Fuji X-T1 35mm f/1.4 Settings: ISO 500 f/3.6 SS 1/180
The first night we arrived in Hawaii - in an airline snafu - my carry on bag didn't make it to Honolulu & instead arrived in LAX.
It felt like a prank. My husband, unencumbered of anything but a backpack, teased me the entire day about rolling my carry on around the airports. Yes, I said, but if we get stuck somewhere, who has a clean pair of underwear & her contacts solution? Then I smiled smugly.
Karma lesson #1. Never get smug.
Boarding DFW to LAX, the last 15 people or so were made to turn around & gate check their carry ons. No more overhead bin space, they said. Fine, fine! What's a gate check anyway? Until the stewardess took my bag & said it would be going to our final destination - Honolulu. There was a brief conversation about this.
Wait - do I need to get my bag in LAX? Will you have time? You'll have to go to the baggage claim & then back thru security. Oh, no, I definitely don't have time for that! Then it will go to your final destination. You're... sure? Yep.
In that moment I realized the bag wasn't going anywhere near Honolulu, but I remained optimistic, as what else can you do in these situations? There was more teasing from my husband about the likelihood of my bag not arriving. I attempted to remain upbeat. Until we arrived in Honolulu & my bag was nowhere to be seen.
Maybe it was the exhaustion of an all day travel extravaganza (3 airplanes to get us from the fucking midwest to Hawaii). Maybe it was the jet lag or the fact that I always pack a carry on for this exact freaking reason. Or more likely, it was because my meds were in that carry on bag. Either way, it caused me to have a full blown anxiety attack once we finally reached the hotel.
Make no mistake, feeling like this is embarrassing. In my mind, I knew that missing one day of my meds was ok. IT WAS OKAY. But in this vulnerable state I literally felt completely helpless & alone.
My husband remained oblivious to the entire situation, somehow. When we checked into the hotel he mentioned they'd given us two double beds instead of a single king. But no worries. While he went to work in the morning, I could check out of the hotel at 11 & then at 3 I could check back into our new room.
I looked at him incredulous. That's... my option? I don't even have underwear. I don't have... anything. What am I going to do for four hours?
In our room, I took a shower with my convenience store items. While I wept in the hotel shower, he knocked. Are you ok? Are you upset about your bag? I'm... fine...
I put my contacts in two hotel cups & pulled the linen jumper I'd traveled in all day, back on, before finally squeezing myself into a ball in one of the double beds.
My husband gave me a quick glance, made himself a drink & slipped into the opposite bed to watch tv. There was no hug. No smoothing of my hair. Not even an offer of a clean fucking shirt to sleep in.
This was my unraveling. Helpless. Alone. Afraid. Lost.
These feelings are further exacerbated by people in our lives who don't know how to deal with us when we're spiraling. Especially when we're a master of independence.
My battle cry is - I do it myself. I don't need anyone. But in reality, my fierce independence is a defense mechanism: Don't rely on anyone. They'll just let you down.
I dreamt all night I was throwing up. Awake, I ran to the bathroom. I could audibly hear my stomach churning. I crawled back in bed, alone, sobbing. This was a mistake. I shouldn't be here. I should be back home with the kids who need me. Really need me. My daughter just started middle school. My son was in the first week of cross country & the little boys... the little boys who always run arms open wide when they see me. This was supposed to be an amazing vacation with my husband but I shouldn't be here. I should be with them. The people who need me. I shouldn't be here. Alone. Utterly alone.
Of course, after a good nights sleep, some coffee, food & fresh air, I was able to process. My bag arrived the following afternoon. My precious things returned to me. Overall, our trip was really great. I sat on the beach, took pictures, read a handful of books, ate up (literally) all Hawaii had to offer. But towards the end of the trip I began to feel a distant shift from my husband.
Once home we began to again argue about the daily's of life. How I manage almost everything. How he has suggestions on how I can apparently do it better.
I'm angry he never knows what time the kids start school or even where some of their practices are. I'm angry that when I leave town, it feels like my sole responsibility to find childcare. I'm angry that when I ask what he contributes to our home he says he works & makes money. I'm angry that I chose to stay home & raise our children over 13 years ago instead of pursue a career.
My therapist says it's very easy to say we feel angry or frustrated or pissed off. Sometimes it's harder to name the emotions that lie deep beneath those.
I feel helpless when I am in Hawaii without my suitcase. I feel alone when there is no one there to comfort me. I feel afraid when I have an anxiety attack & can't see my way out of it. I feel abandoned when there is no one there to anchor me. I feel unappreciated when I'm challenged about how I manage the household. I feel betrayed when I'm reminded I don't make an income.
My therapist asks - Is this the kind of thing you can say to your husband? Can you have the hard conversations? I don't know. Well, you can't expect to move past these feelings if you can't name them. If you tell him how you feel, then you can work together to have a deeper understanding. But if you tell him & he blows you off, then that's another conversation. Maybe he isn't your person.
Isn't he my person? The one I've spent the last 15 years building my own safe world with? The one I trusted to be more steady than myself.
16 years ago, (before cell phones & in a world of pay phones) thru a series of events, we ended up stranded at a gas station, waiting for a cab for several hours - dressed up for a wedding. We laughed at the situation. Made jokes. Passed the time until way past dark when our cab finally came.
That's how I knew I could be with you, he once said. The way you were able to just roll with everything. You didn't get upset. You weren't mad. You just went with it.
This replays in my mind every time I get upset over a situation out of my control. Come on, I say. Don't be that girl. The one who can't handle when life throws her a curve ball. Be the girl he wanted then.
But what if all this time I've been trying to make myself into someone I'm not... would that mean I'm not his person.
Today, Tom Waits song, Martha, slipped thru my headphones & it cut straight into my chest with the most excruciating weight, leaving me breathless. Today I felt more alone than I have in a long time.