under the weeds

I’ve been going to bed early and I want to say this is because at thirty-seven years old, I’ve finally grown into adulthood, but really it is because I have grown into a sadness. This will not surprise anyone here, because even I saw it growing in the corner of every post shared this year.

In November, I tried to write it out, weed it out, surgically write around the sads, but it seemed like this made them hurt more.

A new struggle I have had, this year and last, are struggles that cannot be talked about. If I cannot weed around, and I do not have the strength to go above, and I do not have the permission to walk through — how do I get past the weeds?

This morning at 4am, I lay in bed and thought out a metaphor. It’s a little past 7 now and I do not want to become the person who sleeps with her sads. Who wakes up, cuddled next to them, and shares three hours of the morning before living the day.

So I am writing this. And I am writing out the metaphor.

It’s a bit like going under the weeds, but it’s better than staying under the covers.

_________________

The Metaphor

I have a friend who smokes and loves candles that smell like pumpkin. They also always leave the gas on the stove running.

We are friends for many reasons. If our dreams continue and if we continue with our dreams, I think our lives are going in the same direction.

The gas thing, though: It worries me. It makes me sick, sometimes physically.

I turn it off when I can.

This whole time, I’ve told myself that my friend isn’t reckless with us on purpose, they are just young. They’ve been an adult for a handful of years and have been responsible for their adulthood even less than that. They’ve been responsible for other people even less than that.

This whole time, I’ve told myself, they aren’t trying to make me sick.

I brought it up first lightly, almost a joke. “So what are we going to do about this gas, hmm?” and later as a direct request, and then later again, the same.

No matter how many times I tell them that gas unchecked is dangerous, that the dynamic and expectations needs to be sorted: they tell me they’ll get to it.

Well, there was finally an incident. A small one, all things considered, and my friend got sick for a solid week and still doesn’t feel good.

I know I should have been soft and worried, but instead I was angry. This was all so preventable. Our dreams are in this direction and they’re setting it ablaze.

When they got home again, they put up a sign as a reminder. A few days later, they bought some gum to replace the smokes. They sat me down and told me that I should close more loops myself, turn off the gas more myself, even though every time I try, they reach down and undo the work.

These signs and packs feel like small, empty gestures when we still can’t have an honest conversation about why this is really happening, when people who are visiting the house still suffer under the same mistake even though we are not allowed to talk about it.

No one wants to talk about the things they cannot see, like gas that fills the air, and power and pain.

When a simple fix is avoided for so long, it starts to feel on purpose. It starts to feel malicious, and the fear of that is growing in my belly.

But also there is hope. They put up a sign.

Not everyone moves as fast as me, I’ve been told my whole life. I am trying to stay patient.

I know I’m not good at that, and that helps me find even more patience. I’m twice as careful, twice as slow, in situations that require it.

Aside from this issue that might be in its first stages of solution, all this gas has cast a personal pallor over my days.

Because you see, I saw it. I saw it from the very first day. I just didn’t recognize it as the thing that might end my friendship. And now I am thinking about how this is a pattern.

I think I’ve overcorrected from my years of traumatic overload. When I came home from prison, I saw everything as a problem. Now, I am more patient with what I see. I call it a pattern. I call it a quirk. I call it an avoidable, fix-it-later thing.

Sometimes, I would have served everyone better, including myself, if I just called it a problem.

Sometimes, when I walk into a room full of gas, I need to come in screaming. I need to be the alarm.

Sometimes, when I walk into a room full of gas, I just need to turn it off, and then turn around, and leave.

What age is it when I learn the perfect response to every situation? What age is it when I learn how be safe and brave and patient at the same time?

How do I tell people who have never seen a world fall apart that explosions don’t start big and loud and full of fire? A baby explosion is nothing really more than a puff of heavy air and bit of light, and a touch of malice. If you don’t have malice, negligence will do.

What you shine light on, matters. How you tend to a thing, matters.

What you call things, matters.

If it matters to me, and if I matter to you, then it should matter.

I want to say, at thirty-seven years old, I’ve finally grown into adulthood. Instead, at thirty-seven years old, I have very little grip on adulthood, a bed-full of weeds, and a long long list of things I want to say and can’t.

15 thoughts on “under the weeds

  1. At 46 years of age I’m still working on my adult hood. When calling out things I always think of the workplace slogan, Safety First. If it’s only irritable to me then that’s one thing but when people can be harmed we just have to say something. My Dad recently had a stroke so I moved back to Seattle to take care of him. And I’m always worried that I will fail him in someway. Domestic life can be crazy stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Please let me know how I can support from here. Some random cheery postcards from time to time? Also feel free to tap my brain from any experiences that might help. I do have to say I feel better knowing you’re in the same timezone with me. 🙂

      Luckily this was not actually about gas, but I think all the same words apply. It’s just harder for people to think of safety in broader terms than “I am safe because I am not currently on fire”. Safety is also a mentality of community, support systems, and processes that protect you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For most people, the Worst Thing That Can Happen doesn’t happen. They think they’re close, but it doesn’t happen. Thank God.

    But there are some for whom the Worst Thing has happened. And once you become one of those people, you don’t forget how upended everything was and how easily it could be again. You are not crazy for seeing those things.

    I tried to figure out the metaphor. Was the gas significant? Gaslighting? It’s not important I understand, ultimately. Did the metaphor help? Writing it like this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least you’re not my roommate who was worried that the metaphor was not a metaphor and was about the one time he left the gas on, haha! 🙂

      It definitely helped. I feel very lifted, and I think you got it right. It’s about the little precautions that are necessary to stop the Worst Thing That Can Happen, and how it feels when someone or a group doesn’t support your need for them.

      It’s not about gaslighting but that would have been great for that extra layer of wordplay! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I can honestly say that, at 58 years old, I still often wonder what I can and what I should say. But I can share one of my tools with you… When I wonder what to say, I ask myself… if I choose to say nothing, and something bad happens… Will I feel guilty? If I can predict that I would feel guilty… Then I say some thing regardless of the consequences….
    And… If I choose to say something, could I lose the friendship? And if I lose the friendship, am I OK with that?… Those questions at least help me to focus on what’s important.

    And I agree with you… If it matters to you, it should matter. But the truth is that it often doesn’t. I have lost a few friendships because I have given voice to what is important to me. And, instead of having it matter… I became the villain who expected too much.… I think sometimes it just gets to the point of having to decide what you can tolerate and what you can’t. And if you can’t tolerate the situation, then sometimes you just have to walk away with love and hope that you can meet again down the road…

    Sending you huge hugs my friend💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend framed it for me as “How many more months do you want this to go on?” and that stuck with me. If it’s 1000 months, then I guess everything is fine. If it’s 3-or-I’ll burst, then I need to take an action to change something now. 🙂 Thank you for the additional framing questions. I know you have had to battle with this on big questions, so I extra appreciate your insights. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m feeling a little out of my depth in commenting. Especially as I often stick my head in the sand for lengthy periods. This approach recently put me in a position of being under the microscope with performance. Two huge catalysts of inaction, being in the spotlight and bunny in the headlights. My salvation came in the form of someone who believes in my abilities and is available to spark empowerment and self resolution. Is there someone you can reach out to help see a path through the weeds?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robert. I’m so glad you had someone to count on. I’ve been counting on a few close to me and I honestly think it’s the only reason I haven’t just run away and become a secret tunnel dweller. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This metaphor was beautifully written.

    That being said, I’m so sorry that you’re struggling through these weeds and this sadness.

    I’m sending you love. I know that our experiences are different, but I want to encourage you that there is a way through, and you will find it. I tell myself that every time the sad finds me. I say I’m “in it.”

    There are weeds, but something is also growing quietly beneath the ground. May they burst out and grow with astounding speed like bamboo after years of building roots!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sending hugs Ra. I think most of us spend most of our adult lives trying to figure out how to be adults, and whether to speak up or not.
    Do what you need to do to feel safe. Speaking up is hard. I’m still trying to figure that one out, but it’s better that being someone who continually leaves the gas on.
    Thank
    Alison

    Like

  7. I’m sorry you’re hurting, lovely one. For what it’s worth, few have a grasp of adulthood. Also, there is no guarantee of safety in this world. You can’t force it on someone if they don’t want it, they will only resent you for it, because force is not love. You can only protect as much as you are able, and love the ones you love. At some point, you may very well have to choose between safety and love and should that day come for you regarding this situation, please know I am here to talk if you need to. I’m a good listener. xoxox ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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