One day at a time. This is what people like to say during trying times in your life. Just take it one day at a time and time heals everything. Really? A whole day? Can we narrow that down, maybe? Like, let’s say…make it until happy hour? Make it there and you’ve been successful. Congratulations. Here’s some rosé. Because for real, let’s face it, sometimes you gotta take things one hour a time. Sometimes, for me, I gotta take it one stoplight at a time. I don’t know what it is but something about sitting and waiting the eternity it takes to make a left on Sepulveda opens the floodgates for me. Maybe it’s the silent hum of the car or the monotonous click of the blinker. Most likely it’s just because I’m a hot mess. But sitting in the car, alone, waiting the 27 minutes for that damn green arrow to come on…fuck. I didn’t know it could ruin me. And the wave of emotion is followed by a wave of anger. A feeling of weakness. I don’t want to cry at stoplights anymore. Why can’t I stop? Why is it so heavy upon me?
But the days that I don’t have aggressive emotional breakdowns at seemingly innocent stoplights, the weeks where I have mostly good days…it feels so good. So, so good. Like jumping into a cold pool after doing manual labor in 100 degree heat. Like, holy Jesus, how does this feel so good? I want to feel this good! Look at me! I’m feeling good! Like for real! I swear! There’s no crying! There’s no crying at stoplights! There’s just good tunes and the windows down and fresh air. There’s just a sense of lightness. There’s just a feeling of freedom. The shackles came off for the day. For the week. This is the feeling I try to come back to when I’m feeling down. This is the feeling I’m trying to force my body to remember, to have it stamped upon my soul.
So here we are today. What is today? How am I feeling today?
I woke up in a quiet house that misses the little feet running up and down it’s hallway. I sat on the sofa in Son’s self proclaimed spot and read the paper. I let my gym buddies lighten my mood in the hot sun of a killer workout. And I swallowed my pain knowing that The Children are going to see their cousins today and I don’t get to be there. And that made me sad. That made me angry. I could feel the shackles tightening against my ankles. I closed my eyes and let out a scream. Silent at first, but then audible, neighbors be damned. Hot tears down my cheeks. A deep breath. I want to scream again, but instead I just breathe again. I feel the shackles loosening. It’s okay. It’s okay, I tell myself. Today will be okay. The Children will have a good day. And I want them too. Of course I do. I want, more than anything, for them to be happy. To feel unburdened by the pain that is surrounding them.
As Daughter hugged me goodbye this morning, she put her face close to mine and she looked me straight in the eyes. She was checking, as she does. She was looking for the watery eyes. I smiled a big smile. I forcefully instructed my eyes to remain dry and they miraculously agreed. Have a really fun time, I told her. Okay, she said. I love you. I love you, too. I’ll see you tomorrow, I said. I’ll see you tomorrow, she said.