Who is this new me?

The holidays are coming up quickly. Perfectly kind and wonderful people are going to expect me to act like I have always normally acted—the way the old Cindy acted. They loved the old me.

For example, last week I got some photos of Barry’s grandsons through the mail. Jeff’s (Bailey’s ex) parents sent them to me with a nice letter. They naturally want to know how Barry and I are doing. I have no idea what to say.

This past year, everything basically collapsed, sometimes simultaneously. My car had problems. A BB came through my living room window this past April. I had a questionable mammogram. The TV died and the satellite receiver died. Barry has had BPH and low thyroid, if that’s an accurate diagnosis. He has a nodule on his thyroid that is causing him to cough. I stopped being able to repress anything. And then there’s the seeking of respite care so I can take care of the house. I’ve gotten various things done to the house, an ongoing project because Menards keeps messing up the order. And, as a cherry on top, an actual bullet went through our new living room window into our new TV. What are the odds of our living room windows being shot at twice within six months? I put the house on the market and someone came and looked at it.

All of this has changed me. Into what, I am unsure. I have found out the hard way whom I can and cannot trust. My parents have been fabulous. I needed to get back on my anti-depressant. The iffy mammogram removed the assumption that I would outlive Barry. I have had to let go of old friendships that no longer match who I am. I have been rejected by the insurance company that I have only made one claim upon ever, proving the worthlessness of their wares.

Basically, I can only rely upon my parents. That’s all.

What I miss and need the most are assumptions. Without the assumption that I will outlive Barry, it has been difficult to muster up any motivation to do anything. I now believe that everyone needs assumptions, even if they are false. To have an untrustworthy car has made me paranoid about every little thing on the car my parents gave me. To have “friends” that expect me to act like a normal human while my life implodes is not helpful.

I would like to come up with a normal-sounding response, but I’m not sure I can.

One thing that has kept me grounded is Zen. There is a world of silence and simplicity. Sometimes, I have access to it; sometimes not. However, I am not sure I can get to that world while in the midst of trauma. So this is the sequence: trauma occurs, I do what is needed to cope while my feelings are numb, and eventually my feelings thaw and come out in odd and seemingly inappropriate situations (because my response has zero to do with the current scenario but is rather attached to an event days, weeks, or even months earlier). To get re-grounded, I do Zen and allow whatever feelings I have to arise in as trauma-free manner as possible.

How do I authentically behave like a regular person when I have no idea who I am anymore? My most basic assumptions are gone. I am paranoid about everything: my car, my health, Barry’s health, the house, you name it. I have no security. I think everyone, to some degree, is in this boat, but they have enough assumptions (even if false) to cope. My pretenses have been stripped from me. I understand that I am incapable of taking care of the house and Barry simultaneously.

I’m not who I was, but have no idea who I am now. Fruitcake and festivities, anyone?


About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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