Part I: Divine Two-By-Four to the Head
My head hurt so bad I actually contemplated going to the hospital. I kept feeling around my hairline to see if there was any blood. Surely there must be blood. How can you hit your head that hard and not have blood?
Friday at 5 pm and naturally I’m excited for the weekend. I had finally rid myself of the flu, our home in Colorado sold the Friday before and stress was at a minimum. Even though I work full-time and go to school, my schedule looked manageable. I headed to the parking lot towards my car, which by the way is the first car I’ve ever been head over heels in love with, and I jumped in. BAM!!!! I solidly smashed my temple into the side of my car as I lowered myself in and nearly passed out. My head hurt so bad I actually contemplated going to the hospital. I kept feeling around my hairline to see if there was any blood. Surely there must be blood. How can you hit your head that hard and not have blood? It took me awhile to get my bearings and as far as I could tell, I was going to be okay. I began my long commute home; Friday nights are particularly bad, and this one was no exception. I did not have the wherewithal to compete with my fellow compadres in traffic, so I kept a low profile, just hoping I would make it home without incident.
I pulled into our three-car garage still holding the side of my head. I was pretty stunned. I mean why/how did that happen. It didn’t really make any sense. After all, I thought to myself, I had been feeling quite content when I left the building, where did it go awry? As I walked into the house, delicious smells were wafting down the hallway. My husband was preparing something in the kitchen and greeted me with a smile. I was just about to share what happened when he said, “Today has been an interesting day.” I was about to agree and then lunge into telling him my sad story, when I got an internal nudge to just let him talk. He began by telling me that he had fallen in our home in the same spot twice that afternoon. He said he hurt himself pretty badly. [Mind you, my husband does not fall. I’ve never known him to be careless or haphazard.] I then blurted out, “You’re kidding, I just smashed the side of my head really badly, how weird.” He said, “Maybe not so weird. The landlord called.” “Oh?” “Yes, and he’s ready to sell the house.” It was like someone had punched me in the stomach. Naturally it’s his home and we’re on a month to month, but I just wasn’t ready for this news at this time. While the weekend’s schedule was fairly light, I had mid-term exams, papers to write, and work would soon be getting busier. Besides, I also had been secretly fantasizing how Buzz and I could get away for a romantic trip to Cabos over spring break. I was tired and I really had hoped that the two of us could just rest. “You’re kidding? We literally just closed on our house one week to the day and bam, the Universe says it’s time to go?!” “Yup, it looks that way”, he said.
Buzz and I immediately began talking about all the things we would need to do to execute. We had talked about moving the year before and had seen several different types of homes in many different types of neighborhoods, but this time was for real. I could barely breathe, my head even in that moment was killing me, and I was freaked out. Within an hour I sent an email to a woman we had worked with before to see what the temperature of the market was. We set up appointments and we were off to the races.
All in all, we worked with three different realtors and were plugged into Zillow following every lead. Buzz was canvasing neighborhoods of interest to get a feel for them, occasionally popping in whenever there was an open house, sometimes even just finding out the lockbox code and letting himself in. We had conflicting stories from our landlord to take our time AND the sooner we can leave the better. He wanted to start showing the home and could we please pack neatly. PACK NEATLY?! Are you freakin’ kidding me? Oh boy. This was NOT going to be a cake walk. Each place we thought we would take was wrought with its own drama. We put bids in on places and either we changed our mind or other prospective tenants beat us to the punch line. One home I felt fairly confident in we looked at three times and when I would lay my head down I would have nightmares about it and so we ultimately passed.
One thing that Buzz and I immediately were aware of was that it was time to downsize and that downsizing would take time. When we weren’t looking for a home, I was in my office trying to make sense of years of piles of paper. I had photographs, CD’s, materials for a newsletter I write, 3 years’ worth of college textbooks and notebooks and in the mix was the current training materials from the latest coaching training I was taking. Making hard choices and moving forward would be vital to the process yet the best I seemed to be able to do was cry. To be fair, I am in the midst of the change of life, so who knows how much of the extremes I was feeling was purely because I had to let go of a lot of things or how much was hormone related. But I cried for days and days and days. I cried in anger, I cried for things I had never started, and I cried for things I had never finished. I cried for the man I would have to say good-bye to at the dry cleaner and I cried harder for the hummingbirds who had kept me company for six years. I cried because I was overwhelmed, I cried because I felt ashamed that I was crying. Seriously, the tears went on for weeks. I began to blame my husband for the fact that we had to move at this time rather than the year before when I was proactively engaged in trying to find us a new space. I was pissed off at God and I was pissed off that I make choices in my life that led me to a place where someone else had control over when I had to move or whether I could stay. The anger and sadness were consuming me, so much so I ended up with one of the worst ear infections I’ve ever had in my life. And then I cried about that. I literally could not hear out of my right ear at all. I went to the doctors and they could not figure out what the problem was. They put me on medicine that in the end I learned was actually exacerbating the condition. While it wasn’t the first time in my life I had known self-pity, I was definitely was in one of the bigger pity parties I’d ever had. And that made me cry more. What an ungrateful wretch I was. After all, I have an amazing husband, a job, a home, money in the bank, a kick ass car, food in my stomach and I live in a state I’ve wanted to live in since I was ten years old. But the tears kept on flowing. I frequently hated myself and occasionally hated my husband and regularly blamed God. Blaming. I could see how I was drowning in it. Not how I thought 2018 would be.
At the end of 2017, I got to participate in a process where at the end of it, you end up with a word that is supposed to be the prevailing theme by which huge shifts can happen. My word was “responsibility”. And here I was working very very hard at trying to attach blame to someone or something else and it wasn’t working anymore. My old modus operandi was causing me more harm than relief. I was unable to buy my own story. Apparently, I was being pushed to let go of that as well. There are a few close women in my life that I shared I thought I was going insane. More than one of those women said I might require help managing the change of life, suggesting that medication might be necessary. Wow, when your support group starts telling you, you need help, things are bad!
And my husband. In the ten years we’ve known each other, we’ve maybe have had two serious disagreements. Throughout this process I was gathering fuel to justify being more than slightly pissed off at him. He was going through his own process, preparing for a trade show, managing new clients, supporting a business partner whose mother was terminally ill, not to mention his own feelings around the move. And so, we were a bit like oil and water. Again, mind you, I was well aware that truly life was not bad, but my feelings about what was happening was like a snowball going down the hill, growing in size all along the way. I felt guilty for my feelings as people around me went through horrific things and spoke of gratitude. I could write a gratitude list, but I was grumbling at the same time. Not very effective.
And then came our preparation for the garage sale. We had set the dates and advertised it. We tried to prepare in advance, clearing out the garage to make room for the things we would sell. However, that backfired as our landlord’s realtor complained that we needed to keep the house neat so she could prepare for an open house. OMG, could the pressure be any bigger? As we looked out into our garage the night before, we had no plan. All we knew was at 7 am the next morning people would start to show up looking to snag a bargain. I had to figure out how to move past my self-imposed despair to work with this man who was my husband so that we could make this happen. Slowly, very slowly, piece by piece, we started to organize and strategize the next days’ plan. Around 1 am we headed to bed having little faith that it could come together. Tomorrow would tell. We were 56 days into this nightmare. We mumbled terms of endearment as exhaustion set in.
Tomorrow: Part II – Resistance to Grace