The first thing to say, I guess, is that Mark got laid off last week.
Yes, that kind of laid off -- the kind where all money stops coming in and the husband is home every day stirring about as if he's retired, except without the retirement part.
It's possible that Mark will find a job next week.
He's like that.
It's also possible that he'll never find a job, and we'll be homeless and living in our van, after we sell off our cows and eat our goats and tell our kids that we have to give away the dogs and cats. (This is not as likely, but it's *possible.* And it's where my mind goes.)
And because I was born into a life of chaos and uncertainty, this is my home turf. This is familiar to me, as familiar as the feel of tears when it's been years since you've cried.
I *know* this place.
We're now visiting the land of chaos, where future might be dark. The future might be light, too, but it's not going to be what you planned. And it's no longer in your control. This is land where you are dumped, never with a plan or any advance warning, on a random Tuesday, by illness, accidents, turns of fate, drunks and people who are crazy.
It's like visiting a childhood home -- I might not want to be here, and I might not want to admit that I grew up here, but dammit, I've got to admit that I am at home and comfortable and I know my way around. And I might as well use that knowledge to my advantage.
I know how to do stress.
I know how to do uncertain. It's the "happily ever after" that I've been doing for about the last two years that was strange and foreign. I was hoping that I'd find chaos and uncertainty to be forgotten and mysterious, but they greeted me as old friends, with a loud, "Welcome HOME, friend!!"
But now, I have so many things that I didn't have when I was ten and lost in this world.
And if I learned how to navigate these dark waters without a compass, an iPhone or a flashlight, when I was a young girl carrying three small sisters on my back, I can certainly navigate them now.
I have friends, now, and some of them have been here before. Some even grew up here and know the language. Hell, some of my family members LIVE here.
This time, I have a companion.
And Mark does NOT loiter in the land of chaos. In fact, I'm not even sure he recognizes it as a place -- more like a puddle to jump over on his way to somewhere else.
I am different than Mark, though.
I tend to get stuck here.
After all, it's familiar -- it's not safe, but better the devil you know, right?
But this time, I will not get stuck.
I have things waiting for me on the other side.
And I know the way out. Or, rather, I know that there IS no way out -- not for people who tend to get stuck.
What there is, instead, is a trick.
You just keep walking. And walking. And walking. Even when you're sure that you're walking in circles. And one day, you're no longer in the land of chaos.
Instead, you're in a different place. A better one. And it's not at all the place you expected to go. But most of the time, it's a pleasant shock that the new place is better than you'd ever dared to hope for.
So, for now, I will keep walking. I will not be tempted to stay here. I will remember that when you are on the other side of the journey, the paradigm shifts and everything is different.
And, perhaps, one day, it's the "happily ever after" part will feel like home instead.