“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything”
Something happened this weekend. It was heart-rending and immense and the repercussions will reverberate for a long time. And all weekend I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about it, because that’s how I deal with stuff. But I can’t. For many reasons. But mostly because I don’t have the words. Sometimes the only thing you can say is nothing.
As I thought about my silence this weekend – gagged by my own emotions, clamoring to escape – I remembered how many times in my life silence has carried me, lifted me, protected me, even beautified me.Words do have power, yes, but silence is the force behind them. Sometimes silence is an animal lurking in the dark, a presence all its own. But there are so many many types of silence. Silence can be the worst kind of heartbreak. But sometimes silence is a gift.
You are crazy. He said it so many times I believed him. I had to. It was the only explanation that made sense. The alternative – that he was a charismatic psychopath hell-bent on destroying me – was too terrifying to be considered. And so I believed him when he told me that I was “making a big deal out of nothing” when I freaked out after finding him throwing mice at the side of a dumpster and then lighting them on fire. I believed him when he told me that he was only choking me to “help me” overcome my fears. But the worst one was when he showed up at my roommate’s wedding the day after he sexually assaulted me, acting as if nothing had happened. I finally approached him as he sat, nonchalantly eating cake, and choked out, “What happened last night… it can’t happen again.” And then he looked up at me and said, “Nothing happened last night. You’re worried about nothing.” When I contradicted him pointing out my torn clothing (holding the physical evidence in my hand had made me strangely brave), he shrugged and said he’d give me a few bucks to replace them, no big deal, and went back to eating cake.
I love love love Natalie Dee.
This weekend something awesome happened: My husband’s grandmother, the last living grandparent either one of us has, came to visit. It was the first time my children have ever met their great-grandmother although they know her well from the cards and stickers she sends them on their birthdays. In the entire 14 years my husband and I have been married, Grandma Ann has never forgotten a birthday – not even mine. (A stark contrast to my own grandmother who gave me exactly one birthday gift in my entire life and that was a pair of used underwear.) We spent a wonderful day with her and at 86 she’s as sprightly and fun as pop rocks in Sprite.
When Grandma Ann saw this picture I apologized for Son #3 on the right. “Oh, it’s okay,” she said, patting my arm. “There’s always one!” “In every family?” I finished. “No, in every picture! They’re kids,” she laughed.
Afterwards my husband was admiring all the great pictures we’d taken with four generations of his family and that was when I had to go and ruin all the fun.
I need this shirt SO BAD.
“That’s not normal, you know,” the doctor said, tapping the chart lightly with her pen. She was looking at some preliminary test results for one of my sons who I had brought in to talk about his problems at school. (Ironically it’s not the son the school was telling me to test for ADHD – I still think he’s just high energy – but in the course of testing him I began to see the pattern emerging… in his brother.)
“It looks normal to me. That’s how I do it,” I snapped.
She raised an eyebrow at me. “No, it’s really not normal. And I’m using that in the clinical sense of the word. If you and your son both do these behaviors then you’re both outside the range of normal.”
Nothing like watching your kids unravel to put your own issues in a new light.
“I don’t believe you,” I answered in my most calm voice. ( Which actually came out like “I don belief you!” because sometimes my calm voice gets a Spanish accent because apparently I channel Skippyjon Jones when I’m trying to act like a grown-up. Chihuahuas, cheese and crackers, I might want to rethink that.)
Sorry, had to do it. But he really was amazing, right??
“Who’s Philip Seymour Hoffman?” I asked loudly, interrupting the noise of that football game yesterday that I was so interested in I spent the whole time either re-enacting Frozen using Barbies with Jelly Bean or surfing the web on my phone.
“Game maker from Hunger Games?” my husband answered. “Why?”
As I’m sure you’ve well heard by now, the 46-year-old Oscar winner and father of three died of a heroin overdose on Sunday while the rest of us were making blue and orange fruit skewers* and green and turquoise cookies in preparation for the Bruno Mars show. In reading up about his history and interviews on the subject of his decades-long struggle with substance abuse I found myself relating to him more than I rightfully should. His story has been rattling around in my brain all day today and I was quite confused as to why I have such a feeling of compassion for someone who I don’t think I can even say that I’ve seen one of his movies. He wasn’t personally meaningful to me – but his story of addiction was. And then I read this really amazing piece on drug addiction called “My Life Without Drugs” by Russell Brand in The Guardian. (I know. Yes, that Russell Brand. It’s beautifully written. I’m serious. Go read it.)
This little guy in the middle would be me: Trying hard but getting it all mixed up – but still throwing some stellar JAZZ HANDS! Jazz hands make everything better.
“Aiieeee!” There was a shout and loud clatter as a woman nearby us in the parking lot of the hardware store watched all of her metal thingies (yes that’s the official name THINGIES) crash off of her giant orange shopping cart into the snow. My family and I were on our way into the store but I paused, Jelly Bean on my hip, to help her pick up her stuff. My boys jumped in too and within a minute we had her loaded back up and unstuck from the snow. It really was the smallest thing. Really. And yet as I turned to walk away, she touched my arm, “I’m just amazed. Your family is so nice! You guys just made my whole day!”
I waited until we got inside to round up my kids for a big hug. “Did you hear what she said? You guys just made her day! Just by helping her for 1 minute!” They beamed. “See? Helping people doesn’t have to be hard,” I started in on Mom Lecture #239. “You just have to be aware of the needs of people around you!”
A fist bump.
Being alone at the gym is unlike being alone anywhere else. For one thing, it’s an oddly intimate setting for interacting with strangers. I mean, when’s the last time you all stripped down and got sweaty while singing to yourself on the subway? Or at church? Or the mall? (Don’t answer that.) But another factor is how much, well, potential for failure there is. Oh sure, there’s no such thing as “failing” at exercise (unless you’re counting the “to failure” admonition at the end of your weight set) and we’re all glad that we’re there doing anything rather than sitting at home eating Nutella out of the jar. But there are those weird moments where you go to do something and it just… doesn’t work the way you’d hoped it would. If you’ve got a friend there to laugh with you it’s not so hard to shrug off but if you’re alone, say, dangling helplessly from the chin-up bar like a deranged sloth who forgot it has feet, then it gets kinda embarrassing.
Snarky salespeople are also a great anti-depressant.
This poststarted out very different than it ended. I was all set to write another slightly heartbroken post about how my sad was making me sad and the sadness was unrelenting but then I realized – in the course of writing this out – that maybe that isn’t quite true anymore.
A month ago a friend (Hi, Angie!) started a 30-day healthy living challenge. Everyone paid $20 up front and then tallied up points over the course of the month for doing things like exercising, not eating sugar, getting at least seven hours of sleep, having dinner as a family etc. At the end of the month whoever has the most points wins the whole pot. You know the drill, I’m sure you’ve all seen a ton of these. And while I’ve done this type of thing in years past I’ve really lost any enthusiasm for them over the past couple of years, mostly because I’m super competitive and so I find food/exercise challenges can be very triggering.
“Oh, it hurts.”
At first read you might imagine the woman – a stranger in all senses – grasping her chest (or arm or foot), wincing at the embarrassment of Pain in Public.
On second read you might imagine the woman saying it in dismay, as if she were the cause of the pain.
On third read you might imagine it as a question.
You might even imagine her saying it with a Gollum-esque inflection, making me the “it” and the hurt a surprise. (Which gives me a perverse giggle every time I picture it. Oh, it hurtsssss itself doessss it? The world needs more Tolkein, always.)
But no matter how many times you read it, sounding out the the three words in your head, you would be wrong because words simply do not do justice to her voice. Punctuation and black-and-white and spellcheck only take away from the startling sentence, erupting like a flock of birds taking wing. But only to the next wire. Not really gone.
Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach and at night before sleeping, drink 1 Tbsp honey and 1 tsp cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.