Thursday, October 14, 2010


out of nowhere, there they were again, rearing their ugly head. those two small words, so powerful i thought i would wreck the car: laid off. maybe i should pull over, get out, breathe in some fresh air. maybe i should scream. no, that would scare the little one. in my head, i was cursing like a person with turret’s. at no one in particular, though in these types of situations it is easier to handle the pain, the grief, the overwhelmingness if there is someone to direct anger toward.

we had been through this before, so i knew better this time. i knew it was no one’s fault. maybe it was everyone’s fault. maybe it is our fault. (no, that is faulty logic, taught to me by my parents and scrambling every day to creep into the upper regions of my brain to taunt me.)

it happened on friday, so we could play house, pretend for the weekend that everything was normal. i even thought, maybe let’s not tell the kids. let’s just say, “oh, daddy’s working from home for the next couple of months.” let them jump up and down with excitement, imagining all the newfound opportunities for wrestling, baseball throwing, youtube surfing.

maybe i could join this fantasy world. imagine that suddenly i had a helper around the house, an extra set of hands with our increasingly difficult-to-deal (but still ridiculously lovable and charming) 3 year old. that maybe i could steal away to coffee shops and work on my laptop like i have been dreaming of doing since school ended last june.

i had immediately decided i wasn’t telling anyone. probably part of my scheme to pretend it wasn’t happening. suddenly i was getting comments on fb, e-mails, g-chats from people i know--some friends, some acquaintances. they even started chiming in with condolences, advice, offers to “let me know what i can do.”

i do not know why, but all of these voices of concern rubbed me like sandpaper until i was raw. each kind word made me feel less adequate, more out of control. if you are reading, and you are one of these people, then i am sorry if i have not responded to you with the reciprocity i should have.

i have deliberated over why this has bothered me so, and what i could come up with is that when someone is going through something, in the very midst of it, it is next to impossible to muster up enough courage or even self-knowledge and -awareness to be able to tell someone what she can do for a friend in crisis. i have thought about times when i have probably said this very thing to someone: “please let me know if i can do anything.” and i can almost guarantee that not one of those people has ever come back to me and said, “you know, what you could really do for me right now is bring me a meal. or contribute to the health insurance we are about to lose at the end of the month. or pay our electric bill if we need it down the road. or take me out for a drink because now i don’t want to spend the money to go anywhere beyond my four walls. or just love on me because i will probably be having a hard time loving on myself.”

part of this is community, where we live and breathe and cry and love and lean on one another, and we offer ourselves to one another, and we don’t have to ask those things: we just know. we know because we have spent time caring for these people already, and we do for them what we would want done for us.

actually, i think more than part of this is community. i think it’s all about community. i feel lucky that people along my life’s path have taught and modeled these things for me. and i think when the sandpaper starts to irritate, it’s not about anyone else but is more about me and what i’ve been missing. it’s that reminder of an empty space that was once filled and longs desperately to be refilled.

i am not sure how inspired i will be to share here, how open and honest i really want to be. for some reason, in the past 6 months or so i have found myself wanting to hold back from you. not be as open. maybe that connects with the community thing, with wanting to be loved as much as i love.

but i wanted you to know what is going on. thanks for reading.


  1. hey there - i know i was one of those people applying the sandpaper. i remember thinking at the time that it seemed so inadequate and i felt so helpless and a little afraid too, as i always do at times like that. i know exactly what you mean about wanting to ignore it. that's always my instinct at things like that - run & hide & hope that maybe it goes away. anyway, yeah, you know.

  2. I am just coming to read this now and wanted to say I'm sorry. And, I know to some degree how you feel considering that my husband was laid off last Spring and that we don't have any health insurance at all right now.

    The good news is freelance (perhaps he can look into it) and I don't know if you want to hear this but the place he is freelancing now just offered him a full time position to start 12/20 so after a whole year and a half we are now going to be 'secure' again. I hope that you find some comfort in your days and that your situation changes for the better as soon as possible. A hug from New Jersey.

  3. Please keep sharing here. You're such a good writer, a sensitive observant soul and I suspect it keeps you connected... but I don't really know what it's like in your shoes, obviously do what makes you feel the most inspired. I'm so sorry to hear the news. I hope a job or hope or money or whatever keeps you buoyed so you don't drown in the fear that I can only imagine is a crazy-powerful force right now. We're thinking of you in h-town. mucho love!

  4. I'm really sorry to hear the news Kristi. I understand so well everything you write so openly and eloquently about, especially the holding back. I do think Elise is right with her plea, to please keep sharing, and that perhaps the writing keeps you connected, at least to those who haven't met you in the flesh. My thoughts, heart and prayers go to you and your family that this loss is temporary and provides a path to something better for you all. xox