Deployment

Lately I’ve been blocked with my writing… but the good thing about that is I’m an artist (or maybe more accurately a wannabe artist) who likes to express myself in a multitude of pursuits. Like sewing, drawing, knitting, painting… and as of late, I’ve really connected with my paint brush.

Bleeding through paint is much like bleeding through words, maybe just a touch more literal. The piece I’m working on now is simply titled Deployment. My husband has been deployed a few months now, and loneliness starts to seep onto every little creavice of your life. It doesn’t defeat happiness, not altogether, but it tries.

Every stupid thing you do reminds you they’re not there. Reminds you that you know they’ll come home, but what if they don’t? When will they skype next? Are they okay? Are they hungry, or cold, or too hot, or feeling just as helpless as you? Do they need anything? Are they eating enough, and taking their vitamins?

You go to bed, and you squeeze his pillow so tightly against you it threatens to suffocate you, the ringer on your phone is all the way up, just in case he might call at 4 am. You wouldn’t dare miss it. You bury your face in the pillow searching out his scent like the sex deprived, stressed out bloodhound of a woman you are. And when you find it you cry. Maybe softly. Maybe so hard your entire body heaves with the emotion of it all. Eventually you go to sleep, and do it all over again.

Shame Pizza is Still Pizza

Being alone is hard.In general the whole matter of it is hard, but when you’ve been doing it for a while you start to get a handle on it, you might even like it better that way. But being alone when you’re used to having a partner there with you is especially hard.

Well, most of the time it’s hard – some times it’s the only way you don’t fantasize about how many objects currently surrounding you could be used to bludgeon someone with. How much damage could a rubix cube do? What about that decorative elephant over on the shelf? This coaster?

The lucky ones of us end up finding a person that makes life feel it does when you’re peacefully alone – but better. Complete with a witty commentary, a meal you didn’t even have to make, or to remind you that you’re an absolute slob and they’re not your mother.  Sometimes that person has to leave, for a short time, or a long time, or, in the worst scenario, for the rest of time.

Then you have to learn to be alone again. One morning after the next you wake up, and realize that, again, there isn’t a person next to you, there isn’t a person to leave their damp towels on your side of the bed and the only dirty laundry laying right next to the hamper is actually your dirty laundry. You do spend less time fighting about the hot water and the last slice of pizza, or whose turn it really is to do the dishes. But then you start to miss those stupid parts of life – you’d gladly give up the hot water, and do the dishes, and at least learn how to split that last piece of pizza. Or at least give them 2 of 3. Or just pretend there is no last slice, and then ravenously eat it in silence and secret shame at 2 am. Shame pizza is still pizza.

Time becomes this concept you don’t even want to think about – how many more hours, weeks, months until they’re back? Before you know if you find yourself in a philosophical conversation with your dog about what is time, really? They typically have pretty nutter opinions about that entire business.

You start doing some really weird things when you’re alone, too. Suddenly a pillow with a button up and a maybe even a pair of pants on doesn’t seem so out of the question, and why not just eat half a jar of olives while you marathon Bates Motel? There’s no one there to stop you! Feast! Feast upon your olives in your underwear at 2 am – that’s probably what royalty does. I won’t believe you for a second if you tell me Tyrion Lannister has never done it. And the Queen, tah! She just does it with a cup of tea, and one of those tiny fancy forks that’s probably worth more than your car.

Learning how to be alone is much harder than learning how to live with someone, in my opinion. There’s no where else for your focus to lie. Nowhere but your own messiness, or your own lack of motivation, shortcomings, and failures. All the things you want to change. Why is it so easy for us to see all the wonderful, and silly and beautiful things in someone else, but when standing in front of a mirror we only see the greasy smudges that we still haven’t cleaned?