Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I woke to the white light of perfect winter. The house was quiet. Now it is snowing from a gray and blue sky, tiny flakes that fall lazily and will amount to nothing.
I can't sleep at night because I am buzzing with excitement to go to Paris. I'm like a child on Christmas Eve, but the trip is still more than a month away, and this kind of heightened state can't last long, it must collapse eventually into something, or it will ruin me. I whiled away the entire day yesterday plotting routes from the apartment I've rented on airbnb to all the restaurants I want to go to, realizing I don't have the time or the budget to eat EVERYTHING in Paris, though god help me, I will do my best. I will stop talking about it now, because the only bad thing about going to Paris is that people kind of hate you when you tell them about it.
It really is doing the most magical thing outside my window right now, with the sunlight turning to orange and the snow flakes falling so slowly they are almost still in the air, fixed like stars.
Noah was out of town over the weekend. I went to work, and then the girls and I went and hocked Girl Scout Cookies at the brewery. We came home exhausted and late and the girls went to play with their Kindles in their rooms, as they are allowed to do at bedtime on the weekends. It was around ten when Ayla came out of her room crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said her movie was sad. "What are you watching?"
"The Gabby Douglas Story."
I asked her what was sad about it. She told me how Gabby Douglas had had to leave her mother to go train with Coach Chow and how the family didn't have much money, I think--I don't really know, I just know that Ayla was overwhelmed. I wanted to laugh and cry a little bit with her. I asked her if she had finished the movie. She hadn't.
She did this once before with a Thora Birch movie in which, at the end, the girl very nearly loses her pet monkey before the monkey escapes from the bad guys and goes running through a park in L.A. to be reunited with the girl. Ayla turned it off at the part where Thora was crying and the monkey was distressed. It is too much for children, to see animals in distress. With Gabby Douglas, just as with the Thora Birch, I put the movie back on and we watched the end. Alicia Keys sang as a montage of Gabby winning competition after competition played on the screen, sort of hurrying the climax along if you ask me. I had to explain to Ayla at the credits that Gabby had won not only a team medal at the Olympics, but the gold medal for best overall. I wanted Ayla to be giddy with relief over this happy ending, and she was soothed, but I sensed that my cheery "see how everything worked out in the end!" attempts were falling on something deeper and softer within. Either way, I kissed her and put her to bed, and she drifted off, cheeks dry but a million miles away, that girl, buttoned away inside, just like her mother, unknowable to me even though our cells still live inside one another.
It's still snowing so prettily, but nothing will come of it.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Yesterday we had big plans but they didn't pan out because we had to take the car in to the shop an you know exactly how all that goes. This time, they gave the car back to us in worse condition than it was in when we entrusted it to their care (Charlie's Tire in Brevard is the place to avoid) and so tomorrow we'll be dealing with the car again and may I add a few hundred dollars shorter.
We did have an awfully fun time eating ribs and playing Cards Against Humanity with some friends, and we did all this late into the evening like Europeans, not like the tired parents we all are. So it wasn't a total wash, even though it has been raining for as long as I can remember and the ground is soggy like food you'd spoon-feed to an invalid.
Tomorrow the girls have to go back to school and I feel like crying for them. They've spent the last two weeks blissed out, playing with new Christmas toys and art supplies, obeying the natural rhythms of their bodies, doing what they want when they want it. Mostly doing it in the house because of the whole Eternity of Rain thing, but still, it's been nice.
And I don't want them to go back because I will have to figure out what to do with myself in their absence. This used to be an easy task, but now it isn't.
I'm reading "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Dear Sugar who is in fact Cheryl Strayed. It is a gorgeous and wondrous book and the book I needed in my life, right now, this very moment. It's made me cry over and over again in the good way. And it turns out that the quote on the mug above is from Tiny Beautiful Things, from an essay Strayed wrote for a writer who was lost along her way.
I certainly can't write like a motherfucker right now but there's a time for everything.
So there is is, Brittany. This moment in your life. This day beneath the gray-washed sky.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Paris, March 2002
My brain is very sick. When my brain gets sick like this, I can mostly do a good job of pretending to people that it isn't. I can look like I'm home and sound like I'm home, but inside, my brain is in such distress that I can't find myself anywhere. It's like that scene in Home Alone (forgive me) when Kevin fools the robbers into thinking a great party is going on. The lights are on, the music's blasting, there are people moving inside. From the outside everything is normal--lit up, even. But in reality, the inside is empty. There isn't anything good. Anywhere.
So there's your John Hughes/Depression analogy of the day.
Finally I said all of this to Noah, which was incredibly hard, so so hard, but I felt better afterwards. I felt better today. I'll be on Wellbutrin again soon.
Last night I was doing Yoga With Adriene and she said something about "trauma to the emotional body". That was it, exactly. My entire body felt bruised and sore, like I had been beaten. My brain had been beating me for weeks.
In March of 2002 I went to Paris with three girlfriends. Travel has always been one of the most important things to me--I used to think it was more important, even, than writing. That was when I was writing but couldn't travel. Now I'm going to travel, but I can't write. Of course, now writing feels utmost, travel second. Of course. In March 2012, despondent that I hadn't been back to Europe in ten years, I made a solemn vow to myself that I would go again by 2022. (I know it is ridiculous to be despondent over not going to Europe) I called my best friend and made her witness to my vow. I assumed I'd be getting my passport stamped somewhere close to midnight on December 31st, 2022. Then, a few weeks back, my husband found himself in a position to buy me a ticket to Paris. Knowing how much Paris means to me, he did. He bought it for me and I'll be staying there for two weeks, by myself. Traveling alone is something I've always wanted to do and I can't believe it's going to happen. You probably can't tell from the tone of this blog but I am thrilled, I'm so excited, I could cry. I have bought lots of clothes in black and white and I am READY.
Okay. That day, the day I made the solemn vow, I still believed in signs, I was hungry for signs. I vowed that one day I would go back to Paris and then I put my tiny daughters in the minivan and got on the highway. A clear blue day, it was March, so I would have been coming out of my depression, or about to. I was wondering if I would really make it, would I ever really go back. A car passed me on the right. Its license plate said, "Oui."