So today I was going to let the hours pass and avoid…no not avoid…I was actually framing the idea as I’m not going to write today because I have nothing to write about and that is okay…which is pretty forthright as opposed to avoidance. But yet here I am…tap tap taping away at the keyboard in search of some peace. I realized after an 8 km walk/dog drag I was still feeling off-kilter, which is unusual. So I am just trying some other outlets to see if I can shift this moodiness and lingering headache from yesterday.
Upon reflection in my resistance to write, I realize I have little to note because I haven’t been all that present this week. I have done some “big things” which were also distracting and so I was unable to dial in my beingness – brain often going into rumination and forecasting of future events. In an attempt to regain some composure, I will now try to less-effectively reflect on those “things” in hindsight, perhaps giving me some respite from the sisterhood of the time travelling pants.
My son crawled into our bed last Sunday and asked if I had a phone number for John (bio-dad), which was weird because, obviously he knows about John to an extent and asks about him randomly, but he then asked to call him. When I asked why, out of curiosity and anxiety, he just said he really wanted to hear his voice. Seemed innocent enough. But for me this was profound timing, as I have been privately trying to contact him through less direct means for the past few weeks to no avail. I told my son that I would write him a letter and then maybe we could arrange a phone call after – this seemed to appease the 6-year-old.
Monday morning during my walk, I thought more about what my son had requested and acquiesced that his notion wasn’t so impractical. A phone call eh?! Kind of ballsy, I mean who telephones anyone anymore? I know, I am being a bit melodramatic…more like who would telephone an estranged parent who has had limited contact the past 15 years and (at least) one of them has a traumatic brain injury and is hard of hearing?! Who does this? I answered back this time...I do, I mean, I can if I want to.
I got home and picked up the phone and nervously dialled the number before I lost my nerve. When I heard the pickup on the other end and voice begin to speak, I stopped breathing to make sure I didn’t miss something, or maybe to make it sound like there was no one there on my end…hiding with baited breath. A woman’s voice said, “Operator, how may I help you?” My internal voice saying Jesus H. Christ, really? Operator…WTF? We still have these? For what? My processing was slow and so she continued without my response, “What number are you trying to reach?” Oh! This is why we still have these…I must have misdialed.
Through a relatively convoluted exchange I was able to explain I was trying to call a residence in Wales. She was helpful, telling me I needed to drop the zero in front and add the prefix “011 44” to the already inextricably long string of digits. Apparently you need to be a NASA female mathematician to find those Hidden Figures?! On my second try, the phone rang again. It rang and it rang and I double checked my next order of math, the time difference, reassuring myself that it was only 8:30 pm there – which I had also convinced myself was an ideal time of day to make a long time reconnection in a fragmented child-parent relationship.
You must be at least this smart to independently
make an international phone call.
The powers that be however, did not see this as the universal alignment needed to forge that connection I had so bravely committed to in that moment. The phone rang until it disconnected on it’s own, feeling like the universe had hung up on me, just a little bit. As I regained a normal, healthy breathing rhythm I felt better for just doing it (now I get it Nike, thank you). The leap of faith took me no closer to contact, but I was feeling like I was at least doing something. Something being at least as brave as a 6-year-old.
The rational thing would be to try the number another day, perhaps the next day and maybe a midday phone call instead, catch him while he’s watching an afternoon game show (I remember him watching these when I was last there in 2002)? But in all honesty, as I suspected, lost my nerve by that point. What I did communicatively compromise, was a handwritten letter…now who does that anymore?! But this was what I used to do as a kid, so I thought old trusty might be what was needed. It was a single page with three short paragraphs, in the largest, neatest handwriting I could muster (as after his TBI, he also lost an eye and some vision in the existing one). I went to the post office and stood in line to make sure I had the proper postage affixed and they put that little blue “Airmail” sticker on the envelope, just like when I was a kid. That made me smile.
So this act has been a distraction to my consciousness this week, as I drifted (no pun intended) through my son’s Titanic Party, which was a little dress-up dinner we organized at his request to commemorate day 2 (April 11) of the Titanic’s maiden (and sadly only) voyage 106 years ago. And I also found myself eating stuff to mindless distraction in the evenings, finding comfort in brownies I baked (and I never ever bake), random chocolates, dry roasted peanuts and seaweed snacks from Thailand that I procured from TNT market in Vancouver back in December (one of my most poignant wagon-dismounts to date). And I bought a pair of jeans…another go-to I like to use to run interference when I feel like I don’t want to really be here now. I am not even sure I can forgive myself for all of these improprieties just yet.
But admitting you have a problem is the first step and this full disclosure blog seems to be keeping my unhelpful behaviours and tendencies in check, even if it took me all week to own up to it. I am owning it now and I feel a bit of clarity blowing out the brain fog I have allowed to settle between my ears. I guess, even though I thought I hadn’t written all week, I had, I wrote a difficult, vulnerable letter, perhaps one of the most important pieces of writing I will ever do. And after I wrote it, I sent it. Beyond that, there is not much else for me to do in this particular department, other than my own biggest issue, which is just letting it be. So here I am, back to Friday, which is today and right now and seeing that even when I think there’s nothing to say, the words pour out to a count over 1200, freeing me up to find some more room to be present and aware. Resetting myself once more, as many times as needed. Not letting myself mail it in anymore this week, enough of that nonsense!