July 15, 2011

Starbucks, redux

I first wrote this post 4 years ago but it remains one of those truisms about my life that just don't fade. There's something so comforting about a place that, regardless of where in time or space you are, is always exactly the same. Creepy, sure. But comforting. I finally located a drive-thru that's not impossibly far from my house (though it's not terribly convenient, either). Starbucks, I heart thee.

(side note: I was going through a very bad time when I first posted this, so take the depression with a grain or three of salt. I'm not lovin' it here for sure... but I'm not falling apart. I gots me some good meds, I tell ya!)

July 6th, 2007-- Why I go to Starbucks

Inside my life, it's a mess. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, psychologically... basically any "-ly" you can get, I've managed to trash it up a little.

In the literal sense, there's my car. Anna's car seat is full of crumbs, crackers, raisins, sand and an ever-so-faint leftover smell of vomit. Silvia's has dried spit-up on the straps; well, actually, on everything. There are dirty blankets, old shoes, burp clothes, Kleenex, baby carriers, old crackers, grass, science experiment sippy cups, and on and on and on.

It's a dumpster on wheels.

And that's just my car. Apply that image to my mind, my closet, the playroom, my relationships, and you'll start to get a better idea of the chaos that is me.

I don't want to be a mess. I try not to be, I really do. Sometimes I even manage to keep it all together. But even on the good days, I'm having trouble. I seem to be spending a lot of time doubting myself, my fitness as a mother, a wife and a friend. I try to laugh it off, shake myself and just get through the day, but a fine web of cracks has broken through my armor. I've never been all that tough, you see, and lately I feel about as formidable as a feather.

I keep trying to figure out why this is so hard. Other people do what I do, and more, every day and they seem to keep it together just fine. That line of thinking always leads me down a path I would love to never see again, a path that I can't seem to get off. Maybe I can't do this because I'm weak, I'm less than all the other people that are just fine, I'm flawed in a way that they are not.

Because every time I start to feel like I've gotten on top of my life, within days or even just hours, I fall backwards, breathless and out of control, feeling lost and a little more helpless than the time before.

This week it started with a gray fog, settling down over my vision, muting colors, blurring priorities, numbing emotions. How it's possible to look out at a summer day, full of life and heat and color, and see only dry wind and brown grass, I don't know. But that's exactly what my sight has been limited to.

Then every time the girls would cry, I'd flinch a little, then everything I hadn't done that I needed to do started to become, instead of just a list in my head, a physical obstacle that I could not walk around.

So what did I do? Well, as always, I turned first to Kurt. He's my center, he keeps me grounded, brings me back when I feel like I've gone too far away. We're trying to get through this together and I'm absolutely convinced that I'd have to be locked up if it wasn't for him.

But then, after a reality-check and (yes, I'll admit it) an ego-boost from my rock of a husband, I did the next best thing. I went to Starbucks.

I know it sounds stupid. "Starbucks? That makes you feel better? Seriously?"

But here's how it works. Internally, I'm all messed up, I'm chaotic and stormy and inconsistent. I look through the glass into that little coffee shop that sits on every corner of every town across the country. It's the same, wherever you go. Warm, inviting earth tones envelope the people inside. They sit in big comfy chairs or around small bistro tables, relaxed and contained, sipping from white cups filled with poise and culture and intellectual thought.

Usually I'm just hitting the drive-thru, looking into that enlightened atmosphere from the confines of disorder and confusion that is my car. The girls might be crying and I've got "Twinkle Little Star" playing on a constant loop. The barista (see, she's not even just the sales girl, she's a barista!) hands me my drink through the window with a smile, and with it she hands a little bit of what's inside.

It is a promise land of everything I lack. Peace, uniformity, cerebral stimulation all packaged neatly up as a frothy hot beverage. I sip, close my eyes, feeling the heat from the coffee course down into my body. It's not just espresso and milk, it's fortification against the haze that clouds my vision.

I know it's all just a lie...but it's a really good, convincing lie and I'll take it.

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