If emotions and drama are not what you are here for, please click here for actual details regarding a visit to City Museum. The rest of you, this post should just be titled drama so wade in cautiously…. Day one of vacation was bogarted by life in Indiana. Day two was sure to be better. However, in my bones, I knew I had used up every bit of my self-control just getting through day one.
I am claustrophobic…I think. Anyone with claustrophobia that has visited City Museum is wondering why I frequently choose this place as the place to return to as much as possible. There’s not a Midwesterner traveling south that I haven’t tried to convince to stop there. I am single-handedly City Museum’s (free!)travel rep. I love it! I think… Or, do I hate it? This place straddles the blurred line of joy and terror for me very delicately. Typically, my joy kicks into the drivers seat and I leave elated.
This trip, however, this trip…the terror won. In many ways. Don’t fret! Hope prevails…eventually. But, from very early on in this overcrowded Sunday of spring break, humans were everywhere: above my head, below my feet, nose to nose. I think I have really been enjoying the concept of SPACE so this, otherwise quite tiny hurdle, had me holding my breath.
If you suffer from claustrophobia or people phobia or any other mind blowing mental phenomenon, you can attest that the last thing you want to do is stop breathing. Especially, as you try to hang with your favorite dudes in tiny tunnel #1 of the day.
After denying their first handfuls of attempts to get me to climb with them. I gave in. Like a proper paranoiac, I assessed the area.
Made sure there were no children lingering nearby that could shimmy up after me and trap me inside of the metal caterpillar that was sure to mimic imprisonment in a matter of minutes.
The situation was as good as it could get. Time to put all this yoga training to good use and mind over matter the climb. Face my fears. Convince myself, the physical was not real and lean into some deep mental meditation to climb me through to freedom. Any guesses how this plays out?
The previously non-existent children crawled out of the wood work and stuffed the opposite end of my metal caterpillar coffin like pushing jacks head back in the box waking up that desperate need for jack/me to GET OUT!!! I am an adult. I have a “RESPONSE ABILITY” to ask politely for everyone to please back out the tunnel so I can exit. Please…please…please…seriously, I might pass out I need everyone to move it NOW! (Only yelling on the inside…I think…)
Going down was not an option. It didn’t matter that I might have been dying. The kids were excited and had gone into Lord of the Flies mode and I was the fly. The
Hairy One finally caught on and realized if he didn’t get the front of the line moving then he’d have to pull my not-so-light flesh bag of dead weight out the top of the caterpillar tomb on his own. Message received. Dad voice activated. Seas parting. Kara’s breathing resuming. End scene. This was about 5 minutes into our visit.
After a series of breathing exercises with a renewed will to honor what my body is telling me and stop being a hero, we proceeded. There was plenty of joy found in the art all around, the teeny tiny circus show-
the plastered on smiles on the faces of my little ones and in the incessant groaning of the Hairy One trying to squeeze his girth into tiny crevice’s and be there for it all.
The scales tipped on the side of happy again – hooray!
There was a smile on my face…but the pit in my stomach had not gone away. (It’s amazing what picture don’t show sometimes.) My intuition was blazing but I couldn’t tell which angle the assault was coming – inside or out. Me or the universe.
It’s quite confusing when you have Spidey senses but you are still unsure exactly how to wield them. Which, wielding them would have been helpful when
we went to visit buddies in the eatery and a seemingly innocent game of tag turned into a blood bath. (Truthfully, only a minor exaggeration…there was a lot of blood!).
My inner-worries had officially materialized. We couldn’t tell what was chipped or where the blood was coming from. I am certified in pretty much all
life saving ways a non-medical person can be certified and all of that training goes away when it’s my own kiddo that’s writhing in pain. I did find my words to call for back-up. We received some very calm, very professional assistance from the City Museum staff.
The Hairy One found what bits of teeth could be salvaged and I managed to stay upright to get our little buddy to the First Aid room where we could all calm down and fully assess what the actual damage was. A big nose bleed + some chipped teeth + a bruised face for the kiddo. After I put my feet up to recover from my little buddies injuries (yes, me) – we found our wits again. The amazing
Dr. Faye Kostidis from Mattingly Family Dentistry looked at pictures and put our minds at ease. Soft foods, Tylenol and keep vacationing. Dr.’s orders!
With the worst out of the way, the cave of doom that was lurking just beneath my rib cage released and I was free to stop teetering between worry and wonder and just be in the moment. Stupid museum. It did it again. It brought me around full circle from swearing off the place to swearing to make sure to come back as much as possible. Pretty sure it’s working it’s magic at this point right now as I type about all of my humanity (in a 4 hour visit) in a way that makes me a bit nervous…which is why I keep pecking away.
I don’t hate the City Museum. I probably, a bit dramatically…acknowledge that within its’ walls lies a very personal reckoning that I hated addressing. I don’t call myself an anxious person…mostly because, as humans, we are all many things and I try to avoid labels…while simultaneously acknowledging that labeling can be very important in normalizing and understanding each other. (I really appreciate that the word “both” is a thing now!) I just feel anxious sometimes. We all do. My kids know this about me. We talk about it. I am hoping it gives them some grace when they inevitably are over-come by feelings, worries, emotions…all that stuff we’ve been trained to keep down. I hope they choose to ride it out. Feel it. Share it. Let our not-so-freak flags fly. If we all bring to the surface what lies beneath, wouldn’t that breathing thing just happen a bit easier?
In summary, losing my mind in the first 5 minutes at City Museum is a lesson to my children in stating your peace – or lack their of – taking some deep breaths and moving forward.