This is the message I received from Not Susanna today:
We haven’t met. I’ve participated some on your blog. I recently moved with my family to be nearer to our extended family and to have more living space. We left 14 years of friends and connections and memories.
I apologize in advance for dumping this on you. Possibly this is not good boundary setting, but I don’t feel like there is anyone else I can tell who won’t completely freak out. I just need someone to sit next to me and say that they understand and that I am not crazy and that they don’t know how to fix it, either.
I am so tired. I am tired of feeling. Tired of feeling sad, feeling scared, feeling lonely, feeling responsible. I just want to hide from it all for a while. I am numbing the pain with food and the Internet and a confusing pendulum swing between busy-ness and lethargy. I am terrified to try alcohol or pills or shopping. But all the feelings are exhausting.
I walked down the sidewalk this morning in a part of town where no one knows me and I had to fight to keep from lying down and giving up. I went into the bathroom in a public library and had to fight to keep from curling up in the corner of the floor.
I am not okay. I am lost inside. I don’t know how to make decisions anymore. This is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I am tired of being brave. I am tired of being unknown, but I am also tired of introducing myself.
I don’t know if I have time for friends. I don’t know what I can or should commit to. I can’t seem to make myself make a schedule/routine and stick to it. Even though I know that I am a person who feels safer and more competent when I have a schedule/routine.
Just shout out a prayer for me would you? Likely I will feel better in a couple of days. I am going to try to keep treading water until then.
Thanks. I hope this doesn’t find you huddled in the corner (literal or metaphorical) hiding from your world, but if you are, please know that you aren’t alone.
Now I have to walk into a new-to-me grocery store, find and buy things on my list and hope to hold it together if/when the clerk asks about my day.
Not Susanna ( <– not her real name. Obviously.)
Oh, momrades. I SO GET THIS. We ALL get this, yes? WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE. I wish it wasn’t so — I wish, I wish — but this is part of the Mama Condition. And part of the Human Condition. A piece of it. A gigantic, hard to chew, impossible to swallow piece of the Human Pie.
And Not Susanna is So Right. I can’t fix it because I’ve lost my magic wand, and Jesus keeps forgetting to act like one, even though I keep telling him and telling him I think that should be in his job description.
Besides, all of our “fixes” are different. Some of us (ME, for example) need medical assistance; our brain chemistry demands it. Some of us need TIME. Some of us need Wise Counsel, professional and otherwise, and some of us need friends to wave in the dark and let us know we’re not alone, though it feels so very much like we are, while we wait for dawn, which is inevitable but oh-so-slow to arrive, like waiting for the watched pot to boil. Some of us need all of the above, a cocktail made of medicine and patience (which I hate) and counseling and mamaraderie and finding the elusive Village, and so I send my thoughts and my prayers — which is a way we beckon Love closer — to Not Susanna.
Love to you, Not Susanna, while you wait.
I wrote to Not Susanna, in part…
I want to lay down in a meadow with you.
Which sounds a little suggestive, now that I think about it. I should probably think before I speak and before I write, but where’s the fun in that? NOWHERE, I suspect, so I’ll add it to a list of other “shoulds” I never intend to actually do, like balancing my checkbook and making my bed.
I want to lay down in a meadow with you,
I wrote to Not Susanna, and also,
It will have wild flowers and be surrounded by mountains with pine trees and the sky will be cobalt with big, white, fluffy clouds that will drift in front of the sun. There will be only charming, small beetle bugs and no gnats or flies or wasps, and the ground will be spongy and soft and dry and we shall not twist our ankles as we walk to the very middle of the field and lay down on our backs and find shapes in the clouds.
We will rest.
Other momrades will join us. They’ll drift from the trees, the young with babies on their hips and the crones full of wisdom and grace, and they’ll lay down beside us and look to the sky and remind us that mamas go ahead of us and come behind, and we will be each other’s cadre, present to support and defend.
Love to you. And laying on the sidewalk, too.
And, so in conclusion, I invite you to be each other’s cadre today. To support and defend. And to send messages of love to Not Susanna and to each other in the comments below.
Thank you for being our people.
P.S. I was supposed to write you yesterday with our book review of September’s Escapist Book Club book, The Golem and the Jinni. But THINGS, guys. Things. I hope we’ll do this tomorrow.
P.P.S. And today’s blog post is supposed to be the introduction of our October Escapist Book Club book. But see above, which didn’t happen yesterday. So maybe Monday? But it’s picked! And I’m excited! Coming soon!
P.P.P.S. I think we can agree Not Susanna is more important right now than even books, though, which is Saying Something, because books. Mamaraderie and the Village, though, are at the top of the priority list. Now and always.
P.P.P.P.S. Also, this, friends: