We were a Tupperware family. Pastel and tinted. Yellow, green, blue, pink and white containers of all sizes filled our shelves and fridge. The big, square one stored the gum and candy packed for the long drive to northern Wisconsin every summer for family camp – and then held the one of a kind smell of Big Red, Coffee Nibs and Minocqua Maple Fudge inside it’s rubbery plastic walls all year, no matter what else we put in it. I would lift its lid at will to remember my summer.
There was another container that didn’t carry such happy memories. It was the Mother Bowl. It was HUGE, yellow and I could have comfortably sat in it until age 8. (Go ahead, Leslie, make the short joke…).
My brother apparently had something wrong with his heart (he’s totally fine now, as far as I know). My old and addled mind only remembers that he went to my grandpa’s cardiologist to get it checked out – and he had to run on a treadmill. They found that he had something called WPW, which apparently translated to ‘rapid heartbeat’. It would go like this: he would be playing basketball in our driveway with his friends, and then suddenly, he’d run in to the kitchen, grab the Mother Bowl, fill it with ice and water and plunge his face into it. And then he’d stand on his head.
Apparently, shock therapy was the remedy du jour.
When I was in high school, I started getting anxiety attacks. I thought I was dying and I was too scared for a while to ask anyone if I was – scared that the answer was yes. My way out of them, when they hit me, was to move. I had to bust my body out of the terrifying static that was paralyzing my limbs, eyes, ears, brain.
And it recently occurred to me that I, and maybe you?, were taught that when things really got going, when our hearts were racing and our minds were burning and our bodies were firing with energy – that the thing to do was jump off the track, get out, make it stop at all costs.
I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have someone grab my little scared hand, or better yet – for a magnificent voice deep inside me to grab my attention, and say, “Don’t go. Stay with it, ride it. Because this is the road to the next thing. This is the good part.”
Image credit: EraPhernalia Vintage