Susan's Blog

Monday, May 1, 2006

I’ve Landed

We’d hit the bottom
I thought it was my fault
And in a way I guess it was…

Dragging the sea of a troubled mind
Had to leave myself behind.
I’ve been flying high all night
If you wrote me off, I’d understand it
Cause I’ve been on some other planet
So come pick me up, I’ve landed.
–Ben Folds, Landed

I may just have the courage to blog what has been going on with me. People are often commenting on my courage when they read my book, the courage to tell it “like it is.” The truth is, I’m not at all brave. I just can’t stand to carry around my misery for too long before unloading it onto a page. When I write it down, I process it. When I send it out into the world, it becomes more real for me, more understandable. It is not about bravery; it is about sharing a feeling. It’s about barfing a feeling, really.

In one of the chapters in my book I packed a bag to leave because things had become so hard for me at that point. I am often congratulated on the fact that I did not leave. It’s funny to me how much pain I attributed to autism. That is a pain that the world can understand. But pain that is about relationships that don’t work out, or a psyche that is injured — that is a different story altogether.

I packed a bag on Saturday and I left. This time I called Ned, who was with the boys at a party, and I told him I was going to my mother’s for the night because I could not bear life in my home anymore.

Ned was very sad that I was going. He said that no matter what he does, I can’t seem to be happy. I think he does a lot that makes me happy, but right now I am struggling. It is partly about my family life, the way the five of us are such fortresses unto ourselves: Ned takes up his station at the end of the diningroom table with his laptop; Nat takes his place in the center of the white couch in the livingroom; Max sits in front of his computer in the playroom; Ben draws at the other end of the diningroom table or plays with legos in his room; and I sit in my window seat in the livingroom. There is so little social interaction that I feel like I’m going crazy sometimes. I need more. How do I get more out of them if it is so much in their natures to be so independent, self-sufficient? What do I do with all my stuff? Sure, I have friends. I have my writing. I have hobbies. But I still have empty space that presses in on me.

Then add to that the fact that two relationships, relatively new ones, are taking a real dive. I can’t get a handle on them. You, my readers, tell me, “Don’t chase anyone.” But it’s not that simple. The silence of that empty space reverberates and bends the truth, until I believe once again that this particular friendship is something I need.

Plus, my agent formally told my editor that I was not doing her proposed project. I’m doing the novel instead, so now I’m totally on my own. And wouldn’t you know it, after writing 185 pages, I have hit a wall again. The wall which says, “You suck as a writer. You call this a character? You call this a plot?” More empty space.

Weird thing is, two very old friends reappeared in my life in the last few days. Do I let them back in?
But there’s a reason they went out of my life, too. I have to figure out if we are in new places to begin again, or if the limitations still drag us down.

I went away from Ned and my boys this weekend because I was too sad to stay where I was. I thought I could get away and get some fresh perspective. I was going away because I felt that they could not give me what I needed, but I came back full circle. I realized that what Ned gives me is the space to be myself. Sometimes it is too much space. But the space around Ned never squeezes me or hurts me. I need to figure out how to fill the rest of it, without going down a destructive path with people who promise one thing, but really just end up bleeding me.

In the end, as always, I come back to Ned. I was listening to one particular song on my drive back, Ben Folds’ Landed. He says, at the very end of describing a destructive relationship that is over, “Come pick me up, I’ve landed.”

I called Ned just then, to let him know I was almost home. But I said, “I’ve landed.” He knew exactly what I meant. And when I saw him there, with his long hair and his crinkly eyes, taking care of all three boys, harried by work, and still looking at me like I was the most delicious thing he’d ever saw, I realized that despite the pain, this truly is where I belong.

« Newer Posts