Oh, I was feeling small and fragile and shaky today. Things felt extra hard. I felt extra incompetent. After a while, I looked at the boys (my husband and son) and asked/begged: PLEASE GO AND LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A WHILE? And, while my daughter slept upstairs, I decided that maybe it would help to come spend a little time with myself.
Oh, I have been working so, so hard, you guys. I have just been working deep and wide and painful and time consuming and rewarding and exhausting and for myself and for my kids and for my marriage and for my family and for my world. I have been working in tedious fashion, pulling tiny specs of dust and dirt off of my heart, whittling away at old, unnecessary ways of doing things and gathering a pile of shit I no longer need and discovering the courage, in small bits and pieces, to throw that shit out and keep going.
Today, I woke up, and everything inside me said, “Stop. Wait. Rest awhile, dear.” The kids were needing me, the day was calling and my husband was waiting. But, my body and my SELF would not be deterred. “SIT DOWN, SISTER,” they begged me. “GO FIND THE QUIET,” they urged. I started crying, for what felt like no reason, and retreated to my bed. My husband wanted to know what was wrong, and the words came from someone, I think me, “I just need space and quiet and away. Please take over?” And, he did.
There was a time in my life when I would have forced myself onward, even when all things inside said, “Stop. Wait. Rest, awhile, dear.” I would have pushed onward for “the sake of” my children, my husband or my career. I would have told myself to shhh, shhh, be quiet. Get up, get going, and you will be fine. Don’t wait. Don’t stay. Don’t listen. Just go.
This year, I have learned that listening to myself is the best and greatest thing I can do for myself and for everyone who knows and loves me. When I listen to myself, I can listen to the people around me. I can hear my children, my husband and my friends. I can be awake, and I can make conscious choices. It’s amazing, actually, what I can see and hear and do when I listen, first, to myself. I never knew how much I was missing when I wasn’t listening to myself. How I was shutting down to so much because I was shut down to myself. Now, the world is NOISIER, but I am clearer. I need this combination of REALITY and SELF, because, for some crazy reason, it grounds me. It anchors me. I can feel my legs again. The shakiness stops. The blood returns to my body. I can breathe.
Today, after listening very carefully, I discovered that I was hungry. So, I made myself this salad.
After I ate it, I cried. Because I am so proud of myself. I am hobbling around and facing myself and doing the next right thing over and over again. I am showing up when I don’t know what to do or how to do it. I am doing simple, every day things, and big, lifelong lesson-y things. For more than half my life, I wanted to be this strong. I wanted to be this brave. I wanted to be this creative. And, after all of those years of longing and searching and not listening, HERE I AM. I was always here. I didn’t have to be fancy or shiny or even walking on my own two damn feet. I JUST HAD TO LISTEN.
(Also, I am proud of my salad skills, but we’ll save that celebration for another day, because time and such.)
Oh, thank you world, for letting me share this with you. I am not trying to teach you the lessons of yourself. I am just so grateful because now that I am listening, I also feel courageous and driven to SPEAK. It feels like real life running through these crinkly veins. I needed that. I needed this. I needed me. I needed you.
Love you. Mean it,