Just Tell Me To Shut Up Already
When the 45's were taken out of rotation, my Dad brought them home to us. For children unused to having an excess of anything, it was an embarassment of riches. We had stacks and stacks of those glossy black disks. We didn't have much for which to be envied, but our record collection was something special. We enjoyed the status that it conferred upon us.
Our record player was a shabby beige thing that looked like a well travelled suitcase. It wasn't fancy, but it would hold a fat stack of 45's or lp's. It sat in what is now a tastefully decorated office, appointed with all the trappings of modern life: a computer, a scanner, a printer, mail both junk and genuine, things to be filed, things to be forgotten.
But once...it was our playroom; a place of light and warmth with lemon lime walls and soaring ceilings. We spent many happy afternoons there, doing all the silly, pointless, wonderful things that children do.
One of those silly, pointless things, was putting five or six 45's on the record player and then, with arms outstretched, whirling around one another in sloppy ellipses; hair, knees, elbows ablur. We spun and spun, giggling when we bumped into each other, sometimes knocking one another to the floor, sometimes simply careening off of each other, jolted back into our own orbit by the force of our bones knocking together.
When the last song had ended (usually, it was ""Wildfire" by Michael Martin Murphy. It was our favorite, so we saved it for the end, but sometimes it was "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace which was our second favorite) we would collapse on the carpet and ride the swell of dizziness, laughing at the way our eyes jumped around in their sockets.
It was always good; a wave of buoyant, lilting syncope that set us down on gentle feet and then vanished, leaving only giddiness in it's wake. Then we'd lie there in the sunbeams, wiping strands of hair from our sweaty brows, breathing heavily and waiting for the equilibrium to return so we could stagger to our feet and do it again.
No matter how many times we did it, we never got sick, or sick of it.
See what I did there?
I plucked a barely breathing something from a dark and shadowy corner of my mind and made it alive again. With words. That's what I do. It's what I've always done. And I'm worried. Because that too, is what I do. Worry.
I'm worried that these migraines are carving my brain like a fat juicy bird on a Thanksgiving platter. I'm worried that like that bird, my brain will be left a ravaged shell of a thing; skeletal and useless, no meat, no substance.
The vertigo I am experiencing now is not the benign dizziness of my childhood. It is a symptom of damage that cannot be undone. And I wonder how much more my brain can take before losing things that are vital; memories and abilities that make me who I am.
I can tell that I am diminished. There are times that I have to struggle to find a word, where once it would have leapt onto the page almost before I had thought it. Sometimes, in the middle of a sentence, I lose my train of thought. I can't focus the way I used to. I feel scattered, disjointed. I forget things. I dont follow through.
I thought it was a Mom thing, or maybe an age thing. But now I'm afraid that it's a brain thing. My brain...my precious brain...the only thing I have...is slowly being destroyed by a force I can't understand or control.
And if words are taken away from me...I don't know who or what to be.
Now, it could be, that I'm borrowing trouble. Maybe it's not that bad. Writing is not the only thing that's second nature to me; pessimism is equally innate. So I'm well aware that I could be obsessing over nothing.
But the what ifs haunt me. I can't seem to shake this sense of doom. It clings to me like...something clingy. Oh my God, you see? Clingy like WHAT? Like what....
Like a baby possum clings to it's mother's back. Like a writer clinging to her waning ability. Clutching. Desperate.
I suddenly feel very naked, having admitted to my fear. Vulnerable is not something I do well. Just ask my husband. "Why won't you ever let me be there for you?" he asks. And it's true. I don't like to need.
But right now, it's not in me to deny the need. I need to know I will still be me; the writer, the wordsdmith, in five years, ten, twenty.
Who can give me that?
I want to go back to that lemon lime room and whirl my troubles away. I want to lie gasping next to my sister and feel her breath on my cheek. I want the simple carelessness of those days. I want to relish the dizziness instead of fearing it.
I want to be unafraid and undamaged again.
God, I am such a drama queen. I'm annoying myself. To quote Loretta in "Moonstruck"....