anxiety · connection · family · honesty · love · self-care

Incoming!

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Enjoying my last moments of solitude in my studio apartment
before I pick my mom up from the airport this afternoon. Delighted though I am
that she’s coming to visit, I look forward to someday having an apartment where we both
have bedroom doors!
Also, my voice is going, a combination of sickness, rehearsal + yesterday’s voice lesson, when it really began to go. My voice
teacher advised that I avoid talking as best as I could during the next few days…
I replied, (Fat chance!) You know my mom’s coming into town, right? 
That woman and I could talk until all the stars burned out
and still have things to talk about that were interesting. It’s who and how we
are. How we’ve been. But, I need to “rest my voice,” as the teacher put it, so either my mom
will do the majority of talking, or she’ll get really good at lip-reading!
I’m excited to see her, to have her here. But, I also know
that it means three and a half days of mostly “up” energy, or at least engaged
energy, which is hard for me. Because it’s a “visit,” it means that we have a
lot to talk about, and a lot to try to “fit in” to three days, since we see one
another maybe once or twice a year. Oakland may be the Brooklyn of the Bay, but
it doesn’t mean I can get to her home of Manhattan by
the Q train.
What I realize is that I’m going to have to police myself
these few days, getting over a bad week of being sick still, but also, just for
general self-care.
My mom, whether it’s the New Yorker or the mania in her,
runs on an elevated frequency. As her child and a game partner, I tend to rise to
her level. Some people call that level anxiety(!), but as someone once said to
me, The difference between nervous and excited is breathing.
So, I’m going to have to remind myself to breathe, to take
time to be a little more still and not quite as participatory as perhaps I might be, and to also let her know that’s my intention. Also, I’m going to have to inwardly remember to un-constrict, to let her
vibrate at whatever frequency she wants to without feeling I have to meet her there. That’s my
part in this: she’s not asking me to be all abuzz with her;
I’m doing that myself.
It’s hard, as I’ve said, when people change the rules to a
game you’ve played for a long time; but I also don’t like partially dreading
spending compacted time with her. It’s a litt– a lot exhausting to try to
match that level of up-ness and on-ness, and, well, it’s why she’s the one with bipolar disorder, and not me.
There’s also a crash when you’re up that high.
I’ve tried to learn to moderate my own extroverted and
introverted behavior, balancing a few hours of out-ness with a few of
aloneness. It doesn’t have to be inside my home, away from the world; just
alone-ness is enough, on a walk, at a museum alone, at a movie alone. As much
as I thrive on connection and conversation, and could indeed talk to the end of
time, I’d be working on fumes by then.
Self-care will be the name of the game. I know that’s
changing the rules a little from how we’ve always been and always communicated, but if I let her know that I’ve introduced a new
rule to our relationship, at least for now—for even one hour out of the 16 we’ll
be spending conscious with one another—I think it will be respected and
absorbed.
It might not be a smooth transition into a different way of
“being together,” but I think in the long run, it will help us both to be
present with the other in a way that feels nurturing.
Which, I think is what a mother-daughter relationship is
supposed to be anyway.

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