fall has arrived. the leaves, the temperature fluctuations, the spices in foods these things and so many more that were so different just a month ago. a year ago many things were up in the air. SO MANY THINGS. I did then, as I often do, think to myself “where will I be and what will life be like a year from now? How will I be different? How will the choices I make now cascade into changes within the next year?”
And so here we are. I am marked more by pivotal changes in a year, brought about by actions of my own un/doing, much more so than I am marked by my birthday. And so it has come to be that people places and things which were influencing/influential to me last year are still here. Which is a new thing for me. I have invited in people, places, jobs, lessons by the dozens in the last many years and yet the degree to which I exposed myself, raw and unbidden, fleshy and unwieldy, a shark among the frail, at times a weeping hot mess. It has circled around me like a vulture, following me, this hot mess and frailty and yet within the circle of my undoing has been created a web of upholding. You are there, holding me when I break into hot tears on the loading dock.
You are there, silently unburdening my heart when I am hardly able to carry the weight of my sadness on my frail hips.
You are there, offering a couch a glass of wine and just a lovely listening ear, so many times through the darkness of days.
You are there, on the phone, listening well and offering speculation and insight with a perspective of my history and love for me that is unending.
You are there, all of you, seeing me. Really looking and not looking away. Reaching out and holding me up without getting any closer than you can to a raging fire. But the cool touch of your support, the scent of your confidence in me on the wind, the look in your eyes that keeps on saying yes do this and move forward I am here for you, regardless of who you were that day. Brown eyed boy, gray haired man, green eyed girl, fire haired woman, lovely hipped mama with the most glorious voice in town that most have never hear. I am here. I am stronger because of you and I am hopeful to always be here for you. You are my web, you are my music, you are ever present, you are me.
I am out of cake flour but I am not even sure you like cake? You are across town, listening to the very same playlist and I am not sure you know it or would care. I want to know if you like cake and could I bake you the very kind that would show you love. You might like to walk to the store with me for cake flour because I am out and keep warm in a hat I have knitted for you. You would understand and know forever without reminder that me keeping you warm and free of hunger was such love that it could not go unknown.
Perhaps you are knowing, even now, this love I have for you? I am not sure but feel that the signs are there. Despite listening to the same music we are reading different pages of our scripts right now. Maybe time will take us to the same page. I miss you the most of so many things~more than the carrots from the box, the strawberries from the bottom of the barrel and even the smells and warmth of the bakery itself.
Give me some direction, please. Should I read slower or faster to get to that same page? Or just be me, going along waiting and hoping to run into you when I do find time for the trip to the store for cake flour and the hope of your smile.
You have now entered the period of time in your life when everything, and nothing, is as it seems. There will be moments of reflection, harking back to when your youngest babe was so fresh and new and you were confused and crying and seeking direction. You found it in her care and that of her sisters. They need you then and they need you now but it is all the same and entirely different.
There will be moments of wondering what is next, even though next is happening to you right then and there. There will be moments of clarity when the path is lit with greatness, nothing can be undone and all is well lit and beautiful.
The lights go out. They always do.
But then they come on again, begging for you to center yourself and quickly, pivot to find the danger, seek the light and comfort you can. Maybe you bake a cake, call a friend or stand still for a moment, sending your heart out to anyone who will listen even the daily customer who just walks close enough that you feel him and he takes a load off, Anie.
You will question everything and hope every so often to be reassured that the question has an answer you don’t need to question. Is there milk at home? Are my babies safe and warm? Do I need water or coffee or just a bathroom break?
The meaning of life will insert itself randomly and without cause or warning. Be ware, this. It will try to evoke meaning and adhere you to its stricture. It will try to get you off the path of truly not knowing and onto the path of what has seemed right for others, in the past. But those are ethereal, holograms of truth. No one ever knows if law school or a bakery is the right answer. Let the beads decide.
Even then, is it your own energy that pulls them to the very hand that holds the yellow bead? You won’t ever know. None of us will. How much wine is too much to hold you up right now? How many tears will you cry before the taps are dry for the evening? How many things must you discard in seeking light and space before it begins to feel as though you have undressed and cannot even find the you that you thought you were a day, an hour, 10 minutes ago. You are not in that box ready for the donation bin. You are you, strong and true. You get to keep pouring energy into the vessel that you want to become.
Do not stray from this mission. It is long and hard and has no end. You are becoming you every step of the way. Iteratations, new versions, sleep, endless nights, wild thoughts and familiar ones as well side by side. Take them all in, filter them like the whale eats his food and let the rest go back out into the world, feeding another hungry soul the food that you don’t need. The food you need is you. You are all you need.
This is the morning of a new season. There will be movement and lists and introspection. There will be focused hard fought victories and nights of crying myself to sleep. There will be forceful expansion of my heart and the way I do things, the way I love and the people I surround myself with.
I need to learn to ask for what I need. I am focused and determined in my need to know what they need, how to serve, what to do, how to please. But where is my asking, my needs being shown and met? I have them, sure, but then they go to bed with me, unmet/unasked/unanswered. So much wrenching heartache without the equal or happy giving back to me.
Ply the depths, ask the questions, feel the needs and get the needs met. Do so with the conviction that I am worth it, always and the asking and fulfillment of me creates the well from which I can draw to give back to others. A circle of goodness and light, though it must be gained by traveling through the darkness of cold days and tearful nights.
The sun will shine, more often than not and the moon will also shine more often than not. Let these be my guide, my hopeful clarity in this season of lists and need and exploration. Of getting it right and getting it all wrong.
“Mama, I did some writing today. It was about family. Mostly about papa. And Lucy and Josey. I meant to add Millie (the cat) and also forgot about you. It’s mostly about papa.”
how to get out. turn down the cheerful voices upstairs, acting as a salve to the overall lack of attention. close your eyes to the mess here there and everywhere. tune your radio to some songs from a friend, listen well and let that hold you up, if just for now.
try not to get too far out onto the whatifs/soons/possibilities at any one time. let them guide you along the way, like stars along the way and yet not be the flashlight that needs to be on, pointed in the right direction, consistently, persistently, always.
be inspired by the joy of your children but do not collude with complacency or self doubt or taking the easy road. none of us knows what is ever ahead, only behind. go with what you know and work from that. if you have looked carefully, the map is there, behind you and it is time, now, to follow a new different map out of the mess.
stay strong. count on your friends. call on your friends and be guided by inspiration, intuition, the solid ground on which you have laid, been laying and want to count on for the future.
its all you, mama. do it.
oh, this happens on so many levels and really, the bottom line is exposure. show what you love~let it out into the world and let it be seen and heard and judged. who cares if you are not able to control the noun once it’s out of your hands…it will be judged and your ability to take that judgement will be a test, one which will be repeated ad infinitum until the noun no longer exists or is put away to no longer be seen and judged.
we expose ourselves to show our work and boy does it take a bit of doing to feel confident, every day, that this is the right thing to do. but in doing so, and letting the light in and peeling back the layers of ( ) ,