The Slamming Door

We don’t have handles on our doors upstairs right now. In fact, if you wanted to shower, you’d be doing so in a room minus an actual door. It makes for exciting choreography when company is here.

Well, the doors are slamming. 

Without handles to keep them shut, they’re just swinging in the breeze. I must have the windows open; I can hear them banging from down here on the couch. I’m annoyed, but not taking action. Just trying to close my eyes… 

I have hit a wall of exhaustion—afraid to sleep for some bizarre reason. I don’t know why, but it’s got to be anxiety or overwhelm or something. Kind of feeling ripped off, to be honest! Things in my life have started picking up. Got that manuscript finally drafted. Planning for my first Global Walking Adventure. And it looks like my daughter’s tuition is cheaper by $1,000! These are all reasons to celebrate. 

Plus, I’m healthy. That’s better than a winning lottery ticket.

I’m having a hard time acknowledging the fragility of my mental state. It’s like, if I own it somehow, it could expand. The worry of it worsening only begets more worry. (Love me a Catch 22!) Or that I’ll morph into a full-on basket case. I’ve been one of those before. I’m not interested in trodding that road again. 

My fears burble up when I try to look too far down the chain. I get so ahead of myself that I can’t breathe. Yes, I know we have meds for that; but sometimes, it’s smooth sailing around here. 

Door slamming again. Gawd! 

When I get in these mini funks, I have to force myself to rethink my driving tendencies. Ambition. Productivity. Tangible Progress. These are my usual buzzwords. Have you met a Type-A before? Maybe you are one? I have decades as a branded “worker” fighting against me. My reputation for this warranted a boring “Mom is such a hard worker!” when we’d play that dinner table game. The “Say-Something-Nice-To-The-Person-On-Your-Left” thing. 

I have to find new ways to see my worth these days. I’m not contributing to the bottom line the way I used to. Back in the day, I knew my job. I knew it well. And I brought home the bacon. (Important distinction: did not cook it, just brought it home.) 

Now I’m a Hopeful Wannabe. I say that with loving kindness towards myself.

My kids are also letting go. The latest example, an unfollowing on Piper’s Instagram account. What do you call reverse unfollowing? I’m told this is age-appropriate and not to take it personally. Who wants their mother looking over their shoulder when trying to spread those wings?

I find myself super triggered these days. Identity is a cruel motherfucker when all the rollercoasters collide: hormones…empty nest…your own self-imposed reinvention. 

Slam! Slam! 

Sometimes I’ll escape my “worst-enemy” anxiety by popping on some New Girl episodes. Or drugging myself with Neo Citran in an effort to rediscover that elusive thing called sleep. Last night, neither worked. I clock-watched until 4:30 and almost got in the car to blast out of here. I’m not sure how I thought that would help. But it was an option I’d considered. 

A wise old man once told me not to fight it when we’re feeling messed up. Denial is not just a river in Egypt, as my husband would say. It’s a cruelty you can easily inflict on yourself. The fact is, we are all entitled to experience moments of overwhelm. How we cope with them is another story. 

Since I know I’m not the only one in the world to go through moments like this, I ask you—what do you do? 

I just googled “what to do when overwhelmed” and didn’t learn anything new. I know to meditate. I know to count my blessings. To phone a friend. To exercise. To sleep—ha! Good one, google. The thing the article never said was to just invite it in and let it pass. Have a cup of tea with your overwhelm. Stare at the laundry with it. I guess that’s what I’m doing right now. Giving myself permission to sit in its company.

Slam! Why can’t my child block the doors from banging? How is she tolerating this? 

I think in a way, I know too much. My background as a Financial Advisor makes me stew about money. I also know that life is short. I mean that isn’t just some trope we carry around with us. It is, literally, short. Time is ticking. I’ve lost people I didn’t expect to this year. At young ages, too. I’m seeing more and more cases of cancer. It’s an inevitable reality of getting to a certain age. 

Why don’t we talk more about our vulnerabilities?

Have we normalized “crushing it?” Maybe I’m the only one who feels a sense of shame when I’m not knocking it out of the park. And by that, I even mean existing. Like, loading the dishwasher, getting a bloody shower and giving your dog that extra lap in the graveyard. These are not Nobel-prize winning goals. It’s called life, lol.

I know for a fact we all get exhausted and disillusioned. Nobody wants to talk about it, though. Okay, maybe some close friends. And family members with the bandwidth to let us vent. If we took the temperature of every single human being at some point during their day/week/month, there’d be feelings of malaise. 

Somewhere along the line, I’ve been hardwired to believe that my privilege in life has put me in the category of “don’t you dare.” Don’t you dare feel lost or sad or worried. You have it good. You have it made. 

Although these things may be true, they’re damaging. I think I’ve been fighting this my whole life. And it’s probably one reason why I wound up having that breakdown at 27. All the shoulds…you know the ones. You should feel this, you should feel that. 

Well, what if you don’t? How ‘bout that? 

I recently told a friend that it was okay for her to crumble. I resisted the urge to say, “stay strong.” She was grieving; she’d damn well earned her crumbling. And all those little shards—they’re still her. When she’s ready, they’ll fit back together. She’s still a whole human in all her brokenness.

So, boo to the “suck-it-up” mentality. Boo to the “get over it already.” Boo to the “take a chill pill.” Yeah, we know. Don’t you think we’ve done that?

I say yes to being honest.

Yes, to letting the doors in our lives just bash about when we’re too tired to get off the couch and do anything about it. We are living in a dreamworld if we think the standard should be 100% happiness 24/7. That’s an emotion we chase. We are also prone to sadness, disappointment, fear, anger…healthy parts of the fulsome human experience.

Just know, that out in the world is another soul like you. She’s thrilled to be alive. She’s also scared of the future. She has exceptionally, wonderfully, amazingly blessed moments. And dark days. 

That door slamming haphazardly is aligned with my mood. I am too trashed to do anything about it. So I’ll wait for the winds to pass. Then it will stop. 

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