Today I helped my sister pack. It’s her turn evidently. So I spent a few hours helping disassemble furniture, bubble-wrap fragile keepsakes, and just cram things in boxes. I’m practiced at it, and packing the things from her life made me think about mine a little differently.

My last big move. Nine hundred and fifty miles.

The truck is full—nothing left in our shell of a house. The beds, the pots, the plates, the hurt all packed away, like the game has been called and I’m taking my toys home because Steve’s too mean to play with anymore. They’ve all helped, smiling, not talking much about it, not opening the wound again as the photos and belongings are boxed or thrown away. Nobody mentions how many times this has happened before, how many times it will happen again, how predictable the ups and downs of manic depression have made my life. Nobody mentions the path of destruction left in my wake, or how I never seem to separate the fairy tale I want my world to be from the chaos it is. Nobody mentions that as soon as I feel sane there will be another relationship. Steve pulls into the drive as I put the last fragile things in the cab, close the door, and tell him I’m leaving.

And I realize today that the remission I’ve been in for so long has also painted me into a corner. While I’ve moved around town a few times since I’ve come back to my hometown, I’ve bought a house in a crap market. The first one I’ve bought on my own. They call it a “death note” for a reason. So, moving away from myself this time is not an option–not 900 miles or across the street.

And the job I’m in now is in its fifth year–the longest I’ve ever been employed in one place. Although it is a job that can be done anywhere, it isn’t one where I can cut off my brain and turn on my hands and do intuitively, like the floral design I used to do. And there are people who count on me. 

So I’m doing the only thing I know how–I’m packing. Just figuratively, instead of literally. I’m busy sorting and taping shut the boxes that hold all the crap I don’t want to see and deal with. Cycling too fast? Box it. Reckless behavior? Box it. Wake of destruction in my path? Box it. There’s a compartment for everything.



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