How’s It Going?

I’ve been a little quiet this week because I’m under water.

Not a LOT under water.

Just a bit.

Probably.

Maybe.

Although, to be honest, as a person with mental illness, I wouldn’t really know if I was all the way under water, so I’m historically unreliable on the whole self-assessment thing. I mean, what do I know about how I’m doing? NOT MUCH, friends. Not much at all.

Still, as best as I can tell, I’m just a little under water. Like, the kind of under water where I yelled at Greg on Christmas Day because he didn’t put his pants on fast enough.

Merry Christmas, Greg!
With Love,
Your Sweet and Darling Wife

In my defense, Greg put his pants on really slowly that day. Really, really slowly. As in, really, really, REALLY slowly.

Because it did not matter that the children left the front door open and the dogs escaped.

And it did not matter that those canines were gleefully running roughshod over the neighborhood.

It did not matter that Greg’s wife was fresh from the shower, soaking wet and naked, and therefore not as well positioned as he was to chase said dogs.

Nope; those things were irrelevant, and it was not possible to simply grab pants, throw them on and chase three dogs down the street. That is not how Things Are Done. There is an Order, after all. A Queue in Greg’s scientific mind. A Specific Process from which a properly ordered man shall not deviate. And Pants-Donning is faaaaarr down the list, it seems, after lots of other things that have to be done first.

First, for example, Greg had to source a pair of socks. Not the pair of socks laying next to him. No; he had to find a clean pair of socks as though we suddenly have sock standards at our house. And then a shirt. And then another, long sleeved shirt to go over the first shirt which, turns out, was just an undershirt and not a shirt shirt because God Forbid you chase three giddy, sprinting dogs with dirty socks and without an undershirt. That would be wrong. 

Eventually, Greg put on his pants.

And then he had to find a belt.

And then he latched the belt on the wrong hole so he had to redo the latching of it.

“DEAR, SWEET, BABY JESUS, HUSBAND WHOM I LOVE AND WHOM I SHALL THROTTLE. THE DOGS ARE IN CHINA BY NOW.”

“I only see my slippers,” said Greg. “Where are my shoes?”

“GO. GET. THE. DAMN. DOGS.”

Next time, I’m chasing the dogs naked. So let it be written. So let it be done.

So I’m under water a little, if you gauge drowning on the Yelling at the Spouse Scale, which I do, I guess, even if the yelling wasn’t yelling so much as, you know, me helping Greg. Helping him become a better person, really. I give and I give.

Still, I’m under water a little.

A little breathless sometimes these days.

A little emotionally gaspy lately as I surface for a minute and drift back under, not weighed down so much that I can’t see or participate in the joy which surrounds me, but weighed down enough that I’m not as gentle with my people or with myself as I feel I should be. And not gentle about not being gentle, either.

I have Things to Say, though. Things to Write. Thoughts about the year almost past and the year swiftly coming. Ideas about how we might lay this one to rest and welcome the year almost upon us in ways that are more full of freedom than fear, more graceful than grim, and more mindful of relief than insisting on rigor. But I’m under water a little, so I’m not sure how to start. And I’m metaphorically naked and wet, too, and rather sure someone else should go chase the thoughts that keep running roughshod through my head; certain others are more equipped than me to run them down.

I don’t know how to unstick the log-jam when I’m under water. I’ve never been good at this part. I don’t have neat endings or lessons learned when I’m in this place. The best I can do is kick for the surface every now and then. But I made a promise a long time ago — to you and to me — that I’d write anyway, even from here. Even badly. Even unsure. Even when I’m simultaneously yelly and breathless. So here it is, friends. The truth as far as I can write it from here.

That’s how it’s going around these parts. And what I really want to know from you — my companions above and beneath the water, who sit in the mud with me, and wave in the dark and wait for the dawn — how are you? How are YOU these days? And how can we hold hands in the dark?

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
37 comments
  1. […] friend Beth wrote recently about being a little underwater in her own head and life, and I wrote back to tell her that I’m there, too.  Waiting for […]

  2. Waving in the dark too. I am peopled out right now. Just give me my cave, or maybe a lonely island on a water planet, and let me hide from the world. Some of it was good, like lovely 3 hour lunch dates with a friend who had moved away (sorry, dear waiter…had I known we were going to monopolize your table for that long I would have tipped you 50%. But you never rushed us away.) And then I ended up at our church’s new year’s eve party last night and I was just DONE because I am not a new year’s eve person and so I told my husband I was going and slipped out without even saying goodbye to anyone else. And I came home and had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages so…yay me!

  3. waving from the muddy darkness too my friend. keep your head up.

  4. I, too, am a bit underwater this holiday season. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it is. We had plans for the holidays- new traditions to start with out young family. But then we got hit with the curve ball. The wrecking ball. We lost our home. We had to be out by the 21st of December. We had to move in with our friends. I mean, our living situation was transitional, and we knew it would end soon but it wasn’t supposed to be snatched away in a moment. One week we were settling in to enjoy our holiday and the next we were scuttling about trying ro deal with stuff and life and yet find time to allow our children to enjoy christmas without letting them know that this wasnt right, and that it was stolen from us. And this isn’t fair.
    And as much as I fight it, I keep getting pulled under the water too.

  5. Oh Beth. Thank you, thank you for dredging up the energy to write when you’re working to stay afloat….

  6. Well, I never felt “Christmassy” this year. Then my uncle passed away on the 23rd, my in-laws’ dog died on the 24th after we returned to their house from church. Work has been insane. My son (20 months) isn’t sleeping well. I just don’t feel with-it.
    So I’m waving in the dark too. I wish we were closer so we could hold on while under water. Hoping & praying for a better New Year.
    Sending love from Iowa!

  7. I’ve been surprisingly above water this season. Take my hand, I’ll help you ashore. And it never hurts to ask for med changes. There have been days when knowing I was taking a bigger dose was the only thing that kept me moving in the days before that dose actually began working. Paddle, but don’t be afraid to ask for a raft.☀️☀️☀️

  8. Yup. Yelly and breathless, that’s me, too. Today is my husband’s birthday. I always try to make a big deal out of it since it’s so close to Christmas. Having a 10 month old makes this both more fun and more challenging 😉 But, Christmas Miracle, she took a long nap yesterday afternoon. I made tonight’s dinner. I made the cake! And not my standard, but a new one, Guinness and chocolate and bundty. And I stayed up waaaay too late. And he was getting home from a rehearsal as I was releasing it from the pan, at which point it crumbled into aporoximately a million messy bits and half of it stayed in the pan. And, not proud of this, but I swore a blue streak and generally had a tantrum and yelled at my husband (because he was there, duh). And to his great credit, he took it and tried very genuinely to talk me out of making another one… But I was awake early anyway, so I did it anyway. And it worked. And he loved his present, which is grest because I struggle to think of ideas for him every year.

    But on top of it all, the baby is teething, I just wanted to skip Christmas (so much fun with a baby!! they said…), it has not stopped raining for what feels like years, I am so exhausted that I constantly run into things and have a disproportionate reaction, our nanny was offered a new and amazing job and now I have to hire someone else and be reminded again of how heartbroken I am that I can’t stay home with my daughter myself, the extra cooking spray I put in the pan this morning to make damn sure it didn’t stick leaked out of the tube pan (pan switch, too) and caused the smoke detector to sound at 6:30 this morning, my husband’s bank card was compromised for the second time in a month, and he has spent half his birthday trying to make *me* feel better, which just makes me feel like a jerk.

    My depression and anxiety are lapping at the door, friends. I’m sorry others are under water, too, but so thankful to not be alone. Waving in the dark!

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