Photo: Tony Boot
*****Language alert. Not suitable for young audiences*****
I’ve always found it extraordinarily difficult to completely step out of all the energies and emotional baggage attached to all those experiences I have encountered in both my professional life and my personal life. Taking little pieces of fabric from each story, I stock a shoe box that quickly overflows and fills the room, leaving me standing in piles of colorful edges and dark frays where the thread has aged. I look about and wonder how do I put all this together to create something incredible?
And then I freak out because I can’t sew and even if I could what pieces do I pull together first?
So. I step out and shut the door and hang my “Do Not Disturb” sign from the knob.
I’ve always been this way. It’s a strange ten year cycle that has repeated for five decades now. I think a small part of me holds hope that the more broken pieces of fabric might disintegrate and blow away leaving space to add more of the new. After all what can I do with the thin and worn. How can that cover and comfort anyone?
My ten year cycle extended to 12 this time. I’m impressed. The last time I opened the door was in 2005 and all I really managed to do then was to sit quietly for two years and match sizes into piles that represented chapters before I shut the door again. Theoretically of course if you take into account the two years I sat creating the piles….yes…I guess it’s been ten years after all.
Three weeks ago I discovered myself standing on the “Do Not Disturb” sign and glancing upwards saw that the door had opened just a crack.
I slowly approached the door and very cautiously peeked in. As my eyes took in the floor to ceiling kaleidoscope of color and ragged edges I became aware of a familiar sound that made me fall back into the wall behind me.
I’d buried my grizzly.
For those that know me they know what I am speaking of. For those new to my journey, I spent two long years with a bear that was ferocious and ten feet tall when I took him in. In that two year period I managed to tame him and create a cub that I could slap on the head when he got out of control.
The sound that came from under a pile of pieces was not that of the cub I forgot when I shut the door. There was nothing cute and controllable about this sound.
I shook my head and processed quickly what this might mean. Pulled into my resolve and muttered “Not this time you bastard” I grabbed the doorknob and pulled but in retrospect I don’t recall hearing it click into locked position.
Only one hour later I was driving the 401 westbound when the familiar spin sensation slammed into me. Trying to maintain control in the middle lane, a transport to one side, a string of vehicles to my other.
Knowing what was happening, I reached for the water bottle, twisted the cap and focused on the sensation as the liquid poured down my throat. My breathing, the all too familiar panting, I struggled to not allow the oxygen to flood my brain and further disconnect me from the focus I needed at that moment.
I glanced up to find an opening in the traffic to escape and instead found myself staring into the yellow eyes of my bear. He’d followed me.
My panic had returned.
All that had terrified me the first night in 2005 was looking right through me. Except this time it was different. This time I knew that there was a cub in there, more scared of me than I was of it. I glared into the lights of the transport ahead of me. Released my shoulders and took a deep breath. I took one last glance up at the bear behind me. Locked eyes and watched as he slowly dropped his under my gaze…
“F*ck you Boo Boo, lets dance”
The problem with panic disorder is that you have absolutely no idea when, if or where it might suddenly appear. You can keep piling pieces in the corner but a point arrives where its too much weight for the walls to hold and the door will fall open. Eventually you have to sink into the fabrics and make a decision to pull them together into something manageable.
I’ve had two fairly significant attacks these past two weeks. Hence my decision to step out of life for a couple of weeks and step into the room that feeds the bear. In that space lined with a thousand words and long chapters. In that space where new beginnings emerge.
In that space where the story of my life is told.
You just read the prologue….
“A Thousand Broken Pieces of Pretty”©2017