Bird Scribble · TSW

White Flag

On this final day in England, Indian food in my belly while staring out into the garden, I am situated in a recliner with a bandage on my neck, plasters around my fingers, cotton gloves on my hands, and am properly greased up like a fresh Tin Man. I’ve even got the heather grey sweater and dark grey pants to tie the whole vision together.

Brutally so, defeat was admitted this morning. I have been trying to outrun myself, emotionally bargaining with how much longer I can ask my body to hold on. I never come to the realization that if I push and push, I will inevitably end up pushing myself over a ledge. I forget that I, in fact, can not fly. It’s mentally crippling to try and be as I was, purely out of desperation to live that nostalgic normal life, yet always being yanked into the reality that I, unfortunately, am not able to be that person.

I, nonetheless, haven’t abdicated my tenacious throne, but am on a short sabbatical for the day. A vacation from my vacation so to speak. For the past three weeks, there has been constant action. About two weeks ago now, I had my student’s End of the Year show. Since the documentary, this was the next biggest project I threw myself into, and the outcome shattered me. I am not used to relying on others and having a product I spent countless hours on be stripped of its integrity within the blink of an eye. My kids really let me down. The show fell apart right before my eyes. I knew hiccups would occur since, after all, it is a school show, but I instead was chucked the equivalent of actors being hungover, blindfolded, and naked in the Little Racals’s rendition of Avengers: Endgame. It was humiliating if I’m quite honest. It hadn’t crossed my mind that I had given my kids too much responsibility. At sixteen, I single handedly directed an entire play in school, on top of being in another play for drama states. We all put in the effort and work because we knew it was on us. I never, as a student, wanted to fail. I went into teaching with this same impervious attitude and it was disastrously off. I missed that target completely. When I had to look into one of my kids’ terrified eyes because she just could not fathom going on stage due to her insane lack of knowing her lines… what do you do?? When each person has had their script since February, it’s hard to have sympathy, as if I am sending a helpless pup into the wild. So, the show deteriorated, carried only on the back of the dances I had choreographed. And when it was finished, I had a brief melt down, tossing things into boxes as if that would assuage the tears about to pour out. The anxiety of it all hit me like an avalanche, and my immune system must have eaten the excess carnage of my battered emotions, sending me into an unneeded cold.

Then, right before leaving to England, I not only helped someone with their own choas into the wee hours of the night, but I had to arrange for all of my duties to be done in advance since I would not be present for four days at school when they would all be expected to be carried out. The cherry on top was not having a classroom and needing to work around that whole conundrum, too.

I could not have entered my vacation in a more rocky state. Nursing a cold, exhausted, worrying about personal issues, and praying my skin didn’t get any further irritated with the travel and new environment. Alas, Murphy is my favorite law.

I am a strong person, and will get myself through any situation placed in front of me if I must, yet it’s never been out of want, but out of need. Sometimes, you just need those moments of vulnerability, of giving in, to actually be vulnerable; to actually give in. It’s hard when you don’t know if and when you can do that in certain circumstances. It’s hard to figure out who you can really trust in those moments. People are not always equipped to handle these delicate times. I often retract inside myself, always wishing to be the broom, never the mess. Thankfully, today I am with a dear friend who also has TSW, and knows what it means when I say, “I’m going to go get ugly.” You don’t feel judged, or unlovable, or a burden. They understand the frustrating necessity of sitting on the sofa and binge watching a show so that your body can be embraced with bandages, and cloths, and pillows, and concoctions in order to relieve even a morsel of the physical and emotionally beating you are taking. I feel like my neck is a bloody battleground, and my fingers just a watery grave, sticking to my gloves. My lips are greeted with cuts instead of kisses. My eyes are heavy, and at times, so is this heart.

However (as she perpetually reiterates…), there is always, always, always a silver lining. People don’t always get that. Silver linings are the many things we take for granted. I may be struggling, but I at least got to enjoy the British summer weather; I got to hear a beautiful voice out in the streets of London; I’ve gotten to see loads of people who warm my heart; I ate two helpings of Fish and Chips, which is my absolutely favorite English dish; I helped host a Preventable screening that I STILL can not believe I accomplished. And, to top it off, I was able to be the in the same room as TOM bloody HIDDLESTON. Literally, breathing the same air, soaking in every meticulously delivered word. *sighs* I am in awe of his brilliance and generous heart.

So as you can see, and have most likely experienced, life is a mixture of woas and wins, and some may unfortunately have it harder than others. That is just life. But, from experience, life is so much sweeter when you hold onto that silver lining while waving that white flag. You don’t have to wave it forever.

Love, B. R. Banos

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