Monday, September 6, 2010

In the Quiet

My four-day weekend is nearly over, and I spent most of it working very hard. The laundry is done. My homework is almost done. The kitchen is painted. When I work, I don't have much time to think. Thinking is a problem for me these days. Thinking is what hurts.

I've become a workaholic again, you see. It's always served me well when my life is rocky. When Stephanie was ill, I worked like mad - either taking care of her, doing my job, writing a book, doing schoolwork for my undergrad. When life was rough in my childhood, I worked like mad at my schoolwork and later at a full-time job, as well. Even a childhood summer with a broken arm was spent tapping out my first book (never published, naturally) one-handed on an IBM Selectric.

The bad thing about being a workaholic is that you are simply putting a Band-Aid on the problem you're running from. I'm not searching for peace right now because peace eludes me. When the house is dark and quiet and I'm lying alone in my bed with CC (my cat) beside me, the thoughts creep in. I start thinking about whether I was cheated on. I start wondering when it started. I start berating myself for having been such a fool as to believe so many things that may have been untrue.

It isn't even just the possible cheating. It is the isolation. I wonder why I put up with it for as long as I did, and then I remember - ah yes, I was grieving. I didn't really care if I was out and about, seeing people. Most of the time I couldn't have cared less about seeing anyone. And yet, I needed to be with people. I needed to remember that life is still happening.

Today I spent part of the afternoon sitting in a community room at the local co-op while my son and a gaggle of people were gaming. I had a migraine I was battling, but being in the middle of the chaos was preferable to being alone with my thoughts. While the chaos was all around me, I had a laptop open and my books. I was working on schoolwork. The cacophony in the room mixed with the throbbing in my head and stirred together with the barrage of information from the books and PDFs for school. I had no time to feel anything. I had no time to think anything. Instead I just was.

I am still in agony over this break-up. I'm in the middle of (also) writing about it all, about the experience of grief and loss and devastation that has been my life for the last couple of years. When I'm writing it, I have to remember things that happened; I have no choice. When I'm writing, I relive it all. But there is another - healing - element to that. While I'm writing it and selecting the words and arranging it all, I'm defusing it. The act of working it out on paper (virtual paper) is causing me to have to deconstruct it all. I'm taking the house down, shingles, tar paper, trusses, nails, sheetrock, 2x4s, plumbing, all the way down to the foundation, which I will jackhammer into powder. There is something indeed very deconstructionist about memoir-writing. It causes you to analyze and examine each element. Was this important? Was that? Is it a detail worth leaving in? Does it matter to the storyline?

In the end, it was a life lived. It is a story being told. But the pain. Oh my dears, the pain lives. The pain will continue to live for some time to come. A self-destructive habit of mine has returned and begs to be dealt with. It's strange how the mind works. When we stop one bad habit, another rushes in, trying to take its place.

It isn't hard work I dread in my life these days. It's the quiet.



Jo said...

It's a strange dichotomy that without death there is no life, and often without grief there is no love ~~ the bitter and the sweet. I was alone this weekend too, and often when I am alone I start to think about people I have loved and lost. Time does soften the edges a little bit, but you never really forget. Maybe keeping busy is the answer.

Maggie May said...

You say the band aid of being a workaholic only masks the problem but in reality, you are letting more time pass and this is what will deaden the hurt..... but it will probably never completely go, though it will change into something different in time.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

RiverPoet said...

I do believe that keeping busy helps. If I sit around thinking too much, the hurt just seems to grow. Before I know it, a great deal of time will have passed. That's both good and bad, but we know that it does tend to pass faster as we age. I don't want to wish my life away, but the alternative is to sit with my thoughts too much. Not a good thing!


Syd said...

Staying busy helps but eventually it will be time to feel all the feelings and ask what is the motive that makes me want to put up with unacceptable behavior.

Daryl said...

Keep busy, sure but dont let that make it seem as if things are healing when all that's happening is the bad continues to fester til its treated.

Akelamalu said...

I've always found that writing about hurt helps heal it. I hope it does the same for you. x

B said...

This post mad me sad, but it also made me so damned angry! Hang in there. You know I am here for you!

Moannie said...

Maggie May is have to fill the time, make the day full, because time truly does heal.

Cloudia said...

Many walk the rocky path beside you...

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

RiverPoet said...

God bless you all!

Wonderfully put, Cloudia. D