our hardships are weeping angels
Sometimes, I forget myself.
I will be watching a tv show, or talking on the phone, and then out of nowhere – a scene guts me without mercy. A remark catches me perfectly off-guard. And I either crumble to pieces or fail to find actual words in any language. The other day, I was on the phone, and someone told me that somebody else (who I don’t know personally) has cancer – in a manner very sensitive to what I’ve been through, mind you. And I fumbled for any kind of sentence that sounded right, failed miserably, and just said, “Shit, I think I am actually speechless.”
And it caught me unaware, because I DO talk about my mom’s illness. I’ve talked to friends whose other friends have cancer. I’ve given advice. I’ve offered a shoulder. So, I don’t exactly know why that particular instance knocked my verbal knees out from under me, but it did. It rendered me inarticulate and momentarily useless.
I don’t like that. I don’t like one of my favorite shows (PARENTHOOD) is like an emotional minefield, because one of the characters has cancer. And she’s getting chemo. And she wears button down clothing to chemo, for medically practical reasons. I find myself explaining how to true to life that is, and how my mother used to wear layers and button down clothing, fuzzy, soft sweaters especially. Because that’s what happens when you are pumping poison into your body. A means to an end, a hope that leaves you hurting. The truest kind of bravery I’ve ever seen. But I digress….
The most recent episode of that show totally gutted me. I realize that the smart, sane thing might be to NOT watch. In fact, after each new episode, I vow that I won’t watch anymore. Turn away from the wreck. Read a book. Put music on. And yet, that is ignoring what cannot be ignored. That is running away. That is not the brave or the strong thing. Because all demons get stronger in the dark, when you turn your back. The monster always slinks closer when you blink. Our struggles, our hardships are weeping angels: when you blink, they make their move.
I think part of the problem is that I still want to be me. I still want to be the person people come to with their problems, even if the problem hits to close to home. I still want to watch the same shows I’ve always loved and do the same things. Yes, there’s a gaping hole in my life. And no, there’s no Time Lord with a TARDIS to fix it. But that’s okay. That means there’s no Band-Aid covering a bullet hole. For a physical wound to heal properly, it heals from the outside in. For an emotional one, it’s the opposite. It’s easy to fool with a smile or a joke. You have to heal the other way, from the inside out.
Sometimes, I am softer than I expect myself to be. Sometimes, I don’t want to admit that. I don’t think they’ll ever be a time where I’m unaffected by things. But I know that I’m still me. I’m still the person who wants to lend an ear. I don’t turn away from the things that hurt, because that doesn’t make the feeling go away. It just means I’m too scared to face reality.
And that isn’t who I am.