Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Back in the Driver's Seat...

It’s easy to go through this fast-paced world feeling as if you are being dragged through your weeks on the back of a wild horse. Many of us go from one thing to another until we end up back at home in the evening with just enough time to wind down and go to sleep, waking up the next morning to begin the wild ride once more. While this can be exhilarating for certain periods of time, a life lived entirely in this fashion can be exhausting, and more important, it places us in the passenger’s seat when really we are the ones who should be driving.

When we get caught up in our packed schedule and our many obligations, weeks can go by without us doing one spontaneous thing or taking time to look at the bigger picture of our lives. Without these breaks,
we run the risk of going through our precious days on a runaway train. Taking time to view the bigger picture, asking ourselves if we are happy with the course we are on and making adjustments, puts us back in the driver’s seat where we belong. When we take responsibility for charting our own course in life, we may well go in an entirely different direction from the one laid out for us by society and familial expectations. This can be uncomfortable in the short term, but in the long term it is much worse to imagine living this precious life without ever taking the wheel and navigating our own course.

Of course, time spent examining the big picture could lead us to see that we are happy with the road we are on, but we would like more time with family or more free time to do whatever we want at the moment. Even if we want more extreme changes, the way to begin is to get off the road for long enough to catch our breath and remember who we are and what we truly want. Once we do that, we can take the wheel with confidence, driving the speed we want to go in the direction that is right for us. “

The old adage dictates that “If you want to change your world, you must first change yourself. “  It seems at the moment that my world is doing the opposite… it seems that my world has decided that it will change around ME, drive me wherever it wants, and I will have to change myself to fit around it and get off at whatever stops it decides it . I presume this is because there was no way I was going to make all the acceptable changes by myself… 

I seem to have developed this outstandingly huge fear of all things moving-based at the moment and even the thought of discussing it causes my eyeballs to moisten and my stomach to threaten tossing up all of its contents, so really, the thought of changing myself first to change my world was the last thing on my mind.
Small changes have been made, mind…  I’ve not been completely useless. 

I’ve begun the slow process of un-nesting…  something that I should have been doing for ages but have been putting off because of the giant doom and gloom of it all. Obviously, the un-nesting started back in September when I split up with Christopher and large chunks have taken place since then (i.e.: January 14th: Stacey Moving In and June 12th: Moving House.) and I’ve even, over the last five months written list after list of the things that I feel I absolutely will NOT be able to live without for a year in america… but Saturday was when I actually started taking real steps towards packing and preparing to move… I have now officially gone through ALL of my clothes and split them into four piles…
  1. Clothes I am taking with me to America because OMGICAN’TLIVEWITHOUTTHEMFORAYEAR,
  2. clothes I am keeping out for the next two weeks and then putting in the roof just before I leave,
  3. clothes that I just don’t want or need at all at the moment and therefore am putting in the roof immediately,
  4. and at the suggestion on Pow, clothes to go to our favourite charity shop (which is Chernobyl Children)
After splitting up all of my clothes on Saturday I became fraught and had to go out… I decided early-on in the day that I was going to wear a wig out and confirmed that this was acceptable with Goncalves (my playdate companion for the day) via text prior to planning my outfit around my amazinggreen wig. When he texted me to confirm a wig was tolerable he asked who I was hiding from… my response was “myself.”

I’ve been feeling the need to hide from myself a great deal lately… I feel so lost and fraught. When people ask me how I am I don’t even try to pretend anymore, my response is always, “Fraught.”

I guess the easiest way for me to explain what’s been going on is via list… I heart lists and they always help me to make sense of what is going on in my head and tend to offer a more easy-on-the-eyeballs way of showing you where my head and heart are at. Prior to Monday morning I felt like my life was not being controlled by me… like some other outside force had barged its way into my world, pushed me over like a kid in a schoolyard and started moving things around… kind of like an emotional interior decorator? Not everything has been moved in a bad way though, which is important to point out; there are things… well, actually, when I think about it, everything has been moved most likely into JUST the right place for my life to evolve as it needs to, I’ve just not seen the potential for growth yet. 

Anyways, below you can see a list of the big movers and shakers in my life… the big changes or events that have taken place as of late that have thrown me for a bit of a loop and left me confused and sometimes intrigued by the potential of their outcomes… 

  • The Big One Happened Saturday… I rose from my bed early and got onto the computer. I had been dreading and putting-off this particular activity for the previous several weeks and couldn’t really put it off anymore. I needed to pull the band-aid as it were. I searched through my photos and found the three best ones and started typing. I typed about time, demeanor and food… all relating to Chevy and how well he would get on in another house… a stranger’s house. I felt like I was going to sick-up during that half an hour, feeling like I was typing out an advert to sell my own child. Chevy Chase had been my favourite thing in the world for so long… I had loved him more than I loved my own husband for many months. So many mornings after Chris and I split up I could only bear to face them after I went into the lounge and saw his tiny little face peering up at me, begging for a treat. I would drop to my knees in front of his cage and talk to him about how I was feeling and he would listen to everything I had to say as I fed him his tiny, chocolatey drops. As soon as I had posted the advert I burst into tears… I cried for exactly three minutes before my mobile went off, it was a woman on the line who asked if the rabbit was still available. We talked for about twenty minutes about who knows what… something to do with the housing estate she lives on, her pedigree cat and her husband being a builder. None of it seemed relevant to me because all I wanted at that particular moment was a hug and for someone to tell me that I could keep Chevy, stay in England and be with Muffin without a single change to my personal circumstances. Needless to say, this did not happen… within an hour this woman was knocking at my door. I answered it and showed her to the kitchen where Chevy resided… her aloof husband and I carried him to their car and I stood there. She attempted to make small talk about tattoos and showed me her “favourite” which was of a tiny, faded, poorly-done purple pig’s face on the inside of her left cankle. I feigned interest and smugly showed her the cupcake and scissors on my chest. She then drew her attention to Chevy again and I pulled a face unknowingly. She demanded that I not cry until after she left because then she’d cry… the laws of logic state, in my mind that if you tell me not to do something, I will do it, including displays of emotions, so I immediately began to cry and she left without so much as a “thank you.” So… there we are. After two years, I have given my tiny, furry best friend to a woman that smelled of cat pee and was missing three teeth. I find it difficult sometimes to walk past the back door without my stomach falling… pining after Chevy and wishing that he was still there, begging me for a treat and drinking his water noisily. But no, he’s gone and I’m almost gone too. 

  • Post-Pet Abandonment… I went up the stairs and wept in the doorway to Pow’s bedroom… he called me in and I sat on his bed and cried. Seeing as he was nude, having only just woken up, his emotional support went no further than the random jut of his knee into my thigh as some crude re-creation of a shoulder pat or rub. It was appreciated and after I had cried a sufficient amount I made us breakfast and started packing… well… going through stuff… I immediately decided I needed to wear the wig, as you read earlier, and so I put it on and ran up and down the stairs to ask for Pow’s opinion on outfits between every fourth or fifth article of clothing investigated for it’s moving potential. After two hours I was bored and needed a drink so I left… I brandished my sunglasses and walked through the summery air with my emotions hidden beneath my wig and flowery cardigan. After a long night out I woke up Sunday morning hating myself for not having done more with my room as it looked like a very organized bomb went off in four separate places and left individual explosions of colour, fabric and memories across my personal space. I made a cup of tea, turned on some music and started to make my way through the piles again, putting them into the necessary storage containers… suitcases for some, boxes for others, bin bags for the unlucky few. I am now officially living out of two suitcases… all of my favourite clothes have been selected and the rest have been banished to the roof for the next thirteen months. I spoke to each article of clothing individually and promised I would come back for them before sealing them away and hating that I’ve had to do this for a second time, but this time with better planning. I’ve since started going through my paperwork and looking around the room aimlessly with Pow, trying to figure out just how much space he will need once I’ve gone and therefore, just how much I can get away with not packing, but it’s not gonna be easy… I’ll say that now. 
  • Looming Over Everything… is the fact that Pow is going through a lot of emotional junk… because we’re both going through our own versions of emotional hell, we had a few teething problems. I returned from London to find that his girlfriend had broken up with him… he had been snippy and offhand prior to my departure to London and the reason, it seems is that Amy had broken up with him and that he didn’t tell me so as to avoid upsetting my last journey to London. The first couple of days after I found out were fairly ugly… we fell out every five minutes due to miscommunications and hyper-sensitivity and have finally ironed out all the kinks. Things are back to a relatively stable state of normal and we co-exist again with all the special moments that we usually have. Last night was particularly special due to the fact that we had dinner, hair colouring and films together and it all felt normal again. We sat and laughed and I heard him mutter under his breath “I’m really going to miss you.” I turned to him and asked him to repeat what he said because I wanted to be sure that THAT was what he had just said… it was. The rest of the night was spent in between hugs and flashes of the camera. We finished our film (“Adventures in Babysitting”) and rinsed his hair before having a nice chat at the top of the stairs and dancing. I went to bed with an ache… every day that draws near makes it all hurt so much more… every hour that passes reminds me that I will be 9,000 miles away from my best friends and have no way of knowing what that will do to me. I am so terrified of how it will affect my emotional state, but really, only time can tell and until then, I will abscond as many hugs as possible from the people I love. I am slowly coming to terms with it all and making sure I tell them as much as possible how much I love them but it never feels like enough… it doesn’t ever feel like I can squeeze them hard enough.
  • Of Course, There’s Always Family… I hadn’t spoken to LaDonna (my eldest sister) for several weeks… the last time I had spoken to her was about four weeks ago and I was drunk and asleep when she rang. It’s always difficult discussing certain things with her, things like my tattoos, the holes in my ears and Muffin. Muffin is the one I tend to get the most pensive about due to their slightly questionable past… in a nutshell, LaDonna hated him from the moment she first laid eyes on him. I’ve no idea why (but I like to speculate that it was because of the large holes in his ears and septum ring), but it got so ugly at one point that LaDonna started as argument with him in the middle of the hospital when she came in to visit our mum and Muffin was there visiting her (as I was in the Residential Home at this point, so I was unable to visit her). Over the years LaDonna has always had little nice to say about Muffin, but since he and I have become serious I have decided to try to name-drop him more and more often, just to get a feel for her opinion of him… most name-dropping has gone very well and I was delighted to mention his name again on Sunday, but just to tell her that we would find someplace that was not her house to stay during our visit in September. She immediately asked why we would do such a thing and said that she would not go out of her way to make him uncomfortable and would like for us to stay. Wait, what? So there we have it dudes, my sister seems to be warming to the Muffin idea, which pleases me… granted, she did also have to drop the bomb that she worries for my personal safety due to the amount of times he’s been deployed compared to the number of ex-soldiers who flip out and kill their loved-ones. Meh. At least she’s getting there slowly.
I guess at the end of it all, everything is working out… I finally feel like I am slightly in control again... like I am back in the driver's seat and it feels good. And despite the fact that occasionally things seem a little muggy and terrifying, they’re coming along and in fifteen days I will be in America, with Muffin, at Taco Bell. 


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