I realize that it's been a number of days since I posted. I have about six, partially completed, posts about our trip, but have yet to complete them. I haven't been in the mood.
I'm not sure what's up with me. I've been in a cranky mood since Sunday. This is very unusual for me. I'm an optimistic person not very often prone to bad moods, particularly not one that covers the span of days. I've been trying to hold myself together so as not to take it out on those around me, but what I feel like doing is stomping around the house like a kid in a foul mood, slamming doors, yelling at people who bother me (and even the ones who don't), demanding things as if I'm entitled to them...all of that kind of childish stuff.
Emotionally I feel flat. Uninvolved. Distant and removed. Expressive towards Matthew, but that's about it. I haven't been returning emails very well, I don't feel like reading, and I just feel like crawling into my bed in the middle of the day and lying there. I'm not particularly tired, but I just want to be alone to think...about what, I don't know. The only time I've actually given in to my desire to be alone was on Sunday afternoon, when my mood crashed in on me: in the middle of lunch, I announced that I needed some space, and I abandoned Geoff and Matthew in favour of my bed...for almost two hours. I believe some petulant stomping of feet was involved on my way upstairs.
I know that part of my bad mood has to do with Geoff's ongoing busy season at work (can a busy 'season' really be five months long??). I'm tired of waiting for his time.
But it's more than that.
I have felt near tears pretty much perpetually since the day after we arrived in Ethiopia and, while I did shed a few of them after court (when sharing with my family the events of the day and its unsuccessful outcome), I haven't cried since. It's like our trip has passed into distant memory and I can't let myself 'go there' emotionally. I wonder: did it really happen at all? I went grocery shopping two days after we got home, and barely even thought as I walked through the aisles about the lack of access so many people in ET have to the food they need. I've continued on with Matthew's daily activities, including his schooling, not in the least mindful of the countless children I saw in ET who cannot attend the free public school because they cannot afford the annual 300-500birr ($18-30) needed to purchase school uniforms and pay for nominal expenses, and not in the least thinking about how fewer than 65% of boys and 40% of girls are literate by the time they reach adulthood. I threw out some old food from the fridge the other day without even giving a thought, until later, about how much I waste and about how very appreciated it was when, in ET, I gave our boxed restaurant leftovers to the guards at the guesthouse. On the weekend, I went about catching up on our laundry accumulation, not once thinking about how lucky I am to have access in my home to an automatic washing machine and water flowing through pipes to make my labour trivial. I've driven our van about the city with no thought to how relatively smooth and easy a drive it is on our road systems, and filled up with gas yesterday without even remembering that on the first day of the month in ET, the cars line up by the dozens (hundreds?) to wait for that precious fuel. I've continued to plan, very logically, for the arrival of two more children, all the while feeling like I am already forgetting the face of our five-year-old and have forgotten what colour his pants were on the day we met him.
In other words, having been home for only nine days, I am already carrying on with daily life as if Ethiopia never happened...as if it was a dream. I can't believe that I am so callous. What will it take to impact my life if not a trip such as the one we have just returned from?
I'm scared to let myself feel. Even as I write this, I feel the tears behind my eyes, but I can't bring myself to let them go. What if I never stop?