Monday, June 30, 2014

My 30th college reunion

I was planning to go. I snatched up one of the last hotel reservations near campus. I was part of a big email exchange in which we all promised to be there in 2014.

That was back in 2012. A friend of ours had just died. I really wanted to go to the funeral but I wasn't comfortable traveling by myself yet. The other New Yorker went without telling me. There were pictures and stories and discussions of not feeling guilty for not being more in touch. All of these conveyed through online channels not specifically directed at me.

I don't want people to feel guilty for not being in touch. I want them to be in touch. I had brain surgery and I don't remember if they called or wrote or anything. I was diagnosed with a brain injury and they definitely did not call or email or anything. I lost my job, I had a nervous breakdown, I wound up in the hospital, I wanted to die. Who calls after that?

I crawl back to the land of the living a little bit every day. I peek over the edge of the hole I fell into and I see people out there doing what I once did. I wave to my friends. "Hey can I play too?" I guess it's pretty easy to pretend they can't hear me. It's noisy with each person having their own family now, husbands, wives, kids. At 52, they're at the heights of their careers so their jobs are hard and filled with even more responsibility. Plus there's dirt on my face and my hair is messy.

That's the part that sucks. I would get more attention, more company, more phone calls returned, more responses to my invitations, if I had died and it was my funeral.

How much should I keep asking to be included before I give up? I'm getting pretty close. I don't want to go back, spend a ton of money, drag my hubby along, only to feel like a pariah. If the friendships are dead, I need to begin to mourn.

The dastardly thing about my brain since the injury is that I can't tell if my perceptions are real. I get very paranoid and I misinterpret situations all the time. I forget about boundaries and say things I probably shouldn't.

I was in the store last week. There was one line to pay and three registers. I was next when suddenly the cashier said, "Form three lines." This meant everyone walked around me to be the front of the other two lines. "This is bullshit," I said to no one in particular. "How's this fair? Can't we at least honor the order we were in? I hate this shit." Then I shut up and waited my turn but I was poised to mow down anybody who thought they were going before me. A woman was staring at me. I glared at her and said "What? Do you have a problem?" She laughed and turned to her friend muttering that she wasn't the one with the problem I was. I honestly felt like saying, "I may have the problem but it is about to become your problem because I am fucking crazy. You have no idea what the fuck I might do." I did some mindful breathing and imagined how it would feel if I didn't care who was next. It brought me back and then I was next so I paid and became normal again.

Would you want me as a friend? Maybe not. God bless the friends I do have! I am so grateful that there are people who love me. I am so grateful that I am still capable of learning how to show them that I love them too.

I think I'll save my money and skip the reunion.

4 comments:

Cameron Von St James said...

Hi there! My name is Cameron Von St. James and I had a quick question for you & was wondering if you could please email me when you have a free moment. Thanks! I really hope to hear from you soon and appreciate you taking the time. ☺ cvonstjames AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Alyson,
I'm in Australia, so I can't really come and visit you, sorry, but, if you enjoy chatting online, well, I'll be your friend. :)
Suzy knows me pretty well, so I think she'll vouch for me. ;)

I'm sending my best wishes over to you from Tasmania.
Brett :)

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Sabrina Craig said...

Congratulations on all those years of living and being that you have accomplished! What an awesome defiance in the face of trying times. It's great that you seem to have moved on past the initial difficulties, but I hope you can still look back at the onset of your condition and find more truths that may be of utmost importance. Thanks for sharing that inspiring post, Aly! All the best to you!

Sabrina Craig @ Medical Attorney NY