Sunday, July 13, 2008

Twixt Pillar and Post

The past few days have been rather rough. I have been bounced between pillar and post and have not an unbruised spot on my body, soul or ego. On Thursday, just as I was rushing to finish a cover assignment for Cricket magazine, there was a knock on my door and it was the deliverance of a 10-day vacate order. I pretty much fell apart. I had asked my lawyer to request a boon of the purchaser(s) of the property to allow me to stay until the end of August so I could sort out, pack up, sell off, and find a new place to live.
After about an hour of pure panic, I was able to speak to my lawyer and he reassured me that in 10 days the sherriff would not lock my house and throw everything out onto the lawn. That the dance was longer and more complicated but that I also needed to make some substantial progress on getting out to show a judge I was not malingering.
Later that day I got a call saying that I had won the prize for the current show at the WAAM.
That evening I got some boxes and started sorting and packing- I had to something other than what, deep down, I wanted to do- which was to run mad into the night.
The next day, a friend announced that on Sunday, she and several other people were coming over to help me pack. I had made some progress on my own but was both aghast and terrified at the prospect. My memory shot back more than 30 years to when my father died. Our house was taken over by well-meaning neighbors, and I mean taken-over. I found someone in my bedroom picking up my dirty clothes; my (open) journal and some very, very personal papers were laying out on my desk. I went down to the space I had carved out of the basement to be my 'studio' and another neighbor was cleaning it up- throwing out the "junk"- actually a project I had been working on. There was no place to go to be quiet and grieve; our lives had been invaded by an army of action-oriented Mid-Westerners. My most persistent nightmare was of home-invasion and here it was coming true, with a grim smile plastered on its face. And now my nightmare was going to be enacted again.
Saturday evening, I went to the WAAM opening to receive my prize and was overwhelmed by the acclaim that greeted me. In some ways the outpouring of love and support was as hard to take as the harsh, "just business" attitude of the person who now owned the home and studio I had loved so much. I cannot find the still point between the pillar and the post but keep being slammed from one to the other.
It is now Sunday evening and one of the harder days of my life is over. I am exhausted and trying to deal with my feelings of admixed grief at what I am losing, anxiety about the future, shame about having to ask for help, shame about the condition of the house, grief about the future- I have two elderly cats with kidney failure, and have to take them to the vet for euthanasia this week, I cannot take them to a new place, and much gratitude to the many, many people who have expressed their support in many different ways. The friends who came today did not pass judgement on me, they went to work and accomplished a lot. Most of my worldly (household) goods are now boxed for taking with me or piled for sale. I must begin tackling the studio this week.
My heart is currently being held together with spit and baling wire. All I can do is just take the next right step and after that, the next, even as the pillar comes rushing at me and then the post.

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