08 November 2013

0 grounding

there's the list compiled by psychologists of the various things a person can endure within the period of a year. it's, like, the death of a relative, the death of a friend, the death of a relationship, career change, loss of a pet, and relocation. allegedly, we can withstand any two of these in a 365 day period. three or more apparently puts you at risk of breakdown.

this is a list regularly cited in biographies of liz taylor.

it's also one that my mother keeps citing as proof that it's ok that i'm in therapy, that i have bad days, that i'm tired, that i still cannot handle my grief, that- in this last week- it has hit me like a train that i really really want to come home.

she seems to completely overlook the fact that it's also saying it's ok if i'm in an asylum, as all but one of these happened during a six month period last fall and winter.

so the thing that is new is that i am homesick. officially. formally. quite dreadfully, horribly so.

and i'm not even sure what i'm homesick for.

maybe it's memphis. maybe it's family. maybe it's just for a space of time wherein i don't have to meet new people, don't have to be entirely responsible for caring for myself, don't have to have conversations that feel so slippery, don't have to be this fractured person whose professional and problem-free and representing america well in one context and riddled with anxieties and cultural exhaustion in another.

or maybe i'm just homesick for a space wherein i no longer need be brave.

debo said that the other day. when i wailed 'i want my mommy' down the line and struggled to explain the way in which i am deeply, awfully existentially fatigued, she said, 'of course you are! you're tired of being brave.' which is, in the end, the truth. 

because i'm a horrible coward. and i didn't realize, in moving abroad, how consistently brave i would have to be. i'm also a lazy ass. and i didn't realize how tiring bravery was. and i'm an incredibly spoiled child and didn't realize how dependent i was upon the occasional eaton family hug for maintaining emotional equilibrium.

which isn't to say i don't love london. which isn't to say that after one week of being in memphis over the holidays i won't be absolutely itching to come back.

it's just that i'm tired of being The American. i'm ready to come home.

in therapy, we talk a lot about how death can be seen as someone being perpetually abroad. i think about that a lot. and about what that means as someone who is living abroad. because it feels, on some level, like i'm holding out for a return to a home that no longer exists. or a home that exists more in memories and stories than in real life. a home that has vanished. or- perhaps this is the more accurate assessment- a home to which i am returning with a greater awareness of its slow vanishing.

(which is at once deeply true and totally bunk as i've been nostalgic for the place i come from since approximately the age of 9.)

so i am, eventually, going home. and i both do and do not want to go to there. because i'm not entirely sure it will help. and i'm not entirely sure what it will be. i worry that, whatever it is, it will let me down.

it is, i imagine, like surviving an earthquake. you realize you can no longer trust the solidity of the ground. 

i think a lot about burvil. because, if therapy has taught me anything, it has been that burvil is one of the most key people in my whole life. burvil is the sister i never had. burvil is my savior. burvil is my guts and bones. one day burvil will no longer be here, a fact i'm keenly aware we're skating ever closer towards. and a fact that buzzes below the surface of everything i do these days, like an electrical current occasionally surfacing in a violent sting.

burvil is going to leave me. everyone is going to leave me. everything has been shaken up. the holidays are coming. i'm returning to a place i long for and yet do not know.

last sunday, the church i go to held an all souls service for which i changed my return from vienna solely to be back in london in time to attend. and i pretty much cried from start to finish. 

i cried because i cannot trust the ground. 

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