Can you separate life into its appropriate sections and keep your emotion in each designated compartment, like an invisible fence with big dog wattage?
Not sure who deems what appropriate, but let’s just say designating mundane stuff like work and family.
Sex and politics.
Parenting. Real parenting, not the bragfest people put on Facebook.
The life we’re not supposed to talk about cuz ne’er shall the paths cross, like liquor and beer. Or beer and liquor. I forget which, but they say you should never mix.
Can you keep it all separate? The stuff no one talks about – unless anonymously on social media with the name of PussyLoverStankRod with a profile pic of a big [insert gun/truck/dog/fish/boobs/confederateflag here].
Your work life, home life, public life, parent life, family life, political life, social life, community life? Do you keep a clear and distinct separation of church and state, put your emotions in a box?
Or does life spill over, flooding your world and making everything a mess?
Lately I’ve heard a lot about the innate ability to compartmentalize, keeping emotions neat and tidy and in their place, and I’ve come to the conclusion I just can’t do it.
I can’t see a scary movie and go along for the thrill ride because for me, it doesn’t end with the closing credits. I bring that shit home and it keeps me up at night and I have to carry a fire-poker every single time I go downstairs alone.
Just in case.
I couldn’t go out after Sandy Hook because I couldn’t get out of bed. For weeks. And weeks.
I bring all of me wherever I go, and I get it, I do. Most days, I don’t like me either. And there’s a lot of me. About 20 pounds more than this time last year, fuckyouverymuch menopause.
But these people who compartmentalize their life: work from home, politics from life, public from private, writing from living, thoughts from actions. Able to switch gears flawlessly and seamlessly. I don’t get it. Are they even human? How do they do it? And why?
They say the most damage done by a hurricane isn’t the wind, it’s the water. The surge after the storm. It’s not the snowstorm that wrecks devastation, it’s the thaw: the ice jams and run off. The tsunami warning follows the earthquake.
Clearly I’m damaged – flood damaged.
I try-try-try to keep everything separate, but damn if the world – the good, the bad, the funny, the sweet and the salty – doesn’t leak into everything I do, everything I say, where I work, where I live; what I think, say, do, feel. Sometimes the floodgates are opened and I just can’t stop it, life from spilling over.
And sometimes there’s a small leak causing damage no one can see.
So sometimes I go radio silent. No writing. No talking. When the world gets too big, I make myself as small as possible and try to steer clear of the raging storms.
It works, for a while, but then it gets messy. I get messy.
It’s like being naked all the time and I get it, I do. Nobody wants to see that.
Some people can separate each life like an orange, and eat each segment one by one, free and easy. Pop it in your mouth, and enjoy.
Me? Hope you like pulp. Lots of it. And seeds. The sweet juice running down your fingers, making your hands sticky, staining your clothes. And the bitter pithy part of the peel that I can never remove entirely.
Most days, I’m a mess. Once the water recedes, the damage is obvious, and even things thought to be put away high enough get wet and begin to mold.
I can only hope, with enough fresh air and sunshine, life will begin to dry out. Then I will start all over again, trying to keep the flood gates closed but knowing full well, life will seep in no matter how hard I try to stop it.