Thursday, December 16, 2010

there it is

the holidays wouldn't be complete without that gnawing pit in my stomach.  the pit that is trying to prepare me for some sort of disaster or disappointment. it used to be a leftover residual from christmases past.  was my mom going to call on christmas or not? if she did i hated talking to her, hated hearing her voice full of anxiety and sadness. if she didn't call i hated her even more and used it as an excuse to write her out of my life. it also filled the holiday with dread- no call was a sign that something was wrong. then there was the christmas she called but hung up after speaking with my brother. that christmas ended up in a screaming match between my brother, my dad, and me and then followed up with a lame attempt from my mom to reconnect in which she admitted that she was scared of me. i don't blame her. looking back, i would have been scared of me, too.
this christmas will be the first time since i was eleven years old that i will spend some of it with my mom. she is sober now and i am saner, however, the anxiety over spending this time with her is not gone. it feels kind of like peeling a band-aid off too soon. the cold air stings when it hits the scrape that is not yet healed. but it might be one of those scrapes that never really heals, like the ones on the knuckle. maybe the skin is forever too thin there.
it doesn't help that there is a misunderstanding hanging in the air, a misunderstanding that i will be staying with her the entire time. i am caught in this delicate tight rope walk. how do i say i do not want to spend all my time with you without being hurtful or in some way intimidating? how do i turn off that alarm system that makes me feel guilty when i am trying to consider my own feelings?  how do i grow in a loving way? how do i make the pit go away for good? a weekly appointment has been good help, as well as slowing down and taking some time to just be without focusing on everything before me. but there are some things that become engrained. after so many years, histories, memories, feelings become part of your make-up, what makes you the person you present to the world. the feelings are in your blood coarsing through; a pulsating river that swells just after it rains. going home is now its own event. one that has its own narrative, its own unpredictability, unattached to a past. each time, a separate journey and no longer can i count on the past to ready myself for the next time.
the worst is when the memories don't come, just the feelings, just the impact of all the things we forget overtime. you are left with nausea when passing the white oak exit on the 101 north freeway,  or a rapid heart beat when waiting for the red light at the shoup and ventura intersection, or sweaty palms when you knock on a door. do I greet them with a hug or a kiss? how do i say goodbye?

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