seems to work for me, a lot.

A warning, I will be using words in this post I don't generally use. My LDS friends who might read this will probably be like, Sarah. How completely immature and vulgar you're being. I'm dissappointed in you. ANd my non LDS-freinds will be like, Girl, you've got some serious repression issues if you can't even let off one bible swear. Whatever.

I have a problem every year about this time of year. It's a serious problem. I find that in writing about it, I feel a bit more capable of grieving properly. And for some reason, writing when I know people are going to read it helps me write with more clarity and really be able to know what I'm feeling. It sucks. IT'd be nice if I could just do it on my own, but. For some reason, writing about stuff when I know people will read it really does help me figure things out much better. I really am a writer, I guess. I think best in that medium.

But I don't want my immediate family to read this. SO Mom, Dad, any sisters and brothers, please stop now, because this is a vent and it won't be fair to you and you will come away feeling hurt by it when you shouldn't because really, you are wonderful people who do the best you can and are wonderful people. Mom, if you are reading this i know you're going to read all the way to the end and then freak out & want to call or text or write or something, but the thing is, that makes me feel worse. I don't enjoy that kind of nurturing at all (the freak-outy-kind.)

So today's the first day of real fall. I can feel it in the air--the drop in temperature at night, the frosty morning tang etc. I used to think this happened to me every year around BYU homecoming time because of the date, but since moving up here to Idaho and having it happen about a month earlier I realize it has more to do with change of seasons. When the leaves start to turn, I start to feel really, really sucky. The first day of real change is the hardest for me. I need a name for it, I realized this morning when i woke up with this sad, extremely-stressed-out and hopeless feeling inside.

some candidates:

Which has the best ring to it? Maybe I should be looking at achronyms... no, none of them really work.

I used to love this time of year. I got really excited for school to start, and the change in season made me happy and full of energy. And honestly, there's a piece of that still. It makes things quite confusing. Energy, excitement, extreme stress and depression. Well, not depression because that's scary blankness. I guess sadness is the right word. And grieving.

About this time eleven years ago my husband (not current, previous) packed up half the house and left. And then came back and our lives fell apart. And then I was in charge of getting an education, raising an 8-month-old-baby, holding down a job, running away from a lot of television cameras, testifying in court, dealing with a baby who would not eat and was getting skinnier and skinnier, looking down a long list of strangers and praying really hard to find the right name on the list for the right person I could pay that would be a good pretend mom for my baby while I did what i had to do and got a degree and made money, feeling scarily, completely, utterly blank emotionally so that now, looking back on it, i feel everything I was feeling at the time: Grief. Complete, utter grief. My baby.

that was the biggest grief.

The husband I could handle offloading. HE'd gotten abusive and mean. He was manipulative and I could tell he didn't particularly want to make it work except as an act to look good in front of others. No, I'm not being unfair. NObody really understands him the way I do. I was married to him for 2 years. I think that's partly why he tried to get rid of me... he felt very threatened at the level of understanding that develops between husband and wife. And I loved him. For a long time. For as long as I could, until I had to focus my attention and energy on something else, something helpless, something he was hurting.

I wrote a poem about it, that nobody has wanted. I think partly because it's not a good poem because it's written so much about me and her, and therefore is too emotion-laden to be anything but sappy and sentimental and completely obscure because i can't talk about these things to strangers. (well, except for random strangers who have, in this case, been forewarned and know what they're reading.)

Your bones are laid in graves
of porcelain; your name in
in nests of tax returns

I forget you, but I won’t
forget her, or the day
I turned those papers in my hands and
wished the circle far away.
May it be unbroken, now.
May it turn to gold
and let the Lord’s anointment flow
along my red-raw hand.

What you could take from me
you took. And I gave back mine
as Leah sang so ardently
of solitude—

I wish it. Leave me without thoughts
of nighttime spars, of dreams
too plastic for my loyalty.
The patient moon; it beams
down on the pale face of our child:
blood, on your hands. It means
a suffering too great to bear
do you know what it means?—

Two years of our skeletons,
her ribs that showed too clear, and
her eyes that asked me questions:
who. Why. Where.

Do you remember where you were
that night, that day the leaves
came down in cyclones on her hair?
I spooned your iniquities
through her open lips; you held me
then. But now, oh now—
what grief I hold, In memories.

I look back on that time and realize that Heavenly Father really helped me a lot. He helped me not to feel; that was the biggest blessing at the time. I had to not feel to be able to do everything I had to do. And I did the right stuff. I made choices that lead me to Jeff, Heavenly Father helped me do that. But He's let me feel more and more each year, at this time of year. It's like all those feelings are still there and He's letting them vent slowly, as I can handle it. And apparently last year was the time to ask for help, because I nearly fell apart completely under their pressure.

This next part I'm worried about writing because I love my family and truly, really do feel they've always done the best they can by me. The problem is, they're broken as well. My mother has made heroic emotional sacrifices to raise me. My father has made heroic efforts to protect me from what *his* parents did to *him* emotionally.

But I still can't feel safe going to them with emotional vulnerability. My mother's reaction is to freak out. I almost feel like she gets an emotional high from being in a state of emergency, and that makes me feel dirty, cruddy, a bit peeping-tommed-at. My dad just doesn't talk about stuff. Ever. Except for things that aren't vulnerable. The few times I've tried with him, I've felt his extreme discomfort (or maybe it's my own lack of trust, that i'm projecting on him?) and backed away because it makes me feel like my feelings must make me an indecent person--that I would have them and worse still, need to talk about them.

I had so many people ask me why I didn't just "run home" when everything happened to me, and my answer to them has been because i knew i needed to stay in Provo. But my real answer is, I didn't want to. I couldn't. I can't imagine worse emotional torture than going back home, to that house, to those people who can't really handle vulnerability and stress, would have been. At least away from all that I could take charge of my future and have solitude to be very, very broken.

I couldn't even talk to my sisters. They lived with me for a bit. I remember listening to one of them vent and cry about a boyfriend they were having troubles with. They could talk to me. But when I tried to talk about my emotional struggles, they coudln't handle it--they'd shut me off with a chastisement or just even "I can't handle thinking about this, Sarah. I'm sorry."

yeah. Me too.

I think when I grieve this time of year, I'm grieving feelings of complete abandonment, nowhere to go emotionally, as much as I grieve what happened to my daughter and all the horrible stress I went through.

I have a wonderful best friend husband now. I woke up this morning and told him that I felt awful because the air is getting colder and he knew what I meant. I also have a wonderful best substitute Dad now, who is capable of giving hugs and listening and even sharing back--sharing his own stress and struggles with me, which I find to be the biggest gift ever. My husband, my IdaDad. These two are the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given me. And my kids. My kids warm my heart and make things better. As they knelt around our bed today to do morning prayer, I realized that they do make it better. What a wonderful feeling I have when I see and am around them--joy. It balances out all the suckiness.

Most days.
Today I feel very angry at ex. I don't like those feelings, because it means I'm still letting what he did control me, and it's admitting he hurt me. He'd probably secretly be a little thrilled to know that. And no, I'm not making that up. The world, for him, was kind of like a video game where he was the protagonist and he was on a quest and he likes to have control or feel he's made some large, dramatic impact. Well, he has, but he's not getting anything from me to satisfy him. (unless he randomly came across this, I suppose.) Well in that case, I just have to write something else to him: you are small. you are a little boy. you have no idea what it is to be human, and I feel pretty sorry for anyone who you are close to right now. Until you get up off your a** and realize you're not the only person on this planet and you're not nearly as "special" as you think you are, you're not really human. And you don't deserve for people to care about you. ANd you're not getting anywhere near my daughter; not you, not anyone close to you.

The problem with suck-aversaries is that they are real, they hit you, you have no control and feel pretty puzzled by how crappy you feel. It literally is like there's a vent opened up inside you that's normally mostly closed off, and feelings and pain pass through you without your instigating, or being able to control, them. It's important to heal, I know. It sucks to heal. It hurts to heal.

Crying I haven't done a lot of. I think feelings have to loosen up and ease up a bit for crying to happen in my case--I go so easily from "fine" to "OK, my heart is now shutting down." The in-between is what I need--where I can feel feelings and really just cry. SO, hopefully writing this helped.

...vent over.

And yes, Laundry also sucks.

not tweeting, sharing or tagging this post. SO if you've read it... sorry, or thank you, or something. Maybe there are a few out there who have their own suck-a-versaries and will be relieved they're not the only one. Maybe some people who end up reading this will be kinder to those around them and give stressed out people more slack. Maybe there's a single mother in your ward who needs an arm around her shoulder or an ecouraging word. OK, so, I'm just justifying having written this.

(i do feel better)


Skywalker said...

Sounds like I need to take the rest of the day off!

David L said...

Ah, Sarah my friend... I love you? Not a question really, just more a wondering if you know just how much I really do care about you, love you, and think about you. And that wonderful best friend hubby of yours. As someone who proudly calls Skywalker my own best friend, I think I know just a touch how wonderful a friend he can be.

Now on to the rest... I've gone through a sliver of what you have this summer. One of my most best friends abandoned me this summer after, well... Not for a comment on a blog. But I imagine each spring will be the way you feel about fall. Memories. Shattered hopes. Anger. Frustration.

I've talked to Skywalker about it a bit, but I get the anger. The outright rage. I've said so many things these last few weeks that I'm frankly ashamed to admit to. I really am. My mother would drown me in soap if she had heard what I said when the anger was so much and so great that I just couldn't handle it anymore. And Courtney has been a dream for me. My own best friend... uh... wifey? Eh... I'll go with it.

It's good to have friends. It's good to have friends who are good to you.

All my love, my friend.

P.S. I LOVE biscuits and gravy, so I cast my vote for that one! :-)

Sarah Dunster said...

Yes, I do know this, Dave. But thank you for saying it.

You & Courtney are the closest things I have to "friends" (not dad, not husband) who I can talk to about this. I still feel pretty shy about it, however, because a lot of my feelings a pretty ugly and not rational on the subject. SO I don't always. But I want you to know I really appreaciate both of you, I feel like you both are great and supportive friends and I wish you lived closer, even though we all know you're not supposed to at this point.

Depression and mourning are big struggles. Both. I'm hoping we come out of things better people... it's like the bednar quote.

we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress.”

Sarah Dunster said...

got truncated, sorry:

“Character is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress.”

Debra Samaniego said...

wow. I get your feelings. Your words describe my feelings in ways I haven't been able to articulate. thank you. I'm really glad I decided to read most of your blogs today! I think I can face the day a lot better now than I would have without reading.