Summer in Georgia is hot. Like sweltering, sticky, oppressively hot. The kind of hot that makes you imagine you’re a stick of butter melting into a puddle on the pavement. Which is why I find myself sitting in my room, lights off, curtains drawn, air conditioner blaring and fan blowing.
There’s nothing quite like a Sunday afternoon nap in Georgia. A super cold dark room and some fluffy covers is like heaven when it’s 100 degrees outside. It’s much too hot to go out and do anything, so might as well enjoy just being still for a bit.
It also gives me an excuse to sit and write, which is not something I’ve done much of this month, and I’ve missed it.
It’s been about a month since I last posted, and things have been going really well. We’ve spent some time at the lake, laid out by the pool, seen a few movies, and done some shopping for my oldest daughter’s apartment. I’m still pretending that she’s not moving out on her own in a couple of weeks. Mama’s. Not. Ready. Oh my heart.
Overall we’ve had a great month. I did, however, have a couple of days where I struggled a little. Nothing really noticeable to anyone, (except Jeff, as usual). No particular reason, just had a hard time keeping my thoughts focused on the good ones and pushing out the bad ones. It happens occasionally. No major incident, just thoughts of insecurity, doubt, fear… you know, the usual suspects.
They’re liars and thieves , those three. Really convincing ones. They are especially efficient in their attack. They bombard you with reminders of the past, and then they use that to fill you with fear of what could happen in the future. Because if they can keep you busy flip flopping back and forth from the pain of your yesterdays to the fear of what could happen in your tomorrows, they can very effectively steal today. And that’s all they want. Because your today, your now, is everything. Now is all we ever really have.
So when you find yourself falling prey to doubt, insecurity, and fear, it’s important to get control of that as quickly as possible.
To reclaim your now.
I clawed my way out of that fog and was feeling much better. But it seems those thieves wanted one more go at me that night.
We sat on the sofa that evening and decided we would find a new tv series to watch on Netflix. We weren’t sure what to choose. It can be difficult sometimes to find things that we can watch. A lot of the popular series are extremely explicit, and we try to avoid that due to the former porn issue. Some may think that’s silly, but it’s no different than the fact that you wouldn’t set up a fully stocked bar in front of an alcoholic or offer a recovering drug addict a sample of cocaine. They may be able to control it, but why take the risk?
Then there’s all the shows that have affairs as part of the main story line. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes it doesn’t. It mostly just depends on how similar the details are to mine.
Anyway, I had heard my sister and some coworkers talking about this series that they loved. They talked about it all the time, and so I suggested maybe we should try that one.
I really had no idea what it was about, just that it was about this influential family that had all these secrets and that there were all these twists and turns to keep things interesting.
So we get cozy on the couch, start the show, and the scene, the very first scene, was a couple having sex in the back seat of a car.
Of all the things.
OF ALL THE THINGS.
It had to be that.
It could have started with any other sex scene and I wouldn’t have thought anything about it. I don’t think it was super explicit or even involved much nudity, if any. Actually I’m really not sure if it did or not because I completely checked out.
I saw 3, maybe 5 seconds of it.
That’s when my brain did that thing it does and takes me somewhere else. Somewhere that I never actually saw with my own eyes but have seen in my minds eye a million different torturous times.
I didn’t see the actors on the screen anymore.
I saw Jeff. With her.
That’s all I can see. His face, her hair, his hands. And I look away. I can’t look. Make it go away. Make it go away. Please make it go away.
But it doesn’t help because the image isn’t only on the screen. It’s in my head. And I just want it to stop. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to hear it. It was only a few seconds. But it was long enough. Long enough for the panic to set in. For the painful tightening in my chest. For the knot to form in my stomach. For my lungs to forget how to breathe again.
“Is that what it was like?” I hear myself ask him, realizing that I actually said it out loud and not just in my head.
Another one of those questions that I need to know and yet also do not need to know.
His face is pained, his hands searching feverishly for the remote.
I leave the room, busy myself with loading some laundry to try and clear my head and learn to breathe correctly again.
It kind of stinks that something as simple as watching tv can be so complicated. It kind of stinks that there are a lot of simple things that bring the past to the surface.
But it is what it is. We deal with it, and we move on.
A few days ago, I made the executive decision to watch the show anyway.
It was just an unfortunate coincidence that it started with that particular scene.
We just skipped to the next scene and started there.
We have to live our lives, regardless of the triggers. I do my best to avoid them. The ones that I can’t avoid, I deal with the best that I can. Thankfully, there have been very few this year that affected me that way.
I’ve gotten pretty good at controlling the thoughts.
I can’t say that I’ve gone a whole day yet that I haven’t had some kind of thoughts about the affair. I guess I’m not sure that will ever happen.
But it rarely affects my now. There’s more of a separation. The thoughts are there. But the pain attached to them is not as overpowering as it once was on a daily basis anyway.
The goodness of my now has gotten bigger than the pain of my past.
And I like to imagine that it will continue to get bigger, so much so that the panic stops even with the bigger triggers at some point.
Those few minutes were tough. They took me back to a very painful time. And it can be overwhelming.
But it was only a few minutes. I’ve had a million other great minutes.
And all I have to do is remember that the panic, the pain, those things are not my now.
My now is full of goodness. My now is full of joy. My now is simply….full.
❤️ Amy Thurston Gordy