June 09, 2006

On the eve of my 45th year

And so i begin my 45th year. Six years longer than my father lived. That's the old mile marker, you know. I don't use it as much as I used to. But it's the metronome of loss, marking time by the absence of, the sting of without.

When I used to think of being 40... who am i kidding, i never thought i'd live to see 40. that's a common thing for kids whose parents disappear dead out of the blue -- at least to the clueless kid -- one day when they arrive home from school.

That does something to your sense of balance, warps your perspective, reminds you there is no safe. You want terrorism? I'll give you some terrorism. What is terrorized doesn't grow right. The loss of a parent at an early age distorts the whole order of nature -- what the child thinks he observes he never trusts again.

So then, what do you do?

Well, first, you expect everyone you hold dear, including yourself, to make an early departure from the world. And you live with that stark reality knocking on the right side of your skull 24x7x356. Award-winning service for the dearly dissociated.

it can get complicated.

especially when you never thought it really bothered you much.

Rambling here.

Papa George says I'm the youngest looking 44 he's ever seen. It's the genes. You get the good with the bad.

Jenna has all sorts of things planned for tomorrow. I love her up and down my spine you know. GOD I love her.

And i'm on steroids, so let's see if i can enjoy the day without slipping into mania every fifteen minutes or so.

rapid cycling. wait until I come off of them.

i can breathe.

it's alright to be okay.

Everything changed when I hit 40. Everything. Every. Thing. Did I already tell you?

family, job, love, kid, marriage, health, self -- no one escaped the hit.

Category 5 heading straight for the heart of my city, my soul, no way out.

covert to overt--watch the show, the best view is on the hill to the left, bring a blanket to sit on, the nights can get chilly.

I don't want to scare anyone who hasn't hopped over yet, and maybe you've had a great life, and maybe you have nothing to grieve, or you've cloaked yourself in a new age narcissistic blanket of impenetrable white light (good on you!), but if you're real, I can tell you this from my neck of the woods: everything I knew with certainty from birth to my 40th year, turns out, was wrong.

Pretty much reverse order in fact. Pretty much a perspective flip. PRETTY MUCH HAD TO HAVE MY LIFE TWISTED INSIDE OUT. PRETTY MUCH ALMOST KILLED ME.

40 was so very tough. 41 was so hard. And i have worked every inch of the way since to make it less hard, safer, find the safety, seek it, divining rod to water-->let me find what i never had, i can't be on high alert another second, there must be a safe corner somewhere, dark and quiet, shhhh.

But that was then. Before. When I hit 40 and the shit hit the fan.

Now I'm 44. Less shit, more wind.

But what has stopped--what has stopped is the searing, slicing pain, phantom limbs of loss exposed and re-amputated before my eyes.

It felt something like that.

I didn't bring all of it here, but I brought all of me. Every single moaning second of me. And every single second I was making sense of it.

The functioning and the not-so came here. This is where I came. And when I didn't write about it, I wrote FROM those places of despair, terror, disbelief, agony, and relief. Always from.

I said it back then, when I first started blogging: "This is where we heal. This is how we heal."

I can say that. At least I can say that.

Today I want to say something out loud here too:

I'm going to be okay.

I am okay.

Permission. permission to be okay, to begin to become, to become who I am. the permission I gave myself four years ago.

no one can give it to you. it's permission you take. shhhh. take it.

happy birthday you crazy shit; you're okay. It's okay.

Even when it's not, it's not always fatal.

it's not always fatal.

i didn't understand, didn't get it. everything was fatal. always.

fatal--my default.

best friend said: "Sometimes you get better, you know."

I said, "Huh?"

A row of doors flew open, knobs twisting on their own, open open open open open, reverse slamming.

wooooooosh.

like that.

And even with the tremendous relief that accompanies survival, there's a rip, a gash, a more powerful ache beneath, below. Cixous would say step down, step down into it, and so I do, and there I face the cruelest joke of all: my being okay means that she can't be. She's not because I am. I am not disabled; she cannot care for me if I am well--she can't find her way to me, around me, without her role..

The masks don't fit, they fall, and I want to help rearrange them, to make sense, to reshape them, to comfort and fix. I already know the answer. Oh. How I love her, the honest beauty she would show only to me, and only in the earliest hours of the day, before waking completely, the morning stirring her own trauma into terror.

So much more, so many more hearts, broken, so long; it's been so long. I have lost and let go until my palms ache from the unfolding.

To make it to this place, a place I trust enough to say it out loud.

I'm okay.


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3 comments:

Stu Savory said...

Hippy Pappy Bthuthiday from a fellow blogger who has just turned 62 :-)

GraceD said...

You are more than okay, Jeneane, you are wonderful.

Happy Birthday to you!

(Mine is Saturday. I'll be 51! And that is okay!)

Sandy Kemsley said...

Happy birthday, girl! I know what you mean about 40, that was a total disaster year for me too: left my husband, closed down my business, moved from Toronto to California and bought a convertible (can you say "mid-life crisis"?). By 44, which is less than 2 years ago, I was back in the city that I love, doing work that I enjoy, and in a great relationship. We all have to fall off the rails sometimes in order to appreciate what comes later.