While I am not much of a TV buff, I always resented the hiatus. It isn’t so much the fact that I am missing out on the guilty pleasure of zoning out on the couch that upsets me, or even the fact that the amount of money these shows generate, for all involved, makes me feel like they should never be allowed off the air, it is deeper than that. It’s about the characters. It bothers me that they have a hiatus from the lives we are made to believe they are actually living.
This bothers me in novels too. I have a terrible habit of getting about three quarters of the way through and not wanting to continue. For fear of the reality of the end. The potential to be left wondering, mind wandering, like squinting into the sun while someone is trying to take a photograph. Not quite sure if your eyes are open or closed, the landscape before you void of color, sketched with a charcoal pencil. The harsh break up, the untangling of my heart from theirs.
The coming back is often uneasy. Memory foggy, trying to recall the last moments of the scenes you watched pre-hiatus. The novel character’s charcoal lines now smudged, the once clear-cut jaw line a watercolor stoke sliding down canvas. Time has a way of diluting.
Recently this became true in my life. As a wife and mother, I welcomed a hiatus. I have found I am habitually tired. Sometimes habitually angry. Embarrassing to admit that my daily laundry list of tasks isn’t the way I envisioned my life. I realize this may be offensive to some of you, I am in no position to downplay motherhood or wifedom, but, for me it was becoming redundant. A hamster on a wheel chasing cheese that didn’t actually exist. Overwhelmed and overextended, over it. Mad as hell that there are always dishes to wash and that people still keep putting their laundry in the hamper complete with underwear and socks inside pants. Even madder still when they tell me they turn it all right side out at Nana’s, because, well, that’s her rule. I will be the first to admit I don’t want to share this with you, it sounds ungrateful and harsh, but, I trust that my truth doesn’t fall on a world of ears plugged with headphones or hooked to bluetooth. I know there are other Mama’s out there who crave a hiatus.
My soul was less than shiny. It was cold. Robotic.
(Be careful what you wish for.)
I got my hiatus in the form of a surgery, hospital stay, two weeks of no driving and six weeks for recovery. In this case my show kept airing, despite me being off camera. I have to say, I quite enjoyed the slowed pace and decrease in responsibilities. I became indebted to the less than, the quiet, being alone. I welcomed the sleeping in, all the books and movies a girl could ask for, my break from the life I was supposed to be living.
Love me or hate me for it, I’m good either way, but the binge watching of Grey’s Anatomy played a role in my recovery. When my oldest daugher was an infant, everyone, I literally mean everyone, upon hearing her name, Addyson, would ask if I got it from Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, not a TV buff, remember? I got it from a baby book that declared the meaning to be; Awesome. Nonetheless, I started watching, to meet Addison (not to be confused with Addyson) and over a decade later, I’m still watching. Those who watch will understand when I say I feel a little like Cristina Yang or like Amelia in more resent episodes. Characters who have taken all of the not so shiny parts of themselves and disappeared. One moving out of the country, the other hiding out in a friends apartment, the more time away, the more difficult to return. Too dramatic of a comparison to me hidden away in my bedroom on painkillers? Maybe. But real to me regardless.
All the things, the constant motion, productive checkmarks, the balancing act that seemed to define me, were suddenly replaced with stillness. In all the quiet I could actually hear my own thoughts. The object in motion that stayed in motion has since become rested. An unbalanced force acting on my behalf to change my speed and direction, thank you, Newton. Unsettling as it may be, I am not sure I know who I am now. I seem to have lost my drive and mo-jo when they took out my uterus. In fact, the other night I told a friend of mine, when asked how I was doing, and I quote, “Heading to the hot tub with a bottle of wine in hopes that it will turn into the hot tub time machine and take me back to a time when my badassery was in full force.” To which she replied, with a super cute Bitmoji, “Genius!”
The realization that hiatus has changed me comes with a bit of sadness. Like becoming attached to characters over the course of a decade who then leave the show. There is a wondering, a wandering, a waiting in hopes they make a cameo. We can never truly know of what they have become. Where they fall in the law of interia.
While scrolling mindlessly on my phone I came across a friend’s Facebook post about her “Notes from the Universe.” I decided I was intriqued and signed up to get my own. Yesterday this showed up in my inbox. My very first note.
“Do you know what happens when I become a brand new “someone,” Jenn?
You know, the moment I begin to play, grow, and live a new lifetime within the jungles of time and space? All to become more than I was before the adventure began?
I sporadically and unpredictably feel alone and disconnected, like I’m missing something. Even though I’m not, I rock, and love carries me everywhere.
Same for you.
Rock on, loveable –
The Universe confirmed my biggest fear and then wrapped it so carefully in canvas, handed me a paintbrush and permission to feel and create, watercolor layered on charcoal, a masterpiece left to dry in the sun.
I salute you, dear friends, with a heart broken from loss of fiery, but now vulerably open to the world,