Monday, June 30, 2008

Home from Trippin'

It's not like I did a lot in NY. But something kinda happened to me. Good things, I think. A peeling away that has left me a little stripped and unsure, but in ok ways.

It takes years, I think, to scratch away at the surface levels of denial -- it did for me any way -- and some of us don't bother with the deepest of levels. It's easy to be content with just-under-the surface truths. Any new truth revealed is a relief though, isn't it? It's like a new day; we're rolling now, aren't we? But there's more. There's always more. I feel I unintentionally dove deeper and yanked away some bullshit this week. Not regular bullshit, like Purpose and Meaning, but more about obscure self honesty; the type of honesty we don't even know we're not being honest about. Not stark unkind truths really, but blossoming ones that go beyond ourselves that connect us to everything else.

The interesting thing is that I couldn't find a pen this week. Every pen in my purse had disappeared, and I always have pens because I'm always scribbling madly inspired notes to myself. But all the pens vanished, so no notes to write, and I was left without the guarded task of making lists and sorting things out in controlled, organized ways. I can see how the lists have protected me from bravely mazing through my mind to root out things and tear down real veils. It was kinda scary; unchartered really. Because when deeper facades go down, who am I left with?

The pinnacle of all of this happened last night. I had taken the subway to JFK airport early to make sure I'd get there on time. I was anxious to come home, not wanting to be alone anymore with my doing-nothing-practical yet mazing, rooting mind. I was without the girls, missing Husband too, and I was stabilizing a tailspin that was equally uplifting and scooting me to an unknown ledge. My flight was to depart at 6pm. We didn't board until 8. We didn't lift off the ground until 10. By 10, I was all but rocking back and forth in my window-seat chair, trapped in and looking at the monster queue of planes around us waiting to take off too.

I don't typically recognize anxiety in myself. I don't understand it. I squash it down deep. I blame it on sugar. I blame it on morons around me. I drop kick it so others can deal with it. But by 10pm last night, I had no where to put it. I didn't even have a motherfucking pen to scribble out a superficial remedy and I decided to let it stay, trapped there too. We duked it out a bit, in the window-seat. If you had had ring-side seats in my mind, you would have seen it wasn't pretty. I called Husband on the tarmac after an hour of waiting and I said, "I just want to come home now." And he said, "Hang in there, baby." And that worked, for a while. Until that jerk Anxiety made me believe that every call and text was a poetic precursor to the plane going down. The woman in front of me asked if she could get off the plane, but we were in the middle of the queue and there was no way, and I thought if she makes us go back to the gate and start over with the waiting I will beat her ass with a bag of peanuts. I wasn't feeling positive. Or loving. Or grateful. But I kept forcing those thoughts on myself, like, "Be fucking positive already. Surround this plane in some goddamn love, will ya? Don't force fate because then we'll probably crash as we take off -- DON'T THINK THAT." At 10, we took off and the crowd didn't even applaud like a good-natured crowd would have. Many grumbled, but I was thrilled to have finally left. Until the turbulence started. I'm sure many people are scared of turbulence. I don't know many more than me. I'm terrified in fact, but I don't usually show it. Except that one flight where I put my jacket over my head and resigned to it all, and that one time I flew in a private flying minivan to Vegas that shook like we were in an 8.0 air earthquake and I held no fear back then and I held on to the ceiling, my face drained and paralyzed, and I sweated through a t-shirt and I was so tense that I got a spectacular workout, but generally when a plane shakes I mask the raging panic within. The plane shook last night pretty good. Not the worst I've felt, but certainly not the easiest, and my mind and I went on a rollercoaster. It was like I was drunk to the point of emotional blathering, and the unearthing of my bullshit began -- known bullshit, some well-hidden shit, stuff I didn't know what to make of -- right there in the window seat as I covered my face with a pillow and sometimes tried to hold onto the window without a good grip. After an hour, the flight settled into a smooth auto cruise and I was ecstatic; so overly happy about this, though any tiny bump caused me to throw the pillow up to my face again. I was exhausted from the mental prostrations. I simultaneously and nervously read magazine articles and flipped through the TV channels, refusing to stop on anything negative and upsetting. But then I started watching Rescue Me because the writing intrigued me and Dennis Leary is a leathery fox, and I had never seen the show before. And then his kid gets hit by a car while he's on a bicycle and Leary and his wife pick up the limp bloody body and drive him to the emergency room and the kid is obviously dead and it was filmed well enough where I couldn't change the channel and I'm all crying silently in my seat . . .and then me and my anxiety go at it again. I'm begging this time, Don't take my girls from me like that! Please god! And I watch the mom's reaction when she realizes the boy is dead and I spend five minutes trying to clear away from my mind what my reaction would be and I nearly start just screaming in my seat. A long, unhinged guttural scream with all my breath. I changed the channel, finally, and tussled with my mind some more to quell the freak out. More of the same strange universal bullshit came up and I let myself stew in it. I tried to release it, but I'm not sure I have.

We landed at 12:30am in LA. I had been thinking about my reunion with Husband for three days, but when I saw him I felt raw and embarrassed, unbeknownst to him. I tried to explain a little of what I was feeling, but spoken words in these situations fail me because I can't seem to shake the self consciousness from them, and I teared up enough to know that if I kept talking I would have cried for 10 minutes straight. It's not how I imagined our reunion. I didn't want to dump that on him. I talked instead about how earlier in the day I had been caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of the Gay Pride Parade where a couple of men in short-shorts sought refuge under awnings on the street, and some women danced on the top of a halted double-decker bus anyway. I hadn't done either; I had stood in the rain, looking around me. I told him about how much I loved cooking in a commercial kitchen and that taking the gorgeous raw class moved me, and the wonderful cake class left me with a stomach ache, sadly but unsurprisingly. I told him about how I had bought the pretty brown dress I was wearing even though it wasn't really my style because I loved how many women in NYC didn't schlub around the city and that dresses beat the heat well and looked pretty but not too fancy, enough for me to want one. He told me it really was pretty.

My week and the plane ride home didn't make me feel too exposed, I was finding. I didn't feel that uncomfortable. I felt a little unsure of what I had been through. I felt happy to be home. I love NY, but I really, really love California. The Cali breeze was a soothing welcome home as was holding Husband's hand during the rest of the drive home, not having to talk anymore about the bout I had had with myself. I smoothed out my brown dress and squeezed his hand and told him again how much I loved and missed him. I decided I'd wait until the next day to see how I felt about the other stuff. And today I still feel unsure and raw, but mostly I feel underlyingly yet undeniably inspired.


Marigoldie said...

I'm not just saying this cause you say it to me: I love you, man. Thank you for sharing this.

Julia said...

God, that reaction to loss of a child, even in movies or books, it kills me. I don't know what I would do without my son.
Strong writing for strong emotions!

Maven said...

Ladyfriend, I am interested to hear more about this when it's more processed, if you feel like it. Plus ditto what Marigoldie said.

Kristin C. said...

The rawness, so easy to relate to. Isn't it so strange when we feel all figured out and the next thing we know we have a few days to ourselves and we start to FEEL life changing emotions? You told this so're such an awesome writer.

Hil The Thrill said...

I was going to say that we all have been there at some point, but maybe that's not correct. I have definitely gotten tightly wound by the thoughts in my head. In a life of GO! GO! GO!, when we finally get time for ourselves to listen to our thoughts, sometimes it comes in a torrent. When this happens, why do I think I am the only one this has ever happened to? I like to think I am more unique than I am, I think. I love your writing. Thanks for taking the time.

greenish gold said...

This is really great and you've expressed it so clearly.

I'm also 40 now and I feel like old ways of thinking that I thought were conquered are kind of parading themselves in front of my face. 'Ha, ha, look at me, this is something stupid you did 20 years ago.' Only now, I'm at this point where I say, "You know you're right, brain. Thanks for pointing that out."
Whereas I would have pushed it aside before.

Please keep writing. xoxo

madness rivera said...

Thanks so much, my friends.

Y'know Maven, I was gonna post more about it, but I'll do it here in the comments . After processing this nonstop for the last 36 hours or whatever I realize that all my introspection is on an intellectual level. Even becoming more compassionate and kind is a well thought out process for me. Feeling terrified on the plane stripped away all thought processes and left me with only emotion, ,no clear thoughts really, and somehow got me to a point where anything that came to me, everything revealed, was from a place that is deeply, truly me and deeply outside of me. The part that is melted with everything/everyone else. The truths that came were to a point of effortless, they just were. Like, for example, instead of mapping out a stream of thought to be less judgmental, you just are nonjudgmental because that's what melds you in with a pure collective stream. Whoa. Deep. But seriously, it was oddly calming to feel this even though I was fighting it at the time.

The other thing I realize is that this probably happened because I'm not in balance. I pray a bit here and there, but I have no true spiritual outlet. I believe in balance above many things, but I don't know how to balance out the spiritual side of myself. I know I live in a more or less spiritual way as in trying to be a good person, but I mean prayer/meditation. This whole freak out seemed to be a back-clogging of this outlet. Because god help me if I have to be in a state of terror to feel that connected and true again.

CWrites said...

It takes so much courage to be so real and expose yourself to the level you always seem to do in your posts. It is truly inspiring to me. I pray you find the spiritual balance and connection that you seek. I believe your acknowledgment in the need for that connection is what will call it forth. Stay open.

Maven said...

You Virgo you.
This is exactly why I know that I need meditation practice and haven't gotten around to it yet because I'm too busy intellectualizing. Biking a lot helps, but it's not the same thing.

Pixielyn said...

Jimminy Crickets girl you sure went through self therapy times bazillion there in that plane didnt you. The aloneness of your NY trip and then that horrendous plane ride topped off with the tv show was a gift.
A gift to show you just how strong you really really are. All that stuff that comes out is just fear of the unknown. Stuff we shove back every minute of the day as we bravely rushingly go forth every day.
You got to touch it and stew on it.
I marvel at your way of writing so wonderfully. Kudos to sharing so wonderfully.
Hugsto you, Hugs to your raw and exposed emotions.
I'm glad you came home to your haven and I cant wait to hear more of your cooking experiences!!!!

bazu said...

Wow, that is quite the experience, and I can tell you that I relate. Of course, I'm not saying that I've experienced 100% of what you have, but I remember when I was at school at UCI, and the constant NY/CA flights, and how many of them would go wrong (delays, cancellations, weather, re-routing, you name it) and the emotional rawness- leaving my partner and my family and going back to somewhere where there was often no one to pick me up at the airport... definitely enough to make you think!

Molly said...

I think it is interesting that this very raw experience started after a raw foods class. Thanks for writing that. The experience is familiar to me and comforting to hear shared.

Nitza said...

I once worked as a photographer's assistant and we traveled around for work. My boss seemed cool at first but then I realized he was a controlling ass. But I was in my twenties, just married, and I needed the job. Then we were flying out of Denver on a day when a freak snow storm came in. The planes were still flying and we were all loaded in. But the wait on the tarmac was crazy long and they kept deicing the plane. I just thought I am going to die next to a man that is not my husband, a man I do not like or respect, die doing a job that I do not love and does not pay me tons. The plane made it back and I quit the next day after I had told my husband I was going to temp to make money. My husband totally understood, which was great. I have never regretted that decision.
Also that episode of Rescue Me just tears me up. I always remember it when I watch any future episodes. It was just so raw and real. Plus, I love how you described Dennis as a leathery fox, so true.