It's been scary around here folks. Way scary. Nothing to do with Halloween ghosties and goblins, nevertheless the theme fits. What happened? I fell off the planet. Now, that may seem kinda kewl. I mean astronauts do it all the time on purpose. Well, those folks have training...and a spacesuit. Let me tell you, zero gravity can be very disorienting without even so much as a point of reference such as the Big Blue Marble looming majestically over your shoulder. I had nada, zilch, nothing. Except hope. Hope was enough.
Have you ever had so many things go wrong all at once that you just stopped being upset and began to laugh? I found myself shaking my fist at the Universe defiantly taunting, "Is that all ya got?!?" I'm no wimp my friends. I'm a from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks, do-what-you-gotta-do, kick-useless-people-and-pursuits-to-the-curb sort of a human. I've been there, done that and then some. Homelessness: check. Poverty: check. Abusive people: check. Physical illness: check. Motherly angst: check check.
This time was only different in one way; it all came at once. Perfect storm. Perfectly awful. My hobbled together defenses and reserves were quickly overrun and my remaining wits and on-the-spot-whipped-up solutions were breached and I was left alone with the onslaught and...zero gravity.
I am just overFRIGGINwhelmed.
So, where is the "my fault" part? Really, it's about how I choose to self-medicate. I don't use drugs, alcohol or other typical choices. I use isolation. I am a heavy user. When things got difficult I relied on myself to handle it. When things got scary I started cutting off the supportive people in my life due to my weird need to turn down the noise in my own head and to feeling a bit embarrassed. When things got terrifying...I disappeared.
Like other sorts of self-medications the temporary relief that isolationism grants only gives way to bigger and badder problems and ultimately to rock bottom. Only my rock bottom resembled being launched from a Thermosphere orbiter into the black vastness of space. Hey, rock bottom is subjective.
So there I was, sitting in my car at a Winn-Dixie having just dumped all of my son's piggy bank coins into a Coin Star machine in order to keep the electricity on for another two weeks. This was the piggy bank that we had been putting coins in all year to pay for his Christmas present: a train that would go around his room on the wall. Not an expensive one. Mom can build the wall shelf. Just a cool train that has a remote that he can understand. I didn't want to do it. It hurt. Then the surprise (one of many) the machine only gave me half of the amount I had in the jar. HALF. I emptied my son's Christmas money and still didn't end up with enough to pay the bill, plus I was running out of gas. Sitting there watching the gauge and calculating how we would get through the month with no power, no gas, and no water. I finally gave in. I mean, I just...gave in. There's really no point in trying to breathe in outer-space anyway.
There was nothing left to try. Nothing that I could pull off with my own resources, anyway. Keep in mind, I am with my son who is a 24/7 job and do not have the options that others have in these circumstances. I am not above asking folks if they need some housework done or light handy-woman work. It's just that I'm not free to do those things with my Wubie in tow. He has simply not been able to be in school much. Hardly at all. But, I digress. Point is, I was out there, holding my breath and out of tools to launch in the opposite direction to propel me closer to Earth's gravity. (Physics reference.)
Back to the "my fault" paradigm. I am a stubborn human. I am prideful and strong willed. I want to not be looked at as "that person" who always needs help in one form or another. So when resources (such as any form of respite care, medical care, and financial means) kept disappearing one by one, I just kept going on and not asking for assistance. I'm not being too hard on myself here. The only way for a person to grow is to look their negative characteristics in the eye and name them. First step, anyway.
What I did NOT want to do is to admit to anyone that I couldn't handle it. God had other plans. (Isn't that always the case?) Everything that I tried; everything that SHOULD have worked didn't. I did a lot of things that I would still advise others to try in my circumstances. Smart things. Hard working things. Honest things. Well, that was not what the Creator wanted me to do. So, I was in rebellion. Did you know that you can actually be doing the wrong thing the whole time you are doing the "right" things? I was supposed to be reaching out. I was supposed to be opening up a little. I was supposed to be relying on old friends and making new ones. But, I was being the prodigal mom.
Then I took a tiny step in the right direction, just a tiny little space walk, and BANG things changed. I called my cousin. She is one of several people that had been trying to get in touch with me for several months and I've been regretfully causing to worry. I did toss out a couple of texts just to let them know I'm alive, but that was it. "I'm alive. Can't talk now."
The day before the Winn-Dixie incident I had reached her and she was obviously disquieted to the point of calling several resources in my area. I don't really remember that conversation except that I know I wasn't making much sense. Stress can make you sound like a psychopath. While I was in the store explaining to three different managers that I knew they didn't have anything to do with Coin Star and couldn't get my money back, howeverI thought they should know the machine was ripping people off and that I was not a person in a financial position to be ripped off so nonchalantly and my nearly twelve-year-old, non-verbal, 90-pound son was having a classic Autism melt-down though the experience which helped to emphasize my point...breathe...I missed a phone call.
So there I was sitting in the parking lot after the massacre was over contemplating how much A/C we could experience from the remaining gas in the car and I noticed that I had missed the call. I don't know why I even looked, hadn't heard a thing, but there it was. It was a local pastor. He asked me how I was doing. I told him I was having a bad minute. I quickly tried to get through the story of what was happening. There were tears. I don't often do tears. Yet, I wasn't in that moment embarrassed. I was at the end of me. Embarrassment disappears when you are at the end of yourself. He gave me short simple instructions, "Get home. Call me. We will take care of one thing at a time." I think he was concerned about my state-of-mind driving home. He was right to be concerned. I told him, "I would say that it is a tremendous coincidence that you called at this precise moment, but we both know better than that."
That was last week. Just last week, but when I let go and stopped trying to do things my way gravity kicked in. The bills have been paid enough to keep the lights and water on. My son is beginning to get a short amount of respite care (3 hours a week which is way better than nothing). Most shockingly (for me) I've been accepted into a downtown art gallery for absolutely no good reason as most of my previous work has been sold or given away so I don't really even have much to show an owner. Just...wow. I am still being inundated with challenges, Wubie is still not in school much, I still have a ton of work and now a giant deadline to meet with the gallery opening and I'm not feeling well (another issue unresolved), yet I don't want to fill up my blog space with a litany of negative statements. What I'm experiencing now is 'peace in the midst of the storm', well, in the midst of space. Only now it's not outer-space anymore. I'm earthbound again. I'm still in the Stratosphere, but heading in the right direction and while I hold my breath a while longer I am taking the moment to appreciate the peacefulness. In space, Someone can still hear you cry.