Writing When it all Falls Apart
The house is quiet and the heat is on. I love wearing sweaters and have taken the warm ones out of their storage. I haven't really even unpacked. The move here was in a rush of violence and shock. So many things that seemed to be alright were coming undone and I was being forced to reconnect my life in a way that would have seemed impossible only a short time ago.
The life I thought that I had set up now seemed like a cruel joke. I had just moved into a little house that was going to be our home. A one-family dwelling after all the years of managing rentals. Having rentals was never easy. I was looking forward to sleeping better and having less worry. What could go wrong when you live with other people? Plenty. I had come to see over the years how things that could go wrong were always there. You thought about the plumbing, garbage, electrical and whether people had heat. You listened to their concerns and kept quiet so as not to upset them when you knew they were being difficult. Always with the understanding your income depended on keeping people happy and comfortable enough to stay in your dwelling and pay rent.
There were always other people to take care of. Whether it was my inlaws or the tenants or my husband. People gave me such a hard time about not having children, but I was never without things to do for others. Having elderly in-laws was like having children. The endless demands and sacrifices were in many ways similar.
So many things to do—there was always the underlining theme that it all would come together and we would have this nice life. In some ways we did, the years rolled along and things fell into place. We all got along for the most part. Friends that I had prior drifted away as my life now was devoted to my husband, home, and new family. I was for the most part—happy. Little did I know the violence lurking beneath the surface.
I had always kept a journal. It was often hard to juggle my career and the demands on my time at home. I discovered Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way and adored her books and lessons. I wrote in the morning before work and at times when things were difficult. It was a way of making sense out of things, my life and the people I had to deal with. Being a caretaker was not easy and as the years went by I learned what a thankless job it had become.
The snips and critical remarks started rather early, but mostly I thought because the women that were to become such a big part of my life were already in their 60's. Women from a time when there were very strict ideas of how a wife should be and act. I learned so much from these women, but I had also learned how subtle violence can be. It often is not the big explosive displays on TV, but the quiet wall of hatred that can leave you breathless when you don't do what you suppose to do. Doing what your suppose to do is what becomes paramount. It consumes the reality you thought you lived in for the one others demand you be in.
Writing became a way to stay sane. To know and see on paper the truth rather than the lies that seem to take on a life of their own. The illusion of how things were rather than what they really were. The role of "wife" and all the demands that went along with it. Well "You went along" I was told. Yes, I said I did. I knew life could be so much worse. Homelessness is not something I would wish on anyone and most of the time what was lurking under the surface seem to stay there. The promises always covered up the worst of what lurked there.
Sitting on boxes as the police asked me what was going on—shocked how this could all be possible. To be facing homelessness when I had worked so hard to prevent it. To have dealt with it as a child and young women and now to be facing it once again.
It all fell apart—but the beat goes on. I slowly unpack...thinking about how I got here...knowing that somehow I was not so afraid anymore. The rhythm of so many moves as a child was once again allowing me to just go with it. The beat just keeps on and you keep writing.