06 February 2007

Midnight ramble

This is from last night:

I am sitting on the floor in my grandparents’ guest room. It is after midnight and I am not sleeping. This is not a good arrangement. Tomorrow, Sara and I head to Missouri to pack up the rest of my worldly goods and somehow close that part of my life. It has been 8 years since I took up residence in Missouri. A long chunk of life. How do you bring closure to something like that?

My relationships have dwindled already. Being away at school has a way of making people lose intimacy unless it is fiercely maintained. I feel like I will leave the state with 2 real friends and a few acquaintances that I will keep for the rest of my life. All the rest of the people that I have known have moved on to something else. Do they ever remember me? What happens to the time, space, and thought that you have occupied in the life of someone else when you leave it? Are there gaps that remain, or do they somehow fill in with the rest of life?

Not to mention that I am not leaving my parents in that way. My body is relocating, and much of whom I am will be there too, but there is still a large part that belongs to my parents and to their farm. I learned to be quiet there, and to be happy. Missouri taught me to fall in love, and how to build a relationship in the rubble of a broken heart. Without that place and time I would not be the woman that I am today. But even with that connection, I know without a shadow of doubt that my life now lies elsewhere. New adventures await me in the Windy City.

I’ve never been particularly good at closure. You can ask any of my close friends or family members—I can’t end a phone conversation or IM chat to save my life. It is easier to leave than to close. It is easier to smile and hug someone than to take the time to think about what will happen when you are gone. No, thinking about the losses and the change is never a good thing. Not when the passing thought is enough to call for the Kleenex.

One thing that has troubled me about this whole situation is that I haven’t cried enough. I know that there are wells of tears that have not been breached. There are so many losses to mourn. There is so much fear to be flooded out. But where do you find the time to cry? I was at the monastery for 5 days and couldn’t manage to get it out. I spent 3 weeks on vacation with no release. Now I have to work and rearrange and plan—there is no time or space for crying.

Time or space. I don’t have either and I feel the strain. I love Sara. She is the best friend and roommate that a person could ask for. She supports me, encourages me, and teaches me so much about how to be a friend, a daughter, and a guest. But we have spent so much time together sharing our work, play and personal space and I don’t know how to create my own mental space in that arrangement. When she is here, I want to be with her, doing fun things and just living. However, there is a part of life that is just me and that part can’t only live in my head. It necessitates an outward expression that requires that I leave her for a time or a space. I am just afraid that taking that time or space will make her feel unloved. And that is the last thing that I would want to do.

I have been in this dilemma more times than I care to think about. When they are short-lived, I can wait them out with little ill effects. However, I have struggled through enough long-lasting ones to know that they only make me a worse friend and companion. There are times that I just need to go away. But how do you do it gracefully?

Another reason that I don’t want to process, that I feel I can’t, is that processing relationships requires a certain level of evaluation that I feel incapable of giving. I know that I am not completely inept relationally. My large circle of friends and acquaintances proves this. However, this is a weak point for me. I feel like I am a relationship disaster. My communication is bad, my staying power is often lacking, and I am so incredibly selfish that I am horrible at loving people in the way that they need to be loved. All this seems glaringly obvious when my relationships change and I have to look at them for what they are. How do you evaluate a relationship? How do you know where to pursue and where to let go? How do you gauge their importance?

Not only must they be evaluated, but I also must decide what I am going to do about them. Who is called and when. Who is written and how often. Who will see me when I come back to visit. Who will just ever so quietly drift out of my life. And then I agonize over how they will feel, and what my responsibility is and how diligent I am being about it. I suppose this is just a horrible mix of people pleasing and fear, but that doesn’t change the reality of how it makes me feel.

Enough of that for tonight. I need to go to sleep. The alarm will be sounding much to early, and I am I beginning to feel more sleepy.

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