on introspection

my journey has taken a turn–a turn requiring my gaze to move inward.

requiring my eyes to rake over myself entirely, naked and unfettered, and honestly evaluate what i find.

the discovery isn’t always so nice.

in so many things–so many sources of anger, fear, and bitterness, i was the cause. i was the reason.

i was the one in the wrong.

i lashed out at him for not giving me commitment. insisted that he would one day be unfaithful, would one day make me regret my decision.

in truth, i am the one with the wandering eye, the discomfort with commitment, the struggle with regret and desire for change.

i lashed out at her for her judgment, for her attitude, for her childish behavior. i hated her from afar, nursed jealousy and disgust from a distance.

i recognized myself in her. my penchant for judgment, for selfishness, for childish behavior. i recognize my own insatiable desire for attention, for approval, and to seem a certain way to those around me.

i felt hatred toward this religion, for all that it stands for and all that it endorses.

in truth, i felt hatred toward myself for allowing myself to fall for it, for aligning myself with it, and for robbing myself and so many of my loved ones of peace for years on end.

introspection is a funny thing. what seems simple, straightforward, and innocuous really means tearing at your skin, peeling strip after strip away, until you are all muscle and sinew, bloody and raw, open and exposed.

and then, an examination. an examination clear of predisposition, of hope, of inclination. instead, one of honesty, integrity, and humility.

chipping my own idol down, flake by flake, moment by moment.

on the past

i still think of you, sometimes.

i still hear your voice sometimes.

i see your hands, your smile, the quirky way you’d move your hands, the awkward attempts you’d make at dancing, the way your eyes seemed to ignite when you were happy.

sometimes, it happens in a dream. sometimes, your face pops up without cause, without reason, and i am left reeling in its wake.

sometimes, i go months without thinking about you–maybe in passing, but not anything substantial.

and it hits me.

i didn’t know myself then.

maybe i don’t know myself now.

but i am trying, now.

i am working, now.

working toward more understanding of my heart, my mind, my core. more understanding of my thoughts, my behaviors, my patterns. I am striving to bring balance, bring peace, bring kindness.

maybe the next time i think of you, it will be with fondness, rather than pain.

it will be with detachment, rather than a solitary, flared hope.

it will be with a smile and a sigh, rather than a literal pang in my chest, a quickening of my breath.

and i’ll know myself, know my breath, know my thoughts.

and move forward.

on grounding

legs are stretched, arms pointed toward heaven

feet are pointed, tips hovering just above the grass

up in the air, she is moveable

shakeable

easily damaged

a slight gust of wind sends her reeling

careening into the sky

slamming into obstacles in her wake

spinning, circling, moving

never once still

never at peace

a breath, a whisper, and she is soaring

‘come back’

she hears a voice

she cannot reach the ground

‘come back’

persistent, calm

at peace

‘come’

his breath is moving her, too

like so many others

not a hurricane

not a gust

a small breath, falling against her neck and shoulders

come back

she smiles to feel lips against her skin, hands gently tugging on hers

come back

one more tug

her feet touch the ground

the earth is finally beneath her

damp soil against her soles

grounded

on new life

a chubby little hand grips my finger, rubber soles leaving a tiny “click” on the asphalt. he is almost running, his little legs eager to reach our destination, to see the grass, trees, and giant metal play structures.

a little guy’s heaven.

the sun is unexpectedly warm, the sky a pale blue, the air rich with chatter and life. a bee buzzed, a spider scurried across the concrete, a tiny worm inching its way across blades of grass.

the playground was rife with laughter and playing, strings of children running toward the playground, a tiny gaggle of little girls already practicing for their teenage years.

“you’re not my friend, anymore.”

the relationship was quickly repaired.

new beginnings abound. each day, each moment, a new life emerges. a little baby, perhaps, growing in someone’s belly. a tiny insect emerging from an egg. a bird stretching its little wings for the first time.

the first wave of warmth brings with it challenges and joys. gone are the mornings of bundling up before walks. more freedom is found in going outdoors. with it are the days of warding against impending crawlers, sprinkling diatomaceous earth across doorways and windowsills.

the first wave of warmth brings reddened cheeks and noses, playing in dirt and grass, and the first hint of grumbles about being too hot.

the first wave of warmth brings a sense of hope and excitement, that growth and change is just around the corner.

the loss of spindly trees and wiry plants, rich, lush greens, yellows, blues, and reds in their wake.

death and life, death and life, ’round and ’round and ’round.

on affection

a little boy, quite a trooper, held his own in the backseat for forty minutes. for forty minutes, he contented himself with the lines on his shoes, a straw, some crinkly paper, and his water bottle.

for forty minutes, he smiled and babbled at me, glancing back in my rearview mirror, his three and a half teeth glinting out at me, showing me a glimpse of how far he’s come, and how big he’s grown.

we stepped out of the car and into a new room, bustling with other babies and activities. his shoes were removed, his jacket taken off, and he began playing with the toes, happily climbing into the seats that were just right–just right for a bright-eyed, bumbling 15 month old boy, alight with curiosity.

all too soon, we were told we had to go.

‘he’s too young. you’ll have to leave.’

such a simple phrase. not worthy of heart-wrenching tears, maybe, or not worthy of great humiliation.

as we left, his forlorn little body in my arms, i felt a dam break in my chest, and i struggled to keep from weeping as i hurried to the car, buckling him back in the seat he struggles so much with, driving another forty minutes an hour too soon.

and i wept. i wept in big, shoulder-shaking breaths, tears rolling into my open mouth, my nose congested and sniffing. and that sweet, sweet little boy was there to assure me. he sat in the back seat, his little feet waving about in his blue-striped shoes, as he sang me a makeshift song, babbled happily, and brought me back to reality.

he was okay. i was okay. the situation was okay.

this little boy, so young and small, but so powerful and wise, and so well-formed to teach me lessons both large and small, hard and simple.

and all i could do was reach behind me, squeeze a waving foot, and smile.

on difficulty

“i can do hard things.”

a phrase i never truly though i’d utter.

my gaze would fall to my dreams, to my hopes, to my imaginings, and i would shake my head and turn away.

but the reality is this: i can do hard things.

a difficult pose? i can. a strange situation? i can. adjusting to change? i can.

choose gratitude when my head is raging, demanding that i choose another path?

i can.

i sat, my heart open–so painfully, beautifully open, and i realized:

i am chasing a dream.

i am going after something i have dreamt of for over ten years, have longed after for ten years, have been too afraid to pursue for a decade of my young life, and i have no other option:

i smile. i smile and spread my palms in gratitude and peace, grateful for the opportunity to learn, to expand, to grow and stretch and move my body and my mind in ways i’d only heard of, only read about, only imagined.

sometimes the chase means being thrown headlong into unfamiliar territory, into uncharted waters–

sometimes it means closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and stepping forward–a tiny step–and feeling light wash over me, beckon me in, hold me close.

and little by little, my heart opens, my body opens, my mind opens, and i move forward. i realize, “yes. i can do this.”

“i. can.”

on uncertainty

today, i am staring down the barrel of uncertainty.

the days ahead are muddled–not quite light, not quite dark–murky water my eyes keep trying to adjust to.

my gaze is still unfocused.

a few months ago, this uncertainty would have blinded me. i would have writhed under the pressure, my mind shutting down, my body screaming to curl into a pile of blankets.

an ostrich with its head in the sand.

today, i feel light, peaceful. my arms are stretched wide, thrown open, welcoming the uncertainty, treating it as a friend. a cumbersome friend, perhaps, but a friend, nonetheless.

today, i feel strong, grateful. i feel grateful for these legs that carry me, these arms that hold my son close, these lips that pull my husband into a sacred embrace. i am grateful for this mind that has learned to quiet, some. this body that has learned to cope, some. the health that evaded me for a year, slowly seeping back in.

today, i am grateful for uncertainty. grateful for the beautiful, incredible path i am on, with millions of potential diversions, potential roads, all wide open and beaming, beckoning me.

i am grateful for hope.

i am grateful for healing.

i am grateful for strength.

hello, uncertainty. welcome, friend. stay a while, won’t you?