Every once in a while as a kid, I’d get the okay from my mom to go upstairs and pull the covers off one of my siblings in the morning. Mom would have already called up the stairs several times, unpacking the power of my sibling’s full name into a yell with a threatening edge. If that didn’t get my brother or sister out of bed to get to school, more stringent methods were unleashed. I was eager to help. As the youngest in the house, I wasn’t foolish enough to torment my older siblings without the power of a parent behind me. Getting to irritate them was a rare treat.
I’d sneak upstairs quietly, grinning. I didn’t want to wake them before I had my opportunity. I’d tiptoe to their room in bare feet, quietly crack open the door, sneak across the carpet to their bed. And then the best moment – the moment where I wrapped the bottom of their covers in my fists and then pulled with all my might!
One of two things would happen. Most often, my sister was truly asleep when I’d been deployed. I’d yank and the covers would slide off easily. She wasn’t expecting it, and my hard pull made short work of her comfortable sleeping situation. A pause, then a yell, and I’d hightail it out of there.
That’s how I lost roller derby. Instantly, without a fight. I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t guarding against it. The universe yanked and suddenly I found myself ejected from the warm, fun and comfortable life I had created for myself. Deeply shocking, with reverberations I still feel in my soul, but quick and irreversible – there and then not, here and then gone.
When I was sent to wake my brother, often it was an entirely different story. He was awake, but just didn’t want to get out of bed. When I’d yank the covers, they wouldn’t budge. He was expecting me. He, too, had his hands curled into fistfuls of blankets and he had no intention of being uncovered and forced out of bed. My hope for an easy victory would quickly devolve into a tug-of-war match, during which he had the upper hand as the older, stronger, and angrier sibling.
I’ve been my brother for the last two and a half years of my job – holding on with all my might, unwilling to be moved, very determined to stay in the financially comfortable blanket I created for myself. Work has been my anchor. It was a destination. It was a goal. It was what I needed to save my energy for. After I was injured, work morphed from being something I did that allowed me to enjoy the rest of my life to something that itself offered fun and challenge and purpose. I have driven myself to exhaustion, over and over again, daily, for the last two and a half years to hold on to my job.
Until now. Until the full effects of the second head injury made me so exhausted I just couldn’t hold on a moment longer. Until this past Monday, when I turned in my badge and my cell phone and waved goodbye to my coworkers of 9 years.
Something is different, something has shifted. Now my spirit, though muted, really just wants to rest. I don’t have any fight left in me. I want to heal. I want to function. I want to be able to think again. I know from experience that a desire to do tasks, or hobbies, or hang out with friends will magically appear when my body & mind is ready. Until then, you can find me on the couch, surrounded by cats, watching the tree in the backyard blow in the wind.