I had really hoped for and wanted this to be an uplifting and all positive post, but the truth is that I feel a bit like a speck of dirt this week. I feel very small as a wife, a mother, and an all-around human being at this time of writing, and I don’t even say this for reactions. In fact, I encourage you to ignore it and focus on the beauty, because there is so much of that. I think you all know that I can’t even be here if I can’t be frank. (can I still be Garth? Name that reference if nothing else!)
It’s like this. Say you’re building, painting and maintaining a house. You may think it’s on the steadier side but one day you realize it’s made of straw and it’s bound to fall. And not only that, the materials you’ve been using on it haven’t helped it stand. They’re not necessarily the right materials. That’s ok, though. Underneath the fallen straw and the rubble, there’s probably a steel frame on your house. That steel can crush the straw and can hold up the beams, the rooms and the layers.
My steel frame is partly built of me, and partly built of you. It’s family and friends and passions and sparks and a husband who thinks I’m hot, and kids who are often happy and healthy. Don’t worry. This isn’t a movie. They whine and scream just as much as your kids. They’re also pretty cool. Enter in Scarlet singing about peace in a video my mother-in-law shot in Florida.
Scarlet’s school celebrated their 100th day of school earlier today with a parade. Scarlet celebrated her 100th day of kindergarten with a snazzy vest decorated with 100 stickers at home, and with a snazzy crown she made at school.
And there were many times, and many years, and decades, in which doing something so routine would hardly be a blip on the radar. I could do it while listening to the music of my choice, rather than the anxiety-soothing sounds of the San Francisco bay. I could do it without essential oils on my wrists and on the back of my neck. I could do it directly after having eaten, and with lightness and grace. Maybe laughter. Friendly smiles and waves all along. I could be there. So there. Now I can again.
It’s not a perfect art or science. The trauma trapped in my brain and in my body still tells me I’m insignificant at best sometimes. Every now and then I’ll be leaving someone’s house or giving a hug to a loved one and I’ll feel a flutter or flicker of breathlessness. It seems to say, “I’m still here, but I’m just a flutter or a flicker now.” And I hope and even pray that I can always gather more materials in my army against anxiety. My kindergarten experience was traumatic. Sometimes I learn to move past or even just with that current of electricity and pain. And never to let it gush far ahead of me. Or all around me.
At 100 days and counting, it’s nowhere near perfect. Sometimes after a long weekend or a series of snow days, I can feel my heart pounding before I have to walk into the school. Just for a bit, and really so minor, but I notice it. I feel butterflies at other times, when the only thing I have to do all day is pick her up. They are butterflies though, and not hornets. These days I get into my car and listen to whatever song I feel like listening to – often Tori Amos “A Sorta Fairytale”, Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” or my always beloved Capital Cities. I get out of the car at school and I walk without worry of anxiety. I smile and laugh and greet my friends. It’s a bit funny that something so normal and commonplace once knocked me off my feet.
These photos were taken at my in-laws’ house on Labor Day weekend, right before school started. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet, I’m finally uploading them. As usual, my photos and words have synced up on their own and I love the results.