Category Archives: the process

Mortification Station

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Several months ago, while surfing the ‘Flix, I came across a documentary of adults reading their childhood journals in front of a crowd.  Mortified Nation was recordings of moments of live shows that go on around the country in which people get up and bare their humiliating young selves with the world and it is, in a word, BRILLIANT. Soon I found out that there was a tv series prior to the documentary that features celebrities going through the shoe boxes of notes and pictures of their past. I hadn’t thought about it very much over the last few months, but last night I got the opportunity to take a quick road trip with a dear friend and it came up in conversation. In telling her about it, I remembered how much I loved it and we looked to see if there is a podcast. People, THERE IS A PODCAST! Currently there are only 4 episodes, but the last was posted 4 days ago, so more are coming.

We listened to all 4 episodes and paused after each one to talk about what each story brought up for us. First kisses, first lovers, cat fights with friends, wondering if it’s possible to shave your legs without needing stitches (yes,) and if boys will ever make sense (no.) Why are parents such buzzkills? Why exactly is it important to put the laundry away when you are just going to get it back out tomorrow? My friend and I laughed until we lost our breath and then got quiet thinking about our own journals and youth and mortifying moments. We both have teenage sons, a couple of them the same age as some of the presenters were when they wrote their entries. Do our sons have these same kinds of thoughts and worries and experiences? Probably.  It’s probably that everyone has had similar experiences.  And that is the lesson: in telling our stories that we are sure makes us total freaks, we realize e we might be freaks, but we are all freaks! People see themselves in other people’s stories and suddenly we’re not alone.

I have heard that people read their stories in my words. I get emails and FB messages from readers I have never met who tell me bits of their stories and thank me for sharing mine. It helps me so much to hear their stories, too. We’re in this together, good bad and ugly, and there are always stories to tell. Regardless of how old we are, they can still be mortifying and must be shared. I mentioned in an earlier post that I am no longer teaching in a yoga studio, but I didn’t say why. I’m not going to get into detail here because I find it very personal and private, but it’s time I take the stage and talk about it.

About a year ago, I started feeling ill. I mean, REALLY ill. Body pain, problems with digestive tract, fatigue, weakness. At first, I wasn’t terribly concerned because I chalked it up to complications from a progressive condition I’ve had since I was 20. As time rolled on and the conditions worsened, I knew that something else was going on, something was wrong. Sure enough, I was right. I’m not going to discuss what is going on because I’m private. Besides, that’s not what this story is about anyway.

This issue has caused many changes in my life. I am unable to teach on a regular basis. I am on a laundry list of medications. I have chronic pain. I am in an embroiled battle over adequate health care. Because of what is going on inside my body and some of the medications I take to treat what is going on, my body doesn’t metabolize things normally, I gained a lot of weight in a short period of time. It’s not my fault that I have gained the weight (especially since keeping food down is often a challenge,) but as someone who has body dysmorphic disorder and has struggled with eating disorders off and on my entire life, the weight gain freaks me out so much more than what is actually going on with my organs. I know how petty that sounds. I know how vain and shallow that sounds.  I know and I wish I could change it, but it’s the truth and it’s how my brain works by default, so I have to actively take steps to remind myself that it is faulty thinking.  Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much, but recently I have come to terms with it. I don’t like the situation, but it isn’t forever and I didn’t cause it so there is no point in feeling guilt or shame about it.

Once I got to that point, things got really interesting. I started watching people as I interacted with them. It’s quite obvious that I have gained weight, but NOBODY mentions it. NO ONE. I catch them sneaking a quick glance at my body and then racing to meet my eyes. If they know that I’m dealing with a couple of health issues, they’ll keep saying, “You look SO GOOD” and other variations of that theme. I am not uncomfortable about it – well, that’s not true. I should say that I have learned to ignore my discomfort – but my friends and even my family are in utter agony trying to dodge the issue.

We are all mortified.

I want to say, “It’s OKAY! You can ask me about it,” but the few times I have actually done that, the person I am talking to tries like hell to pretend that they don’t know what I’m talking about (as they nervously shred their paper napkins to bits,) It’s not like I’ve ballooned to dangerous proportions (depending on the piece of clothing, I’m up one or two sizes,) but as a very short formerly very active yoga teacher, even one size is incredibly noticeable. I had started to think that this society is in some sick morphed game of “Hide and NEVER go seek” until I had the most extraordinary experience. I visited a friend I haven’t seen in almost a year. My friend and I are close and able to talk about everything with each other, even things that are challenging. That said, it’s not always easy and I had extreme anxiety about what response I would be met with. After the initial Hellos, good to see yous, let me take your coat period was over, out of the blue I felt a hand on my belly and heard, “Did you gain some weight?” Just like that. Within the first 30 minutes. Without shame or guilt or judgement, just BOOM. And in that moment I felt free because no one was mortified. I said that yes, I had gained weight and explained why and I was met with a huge hug and, “It doesn’t bother me at all, I just noticed and thought I’d say something. Have you heard this new album?” It was never mentioned again, but that short interaction made a difference.

I think one of the greatest human needs is being seen and heard. We desperately need to be acknowledged and be ANYTHING but invisible, even if we often wish we could disappear. To hear some form of Yes, I see you. You exist. You are here. You are seen. You are heard. Interestingly enough, I had found the right combination of foods and activities and medications and the correct times to administer all of those things for my body to work properly a couple of weeks before the visit and was already losing the weight. I was feeling better than I had in a long time, but I still had (and have) a long road ahead of me. I can dig it because I’ve faced the mortification and was greeted with acceptance and love. It made me really think about how I interact with others and vow to let people know that I see them and I hear them and I’m right there with them.

But I’m not letting anyone read my adolescent journals.

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WTF, TCB, IKR, TSAFP, and ILY: the Alphabet Soup of My Life

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I have been thinking about writing here for a while, but just haven’t been able to make myself do it since November.  It’s been an interesting couple of months.  Life is surprising and wonderful things pop up where you least expect them that can turn your life around most profoundly, but regardless of how wonderful these things might be, change takes time to process and there’s a whole lot of “what the fuck” that goes along with it.  Life moves forward and you gotta roll with it.  You have to take care of business.  Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes it’s just so mind-numbingly stupid all you can do is look around and the closest equally bewildered person and say, “I know, right?”  It gets overwhelming, this thing called life.  It’s not always easy.  Sometimes it’s ice-pick through your pupil painful.  It can be wildly unfair.  It can hurt.  It can be depressing as often as it’s wonderful.  Here’s the thing: this shit ain’t for pussies.  Figuring it out can be the hardest thing until you realize that there really is nothing to figure out at all because the minute you figure it out, things change.  Everything is in constant flux.  Just when you think that you’ve found your solid footing, guess what?  That damn rug gets pulled out from under you again.  Better to just learn to float.  And that is when the only real thing that matters are 3 words: I love you.  Saying them to someone.  Hearing them from someone.  Saying them to yourself.  Whatever. I love you is the same as Thank you, but kind of squishier and fuzzier and, well, you know.

My life has fallen into these 5 categories.  I know it’s been a long long time since I’ve been here, so here’s a run down of some of what has been filling the categories of my days.

WTF

When we bought this house 11 years ago and started packing up our stuff to move, I came across a box of my hold high school stuff. I was ready to throw the whole thing out unopened, but Brian insisted we go through it.  Inside I found programs from operettas, old notes, pictures, the publications that had my poetry in them, senior pictures of my friends, my diploma, a high school memory book and assorted other flotsam and jetsam.  The memory book was barely filled out – even then I wasn’t the type of person to get too sentimental about that kind of stuff – but there were a few things written in it from friends.  I found it funny that probably 60% of the people mentioned my “funky style.”  I thought back.  While I certainly didn’t think it as particularly odd at the time, I suppose I did have my own flair.  I was almost always in jeans, white v-neck tshirt, flannel, and combat boots like most of my friends.  The only difference is that I would wear that outfit with pearls and with my long hair in a french twist.  Or I would wear a fancy dress with an army jacket, little black dresses with neon tights, flowered shorts with actual bowling shoes I stole from the local bowling alley.  Okay, my boyfriend stole them, but whatever.  I was also one of the first people in my crowd to have a tattoo.  In 1993, kids didn’t have tattoos.  I felt very comfortable in my skin and my clothes, but I got lots of “what the fuck” back then and now, 21 years later, I’m getting it again.  While my youngest son now wears my Doc Marten boots and I no longer wear an army jacket, I am still expressing myself visually.  I got my tongue pierced.  I got my septum pierced.  I got a full chest piece tattoo.  (You can see all this stuff on my Instagram.) They all mean something very important to me and I love each one of these new pieces, but it seems that folks wonder WTF has happened to me.  The answer is simple: Everything and nothing.  I am still the same person I always was.  And I change every day.  It makes me do my own version of wtf: what the fuck does it matter to you?  Maybe I’m a little sensitive.

I wrote not too long ago about an event that shook my little family of three to the core.  While that event got squared away, it spawned some other WTF moments.  One of the people who perpetrated the original awfulness decided to sue me.  It was the most outlandish, egregious, poorly thought out decisions I have ever experienced first hand.  There are a few people who know the details, which I will not expound upon here, and all of us collectively shouted to the world, “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???”  This time, my sweet kiddos got in on the act and actually contacted and shook some sense into this person and the lawsuit was dropped rather quickly, but let this be a lesson to you all: crazy is as crazy does.

My girl dog, Audrey, has decided that she gets to get on the furniture now.  We’ve had her 2.5 years and she never got on the furniture before, but now she does.  WTF?

My main tv remote no longer controls the volume nor the power.  WTF?

I bought a new vacuum and love it more than any other appliance.  WTF?  (okay, maybe I have changed.  A little.)

TCB

I have been feeling the need to make some professional changes in my life for a few years.  Yes, it’s been a long long long time coming, but today I took the final step.  I am no longer involved in any of the managerial or secretarial duties at Yoga Sol.  I just teach and I have to say that, while it was a wonderful run and I’m grateful for the experience, I’m relieved to have scaled back.  The person who replaced me is doing a much better job than I did. It’s better for the studio, and it’s most assuredly better for me, as well.  Teaching will always feed my soul and I couldn’t function without it.  I’m grateful to be able to focus on that fully.

While I haven’t been writing here, I have been writing.  I am spending quite a bit of time on my other love: live music.  I’ve been blessed to fall into ranks with a community that supports, creates, and promotes real musicians doing genius stuff independently from huge labels.  I have been attending shows, interviewing artists, laughing and dancing and writing and living and … wow, it’s so much fun!  You can find interviews I’ve done over at MoonRunners Country and I look forward to more experiences coming up.  These people I have met have become my family and I couldn’t be happier nor prouder of my association with them.

IKR

It’s fucking cold and I fear Spring will never arrive. I could go on about other things, but that particular item has me so depressed that everything else doesn’t matter.

TSAFP (in which I violate the TSAFP code.)

A few years ago, two of my best girlfriends and I sat down at a coffee shop to discuss a rather unpleasant happening in one of their lives.  “Rather unpleasant” is putting it mildly, but discretion being the better part of valor and all, I’ll leave it at that.  While there wasn’t a solution then (and there isn’t a solution now,) we pretty much summed up the whole experience by saying This Shit Ain’t For Pussies.  Sorry ladies, I just released the code out into the world.

While I have learned over the years to not take on the troubles of others, I am a very compassionate and empathetic person.  Some of the people I feel closest to in the whole world are dealing with some serious stuff right now: addiction, domestic abuse, mental illness, divorce, declining health of elderly parents, poverty, serious physical injury, abandonment… it’s all really heavy stuff.  There isn’t much I can do but care, and oh, how I care!  Having been to the bottom and having pulled myself part of the way up, I relate to how hard things can be.  This Shit Ain’t For Pussies, but I’m with you.  I care.  I’m here.

ILY

Every single morning, when I walk out of my bedroom, I am greeted before I even make it to the bathroom by love.  Zeus, the puppy, stands up on his hind legs, puts his paws on my shoulders, and hugs me.  That’s 89 lbs of puppy love.  At least he has learned to jump higher than my bladder.  A few minutes later (after I’ve taken care of pressing matters,) my oldest child puts a cup of coffee into my hand (coffee that he doesn’t drink, but makes for me every single day,)  and kisses my forehead.  He’s taller than me now, and it’s funny how the role has been reversed.  “Good morning, Mom!  How were your sleeps? (a throwback to our conversations when he was a tiny one.) Did you have good dreams?”  I ask him what he has been reading that morning and tell him what our plan for the day is.  A little while later, the youngest comes out.  He sleeps a lot these days – growing so fast is tiring work.  Some days I’m lucky – some days he will still curl on my lap for a snuggle.  Other days, he kisses my cheek and stumbles, bleary eyed, into the kitchen to get his own breakfast.  He’ll usually bring me a glass of juice.  We talk a bit as they eat and eat and eat (teenagers!) About the time I pour my 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee, I either send or receive a “Good Morning” text to or from a person who fills many of my thoughts.  The last text of the day and the first text of the morning is usually interacting with this person and it’s a heartwarming feeling.

I go about my day, working on the kids homeschooling projects, making meals, making plans, making the most out of every minute.  I look at the calendar and see who is coming into town, which concert is next, what article is due.  Emails, Facebook, Instagram, each one filled with something that makes me smile.  Dog kisses, fresh warm laundry, the perfect cup of chai tea, lunch with a friend, memories flashing like shooting stars, music so raw and so pure it makes me have to remember to breathe.  Old friends and new friends texting, calling, checking in or asking me if I want or need to check out for awhile with them.  Asking “how are you?” and really meaning it and knowing that the people who ask me the same really mean it, too.  Impromptu dance parties with my littles who are far from little anymore.

I cannot count the number of times a day I say or I hear “I love you.”

When it all boils down to it, those are the only letters of the alphabet that matter.

Hangover

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We’ve all been there at one point in time or another.  Waking up and peeling your eyelids open and wondering at what point during the previous night did you eat a cat.  The light hurts, your stomach spins, and you pray to whatever you believe in that, if you could just hold onto the bed long enough to keep the world from spinning, you’ll never ever have another night like the one before. Until you do.

We often think of hangovers just in terms of alcohol consumption, but the reality is that we more often that not have hangovers that have nothing at all to do with booze.  We have mental hangovers, emotional hangovers, anxiety hangovers, trauma hangovers.  Those hangovers, believe me, are just as much of a bitch as the happy juice kind, maybe even more so because alka seltzer, a nap, and a greasy cheeseburger don’t do a damn thing to help them.

They say “hair of the dog” is what will cure you when you’ve had too much booze.  You know, the whole concept of “what got you in will get you out.”  Not so with the other kinds of hangovers.  While we might do things that feel or sound good or appropriate at the time, eventually the moment of reckoning comes and all we’re left with is doubt, guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, fear, or any combination of those.  In those circumstances, doing what got you there most certainly will NOT get you out, it will only get you in deeper.  It can be a horrible cycle of trying to explain things and that only makes things worse.  Kind of like when someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, it does no good to clear up the situation by simply repeating yourself over and over again or, my personal favorite, saying the same things LOUDER.

For years, I have taught “hangover yoga” the day after traditional days of celebration: New Year’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, Homecoming, Halloween, etc.  Those classes were centered around asana that would cleanse the body of toxins, lots of twists, pranayama, forward folds, gentle inversions.  About 6 weeks ago, I realized that we all need to detox from our emotional and mental hangovers as well.  We need to learn to stop beating ourselves up over and over again.  We need to let go of the shame or anger we feel for ourselves or for others.  We need to let go of the poison.  We need, in other words, to get the toxic shit out of us so that we can forgive and move on.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but forgiving myself is the hardest thing in the world to do.  I often do things in the heat of the moment that cause me to feel shame or regret the next day or next week or next whatever.  It sucks.  It REALLY sucks and I have long moments of absolutely hating myself for it, but you know what?  We all do that.  We all do that because we are human.

1378623_10153428801170192_1386442562_nOddly, it’s not the original act that hurts us the most, it’s the squirrel cage circular thinking that does the most damage. There is a basic tenet of yoga called Ahimsa which essential means Do No Harm.  Listen, like I said, we’re human.  We’re going to fuck up.  The sooner we accept that, the better we’ll all be.  BUT here’s the thing, we don’t have to keep harming ourselves over our fuck ups.  We don’t have to make the situation worse on ourselves by reliving our mistakes over and over again.  We don’t need to keep beating ourselves up.  If we keep ourselves filled with shame, there is no room for acceptance.  And if there is no room for acceptance, there is no room for love.  We have to learn to let it go.  We might never ever be able to remedy what we have done.  Somethings just can’t be fixed, sadly, but we can keep the experience from hurting more than it already does.  Sadly, there is no AA for emotional / mental hangovers.  They are going to happen.  We have no choice over that matter.  What we DO have control over, however, is how we deal with them.  Feel the pain.  Feel the shame.  Feel the embarrassment or anger or anxiety or whatever it is, because if you don’t feel it, it will come back to haunt you.  Feel it, and then step away.  Ahimsa – don’t pour salt on the wound. Salt is for margaritas.

Don’t Touch

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When I was pregnant (both times,) I very quickly tired of people coming up to touch my belly uninvited.  It was bad enough when my friends and family did this, but total strangers would do the same thing.  I worked in a public location and, since I’m a short person, I looked like a little cube walking around.  People would just come up to me and touch my belly and I had to fight an internal war to keep from going all Chuck Norris on them.  At one point, I even asked Brian to make me a cage of chicken wire to wear over my clothes to keep people away.  Well, a cage or a stun gun, but you know, stun guns are often frowned upon in public places.

Lately a very good friend of mine has been going through a rough time.  Everyone is asking her how she is doing, what she needs, and sending ” {{{hugs}}}!”  People will come up to her in her office or on the street and just lay themselves on her.  She has even mentioned that one person said, “How are you?” to which she answered, “Okay.”  He then said, “No really, how are you?”  “I’m okay.”  “NO REALLY, how are you in here?” and pointed to her heart. By that point, her heart was feeling, “Fuck OFF!”

This past year has been incredibly difficult for me, but the last few months have been particularly excruciating.  I won’t get into the hows or whys, but I will say that some folks have done some awful things to me and I have done some equally awful things and, at this point, I’m in a place that’s not full of unicorns shitting rainbows along the golden brick road.  People are constantly calling and texting and wondering what is going on and why I’ve been so distant and telling me all kinds of unhelpful things like, “Come to a yoga class,” “let go of their negativity,” “just put a period and move on,” or “what you need is to get away” amongst countless others.

I think my friend and I both need a chicken wire cage.

I can’t speak for her, but I can and will speak for me and say that I know that people are concerned and are motivated by love and a desire to help.  I get that.  I understand that their intentions are pure and good.  I also understand that their actions are not particularly helpful.  Asking questions like, “how was therapy,” or “how are you” are absolutely meant to be harmless and are voiced from a place of compassion and concern, but what it feels like to be on the other side of those questions is this: I’m going to strip you naked in Times Square, rub your skin all over with sandpaper or a cheese grater, and then throw salt water at you.  The unsolicited advice that almost immediately follows feels like, “You’re too stupid to know what to do, I know better (even though I have never ever experienced what you’re going through,) so listen to me because my life is perfect.”

When dealing with emotions as strong as grief, loss, depression, confusion, heartache, betrayal, loneliness, longing, hopelessness, worry, and doubt, I am already feeling so very exposed and so very raw.  To be randomly touched, hugged, or questioned feels jarring to the open, sensitive nerve endings of my soul.  Not only that, but I don’t always have the answers to the questions that are asked of me.  How am I?  Ummmm.  I’m  here.  I don’t know how I am.  What can I do to help?  I have no clue.  As far as the uninvited hugs, I often avoid them not because I don’t want or need comfort, but because I know that I have spent hours trying to get myself together and out in public and one touch or “awwwwwww, you poor thing,” will either result in me breaking down into a sobbing pile of goo, or will cause me to lash out and take no prisoners as I go postal.  And hearing about how I should handle the loss of my husband or the fall out from my brief and very beautiful (until it wasn’t)  love affair makes me want to dig a very deep hole with no clear understanding if I’m digging it for me or for the person who is talking to me.

Maybe we need chicken wire cages for our heads and our hearts, too.

Again, I want to be VERY clear: I know that these comments and questions and offers come from a place of pure love and a strong sense of compassion and the lovely part of humanity that desperately wants to help.  And for that, I am grateful.  I’m grateful that I have friends and family and even some strangers who care so much about me.  Please don’t misunderstand me on that point.  All I am saying is that when I’ve already been turned inside out and put in a cage for public display, please don’t poke me. I will tell you what I want you to know when I want you to know it.  I will come out of my shell when I’m ready.  I will open up when I feel safe and not so exposed.  Don’t avoid me, but also please don’t try to “touch my belly,” as it were.  It’s mine.  I’m protective of it because it’s the very core of who I am at this time.

Remember, the best things come from the inside out.

Are You Talking to Me? Obviously Not.

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I have debated writing about this for several days.  I have tried to gradually move this blog back into more of a yoga / mindfulness blog and less of a grief processing blog, but as I stated in my first Brian post, I just can’t separate the two.  Ultimately, this is a blog about my life and how I see it and what I learn from it.  Lotta strands in old Duder’s head. – and they are all tangled together.

While I wouldn’t say that this past week has been the hardest of my life (not by a long shot,) I can with certainty say that it was a fucking nightmare created entirely from the twisted minds of other people.  Yes, I know, I should be able to stop this post and my squirrel cage thinking with that sentence.  NOT MY DOING.  The end.  Easier said than done. While I have espoused for years the mantra of “what other people think of me is none of my business,” and I believe it, the fact of the matter is that when people take actions based upon their erroneous beliefs, the results can be devastating.

While my kids and I came out smelling like roses, there were about 36 hours of complete and utter terror in my house last week.  No one needs that in their lives, but it was especially traumatizing to us since we are all still trying to recover from the trauma of Brian’s death.  I won’t get into the specifics about it because to lend power to the events would be to lend  power to the instigators, but the details don’t matter so much to the lesson.  I will say this – one of the most painful parts of the whole thing is knowing that this egregious assault on character and lifestyle came from people who could have and most certainly should have spoken to me first, rather than making asinine, unfounded assumptions and acting out of misconstrued truths.

At any given point, the instigators of this horrible week could have spoken to me about their concerns, asked questions, voiced their opinions (not that their opinion would have swayed me one iota,) and asked for clarity and / or more information.  These people chose not to do that.  They chose instead to gossip amongst each other, gathering hearsay data and mixing it with their own judgements, and jump to ghastly inaccurate conclusions.  The result?  My children and I were hurt and traumatized and have taken the actions necessary to prevent ourselves from further injury.  The result for them?  They don’t get to be a part of our lives.  Honestly, I think we got the better end of the deal.  When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them.

Satya and Ahimsa.  Speak the truth and do no harm.  We need to talk to one another instead of talking about one another.  In this situation, everyone hurts.  Had there been open and honest communication, we could have all been saved some pain.  Sadly, the other parties involved chose to hide behind other people and sneak around like thieves in the night to fulfill their agenda.  I won’t lie – there were days when I wanted to lash out and retaliate against these people for the agony they caused and the fearful distrust they have created in me and my children.  I’m human.  I wanted them to hurt as badly as they hurt me, I wanted them to feel the slap of betrayal as clearly as we have.  I wanted them to suffer, but (gratefully) I have learned to give things time and space so that I can act instead of react.  As I write this, my feelings at this moment are those of pity for them (and, admittedly, righteous indignation,)  but also pride in myself and my children, in our ability to see through the fog, in our ability to stop playing the dreaded “Telephone Game” of our youth and go straight to the source, and in our ability to make the choices that are best for us and the lives we want to lead.

Talk to each other.  Speak the truth.  Do no harm.

It’s really that easy.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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It’s been a long time since I have written.  I have been struggling with getting my thoughts together. Hell, I have been struggling to get myself together! Sometimes life just gets away from me and I get lost in the shuffle.  Lately I have been running 90 to nothing and feeling like I haven’t been getting anything done.  Is that a grief thing?  A life thing?  An ADD thing? A depression thing?  An age thing?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m certain that it’s definitely a thing.

The 9 months since Brian died has been a total roller coaster.  Just when things seem to get easier, something comes up and knocks us all back down.  Not as far down as we have been, of course, but it’s still a fall. I can say with all honesty and without a doubt that this experience has been the most powerful and educational experience of my life.  I have learned so much about life, about death, about other people, but mostly about myself.  The biggest lesson I have learned is this: I am not Superwoman.

I have been fiercely independent my entire adult life.  I still am.  I am the woman who will fix her own plumbing, carry in all the groceries in one trip, work on my own household projects, open my own doors, pay my own way, etc.  Asking for help is almost impossible for me – it’s just not in my makeup.  My parents tell the story of taking me out on a boat with friends when I was three years old.  The adults were waterskiing and, at one point, I attempted to jump into the water screaming, “MY TURN!” When I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest child, my husband came home to find that I had not only assembled all of the nursery furniture, but had also rearranged our bedroom by myself.  I have painted houses, built fences, moved furniture, held a breastfeeding baby with one hand while plunging a clogged toilet with the other, and superglued my finger back together after I cut it to the bone, but I’ve learned that, as much as I wish I could, there are some things I cannot do.

I cannot process grief or love by myself.

I cannot heal my depression, anxiety, panic, or lack of focus by myself.

I cannot be both mother and father by myself.

I cannot pretend that I’m not a nervous wreck every moment of the day by myself.

I cannot pretend.  Period.

I cannot take care of my children and myself 24/7/365 completely by myself.

I need help.  I hate that I need help.  I mean, I really hate it.  It goes against everything I have ever believed about myself, but it’s my truth now.  I need friends and family to help me with the kids.  I need therapy and medication and meditation to help with my emotional and mental health.  I need to be heard and understood as I process this new life I’m trying to create.  I don’t want any of these things, but I need them and I have learned how to ask for them. Okay, it’s more accurate to say that I am learning how to ask for them.   When I do ask, I am given what I need.  It’s a whole new kind of DIY lesson, but I’m trying. 

Who is this bitch, anyway?

Circle

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When I was 18, I fell in love with a guy who was 21.  We spent a wonderful summer together and it was brilliant.  Things happened that summer, however, that changed who we both were.  Towards the end of that “committed relationship,” he wrote me a letter as I was visiting my father out of state.  The end of the letter said, “If you ever wonder how I feel about you, listen to Edie.  She says it all.”  (sidebar: it’s been nearly 20 years since that summer and he and I are still friends.)

Ahhhh, the Circle.  Nothing’s good enough for anybody else, it seems.  We notice you don’t come around.

To say that my life has changed in the past year is a wild understatement.  EVERYTHING has changed.  Recently, my older brother came to visit and he was here for a couple of weeks.  He told me (and others) that he had to get to know his new sister.  I had to chew on that awhile.  Am I a new person?  Or is it possible that I am the same person I have always been, but *I* am  now visible again after all these years because, well, because “BrianandSarah” is no more?

I have discovered that I am either one of two things to almost everyone I know: I am either exactly the same as I have always been, or I am totally different.  The fact of the matter is that neither of those statements are true.  There was a time in my life where I only listened to punk music.  There was a time in my life where I only listened to country.  Okay, that’s a total lie – I have never ONLY listened to country, but certainly listened mainly to country (always classic stuff or underground stuff – never radio stuff.)   There was also a time in which I wouldn’t do anything if it wasn’t totally organic, natural, hippie-dippie stuff.  And, yes, there was a time when I disavowed television and all screen time.  All of those times were just that: times.  Times pass.

The truth of the matter is that, in the wee dark hours of the morning, I would occasionally find myself missing the gal who didn’t go fishing, who would have rather blasted death metal than listen to crickets, who took care of her business and, once that was taken care of, took a ride.  I have always wanted adventure and excitement and to live out loud.  Now that I’m doing it, however, I’m seeing that some folks don’t recognize me.   I get it.  I am just learning to recognize myself again.  It’s a process.  It’s a circle.  And, honestly, there was a part of me that didn’t come around anymore.  She’s starting to show up again.  She has to.  SHE HAS TO.  And she’d like to be welcomed back by someone other than herself.

I think this is the part of yoga that is so wonderful and so difficult.  When you’re on your mat, there is NO WHERE TO HIDE.  All of you comes up and slaps you right in the face.  You have to see it.  You have to acknowledge it.  You might be sweating because you’ve done 17 Surya Namaskar B’s in a row, but what you’re sweating out isn’t just salt water – it’s the salty truth.  We can either choose to notice our circle and spin around and around, or …. well, we’re going to spin whether we acknowledge it or not, but it’s our choice to take the ride with eyes open or eyes closed, and it’s our choice to step off the ride and not come around here anymore.

I’m still here.  I might be on a different arc of the circle than you’re used to seeing, but I promise you – it’s my circle, and I’m coming back around again.