From the genius of the Eagles’ pen:
Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home
And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone
Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows;
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?
Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences; open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late.
This song. These lyrics. My feet are always cold and I have learned how to moderate my emotions so I experience very few lows at the supreme expense of fencing off most of my happy, as well.
I want to start this story, but I’m not sure where the right place in time to begin is. I’ve come to believe that not all fences have visible gates. Is the first page when I was 4, farmed out to my Aunt and Uncle’s house after my mom’s break-down or does it exist at the point when I threw the vacuum? I was an adult when that happened. That was the catalyst that drove me to find help. I had a 4 year old of my own then; this is where the story should probably begin.
My tiny David, my beautiful little boy. He and his brother Jason, 6 years older, were my whole world during those difficult years. Both of my boys were adopted, the dearest gifts of gracious love from another woman I will ever receive. My husband and I tried for 14 years to manage a pregnancy on our own, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. When we quite unexpectedly came upon the opportunity to adopt we didn’t hesitate, and our gorgeous Georgia baby came home to us. Six years later we adopted again, this time from South Dakota, and our family felt real and whole. I was busy and often happy. I genuinely loved caring for my babies and husband and should have been content, but there was something inside, fenced and unspoken, that wouldn’t let me live my life fully. I felt its presence, as I had most of my life, but had no name to put to it. I sometimes labeled it as crazy…labeled me as crazy. At some point in time the crazy took on a life of its own and became an Alien encounter/abduction, but that’s a story for another day. I’ll get there, I promise…but not today.
When Davy was a toddler I fell into depression. I had been dealing with this off and on for most of my adult life, so I didn’t think much of it when I had to get back onto medication to help me deal with it. I slept too much and ate too much and had to force myself to play with my babies. I managed it pretty well I think, and have memories I love of building block towers, reading books until they were memorized, playing games of pretend, plowing through the snow to form a grid for Fox and Geese and chasing my gleeful boys through the mounds of white fluff. I made creative birthday cakes, hosted exhausting sleep-overs, and sang favorite sing-a-longs to my boys on road trips. We had family traditions that became important to my children, which I carefully nurtured and made available to them. I was involved in their learning and schooling and religious upbringing. I was able to move through my days, but that’s all I was doing…moving through them. I wasn’t really living. I had become adept at knowing what was expected and acting upon it. I was fearful of anyone seeing what I really was.
Buffalo Gal came to me early on as my protector and she has done a superb job of keeping me fenced, apart from my reality and the judgments of others. Delicate Little Thang hid in the shadows waiting. I knew she was there, but I didn’t see her very often. She would sometimes speak in poetry or creativity, letting me feel a smattering of dangerous emotion like happiness or pleasure in my accomplishments. She’s the part of me trying to write this story. We had to do battle with the Buff to let us get here, and the Gal continues to glare at us from her corner, but even she knows it has to be said now or never. Fences can only hold for so long before the wood rots or the rust melts the metal. If something is meant to be free there will come a way for it to find an opening and to grow wings. My words are now my wings, thanks to Little Thang’s development of her own good glare. So far so good, but the journey is just beginning. I suppose this is a stare down.
So, about the Vacuum then. When David was about 4 years old , cute as a button and very chatty, my medication stopped doing its job. I was having more and more trouble keeping myself under wraps. I was restless and moody and then came the day when all hell broke lose for me…from me. I can’t remember what he had done, but something had made me angry and Davy was in the front room screaming and crying about something he needed or wanted. I stood in the doorway between the front room and the kitchen. His wailing grew louder and my thoughts were running in circles, out of control. The vacuum still stood in the front room where I had been using it earlier, Davy riding on the front of it as he always did while I vacuumed the floor. I have no memory of grabbing the machine and lifting it above my head, but I distinctly remember, through a haze of red and at the very last second, turning toward the kitchen and heaving the monstrously heavy vacuum into the middle of the kitchen floor.
I slid down the door jam, my quaking knees unable to hold me up. I don’t know how long I sat there. When I came to myself David was playing with some Legos under the Coffee Table, Sesame Street blaring from the TV behind him. He smiled at me when our eyes met and in the clarity of that very moment I became undone. The tears came and I knew I was in trouble. When I could speak clearly and without emotion I called my Doctor and set up an appointment. Even though the cause of my illness and its symptoms started dozens of years earlier, this is the real beginning. This is when the healing actually started. This is when I was finally driven from the far end of the fence to find the gate.
Today’s word on the Daily Post is fence. Maybe you guessed. Here’s the link: