What to do When You Find Yourself on a Roller Coaster
I like to say that I love roller coasters. There is some truth to that statement, but it isn't that simple in all reality. I love the idea of roller coasters. I love that they exist and I love remembering the times I have ridden roller coasters. But I don't like to look at them too closely. Especially the wooden roller coasters that go two stories high. I don't want to see any peeling paint or splintering wood and I don't particularly want to examine the construction. Maybe that's why Space Mountain is my all-time favorite roller coaster, because I can ride it entirely in the dark. I can't anticipate whether the next thing coming is a dip or a turn or an enormous drop, I can just sit back in the saturated darkness and ride. I can't see if there is a loose bolt or an inexperienced-looking ride operator.
Last Monday I woke up and found myself standing in line. It was my turn next, to sit down, strap in, and take off and, true to form, I was both excited and a little bit nauseous, wondering what I had been thinking when I got in line for this upcoming week. Fraught with anxiety and excitement and the entire spectrum of emotions in between, for several days I was unable to do much more than watch the passing scenery and confront each emotion and situation as it hurtled toward me. In the end, I know I will walk away with shaky knees and a sense of accomplishment and a smile a mile wide.
I am glad that I wasn't given any opportunity to stop the ride and step off because I am not sure I would have opted to get back on after a brief time-out. The expectation that I will simply see this all through to the end is a rather comforting one. Somehow, it doesn't require anything of me other than my presence and that is enough.
The highlights have come in a big way. Katy Hutchison came to speak to the students and staff at Eve and Lola's school on Thursday, delivering a presentation that left us all breathless after an hour. She talked about synergy (positive and negative) and personal responsibility, group dynamics and tragedy, forgiveness and restorative justice and provided a jumping off point for our community to begin having conversations about the way we interact with each other when things get hard. She is an incredibly generous, dynamic, authentic person for whom I am incredibly grateful.
Lola is embarking on a courageous adventure this weekend with many of her schoolmates that will be a test of her resilience in many ways. It helps that Eve will be along for the trip, and I am excited to hear about the weekend when I pick them up on Monday. That said, in the quiet moments, I wonder if she is homesick or sad and I fervently hope that she is too busy to be either. The neighborhood has been shrouded in fog for going on three solid days now and the oppressive grey mist has set the trees to dripping. I can't help but feel that when I pick the girls up on Monday it will magically lift.
I am headed to Portland on Tuesday for the book launch of "Get Out of My Crotch," the book for which I wrote a chapter about reproductive rights. I am thrilled to be an actual published writer and so looking forward to meeting some of the other people who share this passion with me. I also get an entire night in a hotel to myself in one of my favorite cities on the planet, which is pretty cool. But I'm nervous about meeting the other writers, all of whom are more accomplished than I, and I'm sad about leaving the girls less than 24 hours after their return home.
CB, the injured dog, is feeling a lot better on his cocktail of anti-inflammatories, pain killers and antibiotics and is driving me insane with his pleading for walks every couple of hours. Unfortunately, the specialist who read his x-rays believes that a spot on his bone is either cancer or a deep bone infection - neither of which are an easy fix. Sorting out the options and trying to understand the ramifications has been difficult even as I am nudged by his wet nose and reminded that, for now, he is here and he wants attention.
Somehow I knew, when I stood facing this week that it would be a wild ride. Even Monday I saw this roller coaster looming as I stood in line to get on it feeling slightly ill and wondering why I chose all of this. Despite that, I also knew somewhere in the recesses of my brain that it would be worth it to get on and strap in. I will do my best to experience and cherish every moment, but I would be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to getting home next Wednesday, stepping off for a bit, and taking a nice quiet seat on a bench in this vast amusement park.