Thursday, April 26, 2018

I'm A Keep It Together-Er


"Love Your Bungee Cord"

Bungee cords. They keep things together. And I just made the connection.

My dad used to give me pet names. 

"Goodnight doo," he'd say.

Or he'd welcome the day with a, "Good morning baby." 

"Hey knuckle sandwich," would fly out of his mouth when I turned the corner from the kitchen.

"Whatcha doin' bungee cord," was his most frequented and silly phrase. He always circled back to "bungee cord," and it never made any sense to me. I'd just giggle. 

I had a bookmark engraved for him years ago, and Mom found it for me. And it clicked.

He used to tell me that I kept things together around the house. And later, when I was older, he'd sneak in ways to tell me how thankful he was for me - for just being me. He told me that for the last time in late February.

"Thanks baby," his text read.

"Why daddy," I asked. 

"Just being you. Keeping things together for everyone." 

That's what bungee cords do. We keep things together. But I am struggling. I'm struggling so much, and I'm having a very hard time keeping it all together. 

An hour long phone call with the third mark of my hurt right now even told me, "You don't have to keep it all together all of the time, Grace." 

Dad isn't coming home. Nick isn't coming home. This isn't just a temporary situation we have to deal with. It's a life change. It's three big, hurtful events. It's three traumatic experiences all tied together with a string that I cannot begin to unravel. And every time I think about the feelings associated with the loss of my family I find myself thinking about my ex, the one who told me that we'd get through it, together, because he was never going anywhere. 

When I think of the permanence. When I think about how two of my three people can't even come back. When I think about how the third had a choice whether to leave or not. I want to pick up the phone and understand. But I won't understand because I've been reduced to nothing. It's not a safe place to emote anymore.

Rationally, I know that's not the case, well, the nothing part at least. But I bet there are so many women and men out there that understand that hurt. And that hurt was taken a step further because it wasn't, "Oh hey I woke up today and decided that our life together means nothing to me, so I'm out."

It was more like, "I loved you yesterday but joke is on you, I'm going to go play this game in another house with another family instead." 

And that's the circle.

My brother died. And I feel guilty about a lot of the circumstances surrounding that situation. Then I pushed that grief aside while we tried to get Dad better. But then Daddy passed away and before I could blink, BOOM, "our boy," as Claire so tenderly refers to him, disappeared. That's the cycle in my head. 

Loss forever. Loss forever. Loss because we are nothing.

It's not a sensible situation where rational thinking outweighs the irrational feelings or hurt. It's layers upon layers of feeling as though pieces of me have completely broken apart. And I cannot completely break apart, I'm a bungee cord, and I need to keep it together. 

Speaking with him yesterday was both comforting and excruciating. Because I do not know what is real. I cannot adequately describe to him the pain or the feelings. And he doesn't want to hear my anger. 

"I had no intention of ever doing this to you," he said. 

I didn't ask the simplest question though because I knew that he didn't have an answer. I didn't ask, "Why?" 

And if he gave one it would somehow include fear, responsibility, commitment, or the so frequently used, "I'm not good enough for you," excuse. 

That's what they are, they're just excuses for ruining a good thing, for all three of us. They're just excuses for not being a man in a time that his girls desperately needed the security. They're just excuses for staying within the confines of mediocrity because a mortgage, a ring, a commitment without the option of looking elsewhere was about to take precedence over his life. I know this all to be true. I know that's the reality behind it. But, it doesn't take away the feeling of being nothing.

But then I see that bookmark and I'm reminded that I'm a "keep it together-er." I've got to keep it together even when I want to just completely fall apart. Even though Dad called me his, I really think he was mine. 

Which brings me to my next point, which I've spoken about before (in 2016) but it's still incredibly relevant today and, I've updated it just a little with the italicized makers:

I am tired of being too much but I don't ever want to be not enough. 

Will I always be the one in the room that is "too much," of something? 

I don't want to be the harder choice but when comparing apples to oranges I feel like I've been the one that you have to trench through the Alps for instead of just heading into the backyard and snatching the fruit from the tree. But who wants something so easy? I guess a lot of people do. 

One of my best friends sat in my office with me two nights ago. She just sat and she listened and she cried and what she told me in the end made so much sense but then made none to me at all because I don't experience myself as someone else. I'm just ... "Grace." 

She said, "You have a way of making those around you want to be better. And sometimes that is too much for people. Those people are selfish though, they'd rather be comfortable than better."

"But I never asked for anything this time. I was happy," I answered.

She continued, "You don't have to ask for it. It's innately in you. You have a way of making those around you want to be better. And that's a great thing. He didn't, he couldn't, be better, and he knows that." 

I think too much. I know too much. I share too much. I'm too loud. I'm too intimidating. I expect too much. 

None of that is true, yet all of it is. 

I do think too much. I overanalyze situations and they set up shop in my head until the issues are resolved. I have a dreamer's mind so while I'm picking apart my current situation, I'm concocting new ones in my head. It's a magical way to live but it can be lonely and disappointing too.

I can know too much. I'm overly observant and smart enough to retain it all. It being a broad range. But this is something that I am proud of. I don't want to suppress my curiosity, intellect, or vocabulary to make someone more comfortable.

I obviously share too much. I trust quickly, so I get disappointed a lot. And I'm not one that has her guard up. Maybe I should learn to hold up a shield, but you'll know what's on my heart and mind. It will never be something you have to guess. It shouldn't scare you.

I do expect a lot but I don't think I've ever expected too much. I expect people to keep their word. I expect people to tell the truth. I expect people to dream and work towards their goals. I expect people to be kind to one another. I expect people to communicate. I expect people to remain loyal.

You may get too much with me. But no matter the type of relationship, you have all of me. You have loyalty. You have a faithful companion. You have someone that's proud of you. You have someone that supports you. You have someone that was too much for someone else when that someone else decided to settle for someone easier. And who wants easier? Easier isn't happier or better, it just takes less effort. I'll be sticking with those that want to give me that.

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