Sep. 15th, 2008

ritaxis: (Default)
So yesterday was the m,emorial. I thought I couldn't do it. I thought that it would be one long awkward moment while we thought of things to say. We did okay. I was able to speak, and sometimes when I can speak in front of people, I do really okay, and I did.

There were more than fifty people at the field, close to twenty at Henry Cowell. Certain people who were supposed to bring their dogs didn't, but there were dogs, and they went off leash.

I had set it for three so that when the dogs went offleash at four it would be a winding-down signal (not a shut-off) but what happened is that the people ate and introduced themselves to each other until four and we did the thing until about five-thirty, and that wasn't bad at all. It turned out that it ended by me walking to the middle of the field and scattering about half the ashes there.

People told me it was beautiful.

Okay, so I hate this part. I hate the part where I watch myself doing things. It makes every genuine feeling seem false and contrived. Like I'm pretending to be what I am.

I actually did do that for a few years. I've never fessed up, but I did have some post-partum depression after Frank was born. Clearly a mild case, because I was functional and I enjoyed my life, but there was a thin veil between me and myself, between me and the world. I treated myself by deciding I would behave as if I was feeling and thinking the way that I thought I was thinking and feeling, even if I was having this membrane sitting over everything dulling the feelings and thoughts I knew I really had. Does that even make sense? I believe that it was a mostly successful strategy. Probably because it was mild. I don't think I would advise someone who was in real distress to do this. I don't think it would work if you were horribly, horribly sad, or consumed by dull anger, if you had the whole world turn thoroughly grey and featureless. I wouldn't trivialise those conditions by suggesting you could treat them the same way (I don't know, maybe someone could, but I wouldn't suggest it to someone who wasn't coming up with it themselves).

I don't know what other people's post-partum depression comes from -- I think severe cases are physiological, actually -- but it's pretty easy to explain mine. Immediately before I discovered I was pregnant, I had hurt my hands so severely that I was facing the end of all the crafty and artsy things that made up a large chunk fo my identity at the time: and possibly even worse, Ted's father died after three months of harrowing illness. And then, I came very close to dying myself in that pregnancy (I can say this out loud, but at this distance it's actually hard to comprehend that that really happened: my kids are alive, I'm alive, and unless something like the smell of a particular kind of plastic sets me off, my memories of that time seem to skip right over that part). That's a lot of life changes, I think.

I have told everyone who asks me what I need the same thing. I have a tendency when I'm not functioning well to roll up into a little ball and not move. So I told them to call me once in a while and initiate a conversation about taking a walk. That's what I need, people to make me get out and do the things I want to do.

How much I want my guy.

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