2019 sucked. Sucked the life, the joy, the peace, the faith from us. It just plain sucked.
I want a word that doesn’t feel so uneducated, so trite. Use more refined vocabulary, Betsy.
I was sure it’d go down as the worst year of my life. and IT SUCKED.
Beau got cancer in January and the next 12 months were just impossible. One morning, a year later, I was up early writing and saw the snow falling outside. It reminded me of the snow that fell 12 months prior. The snow that just kind of hung there. I wrote about that hanging snow here. But this snow was different. It wasn’t hanging, it was falling fast, towards the earth.
This year is going to be the thaw. I can tell.
We’d come back to life, we’d regain our footing. We’d claim our life, after a year of being tossed around like a rag doll by an unforeseen force. It was hard to make sense of 2019, but letting it all go and traveling the country for a year felt like the most healing way forward. We had been stripped away from any reason not to just do it. Naked, painful freedom allowing us to pick-up and leave, and drive off into the sunset.
We’d buy a 5th wheel, sell 80% of our possessions, coordinate with hospitals around the country for maintenance appointments, and leave behind the ashes that were life as we knew it.
We’d thaw out. And then we’d rebuild.
Orb and the shimmery brown color.
That’s been it since 2010. And really, I say it like it’s not big deal, but the fact that I’ve only had two eye shadow colors in the last 10 years feels restrictive and comforting all in the same exhale. Like a small room I can call my own, I’ve memorized it. The door, two steps forward, three to the left. The window, a single pane 12×12, on the west wall, centered, eye-level. One small comfy chair, neutral in color. A simple paint color on the walls. It’s a room I know, perfectly. Memorized. I could apply this eyeshadow in my sleep, perfectly.
But in that small, single chair, simple color room I would sometimes find thoughts enter like, “What’s wrong with you that you don’t experiment more? Why are you so rigid that you can’t try new things? Why are you so limiting? This room is small and there is a whole world out there that you are missing. Missing because you are so comfortable you can’t see outside yourself. What’s wrong with you? You do see that you are your own problem?”
The internal critic, for an enneagram one, is a nasty force. She is so damn critical. And I hate her when I can hold her at arms lengths, but more often I hear her voice so closely to my own throughs that I just accept her… She. Is. Me.
I label her as hypercritical and distance myself, trying to carve out space between where she stops and I start, but every once in a while I’d wonder if she is right. If my rigid, tight view on these kinds of things (kinds of things because let’s be real, this is a metaphor, it’s about eyeshadow, but really it’s about more.) limits me from a relaxing life of over-buying freedom. Peace and happiness on the other side of the walls of my suffocating, safe room.
Yesterday I went online to replace my eyeshadow bc my containers were nearing empty. I combed through the colors, 120! they advertise, which to me was just horrific, but they seemed to brag about. The name on the shimmery brown had rubbed months (years?) ago and to comb through 120! felt like cruel and unusual punishment for someone who just wanted peace. I looked through each color, so many variations of shimmery brown, and I couldn’t find it.
Why were there so many shades of shimmery brown, how stupid. Critic vs. others.
And why can I not just be ok with any of them, how stupid. Critic vs. myself.
I stopped looking. As is often the case with online purchasing, I was overwhelmed. How can you be sure you are making the right choice when there are 120 colors to choose from? How could I discern if the ‘shimmer’ was better than the ‘glow’ on a choice that felt like A REALLY BIG DEAL. It is once a decade I have to change eye color, I couldn’t do this online.
Was there 120! Shade proclamation mocking me? Why’d I feel so trapped over something so dumb.
It wasn’t the first time I’d tried to replace my eyeshadow, Orb and the shimmery brown color. I had been on the site a handful of times before and had a similar go round. Search for the colors, wonder why they didn’t have the shimmery brown color, feel shame that I couldn’t just flippantly go with another, ponder if it was worth the cost of shipping, ponder if I should buy more to make the cost of shipping more worth it, realize that I couldn’t buy more, because I only needed Orb and the shimmery brown color, walk away.
Luckily, with the pandemic, there hasn’t been a huge need for more eye shadow. Make-up hasn’t been a need for weeks.
We decided yesterday that we needed a new car. Well, that we needed another car, a different car, a new to us car. I couldn’t keep driving that huge beast of a Dodge 3500 dually around like a soccer mom.
Our dream had died. Really, it’d died in March, and we’d finally come to terms with it some 4 months later. We didn’t know it was dead in March. On the 12th, when all our our belongings were packed into the 5th wheel. When our entire house was empty, save a few items in the storage room. When we sold our van, our sedan, and donated 43 boxes to Disable Vets… we didn’t know the dream was dead.
We’d wait. Surely, the pandemic would work itself out. Surely, things would settle and the idea of traveling the country full-time would be possible. Surely, everyone would figure out the severity and path forward, and in no time, surely, the 2020 Spring Corona Virus would be folklore. Surely.
Beaudin has his port flushed every 28 days. He has intrathecal chemo (chemo into his spinal fluid) every 12 weeks. We’d coordinated with Children’s hospitals around the country for the flushes. Part of our Fulltime adventure would be a tour-de-hospital stopping in to different locations around the U.S. Texas Children’s in Houston, Dorenbacher Children’s in Portland, they were expecting us. We’d fly home quarterly for chemo. It’d be fine. Surely.
March- hmmmm. This isn’t good. Let’s wait.
April- Ok, Maybe we can leave in June.
May- Oh no. This isn’t ending.
June- Ok. Sunshine. And Masks. This is bearable.
July- Oh gosh, this isn’t ending.
August- hmmmm. This isn’t good.
It was clear, early, that the tour-de-hospital portion of our trip was not going to happen. Our own local hospital went from a light, gentle place, to a ‘no visitors’, thermoscan, walk along the taped line to your appointment experience. Hospitals weren’t just letting visitors from out of town stop in for a port flush. And then the planes. Oh the planes. Y’all know if you’ve been reading along here for half a minute that I don’t love chemicals. So when I saw this picture:
I realized that air travel was out of the question for a bit. Forever? For now.
So there we were. In an empty house, sleeping on mattresses on the floor, picking clothes from suitcases, with no chance of the tour-de-hospital. No air travel. Our dream was dead.
It’s hard to pivot away from a dream. Both in a day-dreaming, ‘I don’t want to give it up’ way, but also in a practical, no really, we sold everything and bought a 5th wheel, a beast of a truck way and are sleeping on mattresses on the floor kind of way. This isn’t exactly a pivot. It was a crumbling. Again.