Reluctant drama queen

September 11, 2012

So, yesterday was a pretty good day. A busy day. A September day.

Yesterday I wrote a post about what a relief it was to be into September, and when I wrote that post I was full of plans for the week, full of plans for the month, full of hope and convinced that my life was moving in the right direction.

I am still convinced of that, which is saying something because yesterday evening our landlord showed up at our front doorstep and handed us an eviction notice. Two, actually – one for each of us. I’m surprised he didn’t write one for Dot in crayon, just to make sure he covered all his bases.

I don’t know how to explain my state of mind, but it feels a little crowded in my brain just now. One Erica is wailing about how none of this is her fault and it’s not fair and how the fuck can she pack up a whole house (albeit a small one) in a week? Another Erica is making plans, dividing the house into sections for packing, looking at area vacancies, figuring out how we’ll pay a security deposit at a time of year when our savings are low, and scheming to minimize the impact on Dot. And another Erica is seething with anger and rage and honestly it’s a good thing that I have strongly functional social inhibitions because I really want to hurt someone.

I don’t love drama. I don’t want drama. I’d make a terrible reality television star not only because I’m a middle-aged round person but because I don’t engage in fights unless I’m pushed to the edge. I follow the rules. I follow the rules because I believe in order but also because I’m afraid of not following them. Not following the rules is for desperate people, or exciting people, or people who don’t give a crap. None of those people are me. I like my corner with my book. I like my walks to the park with my daughter. I like my cups of tea and trying out the occasional new recipe that I find on Pinterest. I am boring. I like being boring. The times of my life that haven’t been boring have been, with the exception of my wedding, not my favorite times. And now I am dragged out of my chair in the corner and tossed into a Jerry Springer episode and I wonder if I am, in fact, white trash.

I think this is especially hard because I’ve longed for a permanent home for such a long time. I get attached to things, and always have. Things, places, routines. We’ve been happy in this little house. We brought Dot home to this house. We fed friends and family Thanksgiving dinners there, and I was just getting to be satisfied with the little flower border by the driveway. I want a place that is mine, with a garden that is mine, and a corner of that garden that is Teddy’s, that no one can take away from me. I want that powerfully. I want to be able to settle into routines and schedules to know that I can walk my favorite familiar walks tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I want to feel safe.

I am so tired of not feeling safe. Even though I know no one is, not really. Today I am teaching classes with a graduate student instructor who had to reschedule them due to family deaths (plural) and who had to fly back home and attend funerals (plural). My God, none of us are safe. Maybe that’s why I crave safety, and home, and the illusion of solidity so much. It’s the ultimate fantasy, isn’t it?

But I need to hold my head up and tell myself (repeatedly) that I am not white trash, and I need to focus on work and packing and helping my daughter deal with a cruelly sudden flight from the only home she’s ever known. I need to comfort my husband who feels absolutely wretched about all of this and who had plenty enough on his plate before last evening. I need to build illusions of safety and sanity and make them strong enough that we all start to believe in them. To take the drama and tame it with plans and practicality and calm. I need to get us through this.

And I can do all of that. I am tired and sad and disillusioned. I spent a good deal of last night sobbing into my pillow. I am angry and I am still in shock. But it’s September, and the wind loves me. I am rich in memories and friends and while I’m tired of always having to be strong, I am strong.

I will make a magic spell to change drama into boredom. It won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Magic isn’t supposed to be.




  1. Anyone who works in a library and publishes articles is most certainly not white trash. This is an unwelcome adventure, but I hope that it leads you to a safe place with a nice garden and a sweet corner for reading. Moving is always a bit chaotic, but the dust will settle and you’ll still be surrounded by all the things that matter.

  2. Oh, Erica, I’m so so sorry. You know, I have often wondered the same thing–if this constitutes white trash, if that does. My own recovery and having been in a position also where my (ex) husband was arrested in a very public and dramatic fashion. It made the paper of the medium sized town I lived in and people avoided us on the street. We had to pick up and move a couple of times. It helped me focus on my family, and my anger was like another member of our family, showing up on date night and the most inopportune times to make itself a nuisance. Again, if you want to talk, just know, I’m here. I mean to talk talk, or chat talk, or email talk, or comment talk…I think sometimes we need to go through small little hells and chaos to learn about finding our footing on any surface. It just seems like you need a break right now, and I’m willing the universe to give you one. With love. Ang

  3. Oh Erica. I’m so sorry. I’m also one who likes the corner with a book.

    All of this is just so horrible and painful. I wish that your landlord hadn’t thrust this upon you so unexpectedly. It’s just mean.

    Solidity and safety and home . . . well they are the ultimate fantasies but we need them? I think?

    And that third to last paragraph. That’s why you are a better mother and a better wife than I will ever be. I’m glad for Dot and N that you are so strong, that you will get your family through this. You are so strong. But I’m sad that your strength has to be tried to this extent.

  4. Oh, I’m so sorry. I hope you find somewhere you can settle in and feel at home. How awful of your landlord to drop this on you so suddenly. You are drawing from an amazing well of strength right now. Thinking of you as you navigate these transitions.

  5. Oh Erica, that’s such a lot to deal with. I’m sorry. I hope you find a new home very quickly and that it will be a home – not a stop gap but somewhere where you can feel secure and take stock for a while. A place where you can stop being strong while you rest and catch your breath.

  6. Erica, after all of the death and mayhem in my family in the aughties, it was selling my house at the bottom of the market that really put me over the edge. It’s just such an insult to have to devote energy to this sort of thing after you’ve coped with babyloss (or really death of any kind). Every single conversation with a realtor eroded my composure to the point where Shakespeare quotes and Bible verses on the topic of misery would pop into my head–and I’m not even that well-versed in those sorts of things.

    In short, I feel you. And I wish you didn’t have to deal with this. Sending you strength across the miles.


  7. I’m so very sorry, Erica. Sending you calming vibes to navigate these tricky times ahead. You have my full support, via the internets.

  8. Oh. My. I am so very sorry, Erica. I was hoping September would be a better month for you. I so understand the appeal of “home” & having a “safe” place where you can hide away from the world. Routines, rules… yep, that’s me too. ; )

    You are not “white trash.” You’re just one of the 47% (or 99%, depending on whose analysis you’re using…!) who is having a tough go of it right now.

    I haven’t read further (yet) but I am hoping you are (or soon will be) settled into a new home that’s even better than the one you were so rudely ejected from. (((hugs)))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: