October is a month of transition. Leaves willingly release the security of the branches that have nurtured them. Fully embracing their journey onto the earth – all in the name of something larger, something magnificent…trees storing up power in the form of nutrients in order to support new, healthy life in the spring.
Our lives follow a similar pattern. You may blossom and grow then allowing a part of yourself to “die off” making room for the new you, to start the process all over again in the Springtime of your days.
Here’s to releasing the dead wood in your life – the creaky, the crotchety, letting it all fall away, into the earth.
This week I met a child. No ordinary child, you see, she was extraordinary. What made her extraordinary you wonder? Well, really nothing and everything. She, unknowingly, touched some of my unhealed shadow. She was able to stir up some of my long held, restricted, outdated beliefs…her presence so magical, playful and open hearted.
So rooted in the moment, she held my hand and started to dance, spinning around, motioning for me to dance with her. In a public place. We danced and twirled. I complimented her “purse” as I referred to it. She quickly, confidently corrected me, “My satchel”. “Oh!” I said, amused, “Of course, how silly of me”. She added, “Do you like my dress?” I replied, “Yes, it’s amazing, the flowers are so pretty.” She is usually adorned with the most fun, colorful, feminine, alive dresses and proudly displays them where ever life takes her.
Everyday for this child seems exciting, like it’s her first and last day on this earth – all rolled into one. Excited as hell to be here, experiencing, tasting, feeling, making the most out of each social encounter, showing up as is, beautiful. Simple, no complications. A gift to everyone around her.
Where has OUR sense of honor – for our own existence – gone? Did we grow out of it? Was it shamed out of us a long time ago? Hers is alive and well, on display for all to see. No apologies, no minimizing, she is fabulous and it’s palpable. Why do we save our “ “special items/clothes/shoes/perfume/jewelry/colorful accessories” – for an event that seems worthy? WE are worthy – WE ARE THE EVENT. We ARE what we’ve been waiting for.
Even in the most mundane days/tasks the raw material for fun, joy and connection is waiting for us to notice. I share the experience here, with this extraordinary child because she truly is “special”. In a society where the highest academic achievement is still king – I find it to be a bit shameful that infectious joy, compassion, aliveness, presence, spontaneity and heart are not as prized as report card marks. I became the student this week. She, just living in the light, is a natural teacher.
I feel a little piece of myself in everyone I know, everyone I meet. We are all a mixture of light n dark. A fine recipe of delicious complexity. I am joyful and depressed, I’m hateful, I am optimistic, I’m a killer, I’m jealous, I’m content and curious, wild, responsible, disengaged, entitled, invisible, enraged, tired, discouraged, complacent, magnificent. Big breath in….. real, lost, embarrassed, hopeful, dreamy, open, humiliated, passive, judgmental, honest weird, eccentric, lonely, pissed, accepting, blank, spiteful, alive, proud, blessed, dismissive and aggressive.
If we’re honest, several of these are living within us. Sure the positive traits/experiences are easy to embrace and recognize. The darker, shameful, maybe even shocking tendencies we def try to conceal, deny, excise. They need love and compassion too. They’re looking for recognition and expression. To be lovingly surrounded with safety, protection and containment.
I’m in love with warm blankets on a chilly night. Held and comforted in thick fabric. My soul oozing deep appreciation for cotton crops and birds of flight. Suddenly, cold is put in its place, made to observe the newly created heat boundary.
Heavy heaps of edged material, happy to be in service. Fresh from the dryer and smelling so. An olfactory field trip to a well drained forest floor. To a string of laundry overhead, dangling from a sun drenched, tattered rope. Without dampness. Without apologies. Without leaving my bed.
Weighted, grounding, reassuring me of universal support and temporary safety. Shield me from imagined, knocking horrors that come to visit in darkness. Cover me in kindness and compassion, nothing and everything present and promised. I’m in love with warm blankets.
Hello my darling Anxiety What is it you want to tell me? I promise I won’t curse you or chase you away The fact that you’re here now is a good indication that I’m ready and prepared to hear your message You’re here anyway, so I might, as well lend you an ear I’ll keep checking in with you Maybe I can get to know you better Maybe we can be friends Maybe
I close this day today giving a voice to those nasty little flea bitten thoughts, buzzing around crazily, irritatingly, making me want to hide under cover. “You don’t know anything” they chant. Sometimes so loud I wonder if others hear them.
Kept at bay only when feeling content, successful or helpful. But one sideways glance delivered by a perfect stranger – holds more weight than it should – wrecking ball heavy. Tearing down all the goodness —- “I have great ideas”, “things are always working out for me”, “I have the right to my feelings and ideas”, “I am not responsible for how someone feels about my truth”, “I am a quick learner” and “I feel my opinion is valued”—— I have accumulated all morning.
My basket of good feelings loosely wound, unraveling, allowing all the good shit to tumble out the self doubt gate…..all I’m left with is, “Why did I think that was a good idea?”, “Maybe he/she is right”, “By voicing my truth, someone else will feel bad/uncomfortable”, “How dare I?”, “I’m so selfish” “I am so mean”… All the voices I was obedient to as a little person. Oh, it was so important to be obedient to my Mother’s idea of what I should feel and who I should be. Meant to keep me compliant, controlled and away from myself. My truth.
Again, I relinquish my grip on confidence. Yielding to a fear-filled joy stealer. That in your face joy stealer – external now but so eloquently and stealthily triggers my OWN inner thief. The place I know so well. Swooping in all crow-ish, to steal my eggs of wisdom in their infancy. More like, I surrender, serve them wisdom bits up on a platter. You’re welcome. I’m left with the cracked, runt eggs and my prize is run off with. Anything I could be proud of, swiped. Empty nest again.
LI give my excitement up to those who cast their panic shadows on my truth, my clarity and boundaries. How do I allow this to happen? How do I surrender my good feelings without a fight? In a split second I concede. In a split second. Because it’s an old, well worn path. That’s how.
A path someone else created FOR me and I perfected it. Surrendering my joy, on some level, is without thought or struggle. I could not stay in it for long, maybe a minute or two. And down came the curtain, the cloak of darkness. I did not exist, especially my joy, I was not the owner of it. I rented it for a couple of minutes, privately. Before someone took it and left me flat, deflated, resentful, questioning my original motives and goal. Questioning if I had the right to my own life.
Only now can I reframe this, “This is my truth, I will not allow his/her fear to steal my excitement, confidence, giddiness, aliveness, my center or drive”. It takes a conscious effort to shine some light on the possibility that my joy might be surrendered and prepare. Sit with it quietly, in celebration, without any outside interference. Fortress-like this little inside party of aliveness. And when it is time to express (that which I used to be killed for) I am choosing a supportive listener. Someone who is not threatened by my joy, wisdom, balls, or clarity.
Just try and steal my joy. No longer taking that hell and running with it.
You fought, you pleaded with me to shut up. Oh I wouldn’t shut it. Not for a hot second. You created this mess. All of you. Perpetuated it by keeping the lid on, simmering, bubbling. Me poised to explode. Abuse years, haunting memories, flashbacks and dirty tricks making their way to the surface. Into the now. My mouth too small of a space for this hot garbage baggage to escape. It came through my pores, my guts, out of my eyes. Violently it breached the walls I had erected to keep the silence with you. For you. About you.
I wanted to save you. All 5 of my sisters. I would physically carry you if I could. Come with, I begged. I tried to wake you, slap that cool-aide pitcher out of your hand. Jesus Christ. You were abused too, I saw them, I saw you. How dare you deny this? It wasn’t your fault. It was just the way it was. Generational. My best efforts to save others were received like “attacks, attempts to ruin the family or make problems”.
Even in my dreams, I was unsuccessful. You were frozen. I would escape, door left open, and no-one followed. You stayed. I pleaded. I escaped. You dug in harder. How I wanted to remove the dark cloth from your eyes. Rip and tear and claw until you saw. Scream like the wounded animal that I was…until you connected – with something. With reality.
Torturous to want something sooo out of my control. Yet, I kept on. Pain and anguish were frequent dinner guests. A plate and seat were saved. I wanted someone to board the reality bus. Empty bus then, empty now. Oh, how delicious it would have been to have someone stand beside me. To honor OUR truth, OUR breaking up with dysfunction, OUR naming the insidious virus. Divorcing the dead from our life.
As children, our leader wanted us distracted. Our perfect saccharine sweet smiles. Pretty pin curls and dresses. Manners and obedience and black paten leather. Exceptional family. Got us so much outside attention. Stroked her gross ego. Believable. The world believed the picture. We were not allowed to question. blindly pleasing, serving. Resistance just a dream. Beautiful little liars, all of us.
Remembering all of this. Remembering all of the ways we had to leave ourselves. All of what we were forced to give up in order to belong, to have somewhere to live, food and some semblance of safety….
I walked away. Cutting the frayed cords, split ends. I was tired of hemorrhaging on those who drank my blood out of both sides of their mouth. I decided my life was worth saving, worth better. Donned with the ole oxygen mask, I stepped new steps out into the world. Lonely, edgy steps. Only taking small sips of life at first, barely looking back at the owned, the victims, perpetrators, the voiceless.
I actually did you a favor. Free from the reminders that my face brings. Free from the sting of my authenticity. Free to believe the beautifully creative fairytale you tell of your past. The fabricated loveliness of the overcrowded vacant house we were raised in.
I am no longer the one who ruined this amazing family unit. I am no longer the lost sheep. I am no longer cause of chaos and making poor, defenseless mother sad. Gag. I am no longer trying to pry you from your completely functional, well adjusted existence. I have no desire to wake you. You are completely correct, my energy, my desire to transform and re-parent, and evolve, and open my heart, and see and hear and feel – that is all for ME. I won’t waste any of that on you. My bad.
As a courtesy, I will leave you alone. You all function way better in a slumber. No matter how delicious, I will not remind you of the atrocities. We can leave them where you’ve buried them. How dare I devote any portion of my life and love to those who think I’m trying to ruin theirs? I will even tuck you in with soft, fuzzy blankets. Sleep well. Sleep well.