© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
This is part blog, part letter.
Comfort. Bliss. Pain. (clogging)
There is no feeling I know that tops twirling on a dance floor while clogging with people I love. There are people here this weekend that I’ve known forever and love dearly, whom I never see. They are my family. I just want to be near them. I’ve not much to say. I just want to be close. There’s something special about not having to say anything…
(fight with Mom)
Breathing. Tears. I don’t want to leave this place. I don’t want to go home tomorrow. Not because nothing bad ever happens here but because with these people I know it will be okay. That I will be okay. And I’m not.
I just watched Boston Legal. I went to a gathering last night of friends and it felt so good to have fun, to laugh and feel happy. And to be physically close to people. There are hugs here that make me feel loved…
I don’t see a lot of people like that. And sitting next to one makes me happy and sad. Happy and grateful for the moment and sad that it’s ending. I long to be close to someone, to be held and comforted and loved. To have someone to curl up with, a hand to hold. Instead I have a pillow at the end of a hotel hallway, a purple pen and a journal. And an angry mom sulking in a hotel room over me not putting my pajamas on. What the fuck? Yeah, I’m bitter. (deep breath…) Crying.
Your life is fundamentally at odds with the world. Therefore nature rejects you. (Failure to Launch)
This weekend has not been about illness or drama. My illness has affected my dancing but no one has asked me about it. No one’s asked much of anything. It’s been nice to have a break but it feels like this huge secret. I have this big clogging family and they’d be supportive if they knew (I imagine). But they don’t…
I cried at Lynnda’s slideshow tonight not because I knew her well but because I think of that stuff. I wonder what will happen when I die, who will notice, what the service will be like. I cried for me. In case you’re wondering, when I die you should dance. And if there’s a slideshow, please splice the music smoothly and don’t use “I Will Remember You.”
… I don’t have a name. I just want to dance, to feel that free feeling and the warmness of being close to you. You bring me comfort. I don’t know why. You just do. It makes my heart tingle. And for that I am grateful. Thank you.
(deeeep breath) I just wanna dance.
Tears. They run down my face. An old friend just said, “Keep smiling. You’re prettier when you do so.” I keep hearing “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin. It’s merged with “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns. A few moments earlier looking at this picture he said, “You looked so happy and cheery… What happened to you?” It caught me off guard. I laughed, then fell silent. It’s a powerful question. What happened?
I could say I don’t know what but I do. A slow fade. The chorus of the song says:
It’s a slow fade, when you give yourself away.
It’s a slow fade, when black and white turn to gray.
Choices are made
A price will be paid when you give yourself away.
People never crumble in a day.
It’s a slow fade.
What happened? A slow fade. That picture was taken around 8th or 9th grade. I know because of the earrings. I wasn’t always happy and cheery but it was Possum Trot, Scotty was there, and I was way more dedicated to faking it.
Life happened, simply put. A long succession of losses and disappointments, a constant unfulfilled need for comfort and striving for perfection. Over time it eats my spirit. It breaks me down. I erode like a malt ball in your mouth. A teacher described me as “gracefully weathered” in high school. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I guess it’s like broken but beautiful and not made with Crackle.
I think there’s only so much one can take. It was a slow fade into madness, a quiet but not uncommunicated one. There were letters. Thousands of them. I wrote through everything. Not a single letter answered. The silence, and music, and dance, and theater, unrequited love and loss, and watching, and waiting, and writing, helping and working too much, sleeping too little, people fucking with my head and school. They unraveled the bit of me I had put together. When life doesn’t stop there’s no chance to recover. And when it stops completely, that needs recovery too.
I don’t know where along the way I lost me. The me that giggles and growls and cackles when excited. That believes in fairy tales and believes that people are good. I see her sometimes but she’s not happy… I wish I could make her happy.
If I had to pinpoint what happened I’d say a lack of love & understanding, of comfort. A wire monkey life. I just want to be loved. To be held. To feel safe. (pause) To have a person instead of a book.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2010
M- posted this this morning:
What would you do if you knew someone needed your help, but you knew there was nothing you could do to help?
I’ve been thinking about it all day.
I find myself in that position often. So many people want or need my help, but I often don’t have it to give. I pray. And call my contacts. I have an extensive network of colleagues and resources. I usually know someone who can help or know someone who does. But there are situations that can’t be fixed, hearts that can’t be mended, questions that have no answers.
The short answer is – I pray. And I hurt. I have to accept there is nothing I can do. It’s not easy. And sometimes there is something I could do but it would hurt me to do it and I have to say no. And sometimes I have the perfect solution but it’s not my problem to fix.
Helping people is tricky. Many times I find what people are looking for is not a solution but comfort. Someone who will listen, a hug, a note just to say you care. For me, just being near people who mean a lot to me helps. Like Sacha. Her voice and her presence, for the most part, are calming to me. If there’s nothing I can do, it’s not my help they need.
I run a non-profit support organization for people with mood disorders and their friends and family. I see a lot of people in crisis. I get 3am phone calls, emails and texts 24/7. I’m the designated crisis person because I know what to do, what to say, who to call or not call and why. But it takes a serious toll on me. And it’s taken many years to realize that I can’t save them all. It’s not my responsibility. Does it hurt me to watch some suffer? You bet. But, for my own sake, I can’t save them all.
So I do what I can do, what I’m willing to, and I pray. God, please hold this person. They’re hurting and there’s nothing I can do. Then I make sure I have the support and comfort I need. Helplessness eats at me, especially if who I can’t help is special to me.
I also find it frustrating when I’m the one asking for help and there are no answers, there is no response. It would be nice sometime to find someone like me who will do everything in their power to find an answer. Until then I pray, and write, and sing, and accept, and help people. Every day.
I love what he said later: “I just wish I could make a magic dress that when worn would heal anyone of sickness or woe.”
That would be such a beautiful dress. I close my eyes and smile just to think of it… Makes me feel light yellow and reminds me of the little yellow house I dreamed someday to own. :) I don’t know of a dress that can heal but the one I bought for my birthday this year made woes goes away for awhile. I was still sick but when I wore that dress I felt beautiful. And that feeling, that feeling like I was worth it and could conquer the world, won out for awhile. Just one night. I remember that feeling. It didn’t matter that I was sick. I just felt good. I didn’t want to take it off…
Tonight it makes me wonder why if everyone’s searching for the answers we haven’t found them yet. I don’t know. A magic dress. Why not? Are clinical trials required for healing articles of clothing? Hmmm… Sign me up! :)
© Michelle Routhieaux 2010