Saturday, April 12, 2014
Saying "NO" When We Need To
I had a dream last night that I found my fiancé dead in a swimming pool (Which is entirely unrelated to how he actually died - halfway across the country - in a helicopter crash). Then, a few days pass in the dream, I come to his body and try to shake him awake - almost violently, I shake him - and his eyes start to respond. And he starts to try and breathe…. taking deeper and deeper breaths until he begins to come to. And at this moment I dive into his arms, and he wraps them around me tight - making me feel so small and safe like he always did. I can feel his head against mine, his short military style haircut against my left temple. And I tell him in disbelief "But you were dead! Your body has been dead for three days! How are you here?!" He just wraps me up tighter in his arms.
And then. I wake up.
I'm sorry, but I'm just going to say what we're all thinking every time we wake up from THAT kind of dream….
WHAT THE FUCK??!?
I mean, come ON, what was the point of that?! What fresh new hell is this that my brain is now inventing entirely new and creative ways for my fiancé to die, and THEN allowing him to come back to life JUST before I wake up to reality. I'd like a dream interpreter to even just TRY to tell me there is meaning in that. To which I would likely punch her in the face the moment she tried to. Ugh.
I've been trying to hold myself together for the past few weeks - and I gotta say, this dream finally pushed me over the edge. I've had so many GOOD things happening. I sold several prints of my photos, got a lead on working with an agency that will potentially place my photos in hotels and hospitals and such all over the country. Got a lead on submitting my writing and photography to Huffington Post for their blog team (fingers crossed!). And the biggest thing of all…. I just landed my very first ever solo photography exhibit. Like, someone wants to showcase my work, in an entire show, all by itself. Holy crap - this is one of the most amazing and terrifying things that's happened to me since I went skydiving for the first time back in 2009.
But with so much happening all at once, I've been extra stressed, too. Photo shoots, meetings, phone calls, along with other freelance work I do. It's the most busy I have been since he died honestly - and the way that has drained me has totally taken me by surprise. I've been depleted this week to that magic point… the point where the one and only thing that could relax and restore me would be - yup - talking to him. Or a simple back rub and a movie on the couch together. How could one person have such an incredible calming effect on me? Somehow him saying to relax and that it will be okay made me believe in a way I never quite have before. That's pretty amazing. And pretty crappy to now be without.
So for the past few weeks, I've been trying my best to get through the stress and excitement and newfound fears without my go-to guy. I've been trying to focus on my photography and keep myself calm… all the while with the underlying feelings of "He's not HERE to share this with" lurking. And lurking. And lurking. And then the stupid dream slammed into me and shook up ALL that lurking pain. I lost it this morning on the phone with my best friend, and the poor thing had to hear me just explode everything out to her on the other end of the line:
"I hate this stupid journey!
I hate that for every exciting, happy, joyful thing that happens in my life… I have a crash afterwards.
I hate that I always know the crash is just around the corner, and that no amount of expecting it makes it any better.
I hate that I used to feel so organized and now I feel like a total scatterbrain, and there's nothing I can do about that because my brain is different now. And I hate that wonder if people think I'm making an excuse when I say that.
I hate that I cannot just have my old life back, where my happiness was not completely enmeshed in the complicated pain of grief.
I hate that my journey is MY journey now, and not OUR journey." I really, really hate that.
Even though there are moments where I do feel he is guiding me and that we are still in this journey together… it is NOT the same as telling him "OH MY GOD, BABE. I AM GOING TO HAVE MY OWN PHOTO SHOW!!!" and seeing the look on his face, having him grab me in his arms and hug me, and then going out to a nice dinner to celebrate it all… and knowing that he is so proud that he goes around and tells every single person in his life all about my show. Telling anyone else on the planet that information is NOT the same - because they aren't my team mate. They aren't part of the "we". And no matter how exciting and incredible it is that I will have a show…. no matter how overwhelmed I am that the curator loves my work and wants me to show it exactly as I want to, no matter how GOOD it feels to be doing something I have always always dreamed of since I was a little girl… in the very next moment the joy swings right around and stabs me with the sharp end of "he's not here for this". I am really, REALLY tired of being stabbed by the back end of my joy.
So thanks dream. And grief. For totally wreaking havoc on me pointlessly this past week… so I could lose my shit and feel completely ungrateful for all good in my life. I hate that part of the journey too - not being able to feel grateful for what I do still have. Especially because I know I do have a lot. But dammit, today I'm not grateful. Maybe tomorrow I will be, surely in a few days I will. But today, I'm just freaking sad and in pain and I'm just going to take a day off from trying to "make something" of this stupid journey. Some days you just have to say NO. So today, I'm sitting my ass down, crossing my arms, and I'm not taking another damn step forward until I feel like it. I'm betting someone else out there is having one of those days too. Maybe we'll say yes to trying tomorrow, but for today, if you need to say no, I am SO in your corner.