Where does the numbness come from?
I have wondered this for so long, long before I could put a label on what it was, or what it was doing but now I understand and against all logic, on this particular topic, knowing makes me sadder than not knowing. You often hear the phrase of fight or flight but I think there is a third category of person, the one who remains. There are fighters and we all have them in our lives and look at their tenacity and ability to push everything else away in order to fight for their goal, purpose, mission, whatever it may be. We all have those who fly, perhaps at the earliest sign of trouble or perhaps just before the wall comes crumbling down but they leave and they move on. Then there are those who remain, mostly because they were raised to believe that abuse was love and not that abuse, from someone who should love you is in fact NOT love. As a child you have to remain because you are too small or too alone or too scared or too unknowing, so you do and you grow and you thrive and if you do not fight, for fear of being seen even more, and if you do not fly, for fear of being caught by the tail feathers and dragged back, you simply remain.
This is where the numbness comes from, I spent years feeling more than I would wish on anyone in a lifetime and I thought it was me being a fighter. I moved from place to place and followed the adventure and I thought that was me flying. Now, as a mother of two young children, in the middle of a political, viral, moral and social war, I realize that I am remaining because it is the only choice I have. I cannot fight my way to November, I cannot fly away from this illness and I cannot protect my children from the reality they are in. I have to remain and that feeling of being stuck, of being unable and of being helpless takes me back to a time where I would rather not be.
Moments catch me off guard, a moment when I see my daughter being impacted by this distance learning structure and I know that everyone around her is doing everything they can to support her but the reality is that it cannot be enough because it is such a foreign way to exist. These moments feel like a tidal wave of emotion and my body feels flooded and I want to fight and I want to run and I want to ask anyone who will listen to please help me, please help in any way you can. I have literally gotten on my knees and prayed to a God I have only called upon a handful of times in my life and one which I know nothing of, because I have nowhere else to go. It is in these moments I remember that I do have a place to go and I am there. I have my home, I have my routine, I have my role as a mother and a wife and a friend to myself and that role is still there, all I have to do is put one foot before the other and I will be everywhere and do everything that needs to be done. This is where I go numb, I accept that remaining is the only real choice and my emotions become wet socks on an already cold day. Yes, they are a great tool but right now, in this moment, they are useless and there is nowhere to put them to dry so they must remain where they are until the sun comes out, and it will. The sun will come out and the clouds will dry, but for now, they remain. So for all of you out there who have been trying to figure out why you aren’t a fighter and why you aren’t a flyer, I want to commend you on your strength to remain. People study their entire lives to learn the art of meditation, to metaphorically be able to sustain focus when there is a stampede of elephants running by you and you have achieved that. You stand on your own two feet and you put one foot in front of the other and you hold everything you need to hold until you can put it down, stretch your arms and feel the weight lifted.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.