I've been a bit breathless lately--maybe winded from a sudden, unexpected sprint of obligation, or maybe, breathless like a panic attack. The less that I feel I can breathe, the worse the struggle becomes . . . and the less I feel I can breathe. It's a round trip ticket.
I try very hard to accept that life has this jigsaw puzzle quality--that the pieces are scattered, some are missing. That no matter how you twist a piece, you aren't always able to see the fit. You aren't even always able to see the big picture. Right now, the clues to my big picture consist of a couple of blue "sky" pieces and a corner piece that might be flowers (or a pair of harem pants).
I don't even have a box to consult.
I didn't anticipate two classes this summer. I anticipated one class, then the remainder of my summer spent, organizing materials and files for my new job, playing "T-Rex attacks caveman mountain" with my boys, scribbling in my notebook in a lawn chair beside our 2 foot pool (just one step above rinky-dink, but ass on bottom, I'm able to submerge myself, nonetheless), lunching with my man at swanky downtown joints (the kind that don't advertise that children are allowed--the high chairs are hidden in the back), occasional afternoon delight . . .
Instead, one class became two (I cannot take the chance that I will get my current professor again, so I have to take the second class in August . . . when he's not teaching it), and my August will involve required reading, quizzes, assignments, group projects, and a twice a week commute in DC rush hour traffic. I return to work the same day as the last class. When I think about this, more often than not, I feel like hurling my coffee cup against the wall, or drinking a lot of beer, then lining the bottles up like they are members of a small family. I am greedy about my time, and terrified that without the opportunity to organize my life and my approach and my psyche, I will become unraveled, like a sock knit in the dark.
But I will work through this.
The brown paper bag that's keeping me from suffocating involves a trip to see my parents in Pennsylvania (tomorrow), grateful lists, "What Fresh Hell is This? The Biography of Dorothy Parker" by Marion Meade (who wrote a fun and uncomfortable-for-him biography of Woody Allen), daily exercise (I've substituted this for hurling coffee/the beer family reunion), purging (getting rid of the unnecessary is like providing me with an oxygen mask), and Poetry magazine (ony 3.95!).
I keep reminding myself to go easy. Go easy on expectations and accept that when unpredictable crops up, I just have to add those ingredients to the recipe of my life and try to make something tasty from them.
In the meantime, it's hot and I'm breathless and I need an oxygen mask . . . stat!