Supine, in the bed for that nap I’m supposed to honor every day now, I was struck by an epiphany…
What if my life has been lived?
What if I’m now going to settle into that twilight of routine and isness? What if the main dish has been served, and all that’s left is the dessert and the check?
It’s not as if I feel I need new adventures or challenges. I WANT things to slow down. In fact, I could not withstand more of what I’ve already endured. But the really sobering aspect still remains. I lived most of my life. That was it. Like John Lennon said, that thing that happened while I was busy making other plans. And where did it all lead me? To exhaustion. To heartbreak. To stress illness. To being alone again. Maybe my current situation seemed so good because of the path I took to get here. Because simplicity and relative comfort and security seemed stellar in comparison. But how long before the sadness creeps in and sets up a permanent camp in my psyche? What if I am just alone again, marking time until I see my last sunset?
I was trying to have a nap when this thought occurred to me. And instead of napping I eased into a full fledged anxiety attack.
Seeking the solace of logic, I wondered what triggered it. I thought back to what I was doing just before I put the sleep mask on and pulled the lambswool comforter up to my chin. I had started on a new print proof. I had read the first chapter of Plethora.
Then I realized. That was the trigger. It was probably the book closest to a roman a clef. I had literally and literarily split myself into two characters and used a great deal of real events and backstory for them.
So knowing that bit about where I had been, reflected back from a page but knowing how close it was to memoir, and being reminded of that fact – I realized I was closer to my death than to my birth.
And foreboding came slithering out of my amygdala to whisper in my ear. What if you’re not going to beat this adrenal exhaustion? What if you’re not going to get better? What if you only came here to die?
And me, without my Xanax.
I got up, again, not wanting to create associations of panic with the bed, any more than i wanted to do that with sleeplessness. I grabbed the unopened bottle of Merlot from the fridge. But getting it open was almost more stressful than all the rest of it. Finally, I got it open and poured some in a goblet, and some down my throat.
Drew a deep breath.
Get a grip, Jae. This is not how you want to be.
Sitting down at my desk, I look out the window. The neighbor is raking leaves. Leaves that will only be replenished in a day or two. Fruitless, really. He drags piles of leaves on a tarp, and it looks like he’s dragging a body. It’s a very pleasant 71 degrees outside, but I’m still cold. I’m still in my flannel overshirt. Lounge pants. Thermal socks. Plastic Croc-knock-offs, unbrushed hair.
Thinking incessantly about that new kitten I’m going to get. Missing the overt affection from that delightful polydactyl cat, Monkey, I had to re-home to be with the woman who ripped my heart out of my chest and handed it to me, still beating, in her fist.
So this is how it starts. The beginning of Crazy Cat Lady status.