Episode 111 – Jump Off A Cliff

Sunday Night

I opened up this draft roughly an hour ago, then I flicked onto Pinterest and then Facebook and then read some articles and bookmarked some others and here I am at eleven pm starting a post which I doubt will be finished tonight. My drafts folder is growing steadily.

I’ve been threatening to write for a week but each time I had planned to write, something fun came up and I decided It could wait. We’re into our last few days Stateside and despite the urging of a friend, I can’t help but dread the prospect of going home. I am trying hard to be positive about it, to think of fun projects to do (I’m banning the word “productive” for myself – all this self-imposed pressure has to stop):like planting a garden in an allotment and finding new armchairs from a flea market or charity shop; writing projects; days out; joining a new choir; maybe even a team sport or a yoga class ( although when I used to go I just farted and laughed and planned the next day’s to-do list throughout the sessions). I AM GOING TO GET OUT THERE. I AM GOING TO CHILL THE FUCK OUT.

I’ve been a different person these last two months here in Texas. I don’t want to leave that girl behind and bring home reclusive, panicky, cold sweat, insomniac, narky Dotty.

I want to feel as alive at home as I do here.

Can place really make that much of a difference? Or did I just need time to clear my head and step back from the mess I ended up in?

It sounds trivial but the difference good weather makes to my mood, and I presume to other people’s, is remarkable. I love heat and sunshine. It’s never been too hot for me here. I guess that would be a different story if I had more responsibility and wasn’t being chauffeured around by my American Mom who nearly passed out under Texan sized bowls of green bean casserole; mashed potatoes; devilled eggs and seventeen other varitites of sides and a fifty pound turkey yesterday while preparing a special early Thanksgiving for twenty people in hundred and six degree heat. I like to lie out in the sun that everyone else avoids like they’re related to Edward Twilight. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to adjust to skies the colour of once white knickers that got thrown into the washer with black jeans. A friend here recommended an app to track your Vitamin D intake (yes, I’m pronouncing v-I-tamin the American way now) and I read a bit about how a lack of can contribute to depression.

Monday Night

I’ve just realised I have to be up in four hours to go to my last workout here, this time led by my cousin as Cruella de FitnessFreak is on a week off. I’m even going to miss getting up before dawn to stretch my muscles beyond what I believed to be physically possible all in the name of “health”. I should sleep but even though I’m tired, I’m wired.

The extent to which I feel more like I’m leaving home than going home is quite remarkable and has taken even me by surprise this time. I’m working hard on lists for when I get back: Home projects; Things to organise; Hobbies and activities and things to save up for to make life a bit easier and I guess, more like life here, such as an Apple TV box (which I expected to be much more expensive than they are); new heaters; a good kitchen tap (oh for a garbage chute, compacter, ice dispenser and dishwasher…).

But they are all just things. The sunshine and people I can’t take with me.

I don’t know if it will be possible to visit here next summer and I’m already sad and anxious that we won’t. I’ve grown accustomed to it now, spending our summers here, and although I feel guilty for running my American Mom ragged – she must be exhausted with us – I don’t want to leave her or my cousins or their kids. Skype and FaceTime and all that can’t give you a snuggle from a three month old baby, and I’m not even a baby person.

The days before we leave here always fill me with the same sense of empty dread, trying to slow down time by counting along the seconds with the clock. Trying to be even more mindful, trying to remember every sound and smell and the feel of the heat on your face when you walk from a cool, air conditioned restaurant into the hot Texas sun. It doesn’t work, time is too fast for me.

I will continue to remind myself what a cool city Dublin is, that I’m going home to my cuddly dogs and my Nana with a new MacBook Pro and lots of little presents for everyone. I’m packing up awesome memories and a whole heap of new experiences that I didn’t think I’d be even remotely mentally fit for. If someone had said last October that I’d be zip lining this summer in Seattle, I would have been more than sceptical at their appreciation for the fragility of my state of mind.

But I’ve had an amazing summer; like properly once in a lifetime stuff. All the things that I just did that I didn’t think I could do.

It’s like when Jed Bartlett asks CJ Cregg to step in as his Chief of Staff in The West Wing, he asks her “to jump off a cliff”. I kind of feel like I jumped this summer and I enjoyed the freefall down more than I thought I could and now I have to hit the cold water and learn how to surf.

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