Monday, January 07, 2019

Do I Still Blog

Maybe I am the only one wondering. Do I still blog?
The answer is yes, and wouldn't it be nice if I could keep it simple, and let that be the answer?
But, please, allow me to complicate matters.

Let's begin with a visual aid. I found this on social media, and was shook wide awake by a self-diagnosis that walked up and slapped me in the face, "hello, this is you."

(Before anyone takes offense or protests: I am not really diagnosing myself, but I have never seen such a succinct and insightful illustration of my blogging process, my thinking, my verbal narrative {when I can muster the nerve to think out loud.} When I saw it {And thank you Internet person that created this; DM me for credit, please,} I thought... Whoa. My brain. Of course, I thought more than that, and delving into my entire thought process is tempting, and wouldn't that just make my point? I can not start a story, in a linear, clean path, and end it. I mean, I could, but it wouldn't be how it's actually forming in my head.)

Do I still blog?

Yes. All the time. In my head. With my camera.

And now, I wish I could blog in a flow chart. This format, written in paragraphs, with a beginning, middle and end, staying on a single topic, and following a clear path, saying "and then, and then, and then, and the end..." it's insufficient. It's slow, limiting. I need a means of blogging that is parallel processing, multiple paths, not in succession, but elaborating all the parts, simultaneously. Back story, details, side story, insight, feelings, reactions, missteps, reprocessing... justifications, rationales, apologies, epiphanies, conclusions, new conclusions, amended conclusions, questions. Like a movie, one superimposed with graphics, and described by an articulate, poetic narrator.

I am blogging all the time.

Good morning.

Happy New Year.

Did you have nice holidays?

Our holidays were lovely, and as I always say, too short. I wish we could have another week, or month, of home time, of finishing projects, and starting new ones, of getting organized, and reading aloud in front of the fire place, of late nights talking and laughing with friends. We had many, many happy days, and special moments, and without apology, I want more. In fact, we have already had discussions and made plans for how we will take more, make more, next year. More parties, more dinners with friends, more lights, and laughter, and company, and outings, more cooking, sharing, making, playing, celebrating. It has little to do with things or being party animals. It's really just about being open to joy, to seeing moments and being present.

In my last post, I was (again) giving myself a pep-talk about attitude and taking things in stride, and it was a good pep-talk, because the rest of the day improved tremendously, and more importantly my mood and energy improved tremendously, and I felt a sense of relief and optimism that was both invigorating and comforting. I felt, and believed: "This holiday season is going to be wonderful, and I have the energy and resources to create good things, have an orderly home, do some special activities, be present and relaxed." My head and heart were intent on this rising enthusiasm and positive energy, happily realizing how awesome things are, would be. I made soup. I thought about Alex coming home from school, and the last week of school for Max and Maria, and the very special plans we had been saving for and anticipating. And then I went out to get bread to go with our soup.

I can, and do, involuntarily... over and over, again, replay in excruciating detail, the drive from our house to the market. It was dusk, rainy, and the roads were notably, surprisingly clear. I anticipated the pedestrian cross walks; they were clear, and I saw there was no traffic coming east, nor anyone ahead of me going west. And then a white car was in my car. Sudden and wrong, and large. Then pain and confusion, and so much sadness. The sadness came like dead weight, screaming, grinding, crushing metal weight. And it's on me, still. My teeth hurt, and that was my first tangible sense, followed by panic... the urgency of wanting to be safe, of wanting to gauge everything, "Where are my children? Is anyone hurt? Why did someone drive into me? My Jet Puff." The idea of damages, and costs, and bureaucracy, hit me, too. I heard voices, real ones, concerned, and inquiring, and my own voice... detached. I could see words hanging in the air, to the left, just above my head, and hard to capture and bring forth, aloud. I had to close my eyes, to speak, to cope, to move out of the driver's seat and over to the other door, the door that could open. Siri, call Geoff on speaker, please, but those words were floating next to me and Siri couldn't respond. I handed my phone to the voice of a kind woman, and she completed the call, and I closed my eyes tighter and cried. I thought, "We need the bread for the soup, for dinner. Someone, turn off the stove." I thought, "The traffic at 5 pm is horrible and Geoff is going to be so worried." I closed my eyes even tighter, then slumped quietly into the seat, and let go. For an incalculable time it was as if all was a bad dream, and I could be quite still, and let it pass by.

Our holidays were lovely, and yet... this has been one of the most awful months ever. I am lucky to be alive, to bear no visible scars, lucky nothing broke. My Jet Puff died saving my life. I guess that's a bit dramatic, but I've seen the pictures. If there's one subject I've wanted to blog about... it's that mini-van of mine. I have pictured it from January 2003, when after a couple of years of shopping and researching we bought the ideal vehicle for our family, which at the time included my grandparents. I have pictured bringing baby Maria home, the road trip to Mexico, the road trips to Oregon, and every errand, garden nursery, feed store, family gathering, camping trip, adventure, and market run for 185,000 miles. We were on our way to driving this baby to the Moon! I love(d) my car. My ride. My lovely, dear Jet Puff. People caution us against materialism, and I don't think this is idolatry. It's just genuine, deep, and effusive appreciation for the convenience, the luxury, the comfort, and freedom of having a reliable, safe, and pretty means of going places. I was lucky, and happy, and thankful for my mini-van, for every opportunity and advantage it gave our family. And... and I am crying, again, because it makes me very sad that my last view of Jet Puff, was from an ambulance, and my van shredded and alone on the side of the road. Also, I lost my button from Maker Faire, and Je Dis Oui is still in the disc player. And I wish I could have said Good bye, thank you. Thank you.

An awful lot can happen, even when "nothing is broken," and "you're lucky to be alive." My bite is different. I've watched lumps turn into bruises, spread and change, and move, and some of those are still painful to touch. My knees hurt. Still have a headache, and however long a concussion lasts, I can confirm: I daily discover things that I'd forgotten, or mix up, or simply don't know, even from the days before the accident. Yet, the crash itself plays in my sleep, vividly, and I dread(ed) falling asleep, or being "alone with my thoughts." Shock, I learned, can protect you from pain, but then things calm down, which feels nice, until pain shows itself. My neck and shoulders will seize in pain, my chest feels like it was crushed. It took about 3 weeks for my tongue to feel ok... not good, but ok. Probably, in my eagerness to be OK, I did too much. Or not enough? I don't know. I am trying to be wise, a good patient, proactive. I don't want to have chronic pain, or unresolved issues.

My Mom came, and fast, too, which is no small feat given the small, remote town she had to travel from. She made a good difference, and I keep thinking that besides our gratitude to give her, insurance ought to cover her flight, the car rental.

Is there any point in thinking about recompense? I do think about it.

I think about all the big, and small ways an accident (and by "accident" I mean... when someone, just off of probation for DUI, decides to get drunk {twice the legal limit} and chooses to drive their car, and in their impaired state, leave their lane and drive headlong into another car)... yeah, I think about all the ways those choices wiped out our choices, and made things shit for our family.

My practice, my mantra is: The accident is not my fault, but I can be responsible for my own happiness.

But as an exercise, as a means of just releasing my sadness, and pain, I think about damages, and compensation, even listing the intangible things, the seemingly "unrelated" effects.

Lost time at work for Geoff, and me unable to do my activities, or meet my responsibilities. Lost vehicle, and Pink Martini disc. Lost confidence, and sense of well-being. We have medical bills and insurance hassles, and doctors appointments. We couldn't enjoy the "big one" Christmas indulgence, saved for, anticipated and coordinated between 11 people. Gone. My last day of art class is a blur, and certainly a case of me "doing too much." It just made me so sad (and makes me increasingly very angry) every time we had to pass on plans, activities, traditions, or even just scale things back, because of someone's selfish choices. Insurance, when we advocate, and figure things out, will help, I hope, and then... then there are the many, countless, ways we lose, we can't recover, or get back. It's her fault. It's unfair. And more than anything else: I do not want her to be free to recklessly destroy another family's life.

Sadly, I am not through the "accident," the process of closing this chapter. I will endeavor to keep home and school, and plans and intentions good, and separate from the hearing, and court processes... as much as possible. Tomorrow I have to talk to an attorney. How do I do things correctly, and well, when I've never done it before? How do I move forward and regain some peace, when I am forced to navigate a subpoena and court hearing? I feel it all over again, struck head-on, trapped, and trying to figure everything out, while my words hang just out of reach. Well, if I cannot be a brave and capable person, at least I will be sincere, earnest, aim for my best. I wish I could close my eyes, and let the nightmare pass me by.

The accident is not my fault, but I can be responsible for my own happiness.

My happiness begins in thanking my Mom, and my children, my husband, and... and I am going to feel terrible if I leave anyone out, but so many of you helped me, us. Each of you is appreciated, truly. I remember soups, and cookies, and cards, and texts, and advice, supportive hands, wise words. And caring. So much concern and kindness. Thank you. Our holidays were lovely, and I hope to post some more of that, to let our lives and choices be the focus of my thoughts and reflections.

(Oh, for crying out-loud. I keep postponing things for "until I am better," because I make a lot of loopy mistakes. Just for the record... I keep finding goofy typos in this post. Not that my writing has ever been error-free, but these are some doozies! The path to healing is circuitous and roller-coaster like, and I am hanging on for dear life!)


Photos From December 6, 2018


Adaliza said...

Woah - that's a big deal, Natalie. Be very kind to yourself and take time to recover. Emotional shock damage as well as physical injuries take time to heal. I'm so pleased to hear you're 'OK' and I can only be amazed by the total stupidity of others where drink and/or drugs are involved - it's senseless. Take care of yourself. Ax

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you. I am hoping that by being open and forthright about all of it (not suppressing, or trying to downplay how I really feel,) I can heal, in all ways, more completely. It really helps when I share any of it and find I am supported and understood.

Anonymous said...

I've been praying for you. I have no idea if prayer does anything at all, but I've been asking Something Bigger than all of us for you to heal, for peace in your heart and mind, for your family to know how to help you. Your blog is special, and I'm glad you're still blogging. I've never commented before, but I've been reading for a long time. ~ Katrina (

Jenny said...

I’m so sorry to hear this news Natalie. Sending healing prayers your way. ♥️