I scour the internet for that magical it which will somehow make me happy. A pair of cute flats in 11W, with skulls or silver sparkle. That hardcover book taking forever to go to softcover. An answer to why I get headaches or why dragging my ass to work is now such a bloody horrid chore. The right picture for my next tattoo, whenever that will be.
I organize and clean the house into stark terror, smiling almost wantonly at the smooth clean of my floor, rushing to place each toy back in it’s proper bin. I find a soothing silk calm in picking through their toy bins, sorting, cleaning, destroying, casting off the offal. I eye new places and their dirt, mentally shaking myself and wondering why I let all this dirt happen.
I cast aside the thoughts that remind me that if I was always home with the kids, as some part of me claims I should be, things would always be this peacefully clean. That my head and body would sigh and lean into this quiet uncluttered place and just be.
It’s my way of ending the search, of controlling something, anything. When I start to hold that sense in my fingers, the one where the world spins and shudders around my eyes and I cannot stand, I reach down into my earth and pull it around me, frantically finding a place for all.
This is not me. My happiness is not normally built of order, preferring a good chaotic mess to this. But the thoughts linger, what if? What if my brain, in it’s rush to reorganize itself and reorient, is pointing me in the direction I want to be? What if it’s telling me, order and stability and lord forbid, cleanliness is a habit not only desired but safe?
But then, what if it’s just a little hypo-mania messing with me, and cleaning my house?
I want to be like this. I yearn for the satisfaction of a clean house, for wanting it, for being able to find it. I want so badly to be organized and neat and all straight lines and puffy sleeves. But I can’t maintain it. It slips through my fingers like spiderweb, so sticky at first and then…just lost to the wind.
I look for that happy-in shoes, in plastic bins, in the detrius that makes up a life, that which surrounds a life. I look for happy in me, but that is this ever-changing, constantly inconstant creature I don’t know from day to day. It’s why Myers Briggs always amused me. It was different depending on the mood, the day, the hour, the problem, the love. I am different in each of those places.
Should I be happy in my quicksand soul? Should I ride it’s crests as I once did labour pain, steady, with yelling and tears but worth the end? And where is the end? Is it in the plastic bins beside me, grouped by “type” of toy? Is it in the new roof I have to find the mental space to plan for, deep breaths to sound like an adult? Is my end in my children, their glowing eyes following me, caring not about bins or roofs, or anything other than me, or us, as a unit together, or at worst, themselves?
There’s a light in our front room, the playroom, where there was none for awhile, it’s lamp stolen to the girls room while we dither on calling an electrician, terrified by our old wiring and constant surprises. It reflects amber from the cheap wood floor, liquid honey pouring into my body as it remembers this glow from a different place, years and years past. It’s warm and secure and grows arms as I sit here, remembering a body and a face that was never quite perfect and never quite who I thought she was either.
Maybe it’s not mania. Maybe, it’s just me.