the simple minded suburbanite

October 27, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: culture, suburb, suburbanite, voluntary simplicity | Tags: ,

Like in a windstorm when the trees lurch violently looking as if their mighty trunks could pull their very roots from the earth and heave themselves at your home.  Crash. 

This is the visual that keeps returning to my mind these last two weeks only,  the storm around my home is not as fleeting as a windstorm, nor is there any insurance to rest my mind that all will be covered if something hits us.  I’m feeling slightly vulnerable these days, and a good bit confused.

I worked hard to get here.  I studied and excelled and made good solid choices with the constant pinch at my heels of the biting reality I left behind in a tiny midwestern town, a town sinking into alcohol, drugs, rampant permiscuity, and abuse.  A town losing its soul.

And I landed here.  By design.  Surrounded myself with good people.  Educated people.  People focused on family.  A community of people.  But lately, people who have caved into the same tormentors I worked my whole life to understand and grow healthier from.

A good friend confessed to me last week an addiction to pain killers, sleeping pills, and probably alcohol, sex, and financial consumption. Another is on the brink of the other, proverbial, shoe  dropping, probably a Torey Birch thigh-high boot to be exact.  The first is checking into a thirty-day inpatient program tomorrow.  The other hasn’t an inkling of where she is heading.  And there are others who are stumbling, falling, running.  And I feel shakey and scared.

I want to grab onto my children, my husband and my stinky old dog and hold them in the house and shower them with love and homemade banana bread and board games.  I don’t like this storm swirling so close to my home.

And I think, what do these women have in common and why has their ordeal affected me so much?  These women are not my nearest and dearest friends, these are women with whom I socialize, our children play, we see each other at the grocery store, the school open-house, the bus stop and, yes, they both may land on my back deck for a Friday evening glass of Three Buck Chuck.  But they are not women I would call to my side in times of need. Yet I am a very rattled by their ordeals and I’m starting to understand there are many reasons these women’s situations affect me ranging from my experiences growing up, concern for their kids, relating to those universal dark places, to shock, to “saw it coming”, to this very strange vibration they both seem to emmit.

And it is this vibration, call it energy, or nervousness, or insecurity that  simultaneously draws me in and repells me.  It’s the sucking in that I resist.  It’s the consumption.  It’s the voraciousness. It the gaping, swirling hole.  That can not be filled.  By me.  By drugs.  By spending.  By Landrovers and Stewart Wietzman. 

I do not judge them.  Not for this.  I fully understand we all have our paths in life and I will do all I can to help them and their families.  I feel a privledge that  I do not deserve that these women confided in me all they have, but it is interesting to me that my own response is to grab hold and actually strengthen what I believe in.  It’s simplicity.  It’s common ground.  It’s my family.  And laughter and daydreams, and the smell of a pot of soup on the stove.  It’s a roof over my head and a nest-egg and a story before bed.  A glass of wine with my husband at the dinner table after the kids have been excused.  It’s feeling the wind kick up and my hair whip around my neck but going inside before the storm catches me.  It’s knowing that the lurching tree outside may uproot, it may fall on my house, I can’t control that, but it’s knowing that my house, though not fancy, not Christmas-tour-of-homes ready, is well-built and strong. 

Tonight, despite all my cliches about storms and rock-solid foundations, I’m still thankful, oh-so thankful for where I stand, feet planted on my own worn wooden floors.


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