Usually, I try to look at life lightly…to interpret the bad things that happen with a humorous slant. Every once in a while, though, it gets a little hard to be funny. This is how I felt this week. The idea that my life right now is just not funny. There are, certainly, funny elements, but mostly right now it’s twinged with pain.
So on Wednesday while I was on break from recording, I sank into my chair, closed the door to the booth and had a good old-fashioned cry. I cried because everything right now takes so much energy. I cried because when my kids call for me to pick them up, I can’t do it. I cried because my foot hurts, because it’s broken, because I’m still humiliated that my ex’s fiancée took me to the emergency room and I had no choice but to accept her kindness. I cried because my arms shake from using crutches, because there’s snow and ice everywhere and I’m terrified of slipping. I cried because everywhere I go, people offer to help me and I accept their help. I can’t manage all the doors on my own; I can’t carry anything to my car. Right now, my life is a series of “I can’t”s and it is, at the heart of it, very sad.
On top of that, it’s the holidays. I offered to let my ex take the kids Christmas eve and day because another thing I can’t do is get presents ready for them on my own.
Everything will work out. I have friends and family helping me. There are times though, when I just feel like I’ve had enough struggle. Of course, good things have happened too: my book getting published, my narration gigs, my job at Kendall, my radio plays. But when you’re feeling blue, you just feel it.
I’m trying to look for the hidden purpose behind this. What’s the message I’m not getting? One possibility: for most of my life, I’ve felt invisible. Never pretty enough or smart enough or talented enough. In my marriage, I was never seen as a full person. If writers have a theme, then mine is one of longing to be seen.
Right now, everywhere I go people see me. They open doors for me. They take time to slow down and help me to my car. They ask me questions: “How are you managing?” “I see your car seats. How old are your kids?” “What happened to you?” This too has made me cry. The irony is it’s not because it makes me sad. It’s that in all of this, I am profoundly amazed by the kindness of strangers: the time they take to see me struggling and offer to help.
I think I’ll emerge from this a more empathetic person. A more humbled person. A person grateful for the smallest of things, like being able to pick up your own child and hold them to your heart. It’s not a funny moment in my life, but, eventually, maybe I’ll see it as something fragile and beautiful.