The words ring through the telephone and I pause, frustration at the caller rearing its head. It is always that way when I talk to my mom. We have a hard past and while a part of me wants to overcome the feelings that still plague me, another part struggles with it.
Usually, I am fine but then there is a moment when she says something that will make me bite my tongue and struggle not to say something to her. It isn't that I don't love her. In fact, I love her a lot, but at times, it is like we are two opposing countries who have somehow managed a tense peace treaty. At any moment that treaty could break apart and we will be back where we were only a few years before when I spent a year cut off from the family. (Which is a long story but it was a healing process for me.)
But regardless of the frustration that bubbled to the surface, a frustration that is more instinctual than premeditated, I had the clarity of mind to stop and think about what she said. Do I always sound sad? Am I sad?
I can honestly say that I am not depressed but there is a malaise in my spirit that I often ignore. It sits there, worrying at me and I flutter around, ignoring it as best as I can. It is a sadness that keeps me from writing my second novel. A nervousness that keeps me from relaxing. A tension that keeps me up at night, anxiety coursing through my body as I worry about sleeping. What will greet me in my dreams? What will tomorrow bring?
The sleep is the worst and I know where the dreams come from. They are from the fact that I am not creating with fiction. It is always that way, I write to expel all that is in my head but when I don't spend any time on fiction, I start to have horrible nightmares. There are nights I wake up in terror. Too afraid to fall back to sleep and too afraid to stumble into the dark of a slumbering house.
The rest of the time, my racing mind won't stop and it can be 2, 3 or even 4 in the morning before I fall into an exhausted sleep. I wake up the next day, feeling even more tired than I did the night before. I used to joke around with James that I was looking forward to retirement so that I could finally sleep but from what I heard, sleep begins to elude you even more the older you get.
It isn't the lack of sleep that has made me feel this uneasiness. I have always lived with little sleep and even as a child, I would lay in my bed, night after night, listening to the soft murmur of the television that was often left on. I think that it is just the feeling of flux that we have been living through.
The last year has been difficult. Many worries, a school that has been detrimental to my children, constant battles with school boards, school councils, principals and teachers. It hasn't been a nice year and I realized that while I am coming close to seeing some change; we have decided to move from our small town to an area that has better schools, the year of being in flux has led me to this place.
The question remains; am I sad? No, I'm not sad but I laugh a little slower and sometimes when I smile, I am aware that the smile does not reach my eyes. I was never a bubbly personality but the quiet in me has grown and I have become even quieter. I stumble over words when I have to speak with people and I feel so much frustration when people are closed minded and obtuse...and I have dealt with a lot of close minded and obtuse people this year.
I have spent the last year hating my frustration, hating the petty digs that I find myself giving because of it and ultimately hating who I am becoming. I am not this bitter person. I try to see the best in everyone and I try to look at life through their eyes but it hasn't been working lately.
So over the next few months I am going to try to find that gem inside me that loves to laugh. I will try to make the smile reach my eyes, and the laughter come a bit quicker. I will truly laugh, not the reserved chuckle that I have adopted in my own embarrassment, but the one that can bring tears to my eyes.
I will stop worrying, if only a little, and try not to let the quiet inside me grow even larger than it has. While it isn't New Years, it is time to start a few new goals and laughter will be the first of many.