Every day, these days, I wake up in a place that is not mine with people above me, below me and to the sides, use a kitchen that is that mine, shared with several other families, then walk out a door with a front desk, down a public street and into a large hospital. I greet people I saw every day for one week and then see only sporadically. I see nurses to whom I connected emotionally during difficult times. I am cordial when down, friendly and funny when up. I am an extrovert. I love conversations with residents and meeting some of the nerdier department doctors such as Infectious Disease and Immunology. I meet new people every day. The game is to remember their names for recall, guess where they come from when they walk in the door, and to learn a new medical words I cannot spell every day.
I am vulnerable with Dr. P and one nurse, in particular. I would like to be friends with two residents and two nurses I have seen over time. My relationship with P is an odd one, because she had all my trust and vulnerability in the early days with Peter. Now I just do not feel as vulnerable. It is a joy to see her, I guess, like a friend. She still has all my trust.
I have found, when family comes, I become very reactive. I snap easily. I drove home, partially in tears and in a rage at the traffic. It was clear most of the way, but boy of boy, when it was not…
I came home and in this bizarre rage straightened the house. Not in the tornado I some times experience when I feel overwhelmed at how much there is to do. It was with this strange anger. Am I angry at life? Am I angry I am not home to care for it myself? What is going on?
My mind began to clear after another hour. I lay in bed thinking irritably about whoever it is who is hand washing and leaving out their dishes to dry at Family House (the policy is to put all dishes in the dishwasher so they get sanitized, and to empty the dishwasher whenever it is full). I fantasized about putting out a note that read “You forgot your maid at home…put your dishes away” etc.
That I should lay in my beautiful bed in my beautiful home and think with ire about Family House…now I have meat for reflection. I got up, stretched and got a snack (cover my bases to cool my mood).
It is as if all my raw edges have been turned inside out.
Being free and comfortable with someone does not give one license to be a jerk. Yet, in all the turmoil, I have experienced a profound lack of freedom because I am constantly with strangers. On the stressful days of this past week I was so grateful to see AC in order to joke about Peter in our snarky way, something I only do with my husband and P. It is a special humor that understands the love you feel when you say mean things about an adorable baby because babies make life hard. Know its a joke when its hyperbole.
With family, I find myself filterless and out of practice with momentarily holding back a reaction. I am choleric and so when it comes, it comes fast and strong, and very unfortunately, biting. I once was, shall we say, not bad at holding my tongue and considering my response carefully and speaking with love. It catches me off guard. I act like a child. I fight. I rage.
I suspect it only wants some practice. And although I do not excuse a lack of charity, I think perhaps, it is a sign of something good and deep. My husband know a favorite movie image of mind is when the woman is hysterical with anger. The man who loves her puts his arms around her, restraining her in an embrace. She hits and fights to push him a way and he holds her closer. She succumbs to this love and begins to weep. While my husband does not literally hold me in my fits, it is an illustration of the dynamic. He waits for the tempest to pass. And then I succumb to tears. And he is there.
My husband and my mother are the only ones I have ever yelled at. I think I might be the only person my mom has fought with. This is because there is no one who knows me better, with whom I am more free, or who I love more.
I do not feel angry about life or our situation (at least not right now) but somehow I suspect, it is okay to get a little more than miffed, if only to let it breathe. I am just glad everyone else was asleep!