According to the Holmes & Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale, I am a 249. This means that I have a 50% higher chance than a regular person to becoming ill due to stress. The scale measures life events like, oh, divorce and moving. I get the added bonuses of selling a house and a major change in financial situation and having a child leave home. Of course Doctors Homes and Rahe developed their scale in 1967, and life today is very different than it was then. A slightly updated version was created in 2001 to include: Period of Homelessness and Suicide of a Family Member. The latter is because of the increase in suicides over the years. But I wonder, what stresses are leading to the increased suicide rate? We already know that queer and questioning youth are at a much higher risk of suicide and that bullying has increased because of the many mediums available to do so. We live in a society with the science and technology to live longer, but also live in a society with stresses that make us sick. It seems to be a bit counter-intuitive.
We moved. Last weekend, the girls and I moved out of the home that we shared as a family for over seven years into a smallish apartment in the next town over. I needed to move somewhere different, and even though I didn’t get my wish of where I wanted to live, at least we are moved and somewhat settled. It was stressful, just as Holmes & Rahe would have us believe–I think it was way more stressful than where they would categorize it, but I’m not going to argue with them. I think that under the circumstances, I held it together pretty well. I had one major meltdown, but my sister-in-law talked me through it and I was on my way. I feel blessed to have my family and friends around to help me through. I realize I’ve been taking more than giving lately, and I appreciate that they are still around, loving and supporting me. I just keep taking one step at a time, and sometimes I burst into tears and sometimes I feel like pouring myself a drink at 10:00 in the morning, but shit has to get done and there isn’t anyone else to do it but me.
Our new place is less than half of the space we had and I don’t think I ever realized just how large our house was until I tried to fit everything into a much smaller space. I’ve had to become quite creative with where to put my furniture and all of the stuff we have. I’ve taken countless carloads to the Goodwill, filled an entire dumpster with trash plus one carload to the dump, and my garage is filled with items for a garage sale, and still….I have too much stuff. We all do. I keep trying to remind myself that the rest of the world lives in much smaller spaces and in far, far, worse conditions (our living conditions are palatial comparatively…) I went from having ten kitchen drawers to two tiny ones, my kitchen and dining room are the size of the master bathroom in my old house, two of my girls are sharing a room (much to one of their dismay,) and I keep running into things because everything is so close together–everywhere. I no longer have an extra refrigerator/freezer or an ice maker or even filtered water. Still, I’m trying to see the positive aspects and be happy that I don’t have a lot to take care of anymore and grateful that we have a place to live, food to eat and for christsakes, at least I have clean water–most of the world doesn’t.
Onward. That’s all one can and should do.
While unpacking, I was going through my purses to put them away and found this written on a note card:
“Love is always building up. It puts some line of beauty on every life it touches. It gives new hope to discouraged ones, new strength to those who are weak, new joys to those who are sorrowing. It makes life seem more worthwhile to everyone whose eyes it looks.” Author Unknown
I read that quote at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding two years ago, but I was struck at how much it meant to me right now. And then I thought about something else I just read from a blog post, 10 Mistakes Unhappy People Make: #2, Using Failed Relationships as an Excuse:
“Life doesn’t always introduce you to the people you WANT to meet. Sometimes life puts you in touch with the people you NEED to meet – to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to gradually strengthen you into the person you were meant to become.”
What a true story. That, mixed with the quote on love and I felt like the universe was once again letting me know that everything, will in fact, be okay for all of us. I WILL become the person I was meant to. One way or another, but I’m keeping my eye on doing it through love, happiness, friendship, learning, and artistic expression.
Love builds us back up and life puts us in touch with the people we need to meet. That pretty much describes what’s been happening to me since December, but it has often been difficult to see through all of my pain. I shed so much of myself that I was a deep dark hole that couldn’t be filled, my body withered away, my soul ached and my heart broke. Sometimes it’s hard to even transport myself back there emotionally because it still hurts to much to think about…so I try not to. I try to keep looking forward and remembering; I’m always remembering and reminding myself that none of this was done purposely TO me; it’s just the way it is sometimes and I’m not so special to be immune to heartache and pain. Without it, I can’t know happiness in its fullest. Maybe that’s a cop out–kind of like religious people saying that life events are just “God’s will…” Which is bullshit. God or no God, life just happens and sometimes it’s super messy and gross. Sometimes it’s amazingly sweet. Sometimes it’s a little of both. Sometimes it’s a little of both all at the same time and sometimes it’s all completely overwhelming and scary. I like to call that a Hyperbole of Emotion Wrapped in a State of Cognitive Dissonance. Yep. That describes me most of the time.
Why a Hyperbole of Emotion Wrapped in a State of Cognitive Dissonance? Well, because life brought me the two above/aforementioned references: love and a person. Life introduced me to a person that I needed to meet, however that works out, but I needed to meet him* because when I did, I started to see things differently–not for good or for bad, not really even clearer or with a deeper understanding, but from a perspective I hadn’t entertained. I never thought that I could ever love anyone the way that I loved Cher. I never thought anyone could ever love me the way that she loved me, and I was right on both points. No one ever will, and that’s okay. What I had with Cher was amazing and wonderful on so many levels; I will always, always, believe that the love we shared was incredibly special and something that most people don’t ever experience in their lifetime. I think I thought that because I would never be able to recreate it, that meant I would never love in that way again. What I realize now is that I won’t ever love in that way again, and that’s a good thing. I won’t have the same love–I’ll have a different love with a different person.
I was forced to grow out of my love with Cher and leave it behind, but leave it behind because that’s where it needs to stay–behind me. I can’t bring it with me because it can’t dwell where I do now–it’s a part of my past and a part of who I was and who I became, but it can’t define me anymore as it did for so long. That is not to say that I don’t feel loss; I definitely do and I will for a long time. I don’t know that anyone ever completely gets over losing someone who meant so much…I can’t even imagine that there will ever come a day that I won’t feel sad over what happened–hence the Cognitive Dissonance–holding two opposing ideas at the same time. I am still grieving and sad over the loss of my relationship, and at the same time I am happy and giddy over a new relationship that brings me such comfort and joy–and Hyperbole of Emotion…
I know. It’s too soon. I need to wait a year. It’s a rebound, whatever. It is what it is and what it’s going to be. Right now I’m just focusing on having fun and loving every moment as best I can, and it’s very difficult to find fault in that. A new relationship with any person in one’s life is a new opportunity for discovery and growth. And I’m all about discovery and growth–no matter what form its packaged.
*Yes, him. No, that doesn’t mean I’m straight again. We’ll get to that…