Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

Lake Turnover

I didn’t realize the magnitude of the infernal funk I have been in until I went for a walk today. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and I walked without mittens or a hat for the first time in ages. The light felt warm and divine on my sun-starved face. I thought to myself “so THIS is what it’s like outside. I nearly forgot. And it’s been out here all this time.”

It seems like ages ago when I was not under house arrest. When I could put Maggie in the baby jogger when I got home from work and take a tour of the neighborhood before dinner. Each morning brought with it a number of choices, all of them pleasant. Do we go for a walk to the park first, and then the pool? Do I garden while Maggie naps? Should we eat dinner outside on the patio? Stroll around the neighborhood? Things are so much easier. Emotionally, I just weigh less in the summer.

For the last 3 months my choices have been much more limited, and much less appealing. Do we watch Sesame Street again? Am I turning her brain to mush? Is it lunchtime yet? Should we go to Target? Can I run on the treadmill in the basement during her nap? Can a person die from Seasonal Affect Disorder? YUCK.

I find myself wanting to change everything. Change careers, take singing lessons, start my own Cable Access television show. Re-vamp my life.

I started to think of a time 5 years ago. February, 2001. I was living with my old boyfriend in a tiny attic apartment. We had been dating for 3 years. I was impatient. I wanted to move forward, but I was terrified to admit it, even to myself. He and I didn’t talk about things like that. I floundered and he detached. I started questioning and he grew increasingly remote. I wanted to buy a house, he waffled. I wanted to get a dog, he said no way. He thought it was cute, his little girlfriend, wanting a dog. And he said no. I felt patronized and small and misunderstood. It was as though he was deaf, or he didn’t care, or both. I started to wonder if we were better at being friends than we were at being in a relationship.

His family, who I adored, planned a fancy dinner out. It was decided that the event was to be family only. I wasn’t family. I wasn’t invited. And I was crushed. I refused to admit it to him, but I was devastated.

The night they had dinner without me at the best Steakhouse in Minneapolis was the night I went to a friend’s house, drank too much wine, and kissed my husband. We stayed up talking until 5 a.m. in the morning. We slept in the same bed that night, fully clothed, mind you. I awoke, feeling groggy and hungover. I was smiling.

The next night, my old boyfriend and I went to Orchestra Hall. He felt guilty for leaving me out of the party the night before. He was afraid I was angry. We went to the show, and I thought about the previous night. How I felt kissing Jim. I felt small, and safe, and desired. I went over and over the previous night in my mind. Sitting next to my boyfriend, I was nauseated. I had sickening shame in the pit of my stomach. I was cold with guilt. We went out for a burger afterwards, and I tried to eat. It felt as though I was trying to swallow sawdust. I played sick, and we went home early. Everything was wrong.

A week later, I made Valentines Dinner for us. He criticized me for the time and energy I spent making a decadent cake, complete with a dark chocolate mold and long-stem strawberries. I cut my knuckle badly grating Gruyere cheese for the endive gratin. I made filet of beef tenderloin. We sat at our little table in our attic apartment and ate.

After dinner, we walked down the street for a beer. On the way home, I told him how I felt. I told him again that I was afraid that we were meant to be friends. That we wouldn’t work as a couple. I hoped that upon hearing my concerns, he would show me the glimmer of passion I desperately needed to see. That he would fight for me. He didn’t. He said he wondered too sometimes, if we were better as friends, and he shrugged. We went to bed.

I took the cake to work the next day, and a male coworker jokingly asked me to marry him.

I moved out 6 weeks later. Spring came, and the sun returned and brought warm weather with it.

I quit my job. I got a new apartment. I got a new job. I started seeing Jim. I tried not to look back. I have not spoken to my old boyfriend since that spring.

I ran away from my old life and I started a new one. Just like that.

They say a lake “turns over” every year in the springtime. It flip-flops completely. What was on the bottom moves to the top, and the top sinks to the bottom.

I wonder if it has to be so all-encompassing.

It’s springtime again. I feel compelled to make a change. But this time I pause and think. What it is that I really want? What are my instincts telling me? What am I running away from? What monster is chasing me? If I don’t muster up the courage to turn around and face it, that very same monster will be forever two steps behind me. I need to stare it down.

I am different now. I am a mother. I have roots. I think of the phrase “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”. This time, I will start small.

It’s springtime. Time to clean house. NOT time to pack up and move to a new one altogether. That was the old me. This is the new. Here I am, washcloth in hand, looking for a place to start.

11 Comments:

Blogger Mary Tsao said...

What a great post. I understand completely how you feel -- I tend to make "dramatic life changes" in January.

I find it positive that you are reviewing the kinds of changes you made in the past in such a introspective yet sensible way. That was then, but this is now.

Hurrah for spring cleaning, both of the house and of the mind.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Hi Meghan -- I am here through Madge. I wanted to say that this post absolutely resonated with me. I never realized how much the seasons can influence moods and make you want to make major life changes. I admire that you are able to see this pattern and focus on small changes within the realm of your life. It's something that I need to remember -- turnover doesn't need to be sudden and traumatic, it can be subtle and incremental.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

What a beautiful post.

I'm so glad that spring brought you new life, and real love. Perhaps that wouldn't have happened, though, without the long, brooding winter before.

I sympathise with your winter blues-- the older I get, the more I realize I'm solar-powered. I can't wait for spring!

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am in that place in between. my old life ended. my new life not yet fully begun. its good to know it will begin again.

thanks,
stephanie, a faithful reader who looks forward to the days you enjoy now

7:45 PM  
Blogger Prego said...

Whatever you decide, lay off the wine.


Dig the introspect.


Love,
p

1:48 AM  
Anonymous cj said...

Great great post. I think a lot of us can relate to that. I had my time of 'running away' - packing up and changing things and starting over seemed like such a natural thing to do. Now that I'm married, two kids and two dogs its an impossible thing to do.... but I secretly envy those who can take the adventure.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

This is lovely.

I think Seasonal Affective Disorder can make you question things and want to make changes in this way. It's one of the few good things about it.

Since I've moved to the north, spring has become my favorite season. I don't think you ever truly appreciate what it means living in the south.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Prego said...

- Thanks for the hilarious comment on my Dr. Funkenstein post. That's why I love you.

I actually picked Minneapolis, because that's the first place I think of when I think of music, thanks to Mr. Westerberg, Dr. Mould and co. Also because I knew you'd get a kick out of it. I hope I was geographically accurate with some of the local references.

7:19 AM  
Blogger DDM said...

I can relate so much to this. I live in Washington state. There has been so much rain, for so many days in a row now, even the born and raised folk like myself are complaining. Enough! I don't know any good tricks for dealing with S.A.D., but I know that a few moments in a spot of sun does wonders for my outlook.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous noell said...

A-ha! Now I realize why I've been pining after a new house, when I've always wanted to lay roots in the one I'm currently in. I've been having that urge to go house-shopping. It must be spring.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Your story about meeting Jim and ending the wrong relationship reaffirms for me the old "things happen for the right reasons" credo. The hard part is being open to the reasons, and seeing them as a gift - rather than a punishment.

OH, and for we who live the North of the world. February SUCKS! For 15 years, this is the month that makes me want to pick a big fight with my husband and run away.

5:16 PM  

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