Sigh. It’s been a week. Found myself wanting to resign from the human race feeling not quite suited for it. Sense the cynicism squinting my eyes almond-shaped. Feel it trying to cinch my heart small, too. It’s misdirected (or undirected) anger, that cynical snare and glare. A narrowed view. A heart that won’t hope any longer to spare itself the roller coaster ride it is to do so. It’s not my way but it found a way in for a bit.
In an attempt to push back I’m going to list the highlights, but I’ll also list the lows that have protested against them. Joy and pain, that double-noted tension we can rarely enjoy as individual tones the more life we embrace. And capacity — I think I have some. The stretch to make room for the hard thanks within the womb that holds life — it tears the skin. Growth is downright painful and any woman who has carried a life inside of her will attest to how much so. Our capacity for growth is proportional to our willingness to be torn from the inside out. Sounds so philosophical but it’s really physiology.
High: I am not the best at self-care. In fact, I am only recently beginning to grow more comfortable with the term. It seems so narcissistic a concept but it would to someone who has been a master at slaving and plowing. I cheer on others in their heart stewarding but I can easily dismiss this for myself. But in doing so I neglect the most important part, where the bulk of life flows. So, as silly as it sounds, I scheduled a haircut. It had been a year and mostly because I don’t like to fuss about hair. But this little act of cutting away the dead to make room for new growth is indeed an act of care. So, that’s + 1 point for a step in the right direction.
Low: Total emotional depletion. Triggers. My favorite time of the year is also the hardest one for me to gather joy in. Contending for redemption…believing for breakthrough…these things require an active and living hope. Hope is like a muscle and it can tire when deferred. A crazy sort of moxie is required to believe against all odds, to hold out over the suspended spaces. – 1 point for looking down and allowing my heart to faint with despair.
High: A get together with beloved friends and a support network that has been more of a lifeline than I could have ever imagined. A celebration of hard work and smart thinking and collaboration. A milestone of accomplishment and a looking ahead to what’s to come. I started a magazine and this brain child has flexed me hard. But the fruit of labor is sweet and worthy of a toast and so we did just that. + 1 for showing up no matter what.
Low: The letdown of big pushes and the hibernation my soul craves. I simultaneously desire to communicate and stow away, equally. It is a huge tension for me — to have a voice and to also be nonexistent. I am bewildered now at how extroverted I have lived and how now it requires so much brave and energy to pull it off. An older, wiser friend told me it’s normal to grow deeper and higher with age, as opposed to wider. Makes sense, but I fear I am turning into an old crotchety man well before time. – 1 for aging myself ugly and bitter.
High: A weekend lull so rare I saturated it with all my weeping. I thought this was a low, beginning Friday night as blindsiding pain. It ached like flu but it opened me up to deeper and realer things. Again, this expansion through pain. But I dissociated, and that’s terror-evoking + maddening + helplessness x’s a lifetime root issue. I came back. I returned to the land of the living and I found a safe place to land. I found tender mercies in my bed beside the man who swore for better or worse. And I made my heart be still and eventually receive all the good I resist due to assumed unworthiness. Letting someone love you — the awful wonderful whole and pieces of you — is the hardest part. Seems it shouldn’t be but it has been for me. So – 2 points for losing holy hope and + 3 for gaining it back when it hurts the most. I think that puts me in the black.
Low: a stray husky killed all 9 of my chickens Saturday night. – 9 points for each of their little lifeless bodies. + 10 for being kind and forgiving and understanding through my very broken heart.
I’m still living above the deficit line so I think the math is good. I’m still here with the chance to do it better this week, pulling from all I learned this last one. I’m preparing my heart and home best I can to make room for more. If I must swell with something, I’d prefer it to be hope, even if it grows via pain.