I was standing in my kitchen drinking red wine and eating the last remnants of an intense chocolate dessert brought to me from my favorite French café earlier this evening, and secretly wondering if I was shaving hours or days off of my life by doing what I was doing. these thoughts cross my mind a lot these days. today has been especially trying.
Sunday evening. day light savings. although you could feel the spring in the air, and sense things stirring in the earth, and it was a sunny blue sky day, it turned into a melancholy Sunday evening. when I was a kid, I would get profoundly depressed on Sunday nights. having dinner, watching the “wonderful world of Disney”….(yes, I am dating myself, but my dated self is another blog entirely…) and in the afterglow of the magic kingdom, was the depressing reality of going back to school the next day, and some deeper underlying sad panic that my life was only going to get harder and more complicated and yet boring and repetitive and nothing would ever feel like it was enough, I would always feel and or be alone and then I would die. this is not just poetic adult hindsight. I actually felt like this a great deal as a child. a young child.
this weighty depressed outlook has accompanied most of my adult life, sparked with manic bursts of insane happiness.( wow, I just used manic and insane in the same sentence to describe myself…hmm) as I found yoga and my own sort of spirituality and drank less and breathed more, it subsided considerably. for many years it was gone completely. the last few years this tenuous anxiety has crept back in on a more regular basis and the last year it has kicked my ass in hard, sharp and unexpected ways. I find myself floating between my calm yogic self ( my “ohminess” as my daughter calls it,) and the panic stricken 6 year old who feels that she will never be enough. and also this 6 year old self is on strange toxic cancer drugs so she is super extra messed up when she shows her face these days. she is around a lot. actually, she has kind of moved back home.
it is exhausting taking care of her. she is SO needy. so insecure. so relentlessly intense. she engulfs me multiple times a day. sometimes I am taken hostage by her for the whole day. sometimes days. her stories spin and spin and I experience them in visceral 3d. I get so angry. jesus! I am 50 years old. I am an adult. a strong, intelligent, lovely woman. I am funny and tender and wise (well, a wise ass…) I am a teacher, and a healer, and a strong part of my community. why is this horrible pain in the ass child still hanging around and ruining my life?
I can feel her breathing down my neck clutching, sobbing and I turn around and scream, “what the hell do you want?! can’t you see that you are making it impossible for me to focus on my life. to pay attention to critical things I need to pay attention to. the stress of dealing with you is affecting my very health. not to mention that no one could ever possibly love me for very long if you keep storming into my life and ruining everything. WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”
she is weeping. her eyes are pleading. she is so small. so alone. her voice barely a whisper. “just love me. please just love me no matter how horrible I am. please don’t leave me.”
I look into her eyes and gather her in my arms and hold her close. I breathe with her and I can feel the panic subside, my strength return and we are no longer separate. she is not outside of me, but a tender beloved part of me. not to be denied or marginalized. after awhile there is some peace.
I have been awake since 1:00 and it is now 5:20. I have been drinking matcha and eating toast as I write this. my daughter came to my room while I was reading last night and asked if she could sleep with me. I love it when she does that.
as I lay in bed awake wrestling with my broken 6 year old self, I could feel lily’s 6 year old self there as well. all of us together. all trying to find love and safety and peace. the bed was full.
too late to go back to sleep, so I will feed the cats, build a fire and do my morning meditation. I feel at peace and ready to begin this new day. so grateful for my life even when it feels like way too much to even begin to deal with.
thank you for listening. we are not alone. have a beautiful day.
artwork by susan seddon boulet “bearchild”