A whole heap of time has swirled past
since I last met with you here and I can’t say for sure why
except that I’ve opened this laptop often, just brimming with words,
that then bottleneck and quickly subside like a low tide falling.
I let my fingers stammer for a little while and then release them to go outside
with a basket on my hip to work in the garden instead.
I come ’round to read your blogs and my muscles draw me first
into the art room where I pour easy streams of paint into a paper plate
and begin swiping on another layer to hold space for the words
so that when they finally do tumble onto paper somehow, they’ll have somewhere interesting
to land and maybe artfully arrange themselves.
Who am I even in this new season?
It’s taken me a minute to give a long and loving listen
to learn what this woman needs from me.
Quick back story: I was immunosuppressed before Covid hit;
for years I’ve been extremely allergic, tagged “overly” sensitive,
and so was super mindful to take care because I knew that if I got the virus
it may likely pound on me pretty violent, as most viruses seem to do.
A common stomach virus can drop me because it’s gonna take a while.
I can’t actually physically throw up (lovely, right?).
I had an experimental surgery in the early 2000s because of reflux so severe
that my doctors at UNC guessed I needed to have a go.
Of mistakes I’ve made, this was a big one.
Had I waited a few years, as my intuition suggested,
I would’ve discovered that reflux is just one of the many
auto-immune symptoms that I’d need to navigate
with a lot of creativity and patience in the decades to come.
So it wasn’t totally shocking that Covid would hamstring me for a while with long haul symptoms.
But my healthy husband? That shook me.
When after a vigorous move and months of navigating my own confounding symptoms
my husband went suddenly ill with acute kidney failure, I felt raw with fear.
For a short while I thought he may die.
Instead came the challenges of his living a newer normal – high doses of prednisone,
insulin shots, and wobbly with weakness. And all the new what-do-we-do-now’s.
I had been pivoting away from our family business, gentling down, and suddenly that move
became as hardly do-able as all the other new necessities to navigate.
But ride each wave we did
and when anxiety stormed down a torrent,
I went out and dug in the garden like it was my only thing.
I guess trauma requires new dances
and this became mine.
Life became new normals and dances and gardens and ways. And all of it mattered.
I hold them as delicious gifts now, the days when my body and brain show up in ways that I understand.
I’m learning new work-arounds for times when they don’t,
like using food enzymes to support a bum pancreas,
and implementing more structure to help with the buggy brain that can fog my windshield with sudden haze,
and talking myself through the panic that can jump me like a prowler
with a random wave of nausea or sudden chill.
Honestly it’s an unfamiliar place, this learning to give myself some tender loving time.
To have to bend low and be patient, sometimes as if with a toddler, has been a level of care
I’ve never offered to myself before.
And as I do, tentative and awkward, I’ve felt this compassion rise
because I feel it vivid the spaces where this woman
could have used this kind of support always from, well, me.
How did I leave her last in a line
that never reaches the end?
This challenging stretch of road has been a ruthless and beautiful teacher.
I’m glad for these fresh cracks
and the way they’re letting the light crawl in,
bringing me somehow closer home.
Sometimes my heart flutters shy in this newer, more tender relationship with myself
and I’m having to sit with it for a minute
before I can say the things.
I mean it sincere each time I write that I’ll be back to you more regular soon.
But I’m holding no space for the hurry I’ve long inflicted on myself;
I’ll be back when the wind fills my sails;
for now it’s maybe enough that I’m keeping them set.
And watching my garden grow:)
“Inside your chest
lives a little nightingale
who never sleeps.”
– Alexandra Vasiliu
Big joy in sending out a package this week to Renee Clark
who likely doesn’t even remember leaving a comment
it was so long ago that I posted.
I’ll wait until I come back more consistently before offering another giveaway.