my friend just posted on facebook “sometimes you just have to eat your cake in bed at 9am”
and sometimes, you just have to hide in your parent’s basement in a blanket fort.
these moments don’t happen nearly as often anymore, but i shouldn’t be surprised when they come. especially when all of the indicators are there…
when i was a kid, my mom used to hide away when things got too intense.
and so i learned also to hide.
but i also get it now. because sometimes the emotions feel intense and the only options are to unleash the beast all over people you love (especially on people you love) or to hide out until the storm passes or the tears can fall silently.
today, i woke up and made birthday carrot cake. and french toast. all things i can’t eat. and last night, i ate all the things i can’t eat. so i woke up feeling sick, and full of self-loathing for my inability to say no. (in my more rational moments, i can understand that saying no to freshly baked monster cookies coming out of the oven at 10:30pm is an almost super-human feat. and i am not feeling super human these days).
but after delays and melted birthday candles, i had had enough. i hit the point when my internal gauges go into overdrive and i can no longer be around humans (and don’t really want to be around myself – though that is a harder escape to navigate).
so i went and hid. in a conveniently constructed blanket fort. and as i cowered under the covers, i was faced with a tunnel. and, aptly, there was light at the end of it. but, in that moment, i could not convince myself to crawl through the baby-blue IKEA play tunnel to make it out to the other side.
i just wanted to curl up.
say ‘fuck’ a lot. (probably the 2nd most cathartic part of the process)
wallow in self-pity (i have quite the penchant for self-pity)
and stay in the darkness a while longer.
yet, like most kids playing hide and seek, i also wanted to be found. that tension between winning by remaining hidden but also the desire for someone to come looking. to come finding.
(i mostly wanted to be found so i could call off the search and be left to my self-imposed ‘timeout’ without feeling guilty for ruining breakfast)
but as i lay there, i realized that i am stressed. (clearly, i am slow with the self-awareness these days, since i even wrote to you about this yesterday).
i think all of the upcoming changes are piling up – with all of their fears. again, people keep asking me “what are you afraid of?”
and, again, the answer is: SO MANY THINGS!
- what if the van i am buying doesn’t work?
- what if it is too big for me to drive?
- what if the van breaks down and i am all alone and can’t fix it?
- what if i can’t make enough food?
- what if it is too hard?
- what if i don’t make any friends?
- what if i am too old and tired for this?
- what if i am making a mistake?
- what if i miss out on the funnest summer ever?
- what if i regret my decision?
so… i think a time-out was in order.
as wise ecclesiastes says…
there is a time to bake and there is a time to cry
there is a time to blow out candles and a time to say “fuck” (a lot)
there is a time to be excited and a time to be really fucking nervous.
there is a time to go for a run and a time to just chill
there is a time to express emotions and a time to hide away
and it also got me thinking about the kids in treatment that i work with.
part of the challenge of a ‘therapeutic community’ is that there is nowhere to hide. these kids can’t hide behind drugs, behind screens, behind doors. they can’t just go to their room and curl under the blankets. they can’t go out for a run or a smoke. when they are feeling intense emotions they have to face them – in community. and that is really fucking hard.
because none of us really want to be seen when we are in that space. we don’t really want to have to face ourselves, let alone other people. but these kids are brave. like really fucking brave.
so today, as i laid in the blanket fort – i allowed myself to get curious rather than judgmental.
curious about the intensity. curious about my reactions. curious about what is going on for me.
and i realized that sometimes, it is okay to go and hide. but also, i don’t want to spend my life hiding. running. cowering. so i also need to learn other ways to be.
and maybe that means exploding in public. and the exposure of ugly crying. and the awkward embarrassment of returning.
so today, i am here. red puffy eyes and all. messy. but alive.
HOW ARE YOU?