Thursday, July 22, 2010

Itchy and Scratchy

I wish I had something profound to say. Something insightful and deep that inspired you today, or maybe just me. But I am exhausted. Soul exhausted. Body weary.

I wish I could always hold on to that sweet feeling of contentment that comes with optimism and insight, but the truth is the good parts of growth and wisdom come in small, slippery spurts. Last week's awareness was incredible, but it is now gone. I mean, I have integrated the lesson, but have gone back to sleepless discontent. There is a constant cycle of mourning here. Mourning my insights, my steps forward. My Buddhist therapist once said to me, "So you are mourning the loss of your daughter and your enlightenment?" Something like that.

I had violent dreams last night. With blood and torn limbs. With vomit and disease. I don't understand it, really, because I avoid movies, even, with that sort of visual. I hate the genre horror. I cover my eyes. Protect my sleep. And still they come, like a surrealist painting, rife with symbolism I don't understand about a world in which I do not live. Last night, my dream included a dead priest hanging off of the 70s brown refrigerator I grew up with. He was stabbed and damaged. He was found by my daughter, who stood staring at him. I could feel the trauma changing her brain and I covered her eyes and stared at him myself. Taking in his injuries and the anger around his death. Not my anger, but someone's anger. Then I woke, unable to banish the mental image and conversely, unable to sleep again.

My children surrounded me in bed, or close enough to feel like bed, the husband working the overnight shift. I was determined not to watch television all night, so I stayed in bed with my blackberry, checking every few minutes that my children were still breathing. (Hell, I was awake, might as well make myself useful.) I finished my saved crossword puzzles, then on my blackberry, I read the internet. All of it. Then, I finished my book, which was quite good except for the violent bits and the existence of elves, which somehow always makes me feel like I am not taking this life seriously enough. I should somehow muster reading parenting books, or Hegel, for the love of God. I should be a fucking adult at some point. But maybe it is reading philosophy so young, I can only really connect with magical stories.

The internet is sparse right now. Well, our corner of it. Everyone seems to mention they are reading, but not commenting, and I certainly am doing the same. I just feel out of words. I am hot. I am tired. I am hungry. (Still eliminating, people.) Everything I write makes me feel and sound like a douche bag. I chat with friends and feel like a douche. I write a comment and feel like a douche. I think you get to the point in your grief where you have felt and read lots of the intricacies of grief. You have been in lots of scenarios talking about your dead baby. You just have been doing this for what feels like forever. I have been doing this grief thing for 19 months (actually today, who knew?!), after all. And I have been in Bloglandia for 17 months, and I have commented a lot, and I have three blogs, so I get comments. I just don't want to comment on someone's blog and have them think I have any idea what it is like for them. I hate being dismissed as feeling like everyone else. And I hate being dismissed as someone with fringe feelings. Thus, I feel impotent. Sometimes I still feel like the best thing to do is say, "I am here, listening. You are not alone. You are not crazy. I love you." I don't always have the energy to write even that. There is sometimes nothing to say, and so I say nothing. And then, also, feel like a douche.

Perhaps this is simply my season of being a douche bag.

Grief settles on you like scratchy skin. I have experience with eczema these days, so bear with me. Having raw rough patches of skin that itch constantly. You itch and scratch. Itch and scratch. And people stare at those patches and wonder why you don't just go to the damn doctor and get some ointment, not really realizing that this itchy, sore spot is being treated. It looked worse. Seriously. And then at some point, you annoy yourself by constantly saying, "I'm itchy. I need to scratch." It is just there, and you might flail all night, or rub your body against your sheets and somehow, it is still there. Just angrier. Redder. More inflamed. Some days, you notice yourself scratching, and other days, you just unself-consciously scratch. And some times you get to some zen place where you promise yourself to, or maybe even, stop scratching. And then one night you wake up with your spot bleeding and you realize that you scratched it in your sleep anyway.

Or something like that. Even that sounded douche-y to me.

All I can say is that I am still here. Wilted and itchy. Hungry and grumpy. Still listening. Still reading. Trying to comment. Feeling impotent.

If anyone knows what violent dreams mean, you can share that with me. Though I am slightly afraid it means I am deranged.


  1. I am so sorry, but this made me laugh! I get the douche-ness of commenting--and here I am subjecting myself to the same douche-bagginess.

    But I will say that simply reading other people's blogs makes me feel less alone, despite the lack of comments on my own. Everyone's got their shit.

  2. Keep reading magical stories. I am listening to A Wrinkle in Time in the car, read by Madeleine L'Engle and she starts out the book by telling the story of how the book was almost never published because publishers thought it to was "too hard for kids." She says that it is too hard for adults because adults have lost the ability to think like that. Those adults are the ones who can't read magical stories and always take life seriously. Life isn't always serious. And elves do exist.

    Violent dreams don't mean that you are deranged. They are your mind's way of working through feelings so that you don't become deranged.

  3. I laughed through this too. I totally feel like a douche. I've run out of things to say. I just keep reading.
    I wish I could escape into books with tales of elves...I'm one of those adults who has taken life too seriously and it started before I became one.

  4. My limited experience with violent dreams is that I once dreamt I very calmly chopped up a boyfriend with a steak knife, which I took to mean that I needed to break up with him right away. So, not much help, I'm afraid. But I'm sorry that violence and fear invaded your dream space. I hope they don't come back any time soon.

    It's a dry, hot season, and I think a lot of us are just holding on until the weather breaks a little.

  5. Hey :)

    You could do something novel and write something inane on my blog.

    It would beat the person who felt like deciding to remind me that actually my son was a person, not just some entity for me to have a grief process about *rolls eyes*

    Really. I'd have settled for "I'm listening". Snort. ;)

  6. please don't be so hard on yourself.

    and i thought this was funny too. sometimes i am unsure of my commenting too

  7. You are so not a douche Angie!

    You are gorgeous and amazing and wonderful. And most of all YOU INSPIRE.

    I haven't commented in yonks and that is because I haven't really read any blogs in yonks.

    I want more time - thats life.

    Thinking of you - I love watching everything you are working on :)


  8. I needed to read this, this morning, after getting a whopping two stretches of 45 minutes of sleep last night. (One, interestingly, containing a dream that lasted hours. Imagine my surprise when I woke up and realized only 45 minutes had ticked by on the clock.) A major part of it is the fucking heat which seems to have seeped into my bloodstream.

    So, um, point? Ditto. I will see you in person one of these hot mornings, and we can sweat out our soy/rice coffee together while we put cucumber slices on our eyeballs.

  9. Uh, welcome to the land of violent dreams. Last night I fought and ran away from somebody out to kill me. It was scary shit... though not as bloody as yours. Besides that, let me just borrow your words:

    I am here, listening.
    You are not alone.
    You are not crazy.
    I love you.

  10. Douche and its sibling, douchebag, are my favorite words these days. I applaud you in your liberal applications of them.

    I honestly don't know how you do everything you do. You energy humbles me. If I have never said that before, I am way overdue because I have often spontaneously thought this very thought about you.

  11. There are a lot of us heading for the 2 year mark - and it does seem to be a speechless season. You're absolutely right - it does feel forever. I am sorry about the horrid dreams - and I wish your soul rest and your body peace.

    P.S. You're not a douchebag - not even a very small one.

  12. I hardly ever comment anymore on 'new' grief blogs b/c I feel like a giant asshole knowing that no matter how carefully I try to write words that might intend to say "Fuck ya, I so totally know that feeling and remember wading knee deep in it and hating every single second of it" will instead read more like, "been there, done that".... See, Asshole, with a capital A. I hate it.
    I've got the three year mark around the bend and if it makes you feel any more or less douchey, it still sucks ass...
    Hang in hon, winter must be coming, right?

  13. I think it might simply (as if it were simple) that you are angry. After my son died I had dreams full of fury - yelling at friends, family, people I didn't even know for hurts real and imagined. I hated it, but it eventually passed.


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