A little get away goes a long way

img_3729One hour south & a lifetime away! A seventh annual gathering. I knew this’d be a tribal exercise — all of us women of a certain age, many lawyers, all engaged & smart sharing an exuberant relationship to food. I didn’t expect to find more profound tribal bonds in the realm of heart ache. Without getting into the details, let me just say: what a lot of familial misery between the nine of us!

I went to the first gathering and missed the intervening six. It was useful to acknowledge what prevented attendance in those years, but listening to others describe challenges and interventions for sons, siblings, & parents, I couldn’t help but wonder what I might’ve learned or employed to good effect had I managed to show up.

Put that wonderment in the category of ‘parental hand-wringing.’ Reflexive regret doesn’t get a free pass around here, just so you know. I’m working on it.

I should have handled it differently. Is that true? Not sure. Not definitively. When I think, “I should have handled it differently” I feel bad and there’s no good reason to hang onto the thought. If I turn it around here’s what I get: I handled it just right.

I don’t beat myself up for being an introvert anymore, but I live so privately these days that I have the luxury of forgetting how my style of communicating comes across. It’s not that I forget how interruptive, easily excited, and opinionated I am. It’s that I forget that for some, this is off-putting.

(“I’d rather need modulating than feel compelled to shush people,” is something I would never say.)Β 

Anyway, it was no big deal. And one guest informed me in her quiet way in the kitchen yesterday that she appreciates ‘direct people’. . . likes ‘knowing where she stands’. It was nice to hear, but also just weird to even be thinking about: ‘I’m this. I’m that.’

I’m glad to be home, that’s for sure, nice as it was, even though it is cold and rainy again. I have the heat on. Just a little. No apology.Β 

The doctor’s office called. The test was negative for shingles but probably is shingles given the presentation. My brother seems pretty sure that the reason it doesn’t hurt is because of the recent vaccination. Maybe that foiled the test, too.

Whatever else this diagnosis says about my stress-level, chocolate consumption, or immune system, it feels appropriate that my cheek is weeping. Weep, weep, weep. I keep wishing I could go somewhere and cry but I can’t or won’t, so maybe this’ll have to do.

If it weren’t for a phone call with my sister, I would say that today is a very good day and even with a phone call from my sister, the day rounds into new territory. Less hostile, that is. Calmer. Rain or no rain: mine. Blame and vitriol or none: mine. Weeping blisters or none: coming ’round the bend.

I always think I’ll be back sooner than I am, so in case I’m not — will you watch the Comey hearing on Thursday? I will and in real time, with friends.

17 thoughts on “A little get away goes a long way

    1. deemallon

      That front porch was so pretty in the morning sun! Made all the more so because of how little sun we’ve had this spring.

  1. grace Forrest

    i am feeling dense. i don’t understand the get away. Are these old long standing
    friends? is there a “purpose” for the time together?
    no need to answer these questions, only if you feel like it.
    as i said, i don’t understand this, but also, find it interesting…like some lines
    that begin a book and Everything Goes From There

    1. deemallon

      It was started seven years ago as a 60th bday celebration for a friend. So the group is her friends. But many I know somewhat, both through my friend and through the indivisible group I’m in. Most of them have gotten to know each other better because of the annual gathering or because of work ties. So I’m a little bit of an outsider. I let a lot go during the boys’ high school college years and even before — in terms of friendships. The purpose is to relax, enjoy the ocean, and talk. No agenda if that’s what you mean. Two of the women are friends for over thirty years!

  2. Ginny

    I WISH we lived closer. We could sit and curse and rant while interrupting each other and I would very grateful to be in your good company. I never realized you were an introvert. I’m not but I’m turning into a curmudgeon.

    You know what makes me nuts is people telling me “tell me how you really feel” or “you have to let it go (politics)”. I could scream. If you want, come to Crab Meadow and we can shout at the waves. Lol.

    and Eff! Those shingles suck. They are one of my biggest nightmares. I know SO many with them now what’s up with that!?!? I had chickenpocks terrible as a kid I would die if they came back. Ugh.

    And the sis – tell her to call me. I’d rather talk to her than 2/3 of my family. LOL

    1. deemallon

      Thanks Ginny for painting such a scene. I’ll come back and reread tomorrow when I’m not so brain dead.

    2. deemallon

      I am most certainly an introvert, but like many, with areas of exception. The whole business of interrupting, inserting opinions and being comfortable with a combative interaction seems to be part of the Irish tribal experience — don’t you think? I’m mostly relieved to be exempt from that part of my history (esp. because so often in my past, the tone and volume was fueled by alcohol), but also miss it — you know? So any time you wanna come up to Mass. and yell imprecations at the wind with me, I’m game! My neighbors would not be surprised in the least (all those phone calls to Salem)… Or, one of these days, I’ll get down to Long Island and sit on the beach with you…

  3. christicarterphotography

    I just love that faded worn black rocker …
    the gathering idea, well, not so much …I think you are brave.
    And I’ll be watching the testimony live, too.
    Keepin on. That is all we have.

    1. deemallon

      Hi Christi — it means a lot to me if YOU like a photo… I realized a long time ago that being in a group will never be easy for me. This one was mostly good. I find it telling that the best pix I took in the two days do not include people… I don’t know how to shoot portraits and don’t usually feel drawn to do so.

  4. Michelle in NYC

    Such a beautiful place and so much shared suffering…better in a lovely setting than elsewhere.
    I have a shingles experience that ended in a cure and if you want to know about it do email me and I will relate details. They might prove useful to you.

  5. Nancy

    Wow – what a life-filled post! So many thoughts here. First one is that last night I dreamed of both vacation and deeply troubled daughters (not my own-prob due to a recent real life conversation). But, how funny the I read this on the morning after this dreaming!
    As far as: “interruptive, easily excited, and opinionated “…are those introvert qualities? I am an introvert as well and can show those same qualities, but only in friendly conversation, I don’t like confrontation πŸ™‚
    These photos are gorgeous…of a beautiful place! The water, trails and still-life…all things I like to photograph too, although your still-life shots are waaaay better!
    And…groups…YIKES! I love the idea of it, but don’t know who I’d feel comfortable enough with and even if I really liked the folks…so many of them at once is confusing to me. How do you have deep, introvert type conversations with so many around?!!
    I will be at work, is Comey broadcast during day? So, I will listen to NPR on breaks and catch up when I get home.

    1. deemallon

      my are of introvert-exclusion is : passionate advocacy for what I deem just and true. Perhaps because I am not that comfortable speaking to a large table of people, I have trouble just claiming the floor and addressing others in a calm way the way people with bigger egos, more of a sense of entitlement, or more ease relating to groups do. So I use provocative, guerilla-style assertions (not always, mind you)… it’s sort’ve complicated because it also has that Irish component and can be fueled by my restlessness.

  6. peggyvonburg

    Coming ’round the bend — I like that. And the reference to B. Katie’s “the work” — turning things around has helped me get through some really hard stuff.
    Sorry about the shingles, do you know about St. Joan’s (John’s) Wort as a classic anti-viral herbal treatment?

    1. deemallon

      I left a comment on your blog yesterday, Peggy, and it didn’t take. I’ll go back soon.
      I don’t know about St. Joan’s Wort — I think I remember something about avoiding that herb if you have a thyroid issue? (or maybe it was echinachea) — anyway, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it.

      Byron Katie’s work is so powerful.


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