Thursday, June 27, 2013

Growing Pains

I open my computer and I try to write.  I sit and stare at the blinking cursor, I cower away, I come back.  I wait.  Nothing strikes.  Whoever said that writing was as simple as sitting down at the typewriter and opening a vein had it all wrong.  I've done both, so I know.  Opening veins is way, way easier.  Thoughts crowd around, a jumbled mass of things that sound like nothing more than complaints, petty grievances that raise my blood pressure, piss me off, and then are gone.  Being around other people is exhausting, I didn't even go to my classmate's celebratory end of the year party Tuesday night, after the 79 of us all slogged through ten months of classes together.  I didn't go, despite being invited, and then I turn away from photos of the fun because my heart hurts from feeling left out.

I grow my plants with a vengeance.  I can do this, I can be good at this.  It's 90 degrees, I'm pouring sweat, and I don't care.  I pull all the weeds, even the tiny ones.  I fertilize carefully, I water with an attention most people reserve for walking a tightrope.  My mind clears, I don't have to talk to anyone or be happy or cheerful or compassionate while I'm doing this.  This is my territory, these plants are my babies.  It's such a simple, straightforward process - dig, plant, tend with care, and look, something amazing happens.  The garden's timeline of weeks and months relieves my frantic soul, while I tell myself that ten years from now, I will smile at my anxious incompetent current self and think nothing of all the things that scare me now.

I don't have to be anyone special for him.  It's such a relief.  He tells me he's proud of me for getting honors and we leave it at that.  I want to hear about how he saved thousands of frogs from the stagnant pool they're emptying at the apartment complex he's working on in Georgia this week.  I want to hear about this because it's not the jumble of anxiety and exhaustion that is clouding the inside of my brain.  I go with him to look at a house he might move into, and I plan where the nursery might go, a few years from now.  I show him where I'll plant the garden, he tugs my ponytail and says with a smile, "Okay."  That's it.  I lean into him and I don't have to do anything more.

I talk to a midwife on the phone this morning about attending some home births this summer.  She asks where I'm doing my community health rotation and when I tell her she laughs, and says, "I remember doing community health.  We called it community hell for a reason.  Good luck!"  I go pull more weeds and stroke my one growing hot pepper until the tightness in my throat clears and my eyes are no longer leaking.

I sleep in his bed because the air conditioning is too good to pass up and the bed feels cavernous without him and the inside of my head is a mess again and it still would be easier to pour from my wrists than it is to figure out what I'm trying to say.


lisell said...

I'm worried about your last sentence. Please know .. reach out if you need to.

Cait said...

I am okay, I promise. Maybe not the best metaphor, considering my history. Just more general angst and anxiety than real depression or woe. Thanks so much for your concern :)