I firmly believe in the saying, “Fake it til you make it.” There is no way that one is going to go from sad to happy with a scowl all the time. SO, for me, I pretend to be strong even when I don’t feel it, and I smile when I’m not in the mood, and suddenly, Voila!, I feel better. Today, I smiled and talked and laughed with an old friend for a large part of the day, and it was wonderful to catch up on each other’s lives; however, after leaving her, I realized how utterly exhausted I was. I am at heart an introvert, and as much as I love people, particularly “my” people, I desperately need time to recharge after having a lot of social interaction. I think of being alone as somewhere I need to go. It’s like an actual physical place that I need to sit for a while after being around others. The following quote kind of sums up how I’ve always felt.
“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.” ~Audrey Hepburn
After my girlfriend time today, I thought I would spend some time in Barnes & Noble just browsing and maybe picking up a home design magazine or two since I’m going to get started on remodeling my grandparent’s house very soon. Book stores are favorite hang outs of mine, and what better place to just be alone and think, right? Well, YES, in theory that was a great plan; however, I was not at all prepared for the ghosts lurking among the brightly lit bookcases and displays. Looking back, I realize that I should have known, but I blindly walked right into the trap.
My mom and my husband had a lot in common. I always knew this to a certain extent, but I’ve realized it even more since losing them. BOOKS–they both loved books and reading. They even liked some of the same authors. I remember spending hours in bookstores and libraries with my mom. I don’t recall her EVER turning me down if I wanted to purchase books. I treasure a particularly special trip to New Orleans with her where we went to a Library convention and stopped in many a used book store in the French Quarter and Garden District as we explored the city together. We stayed at the most fabulous little inn, had wonderful meals at all the famous spots, and people watched and browsed for hours. Today, I kept seeing books that reminded me of her, then I would turn around and see some that prompted memories of B.
My husband, like my mom, was a voracious reader. It was one of the things that made me love him. He loved his Kindle paperwhite, and although I still haven’t been able to bring myself to charge it and use it, it is one of my most prized possessions. We would often pop into bookstores just to browse. He would wander off to check out his favorite author’s new books while I would usually gravitate toward the Young Adult section where I would inevitably end up with a stack of books that I thought my 7th grade classroom library just HAD to have!
Whenever I would go looking for him, he always had several books that he wanted me to add to “his list” which was on MY phone. They were ones that he wanted to read, but he wanted to see if the public library had them before buying them. So, we would often leave with just my classroom necessities. Occasionally, he would buy one paperback to read right then if he was completely out of reading material at that moment. He was a pretty frugal guy….I spent a lot of time and effort changing that about him! 😉
So, it was in the midst of this strip mall Barnes and Noble that I almost lost my mind. I’m pretty sure that no one realized how crazy I felt, but to me, it felt as if I was in a fog in some horror movie. I kept bumping into things or they kept reaching out to me. I would get away and something else would grab me through the mist. I finally escaped to the relative security of my car where I sat and cried. And then I drove home. Where I cried some more. Then I was even MORE exhausted, so I fell asleep for about an hour. By that time, Daddy and Max had returned from their drive out to the farm, so I pulled myself together and acted “normal” for a little while.
All of this today just made me realize how fragile I am despite my best efforts to “Fake It”. I have faith that this will eventually get better somehow, and I also recognize that the holiday season adds to my vulnerability. Some days it’s just so hard to keep moving and doing and smiling when hiding under the covers is much more inviting especially when it’s 24 degrees outside! I know I WILL continue getting out of bed though because it’s what others that I admire do, and this wonderful, awful, crazy, God-given life goes on no matter how much I wish it would stop for a few minutes and let me breathe.