Sometimes you have to remind yourself to reach.
Sometimes it's a small thing that threatens to dip you, take you off somewhere where all you want to do is complain and see the Awful. It might be clutter or a meal you just don't feel like making. It might be the cats fighting, again again again. It might be a bill you're not sure you can pay, or just not enough sleep. You feel the pull of it—it's almost tantalising. Yes, you want to give in to the dark…can't you, just for a moment? You want to stamp your feet and say, I don't wanna! I can't! It's too hard! It's too busy/ annoying/ sad/ frightening/ overwhelming; maybe some days it feels impossible to the point of tears. And sometimes a scared part of you wants to take others down with you. You might snap, a little, or a lot. Everything you say might come out tangled and finger-pointy and filled with Wrong. You might feel panic, tight in your chest.
You feel the siren call of the dark. It's so familiar. What do you do?
Today our peed-on, cat-destroyed carpet got replaced with bamboo flooring. A new floor! We had to put the whole living room into the only other room downstairs. Right now I'm sitting on a couch which is crammed against drawers which are crammed against a cupboard. The other couch is crammed against this couch. Homeschool books are stacked higgledy-piggledy, on shelves and on the coffee table and the desk is pushed up against the shelves. The cats are going crazy with it. As the floor got replaced, it turned out the sliding doors needed to be taken out and couldn't be put back in without a carpenter altering them. Cats now have total access to the upstairs and have been jumping on the bed as my daughter tries to go to sleep. My girl is sick. Rising fever, totally clogged up, coughing coughing. We couldn't watch the big jazz showcase tonight at my husband's work and missed my son's first performance with the latin jazz ensemble. That's a lot of Stuff. Cluttery, tangled Stuff upon Stuff.
I felt the panic this morning, coming like a wave inside. Oh, how it wanted to take me down. I started fretting, worrying over things I couldn't control. I started speaking All In Colours Dark. (A language I can tumble fast into when I'm stressed). My husband had to go to work. The flooring people were screeching with their saws and hammers. My daughter was sneezing and coughing.
What did I do?
I took myself with a cup of tea to my daughter's bedroom. There was a cat on a chair and a patch of sun. I sat on the carpet. It was SO quiet in there. I stretched my legs so my feet were bathed in sunlight. My daughter was making a movie with the iPad in our bedroom. My son was building a Minecraft house with earplugs in downstairs. Everyone was actually happy. The floorboards were going in seamlessly.
I breathed. I breathed in, and breathed out. And I just sat and sat until the only thing I felt was calm.
And the day moved forward and the things I could have carried like a lumpy parcel inside me moved to the outside.
At some point my husband called to check on me. Was I okay?
Yes. Yes—I really was.
The rest of the day I spoke in (and felt only) Colours Light. Colours kind of muted, but colours peaceful, colours that didn't clump up or snarl.
We missed the concert, but my son and husband had a wonderful time. They are home now, and have told me about their night. My son got to talk with all these amazing jazz musicians, some of the best in Australia. My two boys are eating soup right now, at 10.30 pm and chatting together about bass drums. They are happy.
My husband has just now somehow put the doors back up in the living room and the cats are contained.
My daughter will probably be up tonight, and she will need me, but right now, I think she is sleeping. We lay together for almost two hours as she snuffled and blew her nose and held my hand. We watched a movie earlier, drinking hot chocolates on the couch, watching the movie on the computer. We had a blanket over our knees and we laughed at the same time.
Sometimes all you need to do is find a patch of sun. A moment of quiet. A realisation that the call of the dark is something you don't have to listen to or hold inside. You can see the old paths, old grooves you used to travel down, the ones that took you almost effortlessly into depression. Old grooves so well worn you didn't even know you were walking them, wearing them deeper. Now, I see them. Now I try to find the sun patch. Now, I remember to breathe.
The floor looks amazing! It looks like a ballroom. I'm tempted not to put any furniture in, and hold grand parties. We'll waltz about in our tuxedos and ball gowns, serenely moving to the music, stepping forward, around, twirling. Moving forward, always moving, again and again and always.