Day 12 / Day 44: Love, Light, and Pancakes

It’s Day 12 since the mudslide, but I just realized that except for the few days we were home from the fire evac cleaning up ash, it’s more like Day 44 since we evac’d for the fires, so right, we’ve been displaced and discombobulated for more than a month, more like six weeks. A friend messaged me, “Don’t let this own you.” I’ll admit my first thought was not, “Thank you so much for the advice.” But that was my second thought. There is a shift that is just starting to happen, where the headline of my brain, the constant churning through mental lists of friends and acquaintances who need homes, underwear, water, childcare while they get new drivers’ licenses, community, play dates, that churn is subsiding here and there. I can see a way to kind of get my brain out of that disaster/helper mode and be more in my more normal, “hmmm what do I want for lunch?” mode.

Don’t get excited. It’s still pretty real. It’s Day 6 in our new rental, and the first Saturday morning, the first weekend, here. So that means Mike will make chocolate chip pancakes, since we don’t have a waffle iron. If Ax gets really upset, which he has been getting really upset about little changes like that, if he gets really upset I will go buy us a new waffle iron.

That’s what privilege looks like in an evac. We can totally afford to get a new waffle iron if that’s what it takes for my boy to feel normal. The other day, I realized I could go to my regular yoga class but I hadn’t brought with me the right sports bra so I quickly went to a store and got a new sports bra and made it to class. Privilege.

And good fortune because eventually we will go home and I will get to have my old sports bra, which actually kind of needed replacing anyway, I realize. So it’s good. In yoga I sat in a room I’ve sat in many times, with a teacher I’ve sat with many times. And I thought I might have to leave, because I was teary, but I’d thought to put tissues by my mat, which was good planning, so I stayed.

I wasn’t going to be that person wailing in yoga class. I mean, come on. But I let myself be teary and maybe someone noticed and maybe no one but the teacher did but he didn’t let on. Right leg up. Left hand down. Right leg down. Left hand up. Come forward to stand. Fall forward. Arch up. Jump back to plank. Down, up, down, and come forward. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And thank frigging Godfrey at one point I really actually did stop thinking about carpooling to the event for the other school that’s relocated out to the University and the fact that if we get back our utilities and access at our home home before this rental lease is up we can move another family in for a while and and and and and and and and.

So yes, in there I really was able to think about putting, literally, one foot here, one foot there. And that’s it. Brain Flash: Some meme I saw once – “I was addicted to the hokey pokey but I turned myself around.”

I’m turning myself around, with A Lot of help from my family, my friends, my community, my cat, and of course, the Universe, good ol' Godfrey.  Thank you for this life.

I’m not abandoning helping where I can, but at this point there are a lot of professional feet on the ground it seems like, and my immediate posse, my friends and acquaintances, who've made it, are out of immediate crisis or are on their way to being re-homed as needed, etc. Everyone I know, know well, seems to have toothpaste and a place to brush their teeth at night.

So my evac diet needs to improve and just go back to the regular diet. More salad, less french fries. More quinoa, less burritos. That’s happening. And I got my hair re-blonded, which helps. And I took a stroll, my old-usual walk-and-talk type thing, even though not by the beach where we live but in this new neighborhood that is nice, albeit unfamiliar.  But it worked. I talked to and listened to a girlfriend who lives out of the evac zone about her stuff, just normal life non-disaster stuff, and it was so, so healing.

Yesterday morning, early, I let a friend out of state stay on the phone with me and do deep breathing with me until little tears came out, tired tears, releasing tears, and I told him, “Just stay on the phone and don’t talk to me.” And we did that for about five minutes while I breathed and wept a bit and then last night I got to bed at about 8pm and slept through until 5am – the first night of non-wakeful, radically insufficient sleep. Yay.

Diet, exercise, sleep, socializing, and this blog, my work work it would seem. Who knew?  Thank you readers and commenters for helping me to keep going. Being read is indescribably wonderful. I’m gonna keep going.

What helps you re-humanize or stay human?