Touchstone and Talismans
Just like my own brand of faith, one where good will win out if I just hold on and my children, who are my biggest blessings in life, Edgar was a touchstone. I constructed a life out of the tattered things that I had. I gathered more. Friends, some virtual and some in real life. I created a safety net to catch me when my mood got too low. When the past came calling. To remind me that I had not been loved. That I was not wanted as a child. When other's words took their toll on my mind. I could list them all off, every word that left me wounded. Every slight that cut me deep. I did not know usually, what brought the blues. What made me look at my life and pronounce myself a failure. Sometimes, it was my mother. Calling, she was always calling. With pointed little words, reminding me that I was a disappointment to her. I had built up a strong wall, between her and I. usually, it held. But once in a blue moon her words would find their mark and I would rush off the phone. So the tears did not give themselves away in my voice. Peng and I would argue. A rare thing and all the harder for that. A disagreement with one of my children or a friend. It could be any of these things or none of them. When I could find no reason for living in the shadows, I felt all the worse for it. I had so much, how could I not be happy? I was not sure what the problem was, and therefore I was helpless to fix it. It made me helpless and small.
I thought of my father sometimes. Not to wonder what life had brought him or to miss him anyway. No, I worried. Even though he was now in his 70's, I had no doubt that if he got the chance he would send someone else into that dark place. I worried. There was nothing I could do. I checked the internet now and again, to see that he was checking in as a sexual offender. It was always a start when the screen popped up and I was confronted with his image. Changed so much by age, and yet still the same. My monster, like most had a very human face. No matter the cause, I could not stand those bad days. It would put me into a funk and cloud my world. So, I would call my children. Never telling them I was down, just listening to them share their lives with me. If I told Peng I was down, he would be very understanding and loving. He was very good at getting me to smile. And then there was Edgar. This loving, trusting little being who ran my home. He would insist that we play. Bringing his little toys out and trying to sneak up behind me and pounce, as much as such a little dog can pounce.
I had special songs. I would play them so loud that it covered up my horrid singing voice as I blurted out the words. I would bake or cook. Always something with carbs involved. I would take spoon full of ice cream and hold it in my mouth and then, down diet coke. Making a ice cream float with me as the glass. It gave me the giggles. There is nothing so bad that ice cream can't help. I would go on long drives. Roll around on the grass with Edgar. I would sit on the floor and go through the boxes of pictures and cards that made up everything important in my life. I watched my children grow up in front of me. One image at a time. I would read the many cards and notes that accumulate over the length of their childhoods. Some store bought, but most crafted in class. With glitter and string and bright colored construction paper.
I did all these things to buoy myself up. There will always be blue days. Times when there is no strength in a smile. No comfort to be found in my own being. And knowing this, I store up good things. Kind words and memories. I stalk for the winter. The one I know is coming, but can not track on any calendar. It follows it's own secret schedule. Changing the brightest sunny mood into nothing but darkness. Part of surviving, of thriving is the planning. It is a mental and spiritual grab bag to be packed with great care. Only the important things go in. Nothing sad or hurtful. Every inch must be filled with love, and hope. In whatever forms they take. If I can impart anything on you dear reader, it is this: pack a good survival kit. To not pack light, the way is long and hard and only the strongest get out with even a semblance of normalcy. It matters not if you pack or not. Refusal to acknowledge the inevitable, will not keep it at bay. It is easy, so easy...every time you make it through one storm to think, well that is it. There will be no more. I have come through the worst. You are wrong. Nothing will keep that storm from coming. The talisman make take the shape of a bounced check, a sick loved one. A fight with a friend or simply a bitter cold blowing across your mind. Expect it. Do not put out the welcome mat. Do not keep a porch light on. But, know it is coming and plan accordingly.
Make sure you pack hope. Faith is important. Either in a god, or yourself. It matters not to anyone else. This is for you. Have faith in you. Think of all you have over come and stand up. Let the wind blow by you. Hurling anything not nailed down. Up ending your life and your mind. Stinging your face and blurring your vision. Stand firm. It will not last. It can not. Just out last it. Be strong. Let it bend you but do not break. You are not alone. We are many. And we matter.