I’m miserable, these days.  Summer has come to the Midwest, and with it, even more humidity. High school chums sharing space with me on a social networking site are bustling about, with all manner of productivity and joy;  Tim is buying a house, Carol is dabbling with herbs.  Several former classmates have children graduating or marrying….

and I am jealous of them all.

Last September, I returned to my place of origins, intending to discover what made me who I am. Deep now, in fear and confusion, I realize all I did was hope to find others to blame my character defects on.  While, to be sure, some are rationalizing, even owning the pain they once inflicted upon my life, they seem serene and content.  I notice placing blame hasn’t made me any happier, hasn’t left me proud of who I am.

A trusted pastor suggests I’m adrift within a “dark night of the soul”;  indeed, scouring the criteria laid out by my favorite spiritual writers, my life seems lost in the mire.  Carefully and privately, I send queries to others I sense may be more enlightened;  I get little comment, except isolated admonishments that I must seek holy tomes for the answers.

Seeking respite from the intensity of my discomfort, I’m told to seek out fun;  I don’t know what this is, anymore, and long for safe, reassuring touch.  An epiphany voiced within a support group stuns all;  I realize only my daughters provided me with such.

I lost my right to parent them about a year ago…and so, I am isolated, and pray for numb.

A trip to the bookstore brings me face to face with the current book by a modern day, favorite writer;  flipping through it before purchase, I’m put off by the unexpected format.  Instead of her usual, elegantly cropped page breaks and chapter formatting, Julia seems to have diarrhea of the pen and tongue;  on the second page, I read, with solace, why:  she too, is exploring, enduring her own dark night.  This convinces me my distress can be endured a bit longer.

Walking out to my car, the muggy air hits me; it’s time,  I think, to hunker down.  Rather than pay exhorbitant, later resented costs for automobile fuel to travel to entertainment venues, I will hibernate, the next few days,  in the cool.  World Cup Soccer erupts over the weekend, and my recliner will cradle my clueless, overwrought soul.  Reveling in the velour fabric, I daydream about dozing in and out of consciousness and awareness there, with my dog at my side.  As I gain soulful strength and courage, I’ll turn back to my author/mentor/muse, for reassurrance and guidance that I can survive….

who I am and what I am, beyond the damage I’ve integrated and now project onto the lives and the identities  I know can’t take responsibility for how I go forward now.