Partly cloudy with a chance of pain

I worry about my sister. I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. To be around her is to be sucked into a vortex, a not entirely unpleasant one.

My mother was one too. Who knows, maybe there’s a little vortex in me? There must be. Despite the risk, I crave the aliveness of it. I miss the suspense, the depth of feeling, and the reality of it. The urge to enter the vortex, do battle (and be so involved!) is instinctual.

I’m not supposed to go there any more — self preservation, good boundaries, and all that. But I remember there were no boundaries when I was young.

I remember in school, getting caught up daily in the web of other people’s moods. A formerly quiet day could turn to life and death, catch you in distemper, or cast you down a well of desire so deep it could take months to climb out.

And home, well, home was where I ended up when no good substitute was available. I didn’t really want to go home. I mean, of course I wanted to go home and rest, eat, and recuperate. I slept, ate, set my hair, watched TV, and even occasionally painted my nails. But sometimes it all started to turn on me — the vortex — and I was smacked and stung by all the things sucked in once it got going really good.

Bam! A telephone’s hurled at me, bruising my faith in fairness.

Smack! My bedroom door reminds me that a good barrier also makes a good weapon.

Scrape! My pink nail polish is ruined while trying to free myself. All that work to look pretty now tarnished.

Zap! A jolt of self-defensive anger churns up.

Oomph! Into my pillow, I escape.

Bam, Smack, Scrape, Zap, Oomph… and then stillness, regret, determination, and finally, the friend of sleep.

Next day, blue skies, clouds parted, summer in the air. Life seems returned to normal, because normal is as changing as the weather, and no more predictable.

Maybe sunny California is where I want to be. But southern roots run deep, and there is no vortex in California — not unless you make your own, or go see your sister.

9 thoughts on “Partly cloudy with a chance of pain

  1. Ah boundaries, I know what you mean about getting sucked into other people’s stuff. I’m learning to not get dragged in, and wishing that I could master that, so it’s interesting to hear another side to it; the wanting to be sucked in.

    How about replacing the vortex with other excitement? I often get the feeling that the place you’re in now doesn’t stimulate you enough. Perhaps California could?

  2. Hi Emma,
    I AM in California, LOL! Sunny southern Cali to be exact, near the great metropolis of Los Angeles. I think that’s part of the problem. I am not getting what I need here despite it’s being “close by”.

    I think I was inspired to write this by a friend who is in tornado country right now. I know I miss drama, but I needed to explore where that need came from and if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. My family is southern and I inherited their sense of the dramatic, and continual need for stimulation. So I am looking for where the next stop will be…one that will feed me.

    Now if only I could get the kind of momentum going that you have in the year and a half we have been blogging together (you are astounding!) that would be very stimulating indeed!

  3. It sounds like your situation was very dangerous, or maybe I’m reading more in it than was there? But if it was, and if you long for some of that danger, then maybe it’s a need for the familiar ‘at-whatever-cost’ kind of thing.

    My family were all originally from Eastern Europe and there was also a sense of the dramatic, and more than just a bit of over-emotionalism. I rarely want to revisit it, but I do carry a lot of it within me… and very very occasionally some of it bursts out.

  4. @Val
    You’re right, the situation was often emotionally dangerous, less physically so. Some of this writing is metaphorical (like the telephone) and some is not. And this IS a post about longing for the familiar sometimes, “at whatever cost”.

    I thought I would have gotten past that with all the analysis I’ve had, but still… the familiar is part of “me”. And the vortex is part of me too. I don’t know that I can ever cast off these parts of myself or only learn to live with them as elements to be controlled. When I encounter them again, I can get sucked in via my desire for connection, however distorted that connection is. A very human trait, I’m sure.

  5. I’m quite computer illiterate so I don’t know if this comment shows on your website. I don’t want to communicate for all the internet to record, so unless I learn from you that communication can be private, I’ll be brief.

    I am definitely in the vortex right now and discovered your website on a sleepless night. I appreciate your perceptions, writing, art, and courage. It brought me comfort during a time that my mother (age 93) has been in the hospital for over a month and my sisters and I are dealing with end of life issues. Thank you.

  6. @Barbara
    Yes, your comments do show up here for all the world to see. Please use the “Contact Me” selection on the sidebar of this page to email me privately. Sorry to hear you are going through this.

  7. Hi, Diana;
    Thanks for another great post.

    I love the new look of your blog; your writing remains as powerful as ever.

    I must admit I felt the draw of the vortex in so many ways for so many years: bad relationships, alcohol, isolation, etc. I suffered from depression for many years, too. That was how I always felt about it: it was a vortex ready to sweep me up and carry me off and sometimes that powerlessness was easier than facing my own strength and owning it.

    Hope you are well,

  8. @Skye
    Don’t worry, these are OLD reflections come home to roost. Grew up in a very dramatic family. Have seen my sister only once in 7 years, my mother has been dead for 36 yrs. There’s no one else. Missing the old drama is an impulse I needed to explore. A lot of metaphor here.

    I’m not sure how to take your comment? If you’re right, I am taking an awful risk having a blog, aren’t I? I’m trying to build strength by being here, not hide.

    Hmm, I hope my readers understand I am writing about universal themes and all ages, not only my current life. My intent is to make the personal universal so others can relate. Love, anger, euphoria, depression — these are the themes that inspired this blog and my art. Coming out as a very sensitive person has been good for me. I spent years trying to hide what many see as a weakness.

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