Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday therapy

I've been in pretty much all weekend. Let me add: I absolutely love it.
It's not that I'm becoming a recluse, it's just that I've always been a homebody--but the last few years have allowed me to really unfurl this trait, grow it, exercise it. Encourage it. Also, the money-saving benefits. Don't even get me started. I've been on a mission lately, last weekend's U.S. visit (hello Target) notwithstanding, I've really been pinching it. Another thing I love (Virgo, I'm a Virgo, remember? Singsong voice).

I've watched the Devil Wears Prada twice in a row, once last night while cooking dinner, and once, (part of it, anyway) tonight, after taking my mom home. I've been grocrey shopping, I think I mentioned that.
I'm now having tea, have been in my pajamas since, oh, 7:30, and I'm alternately putting heat and cold on a sore shoulder that I developed today, I have no idea or memory how. All I know is I can't reach too far for anything (is this a metaphor for something?) and I can't put my right arm above my head, or anywhere up, really. Doing my hair for work tomorrow morning should be interesting. It's clean, so I might be able to twist it somehow, but my arm is puzzling me. Sorry to complain. I know there are people out there with real health issues. It's just weird--first my foot, now this. And I'm going from hot-to-cold alot.
Spring is great, but its climate can leave me puzzled: my body is warm, then chilled; I wear the right thing for the office in the morning, but by late afternoon it's sweltering. And I HATE being hot.

Just finished reading my sister's blog entry for today, titled with the word Observations (funny, another blog I like posted about a lost earring this week, and I had that odd feeling that I had to turn around--you know, that over-the-shoulder thing? My own lost (and happily found) earring story languishes in the drafts folder along with, I can hear you saying, my five-year-condo-anniversary post. Not done yet. Hmm).
Back to Observations. I didn't really feel it right to mention the...hmmm... transgression my sister and I had yesterday. I had a good day, a good evening, in spite of it all. I know she's going through a rough time. My mom knows it too. And as I stood in her kitchen yesterday, where I had gone to pick up the dinner things I dropped off earlier I had a strange echo of being in my boss's office when she corners me. That sense, that fundamentally exhausting sense, that nothing I can say or do will be the right thing. So I say and do nothing. I go mute, I go limp, I play dead.
Conflict. Once such a life-force to me now leaves me very very cold. Battling it out and "fighting" life are now a part of who I was.
Confrontation, emotional energy expended on triviality (not that I'm calling my sister's pain trivial, I think I'm lumping work into the mix here), but spending that energy, that life-force, on situations that don't even come close to meriting that--it saddens me deeply. Leaves me with that horrible feeling of 'is this all there is?'  When do we finally grow? When do we learn, figure it out? In those last moments here on earth? Those last shuffling years? I don't want to learn it that late. I'm trying to learn it now. Keeping the anxiety at bay has been my 'creative' project for a number of months now. Compartmentalizing the tough parts of work. Life, as I said to Mike on the phone today, on life's terms. And sometimes (most of the time, I know this) life doesn't play anything close to resembling fair. Yes? Yes.

So I slept in this morning (phone on silent). Made coffee. Dragged myself out for a run I didn't want to go on, on a foot that I was scared of hurting more. I thought about physical injury and physical pain and the limits of the body. How my pain doesn't usually manifest itself physically--it's almost always emotional pain. I have a hard time weighing which one hurts more.
I called my mom about our dinner plans, as I surveyed my apartment, littered with laundry, in various stages of folding, on the way to being ironed, sorted. Grimaced at the dust bunnies, the crumbs on the floor, my unmade bed. If you're in one of those phases that involves survival (I counter that if you can maintain a 'lifestyle' you have passed the survival marker. Well done),  I'm here to tell you--cleaning will be either the first or the last thing to go. In my case it was the first. Just tackling the paperwork of the last year has taken everything I have.

Therapy takes on different forms. I have my own therapist whom I've seen, off and on, in various locations, since the age of 24. Her advice on cleaning has always been succinct. Put it down on the priority list. Don't let it take up headspace when you are healing. Just pick one room to focus on at a time. It's good advice. It's the same as what she told me at my last appointment, sometime in March, when I was talking about how daunting running had become.  Just run for ten minutes, was her advice. Strangely (no, not strangely really, this woman is brilliant), it worked.
So that's therapy in the literal sense.

I was telling my mom about the streetcar re-routing that's going to be happening on Queen Street all summer due to track work (inwardly I cursed the TTC, the universe, my stupid luck for this kind of thing) and preparing her to get to my place with the transferring she'd have to manage during the route (we moved her so she'd only be one streetcar ride away. Eye-roll). As I talked to her about dinner, she offered to come over earlier if I needed some help with the apartment. You know what? I did need help.
She arrived, a quick hour later, even with the transferring, and helped me organize some stuff. Motivated by her help, I cleaned my whole office area. I made my bed. She folded laundry. I put away clothes, swept floors, and soon ninety minutes of cleaning was done. We each had a drink, then walked to the grocery store to get some last minute dinner things. I was making a pasta but needed some ingredients.
We walked down the hall of my building, my mom ahead of me, and I thought about what it must be like for her, every day, without my dad. I had a brief moment of wistful imagination--he was at my condo too, waiting for us to get back from the store, reading the paper, telling us about the news of the day. The Conrad Black return-to-Canada would have outraged him. Adam Yauch's death at such a young age would have saddened him (I could almost hear him saying "That's like the cancer I had, Carolyn"). Or I imagined him arriving later, having spent the afternoon outside at Kew Beach, then making his way over in the car, excited to find free, semi-legal parking. Somehow this was therapeutic for me today, maybe much the same way that folding my laundry was for my mom. Mothering me, even in that small way. Me actually letting her. I've been so strident in trying not to need anything from anyone at any time for so long it doesn't come easily. I'm used to being the helper, not used to being helped.

Later on, after dropping my mom off, I stared blankly at the tv. I zoned out again, like I did in church yesterday and thought about how long it had been since I'd had a cry over my dad. I mulled it over.
I didn't cry until I wrote the previous paragraph though.

As I said--therapy. Takes on different forms. Sometimes you need outside help, but sometimes, the quiet thinking you do by yourself, on those days when the phone is silent, is the most healing.

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