“Little Alice fell
bumped her head
and bruised her soul” Lewis Carroll
You’ll find today’s post interspersed with some favorite quotes by Lewis Carroll. I feel a bit like someone who fell down a rabbit hole where everything was strange and topsy turvy, and these quotes speak to me today.
“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” Lewis Carroll
Awhile back, I caught whatever virus was going around. The people that I knew that also had it seemed to be down and out for about 2-3 days. For me, it was 2-3 weeks. This has seemed to be status quo for my struggling immune system. It was a respiratory type flu (thankfully no vomiting), but I ran a fever for several days in a row. Beyond the obvious, what did this mean in my world? What does it mean when your life is built around navigating a passive aggressive partner?
It means being more dependent.
At the very beginning, when I could feel that I was going to be ill, I looked at my husband and said, “Please listen to me. This is really important. Whatever you actually feel, I need you to try really hard to use cognitive empathy to take care of me when I’m sick. This matters very much, and at the end of the day, it will impact my choices about us.”
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll
He looked at me in that funny, almost puzzled looking past me but not exactly at me but thinking stare and said, “Okay.”
“Either it brings tears to their eyes, or else -“
“Or else what?” said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.
“Or else it doesn’t, you know.” Lewis Carroll
And so he did. He tried very hard. Really, perhaps he tried as hard as I can ever remember him trying. I could see the strain of his being ‘good’. I could see and feel at times that he was struggling with self-pity, irritation, and resentment, but I could also see him trying to ‘fake it till you make it’.
There were lapses into passive aggressive behaviors, especially as I started to recover. I think I tried to write about it one day, but I was so doggone tired. I was too tired to do anything but be vulnerable and dependent on kindness and care. So there were days that it just felt too demanding to sit and try to clear my fevered brain and write, but as recovery slowly increased, I began to realize that my not writing was something else altogether.
“You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.” Lewis Carroll
I realized that I felt uncomfortable blogging about the above referenced ‘lapses’ or incidents or hurts or frustrations, and so I began to ponder the why of that. Why was I not blogging? I almost felt guilty to even think about blogging, and so I kept putting it at the edges of thought. In fact, I wasn’t even letting myself think of anything serious.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” Lewis Carroll
I rather suspect I was experiencing an aspect of trauma bonding. Factor in that he was trying, and it can feel confusing. Guilt, questions, disappointment, hope, wondering, and letting go because you’re too weak to do anything else.
“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.” Lewis Carroll
I stopped trying to figure out what it all meant, or what anything meant, and decided it was time to just get back on track, so a few days ago I forced myself to get-out-of-the-house. Man, that was hard! My fear and panic and discomfort to leave the safety of this house had seemed to escalate while I was ill.
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” Lewis Carroll
I kept trying to talk myself in and out of going with one of my sons to an important appointment that required his presence about an hour from where we live. This is the son who was hit by a car five years ago, and while legally things were resolving (mainly this just paid the medical bills and attorney costs), he still had to sign something to basically close the books on it. In my mother’s heart, it didn’t feel okay to not be there as a silent witness when this has been so huge in his life. Our lives. And so I went, and there seemed to be no practical reason to not include other necessary family shopping and errands. NINE hours I was out, including driving, and we didn’t get home until almost midnight.
“Well!’ thought Alice to herself, ‘after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)” Lewis Carroll
The next morning, I was supposed to meet someone for coffee in the town I live near. We’d already rescheduled twice because I’d been sick, and I really wanted to raincheck it again. But I went. The reason I forced myself to get out again (two days in a row is like a marathon of challenging my comfort zone) was because she’d repaired a quilt for my son. She did a beautiful repair out of the goodness of her heart. This is the son that used this quilt while he was deployed in a war zone, and the quilt became special to him because of that. The weather is getting colder here, and so I knew I needed to keep that coffee appointment in part to get his quilt back to him. There was one jarring note in that coffee meeting, a conversation that I’ll try to address tomorrow.
Here I am again, ready to move forward. Next step, gym passes!
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” Lewis Carroll