Last night I was busy in the kitchen when I heard a "MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMM!" from my three-year-old, screeching as only three-year-olds can. I dashed out and as I rounded the kitchen door my feet came out from underneath me, water spilt earlier by the three-year-old making it impossible for me to keep upright.
As if in slow motion, I could see my feet come up from off the ground, as I was about two feet up and horizontal to the ground my hip smashed into the sharp edge of a doorway arch. I hear a voice in my head calmly say, 'ooh that didn't feel too good, almost felt like a crunch, I wonder if there is blood and bones. Goodness what on earth is that noise?' The same calm voice in my head said 'Goodness that sound is coming from your mouth, I've never heard that guttural kind of scream before'. Just before I hit the ground, the same voice suddenly sped up 'I wonder if the kids will know how to call an ambulance, I wonder if I can drag myself and call Skip, Oh I'm sure it will be OK, it's just going to be annoying and all when we were on the homestretch to bed'. Crash. I landed with a thump on the tiled ground facing the opposite way I started from the bash into the arch.
As I slipped and was falling it was like the essence of myself had retreated into a little panic room inside my brain, disengaging itself from my body. Not wanting to be part of what was physically was going on. I could hear myself sobbing and gasping but it was like I was listening to someone else, as I calmly sat in the little room in my brain.
As I lay there on the ground the two parts of myself slowly came back together, the little panic room was unlocked and I slipped out. There was no blood or broken bones. I felt a bit sore and a bit shaken. In fact, I wasn't really hurt badly at all. I lay there for what felt like ages.
The three-year-old walked out, half-undressed: "What are doing, Mum?"
I replied: "I slipped on some water you spilt."
"Oh, OK then," he said as he toddled off again, leaving me sprawled on the floor.
Finally, the two girls came out just as I was pulling myself up from the floor. "What happened, I thought you'd cut your hand off or something," the middle one said.
"No I just slipped over," I said, "It took you a long time to see what happened."
"Yeah, I spose."
The funny thing is, although I felt sore and bruised, I felt lighter and a sense of relief. Just like when you're a kid and you graze your knee – you sob yourself silly before running off and playing again, happier than ever. Having a great big cry and letting all all the frustrations and boredom and stress and crap that's been built up get washed away by tears and pushed out by heaving sobs.
I read somewhere recently where someone said they had 'expat fatigue' and I nodded my head and said 'yes!' I totally got that idea and have been feeling it recently. Just tired of not having the support of family, having that old friend you can call in on, those times when you just want people you really know around you. Feeling a little worn down by that living in limbo feeling. Sick of having to put the effort in to make new friends in this round-about of a town. Those times when email and Skype and Facebook don't cut it and you feel like that communication line between home and here is dropping out.
Now, it's not like I'm ready to pack up and leave. You have funks and down times wherever you are. After a good sob, it feels like I've cleared the decks a little. Ready to pick myself up by the bootstraps and get excited about stuff again, because let's face it, there's always stuff to excited about.
Life is funny like that and our brains even stranger. Who knew that I'd literally have to crash to reboot myself.