On the heels of the “my kettle is always on, my door is always open” posts that were circulating earlier this month following a local tragedy the next neighborhood over, I found myself in a whelmed, borderline OVERwhelmed state yesterday. L’havdil (a great word, meaning “to separate” or more colloquially “what I am speaking about is NOT the same” – for those who don’t speak Hebrew). I was emotional, I was at times distraught, and I posted yesterday that I was eating frosting by the spoonful. I then clarified that the spoon was a serving spoon. Very few people called me after that, perhaps thinking it was my humor kicking in and clearly I was alive because I was posting but 20/20 hindsight, I was reaching out in the way I knew how in the moments I wasn’t being “strong”, “resilient”, and “superwoman”.
I had written this as a response to the well-intended but unrealistic post of those who claimed to be always at the ready with tea, a couch, an ear:
My door is sometimes unlocked, but for all things sacred, DO NOT just walk in if I’m not expecting you. The kettle can be turned on as needed, I once left it on the stove and after the water boiled away, it caught on fire. My front step is a mess of sticks and natural debris and residue from the neighbors who wash their floors incessantly. I don’t have time for such trivial cleaning outside my door. Our place is often warm because the neighboring apartments buffer us from the elements. I judge. I also am peaceful on occasion. But I judge. Find me a person who doesn’t. You want to chat? If I can, I will answer your call. If I can’t, I will call you back. If I don’t, please don’t take it personally and please call again. It’s no good suffering in silence but also it’s grating if all you do is complain. Find solutions to what you call problems. Find joy in things. If you hear voices that tell you to harm others or yourself, get on some meds stat. I have filtered water which will hydrate you, it will not bring you sanity. Wide assortment of tea, limited coffee and I would prefer to be here when you partake in these beverages. You are probably on your own. We all are in some way, unless you are a conjoined twin. Most people strive for individuation (my ex-therapist’s favorite word). You may feel alone. It’s the loneliness you want to beat. For that I can probably relate to your struggle or at least be compassionate if I can’t. The above is all true. ❤
And then a friend called from overseas and turned my world a bit topsy-turvy. He and I have few friends in common so it attributed to a sense of powerlessness. I’m unsure if my friend will seek out the help (it seems obvious to me) he needs.
I don’t think he’ll opt out; out of this life, away from the pain, onto another plane, of existence (my belief). What good is it if I saw the signs, I was “there” for him by listening, what other help could I offer him; ultimately it seems impossible to make a choice for someone else. And this isn’t Being John Malkovich. This is common reality where people live and people die, and the latter is sometimes by one’s own hands.
Back to my post above, I realized that throughout my day yesterday I was fortunate to have others listen to my rants, witness my crying, give me real hugs, and recognize my needs, but that is the synopsis. I recall that earlier in the day I starting a text to a friend and rescinded it BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO APPEAR WEAK. Really. In the afternoon, even after some tears had been shed during the time I had taken for myself between work and home, I went for the frosting. And I posted about it on social media. And while my phone was not ringing incessantly, some commented or liked my post, I received a few texts and I did get a call or two. I was not alone. Frosting was my status for help.
Yesterday’s lessons are today’s blog post.