Interludes in reality

“What are you looking at?” I thought I heard someone ask.

I turned to see a middle-aged woman standing near us.  She was addressing my son, which is fine because he’s a grown man.

I knew this was going to eventually happen somewhere.  Staring isn’t acceptable in our society and personally, I too am generally uncomfortable with being stared at for any length of time that seems out of the ordinary.

The waiter had brought our menus and it was during this moment when I thanked him that the woman walked over to our table.

The hostess had given us a round table in the middle of the large open dining area.   I thought this was a mistake.  I asked my son if he would rather sit along the wall with a bit more privacy, but he said no.

People have always told me that I can’t hide my feelings because of my eyes.  I’ve heard it all my life.  I decided to harness this transparency trying to communicate with the woman standing by our table that my son had meant no harm.

I can’t be sure what was translated when I looked into her eyes.  Perhaps it was a plea for compassion.  It seemed as though we met briefly where words are unnecessary.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you,” she said.   “It’s just that he was looking over at us,” she paused, looking briefly at my son and then questioningly back at me, “but he was smiling.”

“He likes seeing happy people,” I told her.  “He gets very happy when people laugh.”

My son continued smiling while she and I chatted for a moment.   It was a gleaming smile, much like a child’s at Christmas.  The woman didn’t seem bothered.

She apologized again and invited us to join them.

“If you want to come sit with us you can,” she told my son.  “You too!” she added.

They were having a cookware party.  “We’re having lots of fun as he can obviously see,”  she remarked.

I think his smile rubbed off on her.  Her invitation felt sincere.  My son seemed genuinely interested in cookware.  I told my mom about it later and she said, “Well, he would have bought some, that’s for sure!”

We know him.  We know how enthusiastic he gets about things.  We know he laughs hard.  We know he laughs sometimes when it’s considered inappropriate.  We also know this is a way his brain is processing information.  Other people don’t know this, of course.

I thanked the woman, but declined the offer.

She walked away and for a moment my son looked sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He said he was just trying to figure things out.

I felt bad for him.  Trying to figure things out and all.  I haven’t figured out too much myself.  He doesn’t understand certain rules that when I think about them, neither do I.  Things about our world and society that honestly don’t make sense or aren’t rational, but are nevertheless realities.

We enjoyed the rest of our meal.  Art literally covers the walls inside the restaurant.  In the corner of the room where we sat is a tall puppet-like man with a theatrical face whose head reaches the top of the high ceiling.  Most of their display includes Folk art created by the local artists.   It’s a very cozy place and the food is good.

My son and I were able to engage in a conversation, which is unusual when it’s just the two of us and we’re surrounded by strangers.  He usually seems quite distracted by his physical environment.  Times when his grandmother and aunts visit are the best.   He sits in the middle of us and has a wonderful time.  He must feel safe surrounded by strong loving women.

The occasional group laughs from our cookware neighbors made him smile, but the art captured most of his attention giving us something to talk about and honestly, something for him to stare at other than the group of laughing women.  The tuna also held his attention.  He likes good food as much as anything, but each time the women laughed, so did he.

On the way home I asked if he wanted to stop at the thrift shop with me.  Shopping is another activity he has a hard time with.  Most of the time he can’t stay in a retail store longer than about five minutes.

This time was different.  He enjoyed walking around and bought several items.

We had a good day.  I think the kind of day we had is a pretty normal day for most people.  It is for most people I know.

That night by the fire I realized I’d had several good days in a row lately.   The positive feelings from this experience are unfamiliar and I felt anxiety.

I’m used to stress.  I’m used to quarterly “mental health crises.”  I’m also used to being fatigued much of the time and feeling like life is passing me by as a result.  My point is that I don’t know what it’s like to have lengthy periods of time without serious stressful matters to deal with.

It’s like when the doctor asked me to take some pain medication and call him, “after twenty-four consecutive hours without pain.”  I laughed.  I thought he was joking!  He wasn’t.

I was altogether stunned the day I called him to report that I’d experienced a full day and night without pain.

Sometimes you get so used to something that you don’t realize what a large impact it’s having on you or your life, like the fear I felt when I imagined having more good days, or rather, not having them.

I felt scared to imagine life being easier.  Experience tells me that the next crisis is always lurking around the corner.   How can I dream or ponder on dreams when who knows what might come my way the next day?

If I start thinking about the things I could do if I didn’t have so many crises to deal with, then I get scared of being hit in the face with… I don’t know what.  Reality?

Reality it is!

Less than two days after my peaceful interlude, much has happened to bring me back.  Back to a reality that is pretty hard to deal with.

Maybe I expected too much.  Maybe I expected things to keep moving forward peacefully, without too many bumps in the road.

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog,

Michelle.

“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”

—  Socrates

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18 responses to this post.

  1. That was such a pleasure to read. Much love xx

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    • Hi Lynda! I’m very glad you enjoyed the post.

      I hope all is well with you. I hope your book is selling too. I, of course, haven’t bought any books yet, and here it is February, but I will, I will buy books this year and look forward to reading yours.

      xoxo
      love from dogkisses

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  2. “more about life and events than it is physical pain”–Ah, there’s the rub for me. The life and events can so exacerbate the physical pain. And, as the last three months have so proven to me, I cannot separate the two. If the bad things can make the pain worse, why can’t the good things lessen it?

    I am so glad for you that you did have such a wonderful day with your son, and with a wonderfully insightful woman who was able to recognize your and your son’s needs were more important at that moment than her own. Bless her. And, bless you for the strength and caring and warmth and devotion that you share in your posts. Thank you again, Miss Dogkisses, for being here when I need you.

    Love,
    CJ

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    • Wow CJ, I swear I was just lying on my sofa, something I do a lot lately, and thinking of you. Then my mom called and I could tell my sadness kind of got to her, so I made myself get up and eat something. I can go a long time and never get hungry.

      It is so very good to hear you and read your familiar encouraging words. You have such a strong voice CJ. I was thinking how my message to you was probably so depressing, yet I was telling you how valuable you are. Isn’t it strange how we can see the worth and value in others, yet feel as though we are… I’m lost for words here. I was going to say lower than dirt, but that is reserved for that narcissist. I know I’m not that low!

      But that is what I was thinking about. How could CJ take encouragement from me when I’m this down myself?

      Thanks for reading my post. It was a good day and I’m trying to keep up with the moments of good because many of them lately are so very hard. You are right about that woman, bless her!

      I sure hope to see you around the blog-o-block. You have a lot to offer here. I do know that for sure.

      Peace and love to you,
      Michelle. –I sign my name now, but I still like dogkisses and especially, Miss, Ms, or Mrs. Dogkisses 🙂

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  3. I wanted to leave a comment but there are so many things about your post that touch me I find myself (for a change) unable to come up with words except –

    Wow.
    Keep writing. Please.

    Peace.

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    • hiddenlives– always such a treat to see your comment, even if you can’t come up with words, lol — “Wow” is a great word.

      I hope you are feeling alright. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

      Thank you for reading and also for the encouragement.

      Peace.

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  4. Learning how to pray and learning how to meditate has really helped me stop worrying about the present and the future. I used to become upset and negatively focused if my son was taking two steps forward and one step backward, and now, well, it really doesn’t worry me at all. I know deep down that he will be fine, he’s doing it his way.

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    • Hi Rossa!

      Looks like we came on to my blog at the very same time. Things like that stick in my mind 🙂

      Thanks for commenting on my post!

      I’m practicing meditation again these days. I feel as though depression forced me into it, but I’d stand on my head if I could if I thought it would help my emotional stability. I pray too, but I don’t understand this life.

      My mother always says, “God only puts on you what you can take.” I just don’t get that.

      I visited your blog the other day. I plan to come back because I’d like to read more. Thank you again, so much, for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me.

      dogkisses for you,
      Michelle.

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      • Michelle,
        I grew up with a the usual Christian teachings that I didn’t get either. In addition to doing yoga and meditation, it has been helpful for me to read books like Holy Spirit for Healing: Merging Ancient Wisdom with Modern Medicine. This book is wonderful and I’m beginning to “get” it. Much of Christ’s teachings have been poorly translated and we get stuck with an idea which is not at all what is really intended. Christ had a message of healing that he urged others to imitate. He used God’s powers and he shows us how we can tap into those powers, too. It’s really, really liberating.
        …Rossa

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        • Hi Rossa,

          Thank you for suggesting this book. I’m making a list of books to see if the library has them, so your comment comes at the perfect time. The book sounds like one I would really enjoy.

          I used to read books about Shamanism and healing during the ’80’s and 90’s. The title of this book sounds similar to the books I was reading back then, but when my son became ill, everything I ever believed in seemed to vanish from my heart and soul. I felt like I imploded. I’m finding that I need those parts of me again. I need to have a foundation to stand on. I can’t just keep floating in space, which is kind of how it feels not to believe in or understand anything in this world.

          I sure have strayed in life, so thank you. I feel like when certain people come into our lives or cross our paths that we can learn and that we may have even drawn them to us. Ahh… look there, sort of a belief returning. Maybe 2011 will be a better year for me, better than the ones throughout the past decade.

          Thanks Rossa.

          dogkisses and well wishes,
          Michelle.

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    • Posted by ruthieann on January 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM

      So precious your love for your son in letting him do it his way, that type of support is very beautiful! What a kind and caring mom and I SO AGREE with the “wow” comment, Hiddenlives, and appreciation that you are writing, dogkisses. All of what you write moves me in some way, I also enjoy your writing, it is so “real” in the human way of describing how you care for your son. Thank you for sharing. I truly cannot imagine the pain you experience in seeing your son have troubles and am so sorry for what you have to struggle with in that.
      Hugs for today, love for always, ruthieann
      p.s. i almost wrote DogHugs because those kind where my dog comes and just sits with me, pressing her fur against my body offers me such comfort knowing that she is there sitting with me. I wish I could convey that better, it is what I feel here, today.

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  5. Wish I could figure out anxiety and depression. Anxiety, at least, I can control a little. Please pass the Xanax. I’m afraid I haven’t found a cure for depression, tho, and don’t think I ever will. Thanks for your posts.

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    • Hi John!

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’ve had a hard time writing posts lately. I didn’t have a clear subject while writing this post. My life? My feelings? My experiences? Sometimes I’m surprised by what other people see in what I write, and this is one of those times.

      I agree, pass the little pill for the anxiety. I can’t take antidepressants and mostly use home remedies for my mood. Writing and reading helps. Sometimes I get to ride a horse and I love that. A nice meal with family is always good medicine! Of course, sometimes it all fails and I wait it out.

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  6. Posted by Elisabeth on January 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Whether it’s health or life events or weather, there will always be good days and bad days. We can hope for more of the former and less of the latter, but I’m a bit like you- we’re so busy waiting for the other shoe to drop that it’s hard to enjoy the present moment. Like anything else, it takes practice… I hope you get to practice enjoying the present moment more often!

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  7. I’m so sorry that the pain returned……..but so happy that you had a wonderful time with your son! We have to hold on to every little bit of joy that we get.

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    • Hi Rose! WordPress is super fast, unless you read from my, “draft bazaar.” Either way, I’m always happy to see a comment from you. I hope you are doing alright.

      Actually, the reality I’m referring to at the end of this post, which I decided not to write about, is more about life and events than it is physical pain. Life kind of tosses me around sometimes and staying positive is challenging, as I’m sure you understand, but I did enjoy the time and feel sure there are more good days ahead.

      Thank you again for commenting.
      Well wishes and dogkisses.

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